Press Room

This Season, Leif Ove Andsnes Performs Neglected Dvořák on New Sony Album & High-Profile Recital Tours of North America & Europe; Debussy with Cleveland Orchestra; Grieg in Leipzig, Hamburg & London; Mozart with MCO; & More

Leif Ove Andsnes (photo: Helge Hansen for Sony Classical)

(September 2022)—“A probing musical analyst as well as an interpreter of enormous technical panache and poetic nuance” (San Francisco Chronicle), Leif Ove Andsnes is “a pianist of magisterial elegance, power, and insight” (New York Times). This season, he performs Dvořák’s unjustly neglected piano cycle Poetic Tone Pictures on a new Sony Classical release (Oct 28) as well as on extensive, high-profile recital tours of Europe and North America, with dates at such key venues as London’s Wigmore Hall (Nov 20 & 21), New York’s Carnegie Hall (Jan 31) and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie (Feb 18). In concert, the celebrated Norwegian pianist performs Debussy’s Fantaisie with Michael Tilson Thomas and the Cleveland Orchestra (April 13–16); continues his “Mozart Momentum 1785/86” project with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra; showcases his account of Greig’s concerto with the NDR Elbphilharmonie, Leipzig Gewandhaus and London Philharmonic Orchestras; and plays Rachmaninoff’s Third with ensembles including the Oslo Philharmonic and Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The 2022-23 season also sees Andsnes give lieder recitals with baritone Matthias Goerne, with whom he recently scored his eleventh Grammy nomination.

Dvořák’s Poetic Tone Pictures: new Sony Classical album (Oct 28)

I think it is the great forgotten cycle of 19th-century piano music. Maybe those are big words, but I do feel that,” says the pianist of Dvořák’s Poetic Tone Pictures. The most substantial piano collection by the Czech Romantic composer, this is the subject of Andsnes’s newest recording for Sony Classical, due for physical and digital release on October 28. The seldom-programmed Poetic Tone Pictures show a very different side of the composer best-known for his symphonies and string quartets. Describing the set as “prime-time Dvořák,” Andsnes explains:

“It’s a real discovery for me. It’s a major piano cycle of 13 pieces that’s rarely performed, even though it’s very imaginative, is full of melodic and harmonic inventions, and offers surprisingly colorful writing for the piano. Although Dvořák was not a pianist-composer, he uses the full range of the instrument convincingly.”

Composed in spring 1889, Dvořák’s cycle comprises 13 little-known gems that signal a stylistic shift away from the formal constructions of his earlier instrumental writing towards a freer, more programmatic aesthetic. Ranging in mood from profound to playful, they include evocations of magic and mystery (“The Old Castle”), rustic dances (“Furiant” and “Peasant Ballad”), nostalgic mood pieces (‘Twilight Way”), and a solemn reminiscence (“At a Hero’s Grave”). As Andsnes discovered, Dvořák intended the set to be played complete, writing to a friend: “Regrettably, precious few pianists will have the courage to play them all one after another, but only thus can the listener form the right picture of what I had in mind.” When he first approached the cycle, for a competition at the age of twelve, Andsnes himself only performed selections, and it was not until the recent pandemic lockdowns that he delved deeper into the Poetic Tone Pictures and committed to performing and recording the set in its entirety. He says: “It feels exciting to take Dvořák at his word, and I think he is absolutely right. I feel a very strong, wonderful narrative in the work. It’s a cycle of many stories but it also feels like one big story.”

An exclusive Sony Classical artist, Andsnes is a Gramophone Hall of Fame inductee whose discography has already been recognized with six Gramophone Awards, eleven Grammy nominations, and BBC Music magazine’s “Recording of the Year.” His two most recent solo titles were Chopin: Ballades & Nocturnes – an International Classical Music Award nominee that was named one of the “Best Classical Albums of 2018” (WQXR) – and Leif Ove Andsnes: Sibelius, a Gramophone “Editor’s Choice” that broke the top ten on Billboard’s traditional classical chart and reached number two in France; as The Guardian put it: “You feel a door to Sibelius’s mysterious world has been unlocked. And the playing is beautiful.”

New solo recital program on extensive North American and European tours

Ever willing “to take chances and get audiences thinking” (New York Times) with his “intelligent programming” (Seen and Heard International), Andsnes has put together a characteristically thoughtful program for his three upcoming solo recital tours. Dvořák’s cycle once again takes center stage, forming the second half of a program that the pianist calls “an exploration of the shadows and light in human experience.” This opens with Janáček’s sole piano sonata, an unfinished work written in response to the death of a young carpenter killed while demonstrating for a Czech-speaking university in Habsburg-ruled Brno. The program’s opening half also comprises Lamento by Alexander Vustin, a Soviet composer who died of COVID complications in 2020, and Beethoven’s penultimate piano sonata, Op. 110.

