Press Room

Leif Ove Andsnes’s “Pictures Reframed” hits Europe

In the lead-up to the world premiere at New York’s Lincoln Center of “Pictures Reframed”, a Mussorgsky-inspired collaboration between award-winning Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and South African visual artist Robin Rhode, Andsnes called the multimedia project “an amazing adventure, and not without risks,” adding “but hopefully they are risks worth taking.”  Judging by the response of audiences and critics, who have reacted vigorously and mostly enthusiastically to it, “Pictures Reframed” is clearly a hit.  Among the highlights have been two sold-out performances in New York and news this week that the EMI Classics CD, featuring Andsnes performing the Mussorgsky and Schumann works that inspired the video and still images that Rhode created for the live concerts, has snared the number-six slot on Billboard’s classical bestsellers chart.  The “Pictures Reframed” tour is now in Europe, where Belgium’s Le Vif/L’Express magazine observed, “This unexpected clash is already one of the artistic sensations of 2009.”  After the last performance of “Pictures Reframed” this fall (in Cologne on Dec 20), Andsnes will return to the U.S. to perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 with the New York Philharmonic and its new Music Director, Alan Gilbert (on Dec 29 and 30, and Jan 2)

The world premiere of “Pictures Reframed” took place on November 13 at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.  As New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini observed, “It was the first of two performances, and the place was packed,” and Lincoln Center confirms that both performances were indeed sold out.  The New York Times review noted that the mix of audio and visuals presented something of a sensory overload, but Tommasini concluded that he was “glad to have attended this multimedia experiment.”  His and other critics’ reactions to Andsnes’s playing, however, were nearly unanimously positive, with Time calling it “a lucid, beautifully articulated account” and the Financial Times observing, “Leif Ove Andsnes is a brilliant pianist with a wild imagination, a healthy disrespect for tradition, and a technique that makes the impossible seem easy.  No one since Horowitz has made Schumann’s ‘Träumerei’ more dreamy or Mussorgsky’s ‘Great Gate of Kiev’ more momentous.”  A brief video documenting some of the excitement at the world premiere performance can be viewed at EMI Classics’ YouTube channel: – p/u/1/oNWocqpbzbI.

As the project gained momentum and headed to other cities in North America, it was apparent that Andsnes and Rhode had struck a chord and provoked an abundance of discussion, online and elsewhere.  Though there was no performance in California, the San Francisco Classical Voice reviewed EMI Classics’ deluxe CD/DVD edition of “Pictures Reframed” – a beautiful coffee-table book featuring images by Rhodes, the audio recording, and a DVD (featuring the preview performance of “Pictures Reframed” in Risor and a “making of” documentary produced by Norwegian television [NRK]) – and called it “a stunning achievement”:

“Far more than merely another multimedia collaboration for our multitasking, iPod-toting era, it brilliantly illumines Mussorgsky’s achievement in ways that transcend the literalism of words, images, and notes on a page.”

The Houston Chronicle, describing a local performance of “Pictures Reframed”, commented:

“Moments in the concert such as ‘Träumerei’ demanded the audience’s total attention.  There was no place for shuffling programs, shifting weight on squeaking springs, or compulsive whispering… . The audience was charged with maintaining the magic of the event… . ‘Pictures Reframed’ was a provocative example of a small but slowly growing genre: the recital as collaboration among artists from different fields.  At its best, the result is far more rewarding than the usual musical event.”

Gramophone’s just-published review of the CD notes that the depth of Andsnes’s interpretation of Pictures at an Exhibition requires no visuals to make a profound impact:

“There’s an audacious degree of addition and alteration to the score itself… . The effect is thrilling… . [Andsnes] constantly reminds us of the human element in Mussorgsky’s reimagining of Hartmann’s images… . There’s also a profound sense of the cycle’s dramatic pacing, of the possibilities of reverberation and silence as much as the potency of the notes themselves… . His ‘Great Gate’ is a fitting culmination to a superbly provocative and unsettling experience.” 

A list of links related to “Pictures Reframed”, as well as a list of upcoming live performances, follows.


Leif Ove Andsnes and Robin Rhode: “Pictures Reframed”
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
Schumann: Kinderszenen
Leif Ove Andsnes, piano
Video materials and other visuals by Robin Rhode
Deluxe CD/DVD set, CD, and downloads released November 2009 on EMI Classics


“Pictures Reframed” tour – Fall 2009

November 13 & 14 New York, NY; Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center (world premiere)

November 16 Calgary, AB; Jack Singer Concert Hall

November 18 Chapel Hill, NC; University of North Carolina

November 20 Washington, DC; Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center

November 22 Houston, TX; Cullen Performance Hall (matinee concert)

November 24 Brussels; Palais des Beaux-Arts

November 27 Moscow; Tchaikovsky Concert Hall

November 29 Stockholm; Concert Hall

December 1 Hamburg; Kampnagel

December 2 Munich; Prinzregententheater Theater

December 4 London; Queen Elizabeth Hall (two concerts)

December 7 Naples; RAI Auditorium

December 9 Berlin; Radialsystem (two concerts)

December 11 Paris; Théatre des Champ-Elysées

December 13 Copenhagen; Concert Hall

December 17 Stavanger, Norway; Concert Hall

December 18 Oslo; Concert Hall

December 20 Cologne; Philharmonie


Leif Ove Andsnes with the New York Philharmonic and Music Director Alan Gilbert

Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall, New York City

December 29 and 30; January 2

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 23 


Project updates, images and other special preview materials will be posted regularly at

An electronic press kit for the project is available on You Tube:

For more information on Leif Ove Andsnes:

For more information on Robin Rhode:

For further information contact:

Glenn Petry, 21C Media Group: (212) 625-2038, [email protected]

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© 21C Media Group, December 2009

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