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Noble, charming, sober, modest. Such qualities may play a major
role in human coexistence and are certainly appreciated. However,
they are rather untypical for extraordinary personalities such as
conductors. Whatever the general public's notion of a conductor may
be, Herbert Blomstedt is an exception, precisely because he
possesses those very qualities which seemingly have so little to do
with a conductor's claim to power. The fact that he disproves the
usual clichés in many respects should certainly not lead to the
assumption that this artist does not have the power to assert his
clearly defined musical goals. Anyone who has once attended Herbert
Blomstedt's rehearsals and experienced the concentration on the
essence of the music, the precision in the phrasing of musical
facts and circumstances as they appear from the score, the tenacity
regarding the implementation of an aesthetic view, will probably
have been amazed at how few despotic measures were required to this
end. Basically, Herbert Blomstedt has always represented that type
of artist whose professional competence and natural authority make
all external emphasis superfluous. His work as a conductor is
inseparably linked to his religious and human ethos, accordingly,
his interpretations combine great faithfulness to the score and
analytical precision with a soulfulness that awakens the music to
pulsating life. In the more than sixty years of his career, he has
acquired the unrestricted respect of the musical world.
Over the years, many outstanding ensembles around the globe have
been able to secure the services of this highly respected Swedish
conductor, born in the USA and educated in Uppsala, New York,
Darmstadt and Basel. At the age of ninety, Herbert Blomstedt
continues to be at the helm of all leading international orchestras
with enormous mental and physical presence, verve and artistic
Herbert Blomstedt, conductor
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Born in modern day Lvov, Poland, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. His studies at the Juilliard School were supported by the sponsorship of the Epstein Scholarship Program of the Boys Clubs of America, and he subsequently won the Young Concert Artists Award. Additionally, he attended Columbia University where he majored in French. Mr. Ax made his New York debut in the Young Concert Artists Series, and captured public attention in 1974 when he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists followed four years later by the coveted Avery Fisher Prize.
In partnership with colleagues Leonidas Kavakos and Yo-Yo Ma, he begins the current season with concerts in Vienna, Paris and London with the trios of Brahms recently released by SONY Classical. In the US he returns to the orchestras in Cleveland, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Washington, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Nashville and Portland, OR, and to Carnegie Hall for a recital to conclude the season. In Europe he can be heard in Munich, Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Vienna, London, and on tour with the Budapest Festival Orchestra in Italy.
Always a committed exponent of contemporary composers, with works written for him by John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng, and Melinda Wagner already in his repertoire, most recently he has added HK Gruber's Piano Concerto and Samuel Adams' "Impromptus".
A Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987, recent releases include Mendelssohn Trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman, Strauss' Enoch Arden narrated by Patrick Stewart, and discs of two-piano music by Brahms and Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman. In 2015 Deutche Grammophon released a duo recording with Mr. Perlman of Sonatas by Faure and Strauss, which the two artists presented on tour during the 2015/2016 season. Mr. Ax has received GRAMMY® Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn's piano sonatas. He has also made a series of Grammy-winning recordings with cellist Yo-Yo Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano. His other recordings include the concertos of Liszt and Schoenberg, three solo Brahms albums, an album of tangos by Astor Piazzolla, and the premiere recording of John Adams's Century Rolls with the Cleveland Orchestra for Nonesuch. In the 2004/05 season Mr. Ax also contributed to an International EMMY® Award-Winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust that aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In 2013, Mr. Ax's recording Variations received the Echo Klassik Award for Solo Recording of the Year (19th century music/Piano).
A frequent and committed partner for chamber music, he has worked regularly with such artists as Young Uck Kim, Cho-Liang Lin, Mr. Ma, Edgar Meyer, Peter Serkin, Jaime Laredo, and the late Isaac Stern.
Mr. Ax resides in New York City with his wife, pianist Yoko Nozaki. They have two children together, Joseph and Sarah. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates of music from Skidmore College, Yale University, and Columbia University.
Emanuel Ax, piano