“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 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.
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 Guide “Rosette.” 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.
Photo credit: Helge Hansen for Sony Classical