Performance Monday, March 16, 2015 | 7:30 PM

Pierre-Laurent Aimard
Tamara Stefanovich

Zankel Hall
Pierre Boulez’s piano music is compelling and notoriously difficult to perform. Pierre-Laurent Aimard enjoys a long relationship with Boulez and made history when, at age 19, he was appointed pianist of the composer’s Ensemble intercontemporain. The Guardian has praised Tamara Stefanovich for her “ability to find identity and meaning in each note, rolling it around and exploring its purpose, often at frenetic speed, as Boulez intended.”

Part of My Time, My Music.


  • Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Piano
  • Tamara Stefanovich, Piano


  • Douze notations
  • Piano Sonata No. 1
  • Piano Sonata No. 2
  • Piano Sonata No. 3
    ·· Constellation-Miroir
    ·· Trope
  • Incises
  • une page d’éphéméride
  • Structures, livre II

Event Duration

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


  • Pierre-Laurent Aimard

    Widely acclaimed as a key figure in the music of our time and as a uniquely significant interpreter of piano repertoire from every age, Pierre-Laurent Aimard enjoys an internationally celebrated career. He performs throughout the world each season with major orchestras under conductors who include Riccardo Chailly, Vladimir Jurowski, Peter Eötvös, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Sir Simon Rattle, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. He has been invited to create, direct, and perform in a number of residencies, including projects at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonie, Mozarteum Salzburg, Cité de la Musique, and the Southbank Centre; as well as with the Lucerne and Tanglewood festivals. Mr. Aimard is also the artistic director of the prestigious and historic Aldeburgh Festival.

    Current and future highlights include solo recitals in London, New York, Chicago, Paris, Tokyo, Vienna, Beijing, and Amsterdam; and concerto appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. Mr. Aimard also regularly directs concerts from the keyboard with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. In autumn 2014, he joined the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich to give the world premiere of a piano concerto by Harrison Birtwistle, with further performances in Porto, London, and Boston.

    Born in Lyon, France, in 1957, Mr. Aimard studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Yvonne Loriod and in London with Maria Curcio. Early career landmarks include winning first prize in the 1973 Messiaen Competition at the age of 16 and being appointed three years later by Pierre Boulez to become the Ensemble intercontemporain's first solo pianist.

    Mr. Aimard has had close collaborations with many leading composers, including György Kurtág, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Elliott Carter, Pierre Boulez, and George Benjamin, as well as a long association with György Ligeti, recording his complete works for piano. Most recently, he performed the world premiere of Tristan Murail's piano concerto, as well as Elliott Carter's last piece, Epigrams for violin, cello, and piano, which was written for Mr. Aimard and premiered at the Aldeburgh Festival in June 2013.

    Through professorships at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln and Paris Conservatoire, as well as numerous series of concert lectures and workshops worldwide, Mr. Aimard sheds an inspiring and personal light on music of all periods. In 2009, he was invited to give a series of classes and seminars at the Collège de France in Paris.He was the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society's Instrumentalist Award in spring 2005 and was named Instrumentalist of the Year by Musical America in 2007. In 2015, he launches a major online resource centered on the performance and teaching of Ligeti's piano music, featuring filmed master classes and performances of the etudes and other works by Ligeti in collaboration with Klavier-Festival Ruhr and Vincent Meyer.

    Mr. Aimard now records exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon. His first DG release, Bach's Art of Fugue, received both the Diapason d'Or and Choc du Monde de la Musique awards, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's classical chart, and topped iTunes's classical album download chart. In recent years, Mr. Aimard has been honored with ECHO Klassik awards, most recently in 2009 for his recording of solo piano pieces, Hommage à Messiaen.That same year, he was also presented with Germany's Schallplattenkritik Honorary Prize. His Ives: Concord Sonata / Songs recording received a Grammy Award in 2005. Further releases for DG-including The Liszt Project in 2011 and Debussy Préludes in 2012-are joined by a new recording of Bach'sWell-Tempered Clavier, Book I, which was released last summer.

