Performance Wednesday, May 2, 2012 | 7:30 PM

András Schiff

Zankel Hall
When András Schiff plays Bach, every phrase reveals a passionate love for the music that always adds up to exemplary performances. As New York magazine puts it, “András Schiff would make Bach proud.” Here, Schiff turns his attention to the two-part inventions, as well as music by Bartók, Beethoven, and György Kurtág, plus a world premiere by Jörg Widmann, commissioned by Carnegie Hall.


  • András Schiff, Piano


  • BACH Invention in C Major, BWV 772
  • BACH Invention in E Minor, BWV 778
  • BACH Invention in G Major, BWV 781
  • BARTÓK Ten Pieces from Gyermekeknek (For Children), Book II
  • BACH Invention in D Minor, BWV 775
  • BACH Invention in F Major, BWV 779
  • BACH Invention in A Minor, BWV 784
  • BARTÓK Three Burlesques, Op. 8c
  • BACH Invention in E-flat Major, BWV 776
  • BACH Invention in G Minor, BWV 782
  • BACH Invention in B-flat Major, BWV 785
  • JÖRG WIDMANN Zirkustänze (World Premiere, commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
  • BACH Invention in E Major, BWV 777
  • BACH Invention in B Minor, BWV 786
  • BACH Invention in D Major, BWV 774
  • BARTÓK Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm from Mikrokosmos, Book VI
  • BACH Invention in F Minor, BWV 780
  • BACH Invention in A Major, BWV 783
  • BACH Invention in C Minor, BWV 773
  • BEETHOVEN Six Bagatelles, Op. 126
  • GYÖRGY KURTÁG Adieu, Haydée I from Hommage à Bartók
  • GYÖRGY KURTÁG Adieu, Haydée II from Hommage à Bartók
  • GYÖRGY KURTÁG Rituale, in Memoriam Strém Kálmán (US Premiere)
  • GYÖRGY KURTÁG In Memory of a Pure Soul: Klara Schiff in Memoriam (US Premiere)
  • BARTÓK Out of Doors Suite

  • Encores:
  • BRAHMS Intermezzo in E-flat Major, Op. 117, No. 1
  • BACH Prelude and Fugue in C Major from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, BWV 846
  • BRAHMS Intermezzo in B-flat Minor, Op. 117, No.2
  • SCHUBERT Hungarian Melody in B Minor, D. 817


  • András Schiff

    András Schiff was born in Budapest and started taking piano lessons at the age of five with Elisabeth Vadász. He continued musical studies at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music with professors Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág, and Ferenc Rados, and in London with George Malcolm. Recitals and special cycles (including the major keyboard works of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, and Bartók) form an important part of his activities. Between 2004 and 2009, he performed complete cycles of the Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas in 20 cities throughout the United States and Europe, a project recorded live in the Tonhalle Zürich and released in eight volumes for ECM New Series.

    This season, Mr. Schiff was named a Perspectives artist by Carnegie Hall, where he performs in a series of concerts that focus on Bartók and the legacy the composer left on their native Hungary. Unique to this series are the many colleagues who join Mr. Schiff during the 12 concerts included in his Perspectives-most of whom he has known since childhood. Additional North American performances take place in Philadelphia, Princeton, Vancouver, Toronto, Berkeley, Boulder, Napa, and Washington, DC.

    In 1999, Mr. Schiff created his own chamber orchestra, Cappella Andrea Barca, which consists of international soloists, chamber musicians, and close friends. He also works every year with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. From 1989 until 1998, he was artistic director of Musiktage Mondsee, a chamber music festival near Salzburg, and in 1995, he founded the Ittinger Pfingstkonzerte with Heinz Holliger in Kartause Ittingen, Switzerland. In 1998, Mr. Schiff started a similar series, entitled Homage to Palladio at the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza. From 2004 to 2007, he was artist-in-residence of the Kunstfest Weimar, and in 2007-2008 was pianist-in-residence of the Berliner Philharmoniker.

    Mr. Schiff has established a prolific discography, including recordings for London/Decca (1981-1994), Teldec (1994-1997), and since 1997, ECM New Series. He has received several international recording awards, including two Grammys.

    Mr. Schiff has been awarded numerous prizes, including Zwickau's Robert Schumann Prize, Italy's Premio della critica musicale Franco Abbiati, the Klavier-Festival Ruhr Prize, the Wigmore Medal, and the Royal Academy of Music Bach Prize; in 2006, he was named an Honorary Member of the Beethoven House in Bonn. Also in 2006, Mr. Schiff and the music publisher G. Henle Verlag began collaborating on Mozart and Bach editions. To date, both volumes of Bach's Well-Tempered Klavier were edited in the Henle original text with fingerings by Mr. Schiff.

    Mr. Schiff has been made an honorary professor by the conservatories in Budapest, Detmold, and Munich, and a special supernumerary fellow of Balliol College in Oxford. He is married to violinist Yuuko Shiokawa.

    More Info


J.S. Bach Invention No.1 in C, BWV772a
András Schiff, Piano

At a Glance

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH  Inventions, BWV 772-786

Bach's two-part inventions and three-part sinfonias, written for the instruction of his pupils and children, are essential parts of every aspiring keyboard player's repertoire. Over the centuries, their combination of technical challenges and contrapuntal artistry has inspired composers like Beethoven, Bartók, and Kurtág to write teaching pieces of their own.

BÉLA BARTÓK  Ten Pieces from Gyermekeknek (For Children), Book II; Three Burlesques, Op. 8c; Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm from Mikrokosmos, Book VI; Out of Doors Suite

Music education was an abiding interest for Bartók, second only to his passion for collecting Eastern European folk music. The six volumes of Mikrokosmos, his major pedagogical work, present exercises of progressive difficulty designed to give students a basic grounding in keyboard technique. Both Bach and folk influences contributed to the modernist style of Gyermekeknek, Three Burlesques, and the Out of Doors Suite.

JÖRG WIDMANN  Zirkustänze (Circus Dances)  

German composer and clarinetist Jörg Widmann has written in a wide variety of genres, from operas and symphonic pieces to string quartets and instrumental solos. The Schumannesque piano suite Zirkustänze(Circus Dances), commissioned by Carnegie Hall for tonight's performance by András Schiff, reflects his creative engagement with music and musical forms of the past.

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN  Six Bagatelles, Op. 126    

A bagatelle is traditionally considered a trifle, but the term can hardly describe these wonderfully sophisticated and challenging pieces that Beethoven wrote soon after finishing the Ninth Symphony and Missa solemnis. Conceived as a set, the bagatelles combine the uncomplicated lyricism of Beethoven's early works with the intricately convoluted style of his late period.

GYÖRGY KURTÁG  Adieu, Haydée I and Adieu, Haydée II from Hommage à Bartók; Rituale, in Memoriam Kálmán Strém; In Memory of a Pure Soul: Klara Schiff in Memoriam

Now in his mid-80s, György Kurtág is widely regarded as Hungary's greatest living composer. In addition to Játékok, his open-ended collection of playfully imaginative pedagogical pieces for one and two pianos, he has written numerous musical homages and memorials, of which these four short pieces are recent examples.

Program Notes



András Schiff reveals that the music of Bach has always been present in his musical life and the central role that the multi-instrumental keyboardist George Malcolm played in his appreciation of J. S. and C. P. E. Bach.

Perspectives: András Schiff

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