Performance Saturday, April 9, 2016 | 7 PM

Leif Ove Andsnes
Christian Tetzlaff
Tabea Zimmermann
Clemens Hagen

The Annual Isaac Stern Memorial Concert

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Brahms’s three piano quartets are among the genre’s finest works. The Piano Quartet No. 1 has an extroverted melodicism, especially in its wistful Intermezzo, and a raucous finale inspired by gypsy music. The Second Quartet features an expressive Adagio and an exuberant closing Allegro. The Third was written during a troubled time in Schumann’s life and consequently reflects his sorrows. Filled with yearning, its opening movement’s drama and Scherzo’s violence is countered by an Andante of great tenderness before a darkly shaded finale.


  • Leif Ove Andsnes, Piano
  • James Ehnes, Violin
  • Tabea Zimmermann, Viola
  • Clemens Hagen, Cello


  • Piano Quartet No. 1 in G Minor
  • Piano Quartet No. 2 in A Major
  • Piano Quartet No. 3 in C Minor

Event Duration

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


  • Leif Ove Andsnes

    With his commanding technique and searching interpretations, celebrated Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has won acclaim worldwide. This spring sees the release of Concerto: A Beethoven Journey, a documentary by award-winning British director and filmmaker Phil Grabsky that chronicles Mr. Andsnes's four-season focus on the master composer's music for piano and orchestra, which took him to 108 cities in 27 countries for more than 230 live performances. Highlights of the season also include major European and North American solo recital tours, as well as concerto collaborations with the Chicago, Cleveland, and Philadelphia orchestras; Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra; Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich; Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; Munich Philharmonic Orchestra; and London Symphony Orchestra.

    Last season brought the conclusion of The Beethoven Journey, perhaps Mr. Andsnes's most ambitious achievement to date. With the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, he led complete Beethoven concerto cycles from the keyboard in high-profile residencies in Hamburg, Bonn, Lucerne, Vienna, Paris, New York, Shanghai, Tokyo, Bodø, and London.

    Mr. Andsnes now records exclusively for Sony Classical. His previous discography comprises more than 30 discs for EMI Classics that span repertoire from the time of Bach to the present day. He has been nominated for eight Grammy Awards and has earned many international prizes, including six Gramophone Awards and the 2015 BBC Music Magazine Recording of the Year.

    Mr. Andsnes has received Norway's distinguished honor, Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. In 2007, he received the prestigious Peer Gynt Prize, awarded by members of parliament to honor prominent Norwegians for their achievements in politics, sports, and culture. He is the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society's Instrumentalist of the Year award and the Gilmore Artist Award. Saluting his many achievements, Vanity Fair named him one of the "Best of the Best" in 2005.

    Mr. Andsnes was born in Karmøy, Norway, in 1970, and studied at the Bergen Conservatory under renowned Czech professor Jiři Hlinka. He has also received invaluable advice from Belgian piano teacher Jacques de Tiège, who like Hlinka, has greatly influenced Mr. Andsnes's style and philosophy of playing. He is currently an artistic adviser for the Prof. Jiři Hlinka Piano Academy in Bergen, where he gives an annual master class for participating students. Mr. Andsnes currently lives in Bergen, and in June 2010, achieved one of his proudest accomplishments to date: becoming a father for the first time. His family expanded in May 2013 with the welcome arrival of twins.

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  • James Ehnes

    James Ehnes has established himself as one of the foremost violinists of his generation. Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism, and an unfaltering musicality, Mr. Ehnes is a favorite guest of many of the world's most respected conductors, including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Marin Alsop, Sir Andrew Davis, Stéphane Denève, Charles Dutoit, Sir Mark Elder, Iván Fischer, Paavo Järvi, Gianandrea Noseda, David Robertson, and Donald Runnicles. Recent highlights include performances with the London Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and Oslo Philharmonic.

    Alongside his concerto work, Mr. Ehnes has also appeared at festivals such as the City of London, Ravinia, Montreux, Chaise-Dieu, White Nights, and Salzburg. Additionally, he maintains a busy recital schedule. In May 2016, he embarks on a cross-Canada recital tour to celebrate his 40th birthday.

    As a chamber musician, Mr. Ehnes has collaborated with leading artists, including Leif Ove Andsnes, Louis Lortie, Jan Vogler, and Yo-Yo Ma. In 2010, he formally established the Ehnes Quartet, with whom he made his debut European tour in February 2014 and returned in 2015 for performances at Wigmore Hall, the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, and the Théâtre du Jeu de Paume in Aix-en-Provence, among others. Mr. Ehnes is also the artistic director of the Seattle Chamber Music Society.

