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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
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  • WRH Weill Recital Hall

The Carnegie Hall Season in Review: Solo Instrumental Recitals

It is expected that Carnegie Hall presents the very best national and international, established and emerging solo instrumentalists. The 2010–2011 season was no exception.

In October, András Schiff performed an all-Schumann piano recital; next season, his attention shifts to Bartók in a Perspectives series that includes a dozen separate events that range from a solo recital to a Professional Training Workshop and sharing the stage with a marionette theater.

Blog 2010-2011 Season Review Chamber Solo Andras Schiff
András Schiff returns for an extensive Perspectives series in 2011–2012. | Photo by Julien Jourdes 

French pianist David Fray made his Carnegie Hall and New York recital debut in Zankel Hall with a program that combined Schubert and Bach. Also in November, Stephen Hough—widely regarded as one of the most distinctive pianists of his generation—returned to the Hall, demonstrating his wide repertory with a program that included two Scriabin sonatas and Beethoven's beloved "Moonlight" Sonata.

Another French pianist, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, was also a welcome returnee to Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, concluding his US recital tour here with a French-tinged program that included Chopin, Ravel, and Messiaen—with whom Aimard has a close association.

The New Year brought new talent to the "big hall" with American pianist Jonathan Biss made his solo recital debut in Stern/Perelman. Biss—one of the participants in our online series The Carnegie Hall Debut—constructed a program of pieces that have been important to him throughout his career, as well as presenting the New York premiere of a newly commissioned piece from Bernard Rands.

February started with an all-Liszt program as French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet celebrated the 200th anniversary year of a legendary figure in music history, a composer whose works radiate all the passion and mysticism of 19th-century Romanticism. Japan's Mitsuko Uchida—who performed with the Saito Kinen Orchestra in December—returned for a solo recital that included her distinctive take on a Beethoven's Sonata No. 27 in E Minor. Uchida returns in April 2012 with an all-Schubert program.

New York pianist Jeremy Denk made the first of two appearances—the second was unexpected—with a concert in Zankel Hall, performing Ligeti's Études, which he has described as "some of the most striking, interesting, and brilliant piano music of recent decades." His unexpected return in March occurred when Maurizio Pollini was forced to cancel his appearance due to illness. Denk stepped in to make his Stern/Perelman recital debut with a century-spanning program of Ives’s Piano Sonata No. 2 and Bach's Goldberg Variations, earning him a much-deserved standing ovation. Also in March, almost 21 years after his Carnegie Hall debut, Evgeny Kissin—who returns next May—performed another sold-out concert. Russian pianist Vladimir Feltsman performed a program of Chopin, Schubert, and Mozart later in the month.

Blog 2010-2011 Season Review Chamber Solo Jeremy Denk
Jeremy Denk made his solo recital debut in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage in March 2011 | Photo by Jennifer Taylor. 

During the second part of JapanNYC, Weill Recital Hall was the site in early April for the Carnegie Hall debut of 15-year-old pianist Aimi Kobayashi. That evening she pitted two darkly tragic Beethoven sonatas (the "Pathétique" and the "Appassionata") against Ravel's bright Sonatine and two works by Chopin. Leif Ove Andsnes—who shared the stage with his Risør Chamber Music Festival colleagues back in December—returned for a solo recital, taking us through a century of music, from the opening pulse of Beethoven’s “Waldstein” to Schoenberg’s fantastic little pieces. Andsnes will be welcomed back twice in 2012—once for a solo recital in February and again in May with baritone Matthias Goerne in May. Having led Bach Collegium Japan in Bach's Mass in B Minor during JapanNYC the previous month, Masaaki Suzuki returned in late April for a solo harpsichord recital that took audiences on a European tour of Baroque keyboard repertoire.

Having also been part of the Risør concerts in December with Andsnes, Marc-André Hamelin returned for a solo recital that rounded out the season and included Schumann's fantastic set of miniatures and Liszt's mammoth showpiece based on music from Bellini's Norma.

Carnegie Hall’s 2011–2012 season promises to be another stellar year for solo instrumental recitals with such artists as Lang Lang, Yefim Bronfman, Kissin, Pollini, and Schiff. For full details of solo recitals during 2011–2012, check out these pages:
Great Artists I
Great Artists II
Keyboard Virtuosos I
Keyboard Virtuosos II
Keyboard Virtuosos III: Keynotes
Distinctive Debuts