Performance Wednesday, January 20, 2016 | 8 PM

Marc-André Hamelin

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
The Washington Post wrote that pianist Marc-André Hamelin's “technical facility is breathtaking: The piano quivers and trembles under his thunderous assault, but his sensitivity is also superb.” These qualities are on display when Hamelin performs a delicate Mozart sonata and some of the most virtuosic works in the keyboard repertoire, including Ravel’s hallucinogenic Gaspard de la nuit and Liszt’s epic Piano Sonata in B Minor.


  • Marc-André Hamelin, Piano


  • MOZART Piano Sonata in C Major, K. 545
  • BUSONI Giga, bolero e variazione (after Mozart) from An die Jugend
  • RAVEL Gaspard de la nuit
  • MARC-ANDRÉ HAMELIN Pavane Variée (NY Premiere)
  • LISZT Piano Sonata in B Minor

  • Encores:
  • CHOPIN "My Darling," Op. 74, No. 12 (trans. Franz Liszt from his 6 Polish Songs, S. 480, No. 5)
  • GERSHWIN "Liza" (All the Clouds'll Roll Away) (arr. Earl Wild)
  • DEBUSSY "Feux d'artifice" from Préludes, Book II

Event Duration

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


  • Marc-André Hamelin

    Marc-André Hamelin is ranked among the elite of world pianists for his unrivaled blend of musicianship and virtuosity in the great works of the established repertoire, as well as for his intrepid exploration of the neglected music of the 19th and 20th centuries.

    In 2015-2016, Mr. Hamelin performs with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski at the Alte Oper Frankfurt, and again later in the season at the Royal Festival Hall for performances and recording of Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 3 and Medtner's Concerto No.2; tours North America with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Iván Fischer in venues that include Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Maison symphonique de Montréal; has a three-part residency at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam; and debuts at the Teatro alla Scala with the company's orchestra led by Jakub Hrůša.

    Orchestral appearances in North America include performances with the Edmonton, National Arts Centre, Quebec, San Diego, and Toronto symphony orchestras; and the Los Angeles and Manitoba chamber orchestras. In Europe, Mr. Hamelin appears with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Hallé, Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra della Svizzera italiana in repertoire that ranges from Mozart and Brahms to Ravel and Messiaen.

    In recital, Mr. Hamelin plays on the Keyboard Virtuosos II series in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall; as well as solo concerts for Symphony Center Presents in Chicago, the Cliburn, Spivey Hall, Pro Musica Montreal, Music Toronto, and the Green Music Center (Sonoma State University). European appearances include recitals at deSingel in Antwerp, Moscow State Philharmonic Society, Heidelberg Festival, Wigmore Hall in London, and Salzburg Mozarteum, as well as in Munich, Perugia, and Bilbao.

    The summer of 2015 included a return to the BBC Proms for Ravel's Left-Hand Piano Concerto with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and François-Xavier Roth, a work he repeated at the Colorado Music Festival. His other festival appearances included recitals at the Klavier-Festival Ruhr, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Cheltenham Music Festival, Festival Cully Classique, International Keyboard Festival in New York City, and Aspen Music Festival.

    Mr. Hamelin records exclusively for Hyperion Records. His discography of more than 50 recordings includes concertos and works for solo piano by such composers as Alkan, Godowsky, and Medtner, as well as brilliantly received performances of Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, and Shostakovich. His most recent releases are a two-disc set of Mozart sonatas and the Ornstein Piano Quintet with the Pacifica Quartet. He was recognized as the 2014 ECHO Klassik Instrumentalist of Year and Disc of the Year by Diapason and Classica magazines for his three-disc set Busoni: Late Piano Music.

    He has recently recorded Debussy's Images and Préludes, Book II; Haydn concertos with Les Violons du Roy and Bernard Labadie; three double-disc sets of Haydn sonatas; and an album of his own compositions, Marc-André Hamelin: Études, which received a 2010 Grammy Award nomination (his ninth) and a first prize from the German Record Critics' Award Association. The Hamelin etudes are published by Edition Peters.

    Born in Montreal and a resident of Boston, Mr. Hamelin is the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the German Record Critics' Award Association. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Québec, and a member of the Royal Society of Canada.

    More Info


LISZT Piano Sonata in B Minor (Allegro energico—Più mosso)
Marc-André Hamelin, Piano

At a Glance

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART  Piano Sonata in C Major, K. 545

Mozart described this deceptively simple work as “a little piano sonata for beginners.” Eschewing the virtuosity that characterizes his piano concertos, he adopted a transparently textured style that makes comparatively modest demands on the performer but yields rich pleasures for the listener.

FERRUCCIO BUSONI  Giga, bolero e variazione (after Mozart) from An die Jugend

One of the most forward-looking composers and musical thinkers of his time, Busoni also had a keen interest in music of the past. Each of these three short pieces pays homage to Mozart, whose then-unfashionable concertos Busoni championed throughout his career as a virtuoso pianist.

MAURICE RAVEL  Gaspard de la nuit

Inspired by the fantastical poetry of Aloysius Bertrand, Gaspard de la nuit illustrates Ravel’s ambition to “say with notes what a poet expresses with words.” The last of the three pieces, “Scarbo,” is one of the most technically challenging works in the piano literature.


Like the music of Busoni and Ravel, Hamelin’s often sets up a dialogue between past and present. In this elegantly crafted work, written as a competition test piece, a simple Renaissance courtly dance serves as the basis for a series of elaborate variations that explores various technical and stylistic procedures.

FRANZ LISZT  Piano Sonata in B Minor

A key figure of the Romantic era, Liszt was a musical visionary who prefigured many of the major compositional developments of the 20th century. This massive single-movement sonata illustrates the technique of thematic transformation that he also employed in his many symphonic poems.

Program Notes
This performance is part of Keyboard Virtuosos II.