Press Room

Pierre-Laurent Aimard Returns to Mostly Mozart (Aug 13–17), Including Recital to Stream Live on; Launches Next Phase of Acclaimed Ligeti Project

No pianist alive can rival this French maestro as an advocate for writing of this post-Messiaen kind.

– Independent, UK

Following his residency there five years ago, Pierre-Laurent Aimard returns to Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival for a trio of concerts celebrating the work of his longtime friend and collaborator George Benjamin (b. 1960). On August 13, he joins the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) for a late-night program showcasing Breathless for toy piano and pizzicato violin by Dai Fujikura (b. 1977), one of the English composer’s former students. Aimard and the ICE reunite on August 16 for accounts of Ligeti’s Piano Concerto and Messiaen’s Oiseaux exotiques, led by Benjamin himself. The relationships between these four modern masters are close and intertwined, Aimard having been Messiaen’s “adoptive son,” and Benjamin his composition student, while both have consistently championed the music of Ligeti, who considered Aimard his finest interpreter. For the pianist’s final Mostly Mozart appearance, a characteristically wide-ranging late-night solo recital on August 17, he complements Benjamin’s Shadowlines – a set of six canonic preludes conceived as a continuous, cumulative structure – with preludes by d’Anglebert, Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Debussy, and Scriabin, as well as canons by Bach, Schumann, Brahms, Webern, Boulez, and Ligeti. Originally written for Aimard, Shadowlines is one of a number of Benjamin’s key compositions – the Duet for piano and orchestra among them – that Aimard has premiered and recorded. Making his musicianship accessible to a global audience, this solo recital has been selected for live webcast by, and this as well as his August 13 Mostly Mozart performance will be livestreamed by Lincoln Center.

Ligeti Project: now live online

At last summer’s Ruhr Piano Festival, Aimard embarked on the Ligeti Project – his in-depth examination of the late Hungarian composer’s Études – and this past May saw the launch of a free, multilingual, interactive website, through which, as the UK’s Independent explains, “the extraordinary piano music of György Ligeti will be brought to a new and much wider audience.” Now, timed to coincide with his Ligeti performance at Mostly Mozart, Aimard’s new interactive score of the great modernist’s Musica ricercata No. 7 is scheduled to go live on August 16. The fruit of eight years’ labor, the interactive site was developed in close collaboration with the Ruhr Piano Festival’s Dr. Tobias Bleek, and draws on the intimate working relationship that Aimard shared with Ligeti from the 1980s until the composer’s death in 2006. It was he who premiered and made first recordings of a number of Ligeti’s piano compositions, winning a 1997 Gramophone Award for his Sony Masterworks album of the Études, and he who inspired some of the composer’s most complex writing. As a result, he remains without peer as an exponent of Ligeti’s music, blessed with uniquely privileged insights into the composer’s piano music and its inner workings. Designed, as the Independent notes, “both to help professional pianists deal with the challenges of Ligeti’s music, and demystify it for lay listeners,” the new portal has been recognized by The Guardian (UK) as “a significant online resource.” Click here to see a video of Aimard playing Ligeti’s Musica ricercata No. 1.

Summer also sees the French pianist return to Austria’s Styriarte (July 21), Germany’s Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival (July 23 & 25) and Austria’s Salzburg Festival, where he and pianist Tamara Stefanovich reprise their marathon all-Boulez program (Aug 8), of which the New York Times observes:

In these dazzling, rhapsodic and nuanced performances, Mr. Boulez’s thorny pieces came across as radical, yes; extreme, for sure; but stunningly inventive and supremely musical.

High-resolution photos are provided here.



Pierre-Laurent Aimard: summer engagements


July 21
Graz, Austria
Bagatelle Op. 119, No. 3
Andante con Variazioni für Mandoline und Klavier, Wo0 44b (Thema und Finale)
Bagatelle Opus 119, No. 10
Zwölf Variationen über ein Thema aus Händels Oratorium Judas Maccabaeus, WoO 45 (Variation 9)
Bagatelle Opus 119, No. 11
3 leichte Stücke für Klavier zu 4 Händen (Marsch, Waltz und Polka)
5 leichte Stücke für Klavier zu 4 Händen (Balalaïka, Española und Galop)
Sonate für Violoncello und Klavier (Moderato)
Sarcasmen Nr. 2, 1, 4 und 5
VALÉRIE AIMARD: Révolte à Carnegie Hall
KURTÁG, from Játékok:
Das Häschen und der Fuchs – von der 6-jährigen Krisztina Takàcs komponiert
Schläge (3×3 – 3 Töne, 3 Rhythmen)
Hommage à Tschaikowski
Stummspiel (Zank 2)
LIGETI: Musica Ricercata  Nr. 3, 4, 6, 10 und 11
LUTOSLAWSKI: Sacher Variation
BARTÓK: Burlesken Nr. 3 und 2
With Tamara Stefanovich, piano; Valérie Aimard, cello and mime

July 23
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I

July 25
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Chopin: Trois nouvelles études (excerpts)
Chopin: 12 Etudes, Op. 25 (excerpts)
Debussy: 12 Etudes (excerpts)
Scriabin: Three Etudes, Op. 65 (excerpts)
Bartók: Three Etudes, Op. 18 (excerpts)
Messiaen: Quatre études de rythme (excerpts)
Ligeti: Études pour piano (excerpts)
Boulez: Sonata No. 1
Stockhausen: Klavierstücke X

Aug 8
Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg Festival
The Complete Piano Works of Pierre Boulez
Boulez: Douze Notations
Boulez: Piano Sonata No. 1
Boulez: Piano Sonata No. 2
Boulez: Incises
Boulez: Piano Sonata No. 3 (“Constellation-Miroir,” “Trope”)
Boulez: Une page d’éphéméride
Boulez: Structures, Livre II, for Four Hands (with Tamara Stefanovich, piano)

Aug 13
New York, NY
Mostly Mozart Festival
A Little Night Music
Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse
Dai Fujikura: Breathless for toy piano and pizzicato violin
Dai Fujikura: Flicker for piano and cello
With members of the International Contemporary Ensemble

Aug 16
New York, NY
Mostly Mozart Festival
Alice Tully Hall
Messiaen: Oiseaux exotiques
Ligeti: Piano Concerto
International Contemporary Ensemble / George Benjamin, conductor

Aug 17
New York, NY
Mostly Mozart Festival
Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse
A Little Night Music: Pierre-Laurent Aimard
“Six preludes and six canons”
D’Anglebert: Prélude non mesuré
Mozart: “Modulating Prelude”
Bach: Prelude No. 16 in G minor, BWV 861, from the Well-tempered Clavier, Book I
Chopin: Prelude in E minor, Op. 28 No. 4
Debussy: Les soirs illuminés par l’ardeur du charbon
SCRIABIN: Prelude No. 4 from Five Preludes Op. 74
Schumann: Etude No. 4 (Variation 3), from 12 Etudes symphoniques
Brahms: Variation 6 from Variations and Fugue on a Theme by G.F. Handel, Op. 24
Bach: Canon (Augmentationem in Contrario Motu), from Die Kunst der Fuge, BWV 1080
Webern: “Sehr Schnell” from Variations for Piano, Op. 27
Boulez: Notation 6, “Rapide,” from 12 Notations for piano
Ligeti: Etude No. 17, “À bout de souffle “
George Benjamin: Shadowlines

#             #             #


© 21C Media Group, July 2015

Return to Press Room