Performance Tuesday, February 23, 2016 | 8 PM

Mitsuko Uchida

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
When Mitsuko Uchida performs Schubert and Schumann, the results are transcendent; the same is also true of her performances of works from the Second Viennese School. The beloved pianist performs Schumann’s ultra-Romantic Piano Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp Minor, Berg’s youthful Piano Sonata, and Schubert’s Four Impromptus, D. 899. Despite the title, there is nothing improvisatory about Schubert’s work. Brilliantly contrasted, each impromptu is in a different key and conjures its own unique mood: The first has a march-like rhythm and a songlike theme, the second and fourth are technically stunning, and the third is sweetly meditative.


  • Mitsuko Uchida, Piano


  • BERG Piano Sonata, Op. 1
  • SCHUBERT Four Impromptus, D. 899
  • MOZART Rondo in A Minor, K. 511
  • SCHUMANN Piano Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp Minor, Op. 11

  • Encore:
  • SCHUMANN "Aveu" from Carnaval, Op. 9

Event Duration

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


  • Mitsuko Uchida

    Mitsuko Uchida is a performer who brings deep insight into the music she plays through her own search for truth and beauty. Highlights this season include performances at the BBC Proms with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski; performances with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle; a return to Salzburg's Mozart Week with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra; and playing and directing Mozart concertos with The Cleveland Orchestra. In 2016, Ms. Uchida will also perform at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Paris's Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Vienna's Konzerthaus, and London's Royal Festival Hall.

    Ms. Uchida has a strong commitment to playing chamber music and collaborates closely with many of the world's finest chamber musicians. A European tour with Magdalena Kožená last fall was followed by a performance of Schumann's Piano Quintet with Quatuor Ebène at London's Wigmore Hall. Ms. Uchida also appears in a chamber music program with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra this season.

    Ms. Uchida records exclusively for Decca. Her extensive discography includes the complete Mozart and Schubert piano sonatas. Since 2011, she has been recording live performances of Mozart's piano concertos with The Cleveland Orchestra; the first installment won a Grammy Award in 2011. The most recent installment was released in August 2014, and Ms. Uchida will record the next installment in 2016. Her recording of the Schoenberg Piano Concerto with Pierre Boulez and The Cleveland Orchestra won four awards, including the Gramophone Award for Best Concerto. Her next recording with Decca will feature lieder by Schumann and Berg in collaboration with soprano Dorothea Röschmann.

    Highly committed to the development of young musicians, Ms. Uchida is a trustee of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust and director of the Marlboro Music Festival. She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2009 and received an honorary degree from the University of Cambridge in 2014. The following year, Ms. Uchida was a guest of honor at Salzburg's Mozart Week, where she was awarded the Golden Mozart Medal. She was also a 2015 winner of the Praemium Imperiale, Japan's highest cultural honor.

    More Info


SCHUBERT Four Impromptus, D. 899 (No. 3 in G-flat Major)
Mitsuko Uchida, Piano

At a Glance

ALBAN BERG  Piano Sonata, Op. 1

Composed while Berg was studying composition with Arnold Schoenberg, this short, single-movement piano sonata is both highly compact and richly expressive. According to a fellow pupil, Berg set out to write a traditional multi-movement sonata, but decided that he had said all he needed to say in one movement. 

FRANZ SCHUBERT  Four Impromptus, D. 899

As their name implies, the Four Impromptus share a spontaneous, improvisatory quality. Yet so deliberately did Schubert lay the set out that it has often been likened to a four-movement sonata. The bewitching slow movement illustrates the intimate, singing tone that contemporaries admired in the composer’s piano playing.


In the last decade of his life, Mozart wrote a wide variety of keyboard music, ranging from concertos and sonatas to short, standalone pieces. The Rondo in A Minor illustrates his determination to breathe new life into forms and genres associated with his 18th-century predecessors, even as he expanded the range of piano technique and expression.    

ROBERT SCHUMANN  Piano Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp Minor, Op. 11

In the first of his three piano sonatas, Schumann paid homage to 16-year-old Clara Wieck by quoting from her own fandango-like piano piece Dance of the Phantoms. The score features an early appearance of Schumann’s fictitious alter egos, the dreamy Eusebius and the impulsive Florestan.
Program Notes
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This performance is sponsored by Nomura.
This performance is part of Great Artists II.