Performance Wednesday, October 30, 2013 | 8 PM

András Schiff

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
“This is just marvelous,” proclaimed The Guardian of master pianist András Schiff’s performance of Bach’s Partitas. “Every note of the music is in Schiff's blood and, through his recent experience of conducting, he seems to have absorbed varied instrumental textures, breathtaking spontaneity, extrovert ornamentation, and whimsical rhythmic freedom.” Hear for yourself when Schiff comes to Carnegie Hall to perform the complete dance suites.


  • András Schiff, Piano


  • BACH Partita No. 5 in G Major, BWV 829
  • BACH Partita No. 3 in A Minor, BWV 827
  • BACH Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, BWV 825
  • BACH Partita No. 2 in C Minor, BWV 826
  • BACH Partita No. 4 in D Major, BWV 828
  • BACH Partita No. 6 in E Minor, BWV 830

  • Encore:
  • BACH Invention in C Major, BWV 772

Event Duration

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


  • András Schiff

    András Schiff is renowned and acclaimed as a pianist, conductor, pedagogue, and lecturer. Born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1953, Mr. Schiff started piano lessons at age five with Elisabeth Vadász. He continued his musical studies at the Liszt Academy of Music with Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág, and Ferenc Rados, and in London with George Malcolm.

    Indisputably one of the most prominent proponents of Bach's keyboard works, Mr. Schiff has long proclaimed that Bach stands at the core of his music making. Through November 2013, he continues his two-season endeavor The Bach Project, returning to North America with six Bach recitals and a week of orchestral music by Bach, Schumann, and Mendelssohn with Mr. Schiff at the piano and on the podium. The project includes visits to San Francisco's Symphony Hall, supported by the San Francisco Symphony; Los Angeles's Disney Hall, supported by the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and New York City in partnership with the New York Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, 92nd Street Y, and Great Performers at Lincoln Center. Mr. Schiff's final recitals in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Toronto, and New York include Beethoven's Thirty-Three Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli following Bach's Goldberg Variations. He will also play this monumental program at London's Wigmore Hall to celebrate his 60th birthday. 

    Mr. Schiff has established a prolific discography, and since 1997 has been an exclusive artist for ECM New Series and its producer Manfred Eicher. His recordings for ECM include the complete solo piano music of Beethoven and Janáček, two solo albums of Schumann piano pieces, his second recordings of Bach's partitas and Goldberg Variations, The Well-Tempered Clavier, and Beethoven's Thirty-Three Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli recorded on two instruments: a Bechstein from 1921 and an original 1820 Viennese fortepiano, originating in the place and time of the composition.

    Mr. Schiff has worked with all the major international orchestras and conductors, but now performs mainly as conductor and recitalist. In 1999, he created his own chamber orchestra, the Cappella Andrea Barca, which consists of international soloists, chamber musicians, and friends. He also works each year with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra of Europe. From 2004 to 2007, he was artist-in-residence at the Kunstfest Weimar. During the 2007-2008 season, he was pianist in residence at the Berliner Philharmoniker.

    In spring 2011, Mr. Schiff attracted attention because of his opposition to the Hungarian media law; in view of the ensuing attacks on him from some Hungarian nationalists, he has made the decision not to perform in or return to his home country.

    Mr. Schiff is an honorary professor at music schools in Budapest, Detmold, and Munich, and is a special supernumerary fellow of Balliol College in Oxford.

    More Info


Bach's Partita No. 2 in C Minor, BWV 826 (Capriccio)
András Schiff, Piano

At a Glance

Like many musical terms, the word partita has taken on considerably different meanings in different time periods. When it arose in the late 16th century, it was used to identify a collection of variations on a traditional tune; then, as befits the name, its meaning later broadened, on occasion, to incorporate any sort of piece that was "part" of a larger work. By Bach's time, it had developed a third, wholly new meaning: an alternative title for the multi-movement "suite," or collection of dances.

In 1731, Bach compiled his six keyboard partitas under the title Clavier-Übung (Keyboard Practice). Although ostensibly intended as exercises for his students, the partitas demand great virtuosity and represent a musical apex in and of themselves.
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.

This performance is part of Keyboard Virtuosos II, and Keyboard II - Students.