Performance Wednesday, February 25, 2015 | 8 PM

Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Leif Ove Andsnes

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 owes much to the great Classical tradition, but the solo part’s virtuosity and emotional depth place it in a different realm. This is pure Beethoven, especially in the song-like Largo and the Rondo laced with earthy humor. Beethoven didn’t name his Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor,” but it seems appropriate for this noble work. Muscular chords vie with an equally insistent orchestra in its opening movement, one of grandest concerto movements ever written.


  • Mahler Chamber Orchestra
  • Leif Ove Andsnes, Leader and Piano


  • BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 1
  • BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor"

  • Encores:
  • BEETHOVEN Bagatelle in E-flat Major, Op. 126, No. 3
  • BEETHOVEN German Dance No. 11 in G Major from 12 German Dances
  • BEETHOVEN German Dance No. 10 in D Major, 12 German Dances

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Mahler Chamber Orchestra

    Founded in 1997 by a group of friends with the support of Claudio Abbado, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO) has developed into one of the most artistically interesting and successful ensembles on the classical music scene. An independent international orchestra that plays at the highest level, the MCO is on the move around 200 days per year. The 45 core members come from 20 different countries and live all over Europe. The orchestra is governed cooperatively by management and board, and decisions are made democratically with the participation of all members.

    The MCO had its breakthrough in the summer of 1998 with a production of Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Aix-en-Provence Festival under the direction of its founding mentor Claudio Abbado. In addition to Mr. Abbado, Daniel Harding is the conductor who has played the most significant role in the orchestra's history: He has enjoyed a close relationship with the MCO since 1998 and was appointed conductor laureate in 2011. Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes became the orchestra's official artistic partner in 2012, when he embarked with the MCO on their four-year project, The Beethoven Journey.

    Also in 2012, the MCO performed the world premiere of George Benjamin's opera Written on Skin at the Aix-in-Provence Festival, conducted by the composer. Under the direction of Alan Gilbert, the MCO will perform the American stage premiere of Written on Skin in New York this August. Additional artistic partnerships include conductors Andris Nelsons and Teodor Currentzis, and soloists Martha Argerich, Mitsuko Uchida, and Isabelle Faust. For more information, visit

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  • Leif Ove Andsnes

    With his commanding technique and searching interpretations, Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes gives recitals and plays concertos in the world's leading concert halls and with its foremost orchestras. An avid chamber musician, he served as co-artistic director of the Risør Chamber Music Festival for nearly two decades and was music director of California's 2012 Ojai Music Festival. He was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame in July 2013.

    In the 2014-2015 season, Mr. Andsnes embarks on the final leg of The Beethoven Journey, his epic four-year focus on the master composer's five piano concertos. With the Mahler Chamber Orchestra-his fellow traveler since the project's inception-he leads complete Beethoven concerto cycles from the keyboard in high-profile residencies in Bonn, Hamburg, Lucerne, Vienna, Paris, New York, Shanghai, Tokyo, and London. Additional collaborations include performances with ensembles that include the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä, and the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard.

    It is the pianist's partnership with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra that anchors The Beethoven Journey, and the present season saw the release of the third and final installment of their recording series for Sony Classical, completing the cycle with accounts of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor," and the Choral Fantasy. The series has proved a resounding success, and the resulting boxed set was chosen by both The New York Times and Süddeutsche Zeitung among their top recordings of the year.

    Mr. Andsnes currently records exclusively for Sony Classical. His previous discography comprises more than 30 discs for EMI Classics that span repertoire from Bach to the present day. He has been nominated for eight Grammy Awards, and has received many international prizes, including six Gramophone Awards.

    Born in Karmøy, Norway, in 1970, Leif Ove Andsnes studied at the Bergen Music Conservatory under renowned Czech professor Jirí Hlinka. He has also received invaluable advice from Belgian teacher Jacques de Tiège, who, like Hlinka, has greatly influenced his style and philosophy of playing. He currently lives in Bergen, and in 2010 achieved one of his proudest accomplishments to date, becoming a father for the first time. His family expanded in May 2013 with the welcome arrival of twins.

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Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 (Rondo - Allegro)
Leif Ove Andsnes, Piano | Mahler Chamber Orchestra

At a Glance

At first glance, the distance between Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto and his last, the “Emperor,” seems vast. The opening of the “Emperor” Concerto, in which piano and orchestra come crashing simultaneously out of the gate, sounds wildly innovative compared to the tidier, more classical First Concerto. Yet the “Emperor” is thoroughly grounded in 18th-century harmony and structures, and the First has an expansiveness and opportunity for virtuosic display that are ahead of its time. In both concertos, Leif Ove Andsnes plays and conducts from the piano, a practice dating back to Beethoven’s time.
Program Notes


This performance is part of Carnegie Classics, and Great Piano Concertos.