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Igor Levit and the JACK Quartet

Igor Levit and the JACK Quartet


Seiji Ozawa Hall - Lenox, MA View Map

Pianist Igor Levit joins forces with the JACK Quartet-an innovative string quartet dedicated to championing contemporary music-for a program of music with extramusical, sociopolitical connections. The concert begins with Igor Levit performing Beethoven's Variations and Fugue in E-flat, Op. 35, Eroica, based on the same music as the finale of the Eroica symphony, a work originally dedicated to Napoleon. The program continues with Schoenberg's Ode to Napoleon, Op. 41, a protest piece against tyranny inspired by Lord Byron's satirical poem of the same name. Concluding the performance is contemporary American composer Frederic Rzewski's kaleidoscopically brilliant The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, a 1975 set of piano variations on a protest song from the struggle against Chile's oppressive Pinochet regime.

Featured Performers

Igor Levit, piano
Igor Levit, piano View biography in full page >

Winner of Gramophone's "Recording of the Year 2016" award, Igor Levit has established himself as "one of the essential artists of his generation" (The New Yok Times). The press attests to his performing with a "wealth of meaning without artifice" (Washington Post) leaving the listener "speechless with amazement and admiration" (The Telegraph).

The 2017-18 season marks highly-anticipated debuts including performances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Jakub Hrusa), the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (Sakari Oramo), the Vienna and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras (both with Manfred Honeck) and reunites him - amongst others - with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (Lionel Bringuier). Summer 2017 marks a performance at the Opening Night of the prestigious BBC Proms alongside the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Ed Gardner, his debut at the Salzburg Festival and a residency at Germany's Rheingau Music Festival before Igor Levit embarks on a tour of Asia with the Bavarian State Orchestra under Kirill Petrenko.

Recital performances will see him return to his hometown to play at the Berlin Philharmonie as well as making debuts in Stockholm and Barcelona. After the immense success of his Beethoven sonata cycle at London's Wigmore Hall in 2016 - 17, he will take the cycle to Munich's Prinzregententheater and continue the cycle started at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels in the previous season.

Highlights of past seasons included orchestral debuts with the Bavarian State Orchestra (Kirill Petrenko), Berliner Philharmoniker (Riccardo Chailly), Staatskapelle Dresden (Christian Thielemann), Cleveland Orchestra (Franz Welser-Möst) and London Symphony Orchestra (Fabio Luisi). Recital appearances of 2016 - 17 saw "hypnotic" (The New York Times) and "transfixing" (The Boston Globe) debuts at Carnegie Hall, Chicago's Symphony Center, Boston's Celebrity Series, at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, with Lisbon's Gulbenkian Foundation, at Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie and the Lucerne Piano Festival.

An exclusive recording artist for Sony Classical, Igor Levit's debut disc of the five last Beethoven Sonatas won the BBC Music Magazine Newcomer of the Year 2014 Award, the Royal Philharmonic Society's Young Artist Award 2014 and the ECHO Klassik 2014 for Solo Recording of the Year (19th Century Music/Piano). In October 2015, Sony Classical released Igor Levit's third solo album in cooperation with the Festival Heidelberger Frühling featuring Bach's Goldberg Variations, Beethoven's Diabelli Variations and Rzewski's The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, which has been awarded the "Recording of the Year" and "Instrumental Award" at the 2016 Gramophone Classical Music Awards.

Born in Nizhni Nowgorod in 1987, Igor Levit at age eight moved with his family to Germany. He completed his piano studies at Hannover Academy of Music, Theatre and Media in 2009 with the highest academic and performance scores in the history of the institute. Igor Levit has studied under the tutelage of Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Matti Raekallio, Bernd Goetze, Lajos Rovatkay and Hans Leygraf. As the youngest participant in 2005 Arthur Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv, Igor Levit won the Silver Prize, as well as the Prize for Best Performer of Chamber Music, the Audience Favorite Prize and the Prize for Best Performer of Contemporary Music.

In Berlin, where he makes his home, Igor Levit is playing on a Steinway D Grand Piano kindly given to him by the Trustees of Independent Opera at Sadler's Wells.


Igor Levit, piano JACK Quartet
JACK Quartet View biography in full page >

Deemed "superheroes of the new music world" (Boston Globe), the JACK Quartet is "the go-to quartet for contemporary music, tying impeccable musicianship to intellectual ferocity and a take-no-prisoners sense of commitment." (Washington Post) "They are a musical vehicle of choice to the next great composers who walk among us." (Toronto Star).

The recipient of Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award, New Music USA's Trailblazer Award, and the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, JACK has performed to critical acclaim at Carnegie Hall (USA), Lincoln Center (USA), Miller Theatre (USA), Wigmore Hall (United Kingdom), Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ (Netherlands), IRCAM (France), Kölner Philharmonie (Germany), the Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), La Biennale di Venezia (Italy), Suntory Hall (Japan), Bali Arts Festival (Indonesia), Festival Internacional Cervatino (Mexico), and Teatro Colón (Argentina).

Comprising violinists Christopher Otto and Austin Wulliman, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Jay Campbell, JACK is focused on new work, leading them to collaborate with composers John Luther Adams, Chaya Czernowin, Simon Steen-Andersen, Caroline Shaw, Helmut Lachenmann, Steve Reich, Matthias Pintscher, and John Zorn. Upcoming and recent premieres include works by Derek Bermel, Cenk Ergün, Roger Reynolds, Toby Twining, and Georg Friedrich Haas.

JACK operates as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the performance, commissioning, and spread of new string quartet music. Dedicated to education, the quartet spends two weeks each summer teaching at New Music on the Point, a contemporary chamber music festival in Vermont for young performers and composers. JACK has long-standing relationships with the University of Iowa String Quartet Residency Program, where they teach and collaborate with students each fall, and the Boston University Center for New Music, where they visit each semester. Additionally, the quartet makes regular visits to schools including Columbia University, Harvard University, New York University, Princeton University, Stanford University, and the University of Washington.

JACK Quartet
Program Notes Audio
BEETHOVEN - Variations and Fugue in E-flat, Op. 35, Eroica (23 min)
SCHOENBERG - Ode to Napoleon, Op. 41 (16 min)
Frederic RZEWSKI - The People United Will Never Be Defeated! (65 min)