The New York Times calls Leif Ove Andsnes “a pianist of magisterial elegance, power, and insight,” and the Wall Street Journal names him “one of the most gifted musicians of his generation.” With his commanding technique and searching interpretations, the celebrated Norwegian pianist has won acclaim worldwide, playing concertos and recitals in the world’s leading concert halls and with its foremost orchestras, while building an esteemed and extensive discography. An avid chamber musician, he is the founding director of the Rosendal Chamber Music Festival, was co-artistic director of the Risør Festival of Chamber Music for nearly two decades, and served as music director of California’s Ojai Music Festival in 2012. He was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame in July 2013, and has received honorary doctorates from New York’s Juilliard School and Norway’s Universities of Bergen and Oslo.
In the 2023-24 season, Andsnes performs Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto on three continents: with the New York Philharmonic under Jaap van Zweden and New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas; on a Japanese tour with the NHK Symphony and Herbert Blomstedt; and in season-opening concerts with the Belgian National Orchestra, on tours with Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire and Gothenburg Symphony, and with Thomas Søndergård leading the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). To complete his concert lineup, Andsnes rejoins the LSO for Mozart’s 22nd Piano Concerto under Nathalie Stutzmann and performs Rachmaninov’s Third with Lahav Shani leading the Philadelphia Orchestra, Manfred Honeck leading both the Pittsburgh Symphony and Danish National Symphony, and Klaus Mäkelä leading the Orchestre de Paris, among others. The pianist also embarks on high-profile solo recital tours of Japan and Europe, before joining the Dover Quartet for Brahms and Dohnányi piano quintets on a five-city North American tour, bookended by dates at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. Leif Ove Andsnes: The Complete Warner Classics Edition 1990-2010, a 36-CD retrospective featuring multiple Gramophone Award-winners, is due for release in October.
As the first Artistic Partner of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO), Andsnes recently completed “Mozart Momentum 1785/86.” A major multi-season project exploring one of the most creative and seminal periods of the composer’s career, this saw the pianist lead the ensemble from the keyboard in accounts of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 20–24 at London’s BBC Proms and other key European venues, as well as recording them for Sony Classical. The project’s first album, MM/1785, was nominated for a 2022 International Classical Music Award, and recognized with France’s prestigious Diapason d’or de l’année for Best Concerto Album of 2021. Similarly, the second album, MM/1786, was named one of the “Best Classical Albums of 2022” by Gramophone, while the two-volume series won the magazine’s 2022 “Special Achievement” Award. “Mozart Momentum 1785/86” marked Andsnes’s second partnership with the MCO, following the success of “The Beethoven Journey.” An epic four-season focus on the composer’s music for piano and orchestra, this took the pianist to 108 cities in 27 countries for more than 230 live performances. He led the MCO from the keyboard in complete Beethoven concerto cycles at high-profile residencies in Bonn, Hamburg, Lucerne, Vienna, Paris, New York, Shanghai, Tokyo, Bodø and London, besides collaborating with such leading international ensembles as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, London Philharmonic and Munich Philharmonic. The project was chronicled in the documentary Concerto – A Beethoven Journey (2016), and Andsnes’s partnership with the MCO was captured on the hit Sony Classical three-volume series The Beethoven Journey. The first volume was named iTunes’ Best Instrumental Album of 2012 and awarded Belgium’s Prix Caecilia, the second recognized with BBC Music’s coveted “2015 Recording of the Year Award,” and the complete series chosen as one of the “Best of 2014” by the New York Times.
Andsnes’s discography comprises more than 50 titles – solo, chamber, and concerto releases, many of them bestsellers – spanning repertoire from the Baroque to the present day. He has been nominated for eleven Grammys and his many international prizes include seven Gramophone Awards. His EMI Classics recordings of the music of his compatriot Edvard Grieg have been especially celebrated: the New York Times named Andsnes’s 2004 recording of Grieg’s Piano Concerto with Mariss Jansons and the Berlin Philharmonic a “Best CD of the Year,” the Penguin Guide awarded it a coveted “Rosette,” and both that album and his disc of Grieg’s Lyric Pieces won Gramophone Awards. His recording of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 9 and 18 was another New York Times “Best of the Year” and Penguin Guide “Rosette” honoree. He won yet another Gramophone Award for Rachmaninov’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 with Antonio Pappano and the Berlin Philharmonic. A series of recordings of Schubert’s late sonatas, paired with lieder sung by Ian Bostridge, inspired lavish praise, as did the pianist’s world-premiere recordings of Marc-André Dalbavie’s Piano Concerto and Bent Sørensen’s The Shadows of Silence, both of which were written for him. In addition to The Beethoven Journey and MM 1785/86, his recent Sony Classical releases include Dvořák’s unjustly neglected piano cycle Poetic Tone Pictures, Chopin: Ballades & Nocturnes and the Billboard best-selling Sibelius, all recorded for Sony; Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring & other works for two pianos four hands, recorded with Marc-André Hamelin for Hyperion; and Schumann: Liederkreis & Kernerlieder, recorded with Matthias Goerne for Harmonia Mundi. Both the Hamelin and Goerne collaborations were nominated for Grammy Awards.
Andsnes has received Norway’s distinguished honor, Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav, and in 2007, he received the prestigious Peer Gynt Prize, awarded by members of parliament to honor prominent Norwegians for their achievements in politics, sports, and culture. In 2004-05, he became the youngest musician (and first Scandinavian) to curate Carnegie Hall’s “Perspectives” series, and in 2015-16 he was the subject of the London Symphony Orchestra’s Artist Portrait Series. Having been 2010-11 Pianist-in-Residence of the Berlin Philharmonic, he went on to serve as 2017-18 Artist-in-Residence of the New York Philharmonic and 2019-20 Artist-in-Residence of Sweden’s Gothenburg Symphony. The recipient of both the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist Award and the Gilmore Artist Award, Andsnes was named one of the “Best of the Best” by Vanity Fair in 2005.
Leif Ove Andsnes was born in Karmøy, Norway in 1970, and studied at the Bergen Music Conservatory under the renowned Czech professor Jirí Hlinka. He has also received invaluable advice from the Belgian piano teacher Jacques de Tiège, who, like Hlinka, greatly influenced his style and philosophy of playing. Today Andsnes lives with his partner and their three children in Bergen. He is an Artistic Adviser at the city’s Prof. Jirí Hlinka Piano Academy, where he gives a masterclass to participating students each year.