The new season sees 2013 Gramophone Hall of Fame inductee Leif Ove Andsnes embark on the next leg of “The Beethoven Journey,” scaling new heights in his epic long-term focus on the master composer’s five piano concertos. Orchestral highlights include performances of the Second and Fourth concertos with Gustavo Dudamel leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the “Emperor” with the London Philharmonic and Vladimir Jurowski. With the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO) – the pianist’s fellow traveler since his project’s inception – he undertakes two extensive European tours and releases a second Beethoven Journey recording. Extending his focus also to the recital hall, it is with an all-Beethoven program that the Norwegian pianist launches a 19-city solo recital tour of the U.S., Europe, and Japan, making stops at New York’s Carnegie Hall and Chicago’s Symphony Center, as well as in PrincetonAtlantaLondonViennaBerlinRomeTokyo, and more. Andsnes rounds out the season in company with baritone Matthias Goerne, with whom he appears in four European capitals.

Orchestral collaborations: LA Phil, RPO, and MCO; New CD; and more

The pianist’s “Beethoven Journey” concerto performances are already justly celebrated. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Andsnes created poetry of the quietest sort. Something diaphanous and dangerously delicate filled the hall, and triumphed. … A revelation.

This fall he returns to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its dynamic music director, Gustavo Dudamel, to resume their ongoing survey of the Beethoven concertos. They present two pairs of concerts showcasing the Second and Fourth Piano Concertos in the orchestra’s insideOUT series, which celebrates the tenth anniversary of Walt Disney Concert Hall (No. 2: Oct 12 & 13; No. 4: Oct 10 & 11). On hearing the pianist perform Beethoven’s First with the same forces last season, the Los Angeles Times observed: “His playing is exuberant. … He listens to the players and enters into dialogue with them. … There were marvelous intimate moments.

The Second and Fourth concertos also figure prominently in the first of Andsnes’s upcoming European tours with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, as does the Third. He pairs the Second and Fourth at concerts in LondonDublin, and Brussels, among others, and couples the Second with the Third in Edinburgh and Neumarkt, Germany, where the tour kicks off. Andsnes will as usual lead the orchestra from the keyboard, and will take part in renditions of Stravinsky’s twelve-tone Septet to round out both programs (Nov 16-24). It is his partnership with the MCO that anchors “The Beethoven Journey,” and their recording of the Second and Fourth concertos is due for release by Sony Classical in the spring of 2014. Their first Beethoven Journey album has already proved a resounding success, being named iTunes’ Best Instrumental Album of 2012, awarded Belgium’s Prix Caecilia, and hailed by BBC Music magazine as “an all-round winner of a disc, with superlative playing from both soloist and orchestra, and a recorded sound to match.” Considering it “some of the best Beethoven playing you will ever hear,” the BBC confessed to eagerly awaiting “the fruits of the next step on this joyous journey.

Andsnes also looks forward to performing the Second and Fourth concertos with the Munich Philharmonic (Oct 5-7), before reprising the Second with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Manfred Honeck (Oct 31).

For his upcoming collaboration with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and its principal conductor, Vladimir Jurowski, the pianist turns to Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto, the “Emperor,” at London’s Royal Festival Hall (April 22-26). When the journey last took Andsnes to that venue, for season-opening concerts in 2012, the Telegraph found him “a wonderful soloist,” while Classical Source pronounced him “one of the master Beethovenians.” The review continued:

“Andsnes demonstrated enthralling confidence and understanding. He made the Royal Festival Hall Steinway sing with sumptuously rich tone, while maintaining high-definition clarity of melodies and inner lines; fast passagework was nimble and unnervingly precise, but always serving the music. … Dazzlingly invigorating.”

It is also with the “Emperor” concerto that Andsnes launches the season with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, where he serves as Artist-in-Residence (Sep 18 & 19), before bringing the work back to Scandinavia in 2014, for performances with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra (Jan 28–Feb 4) and Swedish Chamber Orchestra (May 8 & 9).

For his second tour of 2013-14 with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the pianist couples the Fifth Concerto with Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy for piano, chorus, and orchestra, leading both works from the keyboard, in Italy, Norway, and the Czech capital (May 16-23). Gramophone magazine wrote of his rapport with the orchestra,

“There’s so much more to this partnership than just exceptional playing; there’s a palpable sense of discovery, of living the music; he and the MCO players are already finishing one another’s musical sentences like an old married couple, but with an ebullience and mutual fascination that is anything but world weary.”

Andsnes pairs the “Emperor” concerto and Choral Fantasy once again in concerts with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under Thomas Dausgaard (Jan 20-25).

All-Beethoven solo recital tour of three continents; duo tour with Goerne

Andsnes returns to the States next spring, with an all-Beethoven solo recital program – the Sonatas in F minor (“Appassionata”), B-flat, and A, plus the Variations in F – that takes him to the main stages of four of the nation’s leading venues: New York’s Carnegie Hall (March 19), Chicago’s Symphony Center (March 16), Atlanta’s Spivey Hall (March 14), and Princeton’s McCarter Theater (March 17). After a previous Carnegie Hall Beethoven recital, Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times wrote:

“Mr. Andsnes played with uncanny steadiness and magisterial sweep. … His playing was impressively pristine, lucid and supple. But the mystery and audacious imagination in the music came through all the more. The slow movement had eerie serenity. In the finale, the beguiling theme pierced through the hazy harmonies of Mr. Andsnes’s fluid, graceful arpeggios. How often do you think of the ‘Waldstein’ as wondrously beautiful? That is what Mr. Andsnes achieved.”

