Performance Wednesday, January 26, 2011 | 7:30 PM

Brad Mehldau

Zankel Hall
Mehldau is “a pianist who has it all” (Telegraph), and in everything he plays, you can hear the distinctive voice of a performer who knows just how to move you with his expressive sensitivity. Hear Mehldau bring his unique artistic vision to bear on music by Bach, Brahms, and Fauré, as well as his own works.


  • Brad Mehldau, Piano


  • BRAHMS Capriccio in F-sharp Minor, Op. 76, No. 1
  • BRAHMS Intermezzo in B-flat Major, Op. 76, No. 4
  • BRAHMS Capriccio in C-sharp Minor, Op. 76, No. 5
  • BRAD MEHLDAU Capriccio
  • BRAHMS Capriccio in C Major, Op. 76, No. 8
  • BRAD MEHLDAU Trailer Park Ghost
  • BRAHMS Rhapsody in B Minor, Op. 79, No. 1
  • BRAD MEHLDAU Goodbye Storyteller
  • RADIOHEAD "Exit Music (For a Film)"
  • BACH Prelude in E-flat Major from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, BWV 852
  • LENNON / MCCARTNEY "Martha My Dear"
  • BACH Prelude in C-sharp Major from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, BWV 848
  • Improvisation inspired by Bach
  • FAURÉ Nocturne No. 7 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 74
  • RODGERS "My Favorite Things"
  • BUCKLEY "Dream Brother"

  • Program is approximately two hours, including one intermission


  • Brad Mehldau

    Brad Mehldau's musical personality forms a dichotomy. He is first and foremost an improviser, and greatly cherishes the surprise and wonder that occur from a spontaneous musical idea that is expressed directly, in real time. But he also has a deep fascination with the formal architecture of music, and it informs everything he plays. He listens to how ideas unwind, and the order in which they reveal themselves. The two sides of Mehldau's personality-the improviser and the formalist-play off each other, and the effect is often something like controlled chaos.

    As a jazz pianist, Mehldau has recorded and performed extensively since the early 1990s. Mehldau's most consistent output over the years has taken place in the trio format. Starting in 1996, his group released a series of five records on Warner Bros. entitled The Art of the Trio. Mehldau also has a solo piano recording entitled Elegiac Cycle, and a record called Places that includes both solo piano and trio songs. Elegiac Cycle and Places might be called "concept" albums-they are made up exclusively of original material and have central themes that hover over the compositions. Other Mehldau recordings include Largo, a collaborative effort with the innovative musician and producer Jon Brion, and Anything Goes-a trio outing with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy.

    His first record for Nonesuch, Live in Tokyo, was released in September 2004. After 10 rewarding years with Rossy playing in Mehldau's regular trio, drummer Jeff Ballard joined the band in 2005. The label released its first album by Mehldau's trio, Day is Done, in September 2005. An exciting double live trio recording entitled Brad Mehldau Trio Live was released in March 2008 to critical acclaim. Two years later, Nonesuch released a double-disc of original work entitled Highway Rider, the highly anticipated follow up to Largo. The album is Mehldau's second collaboration with renowned producer Jon Brion and features performances by Mehldau's trio, percussionist Matt Chamberlain, saxophonist Joshua Redman, and a chamber orchestra led by Dan Coleman.

    In addition to his trio and solo projects, Mehldau has worked with a number jazz greats, including a rewarding gig with Redman's band for two years; recordings and concerts with Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, and Lee Konitz; and recordings as a sideman with Michael Brecker, Wayne Shorter, John Scofield, and Charles Lloyd. For more than a decade, he has collaborated with several musicians and peers whom he respects greatly, including the guitarists Peter Bernstein and Kurt Rosenwinkel, and saxophonist Mark Turner. Mehldau also has played on a number of recordings outside of the jazz idiom, like Willie Nelson's Teatro and singer-songwriter Joe Henry's Scar. His music has appeared in several motion pictures, including Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut and Wim Wenders's The Million Dollar Hotel. He also composed an original soundtrack for the French film Ma femme est une actrice.

    Mehldau recently composed two new works commissioned by Carnegie Hall for voice and piano, The Blue Estuaries and The Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, which were performed in the spring of 2005 with classical soprano Renée Fleming. These songs were recorded with Ms. Fleming and released in 2006 on the Love Sublime record; simultaneously, Nonesuch released an album of Mehldau's jazz compositions for trio entitled House on Hill. A 2008 Carnegie Hall commission for a cycle of seven love songs for Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, set to poems of Sara Teasdale, premiered in 2009. In addition to their album Love Songs, a selection of French, American, English, and Swedish songs that Mehldau and von Otter performed together was released in late 2010.

    Mehldau was appointed as curator of an annual four-concert jazz series at London's prestigious Wigmore Hall during its 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 seasons, with Mehldau appearing in at least two of the four annual concerts.
    More Info

Brad Mehldau is holder of the 2010-2011 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall.
This performance is part of Signatures.