Andsnes debuts this program on an extensive European tour this fall (Oct 27–Nov 25), highlighted by appearances at the Prague Spring festival, Berlin Philharmonie, Amsterdam Muziekgebouw, London’s Wigmore Hall and the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris (where he substitutes Schubert’s posthumously published A-major sonata for the two 20th-century works). In the New Year, Andsnes reprises the program for his return to North America, with dates in La Jolla (Jan 19), Costa Mesa (Jan 20), San Francisco (Jan 22), Denver (Jan 23), Washington, DC (Jan 24), Toronto (Jan 26), Atlanta (Jan 28), Chicago (Jan 29) and New York (Jan 31), where he gives his first Carnegie Hall recital since 2015. Finally, he revisits the program at concerts in Italy and at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie (Feb 10–18).

Concertos: Debussy in Cleveland, plus Mozart, Grieg, Rachmaninoff & Kurtág in Europe

Andsnes returns to the U.S. next spring for performances of Debussy’s Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra with Michael Tilson Thomas and the Cleveland Orchestra (April 13, 15 & 16). Withdrawn by the composer before its scheduled premiere, the Fantaisie remained unpublished in its entirety until a full half-century after Debussy’s death. When Andsnes showcased the little-known work during a season-long residency with the New York Philharmonic, the New York Times admired the “easy virtuosity and panache” of his interpretation, and when he played it with Tilson Thomas leading the New World Symphony, South Florida Classical Review was moved to marvel:

“The fleet-fingered Andsnes conveyed a full range of pianistic colors. A master at sweeping, big-boned whirls of melody and pyrotechnics, he played the Rachmaninoff-like sections at full power … but also displayed a sensitive touch. … Terrific.”

In Europe the pianist undertakes a wide range of concerto repertoire this season. Following the success of Mozart Momentum 1785/1786, his two-volume Sony Classical series recorded with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO), he and the ensemble “gave the Royal Albert Hall a night to remember” (Pianist magazine) with live accounts of the Classical composer’s 20th and 24th concertos at London’s BBC Proms this past summer. The Times praised the “nimble fire” of their performance, and The Guardian observed: “Andsnes and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra collaborated as creative equals, with pristine focus and quicksilver touch,” bringing “Mozart’s musical storytelling to life” with “exquisite grace.” Now the pianist and MCO reunite for performances of Mozart’s 22nd and 24th Piano Concertos on a tour of Italy (Sep 21–26) and in Salzburg (Oct 21).

As an exponent of Grieg’s Piano Concerto, Andsnes has few equals: his recording of the work with Mariss Jansons and the Berlin Philharmonic was named a “Best CD of the Year” by the New York Times and recognized with both a Gramophone Award and a coveted Penguin GuideRosette.” This season, the pianist revisits his compatriot’s masterpiece in concerts with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and Finnish conductor Mikko Franck (Dec 1 & 2), with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra (Dec 15–18), and on a tour of Spain and London concert with Edward Gardner leading the London Philharmonic Orchestra (March 1–4).

Andsnes’s other upcoming European concerto highlights include a program of Mozart and Kurtág with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (Jan 14) and performances of Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto with Finland’s Lahti Symphony (March 23), the Oslo Philharmonic (May 24–26), and Thomas Søndergård and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Scotland and on tour in Italy and Liechtenstein (April 28–May 12).

Lieder recitals with Matthias Goerne

The pianist’s remaining 2022-23 highlights include recitals of Schubert lieder with baritone Matthias Goerne at the Paris Philharmonie (Oct 12) and the Schubertiade Festival in Hohenems, Austria (June 17). The two previously collaborated on a recording of Schumann’s Liederkreis and Kernerlieder that received a Grammy nomination for “Best Classical Solo Vocal” and was named “Vocal Recording of the Year 2019” by Australia’s Limelight magazine.

Click here to download high-resolution photos.

