Performance Monday, March 16, 2015 | 7:30 PM

Pierre-Laurent Aimard
Tamara Stefanovich

Zankel Hall
Pierre Boulez’s piano music is compelling and notoriously difficult to perform. Pierre-Laurent Aimard enjoys a long relationship with Boulez and made history when, at age 19, he was appointed pianist of the composer’s Ensemble intercontemporain. The Guardian has praised Tamara Stefanovich for her “ability to find identity and meaning in each note, rolling it around and exploring its purpose, often at frenetic speed, as Boulez intended.”

Part of My Time, My Music.


  • Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Piano
  • Tamara Stefanovich, Piano


  • Douze notations
  • Piano Sonata No. 1
  • Piano Sonata No. 2
  • Piano Sonata No. 3
    ·· Constellation-Miroir
    ·· Trope
  • Incises
  • une page d’éphéméride
  • Structures, livre II

Event Duration

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


Boulez's Piano Sonata No. 1: I. Lent
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Piano

At a Glance

Today’s program includes the complete piano music of Pierre Boulez, as well as a performance of the second book of Structures for two pianos. The program opens with Douze notations, 12 miniatures that Boulez composed when he was 20.

All three of Boulez’s piano sonatas are also included on the program. The early two-movement First Sonata was completed when the composer was 21 years old, but the foundation of Boulez’s approach is already apparent from the textures and rhythms in this work. Inspired by Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata, the four-movement Second Sonata is the most famous of the Boulez’s piano sonatas and the most fiendishly difficult to play. Only two movements of the Third Sonata have been completed to the composer’s satisfaction and published: Constellation-Miroir and Trope. These movements inhabit a more serene and rarified world from the Second Sonata with its violent Beethovenian expressivity. The order of the material in them is not entirely fixed, and the pianist can take different routes as desired.

In Structures, livre II, the freedoms embodied in the Third Sonata are shared by two pianists. In the second chapter in particular, the pianists play with considerable independence from one another, and the ordering of the material is not precisely fixed. Incises (Interpolations) is a virtuoso showpiece written for the contestants in a piano competition. Une page d’éphéméride (Page from an Almanac) is an album leaf Boulez contributed to an anthology of piano pieces written for young pianists.
This performance is part of Fast Forward.

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