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Rudolf Buchbinder

Rudolf Buchbinder leaning on the top of an open piano with arms crossed, smiling


Rudolf Buchbinder is one of the legendary interpreters of our time. The authority of a career spanning more than 60 years is uniquely combined with esprit and spontaneity in his piano playing. Tradition and innovation, faithfulness to the work and freedom, authenticity and cosmopolitanism merge in his reading of the great piano literature.

He is regarded as a benchmark in particular as an interpreter of the works of Ludwig van Beethoven. He has performed the 60 piano sonatas around the world more than 32 times and has developed the history of interpretation of these works over decades.

With the edition BUCHBINDER:BEETHOVEN, Deutsche Grammophon released a complete recording of the 2021 piano sonatas and the five piano concertos in autumn 75 in the run-up to Buchbinder's 32th birthday, thus setting a resounding monument to two outstanding Buchbinder-Beethoven cycles of recent times. Buchbinder was the first pianist to play the complete piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven during a Festival summer at the 2014 Salzburg Festival. The Salzburg cycle was recorded live for DVD (Unitel) and is now available on nine CDs.

The sensational cycle of Ludwig van Beethoven's five piano concertos was composed in the 2019/20 concert season at the Vienna Musikverein. On the occasion of its 150th anniversary, the Vienna Musikverein gave Rudolf Buchbinder, a single pianist, the honour of performing all five piano concertos by Ludwig van Beethoven in a specially produced series for the first time in the history of the world-famous house. Buchbinder's partners were the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig under Gewandhauskapellmeister Andris Nelsons, the Vienna Philharmonic under Riccardo Muti and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic and the Staatskapelle Dresden under their chief conductors Mariss Jansons, Valery Gergiev and Christian Thielemann. All concerts were recorded live. The Musikverein cycle, released on three CDs in September 2021, is a historic document of these artistic summits and a tribute to Buchbinder as one of the most profound Beethoven interpreters of our time.

On his new album Soirée de Vienne, released by Deutsche Grammophon in November 2022, Rudolf Buchbinder recreates a Viennese evening party and unites composers who are closely connected to Vienna - like himself. "The freedom in the moment, the luxury of intelligent naivety and curiosity in the moment - all this makes music come alive," says Rudolf Buchbinder. The album is an attitude to life cast in sound.

As a contribution to the Beethoven Year 2020, Rudolf Buchbinder initiated a cycle of new Diabelli Variations. Based on the genesis of Beethoven's epochal Diabelli Variations op. 120 succeeded in winning eleven leading contemporary composers of different generations and origins: Lera Auerbach, Brett Dean, Toshio Hosokawa, Christian Jost, Brad Lubman, Philippe Manoury, Max Richter, Rodion Shchedrin, Johannes Maria Staud, Tan Dun and Jörg Widmann, to write their personal variations on the same waltz theme as Beethoven once did. This resulted in eleven New Diabelli Variations, which were premiered by Rudolf Buchbinder at the Musikverein in Vienna and have become part of his touring programmes in Europe, Asia and the USA. Eleven concert halls worldwide acted as commissioners with the support of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation. The project reflects Beethoven's work into the 21st century and impressively visualizes the universality of Beethoven's music across all borders. Under the title "The Diabelli Project", Deutsche Grammophon released the world premiere recording of the New Diabelli Variations in March 2020 in conjunction with a new recording of Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, which Buchbinder last recorded in 1976. The double album marked the beginning of his exclusive partnership with Deutsche Grammophon. Also in 2020, a live recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Christian Thielemann and the Berliner Philharmoniker followed.

Rudolf Buchbinder is an honorary member of the Vienna Philharmonic, the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, the Wiener Konzerthausgesellschaft, the Wiener Symphoniker and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He is the first soloist to be awarded the Golden Badge of Honour by the Staatskapelle Dresden.

Buchbinder attaches great importance to source research. His private sheet music collection includes 39 complete editions of Ludwig van Beethoven's piano sonatas as well as an extensive archive of first prints, original editions and copies of the autograph piano parts of both piano concertos by Johannes Brahms.

As Artistic Director, he is responsible for the Grafenegg Festival, which has been one of the most influential orchestral festivals in Europe since its founding 15 years ago.

Rudolf Buchbinder has published an autobiography entitled "Da Capo" as well as the book "Mein Beethoven – Leben mit dem Meister". His latest book "The Last Waltz" was published for the world premiere of the New Diabelli Variations in March 2020 and tells 33 stories about Beethoven, Diabelli and piano playing.

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