Leif Ove Andsnes: 2022-23 engagements

Sep 21–Oct 2: “Mozart Momentum 1785/86” tour with Mahler Chamber Orchestra
     Sep 21: Merano, Italy
     Sep 22: Verona, Italy
     Sep 24: Turin, Italy (MITO Festival)
     Sep 25: Milan, Italy (MITO Festival)
     Sep 26: Pordenone, Italy
     Oct 21: Salzburg, Austria
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat, K. 482
MOZART: Symphony No. 38 in D, K. 504 “Prague”
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491

Oct 12
Paris, France
Philharmonie de Paris
SCHUBERT: Winterreise (with Matthias Goerne, baritone)

Oct 27–Nov 25: European solo recital tour (also see Feb 10–18 below)
     Oct 27: Ålesund, Norway (Parken Kulturhus)
     Oct 29: Stavanger, Norway
     Oct 30: Oslo, Norway
     Nov 5: Prague, Czech Republic (Prague Spring International Music Festival)
     Nov 9: Berlin, Germany (Berlin Philharmonic)
     Nov 11: Vienna Austria
     Nov 12: Amsterdam, Netherlands (Muziekgebouw)
     Nov 15: Lisbon, Portugal
     Nov 16: Paris, France (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées)
     Nov 20 & 21: London, UK (Wigmore Hall)
     Nov 23: Brussels, Belgium (Palais des Beaux-Arts)
     Nov 25: Bordeaux, France
JANÁČEK: Piano Sonata 1.X.1905, “From the Street” [except Nov 16] VUSTIN: Lamento [except Nov 16] BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 31, Op. 110
SCHUBERT: Piano Sonata No. 13, D. 664 [Oct 27 & Nov 16 only] DVOŘÁK: Poetic Tone Pictures

Dec 1 & 2
Hamburg, Germany
GRIEG: Piano Concerto

Dec 15, 16 & 18
Leipzig, Germany
Gewandhaus Orchestra
GRIEG: Piano Concerto

Dec 28 & 29
Bergen, Norway
Solo recitals

Jan 14
Berlin, Germany
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra / Petr Popelka
KURTÁG: “… quasi una fantasia …”
MOZART: Piano Concerto in D minor, K. 466

Jan 19–31: North American solo recital tour
     Jan 19: La Jolla, CA
     Jan 20: Costa Mesa, CA (Segerstrom Concert Hall)
     Jan 22: San Francisco, CA (Davies Symphony Hall)
     Jan 23: Denver, CO (Newman Center for the Performing Arts)
     Jan 24: Washington, DC (Washington Performing Arts Society)
     Jan 26: Toronto, ON (Koerner Hall)
     Jan 28: Atlanta, GA (Spivey Hall)
     Jan 29: Chicago, IL (Chicago Symphony Center)
     Jan 31: New York, NY (Carnegie Hall)
JANÁČEK: Piano Sonata 1.X.1905, “From the Street”
VUSTIN: Lamento
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 31, Op. 110
DVOŘÁK: Poetic Tone Pictures

Feb 10–18: completion of European solo recital tour (see Oct 27–Nov 25 above)
     Feb 10: San Severino, Italy (Teatro Feronia)
     Feb 11: Florence, Italy
     Feb 18: Hamburg, Germany (Elbphilharmonie)
JANÁČEK: Piano Sonata 1.X.1905, “From the Street”
VUSTIN: Lamento
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 31, Op. 110
DVOŘÁK: Poetic Tone Pictures

March 1–4: Spanish tour & concert with London Philharmonic Orchestra / Edward Gardner
     March 1: Madrid, Spain
     March 2: Zaragoza, Spain
     March 4: London, UK (Royal Festival Hall)
GRIEG: Piano Concerto

March 23
Lahti, Finland
Sibelius Hall
Lahti Symphony Orchestra
RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 3

April 1 & 2: concerts with Elbphilharmonie Orchestra
     April 1: Hanover, Germany
     April 2: Hamburg, Germany
LISZT: Via Crucis (Die 14 Stationen des Kreuzwegs)

April 13, 15 & 16
Cleveland, OH
Cleveland Orchestra/ Michael Tilson Thomas
DEBUSSY: Fantaisie

April 28–May 12: Tour with Royal Scottish National Orchestra / Thomas Søndergård
     April 28: Edinburgh, Scotland
     April 29: Glasgow, Scotland
     May 9: Udine, Italy
     May 12: Vaduz, Liechtenstein
RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 3

May 24–26
Oslo, Norway
Oslo Philharmonic
RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 3

June 17
Hohenems, Austria
Schubertiade Festival
June 17: Lieder recital (with Matthias Goerne, baritone)
June 18: Solo recital

# # #

© 21C Media Group, September 2022


Return to Press Room