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  • Tamara Stefanovich

    Known for captivating interpretations of a wide variety of repertoire, Tamara Stefanovich performs at the world's major concert venues, including New York's Carnegie Hall; Berlin's Philharmonie; Tokyo's Suntory Hall; and London's Royal Albert Hall, Barbican Centre, and Wigmore Hall. She regularly appears at the Lucerne Festival, Festival de la Roque d'Anthéron, Aldeburgh Festival, Salzburg Festival, Klavier-Festival Ruhr, and Beethovenfest Bonn, among others.

    Highlights of the current season include an extensive US recital tour marking the 90th birthday of Pierre Boulez; recitals at the Konzerthaus Berlin, Southbank Centre (London), and Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ (Amsterdam); as well as performances with the Bochumer Symphoniker under the baton of Anu Tali. She performs Ligeti's Piano Concerto with Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, led by Matthias Foremny.

    Recent engagements have included performances with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra led by Susanna Mälkki, MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra led by Kristjan Järvi, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne and Chamber Orchestra of Europe led by Thomas Zehetmair, Asko | Schönberg, and Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Stefanovich has also appeared with The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Bamberger Symphoniker, Britten Sinfonia, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, and Swedish Chamber Orchestra. In spring 2012, she toured Germany with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, performing Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie.

    Ms. Stefanovich has collaborated with conductors such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Osmo Vänskä, and Vladimir Jurowski, as well as leading composers Pierre Boulez, Peter Eötvös, and György Kurtág. She teaches at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln, and regularly leads educational projects at the Klavier-Festival Ruhr, Barbican Centre, and Kölner Philharmonie.

    Her discography includes the Grammy-nominated recording of Bartók's Concerto for Two Pianos, Percussion, and Orchestra with Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Pierre Boulez, and the London Symphony Orchestra for Deutsche Grammophon (which also received a MIDEM Classical Award), and Mozart's Concerto for Two Pianos with Mr. Aimard, Jonathan Nott, and Camerata Salzburg for the ARTE television network. Ms. Stefanovich has also recorded for the AVI and harmonia mundi labels, including her latest release that features works by Thomas Larcher.

    Taught by Lili Petrović, Ms. Stefanovich gave her first public recital at the age of seven and became the youngest student at the University of Belgrade at the age of 13. Aside from music, her broad university education encompassed several other disciplines-psychology, education, sociology-and she received her master's degree in piano at the age of 19. She also studied at the Curtis Institute of Music with Claude Frank and subsequently studied with Mr. Aimard at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln.

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Boulez's Piano Sonata No. 1: I. Lent
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Piano

At a Glance

Today’s program includes the complete piano music of Pierre Boulez, as well as a performance of the second book of Structures for two pianos. The program opens with Douze notations, 12 miniatures that Boulez composed when he was 20.

All three of Boulez’s piano sonatas are also included on the program. The early two-movement First Sonata was completed when the composer was 21 years old, but the foundation of Boulez’s approach is already apparent from the textures and rhythms in this work. Inspired by Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata, the four-movement Second Sonata is the most famous of the Boulez’s piano sonatas and the most fiendishly difficult to play. Only two movements of the Third Sonata have been completed to the composer’s satisfaction and published: Constellation-Miroir and Trope. These movements inhabit a more serene and rarified world from the Second Sonata with its violent Beethovenian expressivity. The order of the material in them is not entirely fixed, and the pianist can take different routes as desired.

In Structures, livre II, the freedoms embodied in the Third Sonata are shared by two pianists. In the second chapter in particular, the pianists play with considerable independence from one another, and the ordering of the material is not precisely fixed. Incises (Interpolations) is a virtuoso showpiece written for the contestants in a piano competition. Une page d’éphéméride (Page from an Almanac) is an album leaf Boulez contributed to an anthology of piano pieces written for young pianists.
Program Notes
This performance is part of Fast Forward.

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