The American concerts crown a 19-city, eleven-country tour across three continents to some of the world’s foremost concert stages, including the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Berlin’s Philharmonie, London’s Barbican Hall, and Vienna’s Musikverein (Feb 12–April 9; see full details below). The pianist’s solo Beethoven performance at the most recent Salzburg Festival inspired the Salzburger Nachrichten to conclude: “Leif Ove Andsnes is one of the most exemplary and serious musicians – not just of his generation.

The pianist interrupts his journey only briefly, to collaborate with baritone Matthias Goerne on a program of songs by Mahler and Shostakovich, at London’s Wigmore Hall and in Paris, Stockholm, and Oslo (Jan 7-17). When the two presented a similar program at Carnegie Hall last year, the New York Times reported:

“Mr. Andsnes, cool and unflappable, provided acutely judged accompaniment: generous and evocative in picturesque Mahler, spare and precise in enigmatic Shostakovich. … An exemplary confluence of material and executants, reaching heavenly heights.”

*          *          *          *          *

This epic new phase of “The Beethoven Journey” follows a momentous summer for the pianist. As he explained on Facebook on August 6:

“Today is the day when our twins Erlend (boy) and Ingvild (girl) were due. It is surreal for me, as the two wonderful creatures were born almost three months ago, and I feel that I know them well already. Their premature birth meant that they had to be in hospital for the first two months. But now all is well with them, and I feel very lucky.”

A complete list of Andsnes’s upcoming engagements follows, and more information may be found at his web site: www.andsnes.com.

 

Leif Ove Andsnes: 2013-14 engagements

 

Sep 18 & 19

Stockholm, Sweden

Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra / Sakari Oramo

Konserthuset

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”)

 

Oct 5-7

Munich, Germany

Munich Philharmonic / Elvind Gullberg Jensen

Philharmonie im Gasteig

Beethoven: Piano Concertos No. 2 & 4

 

Oct 10-13 

Los Angeles, CA

Walt Disney Concert Hall 

Los Angeles Philharmonic / Gustavo Dudamel 

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2 (Oct 12 & 13)

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 (Oct 10 & 11)

 

Oct 31

Berlin, Germany

Philharmonie

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin / Manfred Honeck

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2

 

Nov 16–24

Mahler Chamber Orchestra on tour: “The Beethoven Journey”

Beethoven: Piano Concertos No. 2 and 3 (led by Andsnes from the piano)

Stravinsky: Septet

Nov 16: Neumarkt, Germany (Historischer Reitstadel)

Nov 20: Edinburgh, Scotland (Usher Hall)

Beethoven: Piano Concertos No. 2 and 4 (led by Andsnes from the piano)

Stravinsky: Septet

Nov 17: Landshut, Germany (Rathaus-Prunksaal)

Nov 18: Brussels, Belgium (Palais des Beaux-Arts)

Nov 21: London, England (Cadogan Hall)

Nov 23: Basingstoke, England (The Anvil)

Nov 24: Dublin, Ireland (National Concert Hall)

 

Jan 7-17

European recital tour with Matthias Goerne, baritone

Songs by Mahler and Shostakovich

Jan 7: London, UK (Wigmore Hall)

Jan 12: Oslo, Norway (Opera House)

Jan 15: Paris, France (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées)

Jan 17: Stockholm, Sweden (Konserthuset)

 

Jan 20-25

Helsinki, Finland

Finlandia Hall

Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra / Thomas Dausgaard

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”); Choral Fantasy for piano, chorus and orchestra

 

Jan 28–Feb 4

Norwegian Chamber Orchestra

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”)

 

Feb 12–April 9

Spring 2014: Recital tour of U.S., Europe, and Japan

Beethoven: Sonatas in B-flat, Op. 22; A, Op. 101; F minor, Op 57 (“Appassionata”); & Variations in F, Op. 34

Feb 12: Haugesund, Norway

Feb 14: Copenhagen, Denmark

Feb 16: Brussels, Belgium (Palais des Beaux-Arts)

Feb 18: Frankfurt, Germany (Alte Oper)

Feb 19: Leipzig, Germany (Gewandhaus)

Feb 21: Toulouse, France (Halle aux Grains)

Feb 23: Berlin, Germany (Philharmonie)

March 2: Stockholm, Sweden (Konserthuset)

March 4: London, England (Barbican Hall)

March 5: Cologne, Germany (Philharmonie)

March 14: Atlanta, GA (Spivey Hall)

March 16: Chicago, IL (Symphony Center)

March 17: Princeton, NJ (McCarter Theater)

March 19: New York, NY (Carnegie Hall)

March 26: Vienna (Musikverein)

March 28: Rome, Italy

March 29: Florence, Italy

April 6: Hyogo, Japan

April 8, 9: Tokyo, Japan

 

April 22-26

London, UK

Royal Festival Hall

London Philharmonic Orchestra / Vladimir Jurowski

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”)

 

May 8 & 9

Swedish Chamber Orchestra / Katarina Andreasson

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”)

May 8: Örebro, Sweden

May 9: Karlstad, Sweden

 

May 16–23

Mahler Chamber Orchestra tour: “The Beethoven Journey”

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”); Choral Fantasy for piano, chorus and orchestra

May 16: Perugia, Italy

May 18: Torino, Italy

May 20 & 21: Prague, Czech Republic

May 23: Bergen, Norway

 

 

 

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