Performance Thursday, October 23, 2014 | 7:30 PM

Rafal Blechacz

Zankel Hall
“A musician in service to the music, searching its depths, exploring its meaning and probing its possibilities,” said The Washington Post of Rafał Blechacz, recipient of the prestigious Gilmore Artist Award for 2014. The winner of the top prize at the 2005 International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Blechacz offers a generous selection of Chopin favorites along with works by Bach and Beethoven in his Carnegie Hall debut.


  • Rafal Blechacz, Piano


  • BACH Italian Concerto, BWV 971
  • BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13, "Pathétique"
  • CHOPIN Nocturne in E Major, Op. 62, No. 2
  • CHOPIN Waltz in D-flat Major, Op. 64, No. 1, "Minute"
  • CHOPIN Waltz in C-sharp Minor, Op. 64, No. 2
  • CHOPIN Waltz in A-flat Major, Op. 64, No. 3
  • CHOPIN Mazurka in B Major, Op. 56, No. 1
  • CHOPIN Mazurka in C Major, Op. 56, No. 2
  • CHOPIN Mazurka in C Minor, Op. 56, No. 3
  • CHOPIN Polonaise in F-sharp Minor, Op. 44

  • Encore:
  • BEETHOVEN Scherzo from Piano Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 2, No. 2

Event Duration

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


  • Rafał Blechacz

    Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz has been the recipient of two particularly prestigious honors: He was named the recipient of the 2014 Gilmore Artist Award in January 2014 and was the winner of Warsaw's 15th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in October 2005. His victory in Warsaw opened the doors to some of the world's most renowned concert halls, including Royal Festival Hall and Wigmore Hall in London, Berlin's Philharmonie, Vienna's Konzerthaus, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Avery Fisher Hall in New York, La Scala in Milan, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo.

    Mr. Blechacz has performed as soloist with many major orchestras and has worked with such distinguished conductors as Valery Gergiev, Paavo Järvi,
    Charles Dutoit, David Zinman, Marek Janowski, Krzysztof Urbański, Fabio Luisi, Antoni Wit, Trevor Pinnock, John Storgårds, Jaap van Zweden, and Daniel Harding.

    Mr. Blechacz's engagements in North America during the 2014-2015 season include recitals in New York, San Francisco, Houston, and Toronto. Abroad, he appears as soloist with several orchestras, including the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg and Amsterdam Sinfonietta (on tour), and gives recitals in London, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Vienna.

    In May 2006, Mr. Blechacz signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon; his first CD of Chopin preludes won a German ECHO Klassik award and a French Diapason d'Or, as well as platinum-record status in his native Poland. His latest recording of Chopin polonaises went gold on the day of its release in Poland, and received the German Record Critics' Award in the piano music category.

    More Info


Chopin's Polonaise No. 1 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 26, No. 1
Rafal Blechacz, Piano
Deutsche Grammophon

At a Glance

Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin: three of the most totemic talents to have written for the keyboard. We find Bach in a notably extravagant mood with his 1735 Italian Concerto, originally written for a harpsichord with terraced keyboards, showcasing thrilling dynamic contrasts. It was one of a series of works written and published by Bach in Leipzig that gained him the attention of locals and aristocrats alike, as well as, eventually, the crowned heads of Europe.

Beethoven went to Vienna to seek his fortune and renown in 1792. He did not disappoint, particularly when found at the keyboard in concerto performances or delivering his unparalleled sequence of 32 piano sonatas. The “Pathétique” from 1798 is one of his most audacious early works, with its vast dynamic and emotional range, beginning in stormy solemnity and ending with a helter-skelter Rondo.

Chopin, exiled from his homeland and living in Paris, conjured a nostalgic vision of Poland. Seizing on established dances and musical structures, such as the nocturne, waltz, and mazurka, he refashioned them entirely in his own image. In doing so, Chopin pushed the instrument and its players’ technical and emotional capabilities to the limit, leaving an impressive example to the generation that came in his wake.
Program Notes
This performance is part of Keyboard Virtuosos III: Keynotes.