Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes is the youngest and first from Scandinavia to be rewarded with the prestigious Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall, following artists such as Martha Argerich, James Levine, and Mitsuko Uchida. From October to May 2005, Andsnes will explore a wide repertoire - twenty works by thirteen composers ranging from the classic to the contemporary.
“For my Carnegie Hall Perspectives series I’ve decided quite consciously to be quite eclectic in my choices in order to show a variety of things that are important to me as a musician," Leiv Ove Andsnes says in a press release.
Between October 2004 and May 2005, Andsnes will perform seven concerts, and the highlights include Schubert’s Winterreise with English tenor Ian Bostridge, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, world premiere of piano work by Bent Sørensen, comissioned by Carnegie Hall, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, to name a few.
Passion for the music
”How might I describe some of the themes I will be exploring throughout ‘Perspectives’? First and foremost, this is music that I feel very passionate about – everything from composers like Schubert and Schumann – composers I am regularly in contact with – to contemporary composers I feel especially close to, such as György Kurtág and Matthias Ronnefeld (1959-86) – a Danish composer who died tragically young. The music of Kurtág and Ronnefeld is really strong and compact – a modern language with an incredible emotional impact. But I suppose you could also say that all of the composers I’ve chosen possess a poetic vision and write strongly expressive music,” Andsnes says.
Andsnes toured the United States last fall to great acclaim. Following his Seattle performance, Seattle Times critic Melinda Bargreen reported, "Andsnes' sublime piano playing enraptures. [The recital was] two hours of proof that this is a benevolent universe, in the person of Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes.”
A performance in San Francisco elicited this response from Chronicle critic Joshua Kosman: " His engrossing recital offered an object lesson in how to make physically imposing musical textures that swing, shimmer and sway seductively. A probing musical analyst as well as an interpreter of enormous technical panache and poetic nuance."
An exclusive artist for EMI Classics with a substantial discography popular with critics and record buyers alike, Andsnes released a best-selling recording of Piano Concerti by Grieg and Schumann in October 2003 that was quickly named a Gramophone “Editor’s Choice” as well as one of the New York Times’ best classical CDs of 2003. Noted Times chief critic Anthony Tommasini, “The popular Piano Concertos in A minor by Grieg and Schumann have seldom sounded as fresh, inventive and important as they do here.”
Joining an impressive list
In Carnegie Hall’s Perspectives, now in its sixth season, artists are invited to create their own personal programs reflecting their unique artistic visions. Andsnes joins a short list of world-renowned artists – including Martha Argerich, James Levine, Mitsuko Uchida and Emmanuel Ax – who have taken on the roles of curator, music director and performer in one of the classical music world’s most stimulating and thought-provoking series.
Throughout the series, Andsnes will be performing with friends and colleagues with whom he enjoys an especially close artistic relationship. Frequent recital partner Christian Tetzlaff will make his Carnegie Hall recital debut with Andsnes in a program of Sonatas for Violin and Piano by Beethoven, Grieg and Shostakovich. Three chamber music programmes in Carnegie’s new Zankel Hall will team Andsnes with exceptional young artists – including clarinetist Martin Fröst, Norwegian pianist Håvard Gimse and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras – in innovative programs inspired by those he presents at his own Risør Festival of Chamber Music, held annually in a fishing village in Norway.
Fruits from the Risør Festival
“I will be working with the two artists I’ve worked with perhaps most frequently: tenor Ian Bostridge and violinist Christian Tetzlaff, both truly exceptional artists and great friends. I’ll launch the series with Bostridge in October, performing Schubert’s Winterreise – the most incredible journey in music. He does it in a very special way; it’s very intense and personal,” Andsnes says.
“With the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas I will perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Tilson Thomas and I worked together with great joy on several pieces – including Rachmaninov’s Third a few years ago – and I love working with this conductor, who possesses such an investigative mind.”
Andsnes says the the three Zankel programs are wild – full of big contrasts but also juxtaposing music that works very well together – everything from Bach to Kurtág.
“I’ve tried to capture the mood and spirit of the programming we do at the Risør Festival in Norway. All of the composers we will perform are very narrative in orientation – they are all great story- tellers: Kurtag, Ronnefeld, Schumann, Janácek. We’ll be doing chamber concerts, varying from duos to a big piece like Kurtág’s Quasi una Fantasia, which has spatial elements that will take advantage of the flexibility of Zankel Hall.”
But before the Perspectives series, Leif Ove Andsnes will give an impressive number of concerts, among them a tour in the United States in April/May. Check out our calendar for all the latest updates on Andsnes.