Debussy’s Fantaisie (April 26 & 28) and Solo Recital at David Geffen Hall (May 2) Mark Final Appearances as New York Philharmonic’s 2017-18 Artist-in-Residence

 This spring, celebrated Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes completes his season-long tenure as Artist-in-Residence of the New York Philharmonic with performances of Debussy’s Fantaisie for piano and orchestra under Edward Gardner (April 26 & 28), followed by a solo recital of Schubert, Nielsen, Sibelius, and Jörg Widmann at David Geffen Hall (May 2). Debussy’s seldom-programmed piece marks the third orchestral rarity of the residency, which has already seen Andsnes join the Philharmonic for “an exhilarating performance” (New York Times) of Britten’s Piano Concerto and “an incisive account” (New York Times) of Rachmaninoff’s Fourth.

Debussy withdrew the score of his Fantaisie for piano and orchestra before its scheduled premiere and, despite continuing to work on it, never gave permission for either its publication or performance. As a result, the piece was only posthumously premiered, and remained unpublished in its entirety until a full half-century after the composer’s death. Besides performing the work in the third and final orchestral program of his Philharmonic residency, Andsnes also uses the Fantaisie as the vehicle for collaborations with several other orchestras this season. He reprises it in upcoming spring concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and recently performed it with Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony, when the 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.”

For the final appearance of his residency, the Philharmonic presents Andsnes in a solo recital at David Geffen Hall. His program pairs Jörg Widmann’s Idyll and Abyss (Six Schubert Reminiscences) with selections by the composer who inspired them – Schubert’s scherzos in B-flat and D-flat and Drei Klavierstücke – alongside works by Andsnes’s fellow Scandinavians Nielsen and Sibelius. He undertook an extensive European tour with a similar program last fall, prompting a five-star review from the Financial Times, which praised his “classical sensibility allied to the most ethereal of touches.” He also recently released an all-Sibelius album for Sony Classical that was named a Gramophone “Editor’s Choice.” As The Guardian put it: “You feel a door to Sibelius’s mysterious world has been unlocked. And the playing is beautiful.”

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Andsnes drew similarly glowing praise after his most recent appearances with the New York Philharmonic, when he played Britten under the baton of Antonio Pappano. According to Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times:

“Mr. Andsnes gave an exhilarating performance of Britten’s unconventional four-movement concerto, last heard at the Philharmonic 36 years ago. … The concerto’s four movements have a slightly ironic, Neo-Classical veneer. Mr. Andsnes delved beneath that surface to tease out the music’s mercurial shifts and manic energy. The piano writing is almost frenetically brilliant; Mr. Andsnes dispatched it with such effortless command and penetrating clarity that every burst of arm-blurring octaves, every tangled patch of passagework, seemed both meaningful and fantastical.”

Likewise the pianist’s release of Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring & other works for two pianos four hands, recorded with Marc-André Hamelin for Hyperion, scored a five-star review in The Times of London. Citing “the astonishing voltage achieved by Marc-André Hamelin and Leif Ove Andsnes” in The Rite of Spring, the review concluded:

“If you’ve not heard it dispatched by two pianists (these pianists especially), you haven’t lived. Stripped of its orchestral clothing, the work’s percussive punch hits us harder than ever. Hamelin and Andsnes are just as impressive hurtling through the later Concerto for two pianos, where neo-classicism meets echoes of Beethoven’s wild grandeur. Dynamite.”

To download high-resolution photos, click here.



Leif Ove Andsnes: upcoming engagements

April 12 & 13

Oslo, Norway

Oslo Philharmonic / Michael Tilson Thomas
Debussy: Fantaisie for piano and orchestra


April 18

London, UK

London Philharmonic Orchestra / Vladimir Jurowski

Royal Festival Hall

Debussy: Fantaisie for piano and orchestra


April 26 & 28

New York, NY

New York Philharmonic / Edward Gardner

Debussy: Fantaisie for piano and orchestra


April 27, 2018

Brookville, NY

Tilles Center

New York Philharmonic / Edward Gardner

Debussy: Fantaisie for piano and orchestra


May 2

David Geffen Hall

Solo recital (presented by the New York Philharmonic)

Nielsen: Chaconne

Sibelius: Selected works

Schubert: Two scherzos in B-flat and D-flat, D. 593; Drei Klavierstücke, D. 946

Jörg Widmann (b. 1973): Idyll and Abyss (Six Schubert Reminiscences)


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