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J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and Bartók featuring Sir András Schiff in the dual role of conductor-soloist

J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and Bartók featuring Sir András Schiff in the dual role of conductor-soloist

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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The eminent Hungarian-born pianist András Schiff made his BSO debut in 1983 and last appeared with the orchestra in 2008. In his first appearances with the BSO as a conductor, he leads Bach’s F minor concerto and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 from the keyboard. After intermission, he takes the podium to conduct Brahms’s Haydn Variations and Bartók’s pungent folk-influenced Dance Suite. The Haydn Variations are based on the “Chorale St. Antoni,” a well-known melody once attributed to Haydn. Composed in 1873, this was Brahms’ biggest foray into purely orchestral music prior to completing his first symphony three years later. Based on a variety of traditional dance melodies, Bartók’s Dance Suite was immensely successful at the time of its 1923 premiere.

Featured Performers

Sir András Schiff, conductor and piano
Sir András Schiff, conductor and piano View biography in full page >

Sir András Schiff was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1953 and started piano lessons at the age of five with Elisabeth Vadász. Subsequently he continued his studies at the Franz Liszt Academy with Professor Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados, and later in London with George Malcolm.

Recitals and special cycles, including the major keyboard works of J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann and Bartók, form an important part of his activities. Since 2004 he has performed complete cycles of the 32 Beethoven Sonatas worldwide and recorded the cycle live in the Tonhalle Zurich for ECM Records.

An exclusive ECM recording Artist, his recordings of works by Schubert, Schumann, Janáček, Beethoven and Bach have been released to the highest of critical acclaim. The most recent disc, "Encores after Beethoven," was released in 2016: a collection of encores performed after his Beethoven Cycle programs. His newest recording, released in October 2017, includes sonatas for violin and piano by Bach, Busoni, and Beethoven with violinist Yuuko Shiokawa. Sir András has worked with most major international orchestras and conductors, but in recent years has performed as conductor and soloist. In 1999 he created his own chamber orchestra, the Cappella Andrea Barca, which consists of international soloists, chamber musicians and friends.

Last fall, Sir András Schiff appeared with the New York Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, serving as both conductor and soloist. In his highly anticipated 2018-2019 North American Tour, Sir András Schiff conducts and plays with San Francisco and Seattle Symphonies, pairing concerti by Bach and Beethoven with Bartók’s colorful Concerto for Orchestra and Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang. In recital, Sir András returns to Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, Washington Performing Arts and Benaroya Hall, and appears at the La Jolla Music Society, Chamber Music in Napa Valley, University of Denver and the Soka Performing Arts Center in Aliso Viejo, CA. Additional concert performances and tours bring him to Europe, Australia, Asia and South America in major halls and musical centers. Since childhood he has enjoyed playing chamber music and from 1989-1998 was Artistic Director of the internationally highly praised "Musiktage Mondsee" chamber music festival near Salzburg. In 1995, together with Heinz Holliger, he founded the “Ittinger Pfingstkonzerte” in Koartause Ittingen, Switzerland. In 1998 Sir András started a similar series, entitled "Hommage to Palladio" at the Teatro Olimpico in Vizenza. He has been Pianist in Residence of the Berlin Philharmonic, a Perspective Artist at Carnegie Hall, and Pianist in Residence of the Kunstfest Weimar.

Sir András has been awarded numerous international prizes. In 2006 he became an Honorary Member of the Beethoven House in Bonn in recognition of his interpretations of Beethoven's works; in 2008 he was awarded the Wigmore Hall Medal in appreciation of 30 years of music-making at Wigmore Hall; in 2009 he was made a Special Supernumerary Fellow of Balliol College (Oxford, UK); in 2011 he received the Schumann Prize, the Golden Mozart- Medaille by the International Stiftung Mozarteum, the Order pour le merite for Sciences and Arts, the Grosse Verdienstkreuz mit Stern der Bunderepublik Deutschland, and was made a Member of the Honour of Vienna Konzerthaus; he was given the Royal Philharmonic Society's Gold Medal; in July 2014 he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music honoris causa by the University of Leeds.

In the spring of 2011, Sir András attracted attention because of his opposition to the alarming political developments in Hungary and in view of the ensuing attacks on him from some Hungarian Nationalists, decided not to perform again in his home country. In June 2014 he was bestowed a Knighthood for services to Music in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Sir András Schiff's book, "Musik kommt aus der Stille," essays and conversations with Martin Meyer, was published in March 2017 by Bärenreiter and Henschel.


Sir András Schiff, conductor and piano
Program Notes Audio
J.S. BACH - Piano Concerto in F minor, BWV 1056
BEETHOVEN - Piano Concerto No. 1 (37 min)
BRAHMS - Variations on a Theme by Haydn
BARTÓK - Dance Suite