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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 is world-renowned as a pianist, conductor, pedagogue, and lecturer. Music critics and audiences alike continue to be inspired by the masterful and intellectual approach he brings to each masterpiece he performs. Born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1953, Sir András studied piano at the Liszt Ferenc Academy with Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág, and Ferenc Rados, and in London with George Malcom. Recitals and special cycles, including the complete works of Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, and Bartók, constitute an important component of his work. Having collaborated with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, he now focuses primarily on solo recitals, appearances doubling as both soloist and conductor, and exclusive conducting projects. During his fall 2019 tour of North America, Sir András conducts and plays with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, pairing concertos by Bach, Beethoven, and Haydn with Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Haydn and Bartók’s Dance Suite. He is joined by violinist Yuuko Shiokawa for an all-Mozart program opening New York’s 92nd Street Y season. Recitals in his spring 2020 tour include all-Beethoven programs in Chicago and at Carnegie Hall celebrating the composer’s 250th birthday, as well as performances throughout Canada and the United States. Mr. Schiff’s chamber orchestra, Cappella Andrea Barca, founded in 1999, encompasses international soloists, chamber musicians, and friends. Together they have appeared at Carnegie Hall, the Lucerne Festival, and the Salzburg Mozartwoche. Forthcoming projects include a tour of Asia and a cycle of Bach’s keyboard concertos in Europe. Sir András enjoys close relationships with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Budapest Festival Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. In 2018 he accepted the role of associate artist with the latter ensemble, complementing his interest in performing on period keyboard instruments. He has established a prolific discography and since 1997 has been an exclusive artist for ECM New Series and its producer, Manfred Eicher. Highlights have included the complete Beethoven piano sonatas recorded live in Zurich, solo recitals of Schubert, Schumann, and Janáček, and J.S. Bach’s partitas, Goldberg Variations, and Well-Tempered Clavier. His most recent two-disc set of Schubert sonatas and impromptus was released in spring of 2019. Sir András continues to support new talent, primarily through his “Building Bridges” series, which gives performance opportunities to promising young artists. He also teaches at the Barenboim-Said and Kronberg academies and gives frequent lectures and master classes. His book, Music Comes from Silence, a compilation of essays and conversations with Martin Meyer, was published in 2017 by Bärenreiter and Henschel. Sir András Schiff’s many honors include the international Mozarteum Foundation’s Gold Medal (2012), Germany’s Great Cross of Merit with Star (2012), the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Gold Medal (2013), a knighthood for Services to Music (2014), and a doctorate from the Royal College of Music (2018). This week’s concerts mark Sir András Schiff’s first appearances with the BSO since 2008. He made his BSO debut at Tanglewood in July 1983 with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat, K.271, followed by his subscription series debut in April 1988 with Mozart’s C minor piano concerto, K.491, subsequently returning to Tanglewood for Grieg’s Piano Concerto in 1985 and Mozart’s D minor piano concerto, K.466, in 1987, and to Boston for subscription performances of Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in February 1989; Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in April 1999; and Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in March 2008, his most recent appearances with the orchestra.

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
Audio Concert Preview - Full Program Notes
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