    Mr. Ehnes has an extensive discography and has won many awards for his recordings, including a 2008 Gramophone Award for his live recording of the Elgar Violin Concerto with Sir Andrew Davis and the Philharmonia Orchestra. His recording of the Korngold, Barber, and Walton violin concertos won a 2008 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance and a 2008 JUNO Award for Best Classical Album of the Year. In addition, his recording of the Bartók violin concertos was nominated for a 2012 Gramophone Award. Recent releases include concertos by Britten, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and Khachaturian.

    Mr. Ehnes began violin studies at the age of four, became a protégé of noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin at age nine, made his orchestral debut with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal at age 13, and graduated from The Juilliard School in 1997, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music. He is a fellow of The Royal Society of Canada and in 2010 was appointed a member of the Order of Canada.

    James Ehnes plays the "Marsick" Stradivarius of 1715.

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  • Tabea Zimmermann

    For many years, Tabea Zimmermann has been one of the most renowned musicians of our time. Her charismatic personality and deep musical understanding are valued by both audiences and fellow musicians. Arguably the finest violist in the world today, Ms. Zimmermann owes her success not only to her exceptional talent, but also to the support of her parents, thorough training by excellent teachers, and a tireless enthusiasm to communicate her understanding and love of music to her audience.

    As a soloist, Ms. Zimmermann regularly works with the most distinguished orchestras worldwide, such as the Berliner 
    Philharmoniker, Orchestre de Paris, London Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and Czech Philharmonic. Currently the artist-in-residence of the Frankfurt Museums-Gesellschaft for the 2015-2016 season, she has held previous residencies in Weimar, Luxembourg, Hamburg, and with the Bamberger Symphoniker. Ms. Zimmermann performs in recital as part of the Arcanto Quartet and with Dénes Várjon, in addition to orchestral concerts of works by Hindemith and Walton. In Berlin, where she now lives, she has performed Bártok's Viola Concerto with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra.

    The Arcanto Quartet-which features violinists Antje Weithaas and Daniel Sepec, and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras-continues to be a special focus for Ms. Zimmermann's chamber music activities. In the last few years, the quartet has performed at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, Théâtre du Châtelet and Cité de la musique in Paris, Berliner Philharmonie, Vienna's Konzerthaus, and Carnegie Hall, in addition to tours in Israel, Japan, and North America.

    Two special highlights of the season include the premiere of a new trio by Jörg Widmann, performed by the composer and Dénes Várjon at the Tonhalle Zürich, as well as two tours with Leif Ove Andsnes, Christian Tetzlaff, and Clemens Hagen, during which the artists perform Brahms's piano quartets in Oslo, New York, Chicago, Florence, Vienna, London, Brussels, and Paris.

    Ms. Zimmermann has held teaching posts at the Hochschule für Musik Saar and Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt. Since October 2002, she has been a professor at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin, where she now lives with her three children. 

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  • Clemens Hagen

    Cellist Clemens Hagen was born in Salzburg into a family of musicians. During his childhood, he studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, then went on to study at the Conservatoire in Basel with Wilfried Tachezi and Heinrich Schiff. In 1983, he received a special award of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Karl Böhm Award.

    Mr. Hagen has performed with many major orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, Vienna Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, SWR Baden-Baden and Freiburg Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, NHK Symphony Orchestra, and The Cleveland Orchestra. He has worked with such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Sylvain Cambreling, Daniel Harding, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Manfred Honeck, Ingo Metzmacher, Horst Stein, and Franz Welser-Möst. Mr. Hagen was invited to perform as soloist with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Harnoncourt for  the opening concerts of the 2009 Vienna Festwochen.

    Mr. Hagen also performed the Beethoven Triple Concerto with violinist Thomas Zehetmair, pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe led by Nikolaus Harnoncourt at the styriarte Festival in Graz. He toured Germany with the Houston Symphony and Hans Graf, and in 2006, he returned to The Cleveland Orchestra for concerts conducted by Osmo Vänskä. Mr. Hagen also toured with the NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover and Eiji Oue to Vienna, Budapest, and Zagreb.

    In addition to his solo performances and his many concerts with the Hagen Quartet, Mr. Hagen also plays chamber music with Martha Argerich, Renaud Capuçon, Itamar Golan, Paul Gulda, Hélène Grimaud, Gidon Kremer, Oleg Maisenberg, Sir András Schiff, Benjamin Schmid, and Mitsuko Uchida. He also performed the Sitkovetsky trio version of Bach's Goldberg Variations with violinist Mihaela Martin and violist Nobuko Imai in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Hamburg, and Vienna.

    Mr. Hagen's recordings include the Beethoven cello sonatas with pianist Paul Gulda (JVC Records), and the Brahms Double Concerto with violinist Gidon Kremer and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra led by Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Teldec). Recently, Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm released his CD with violinist Benjamin Schmid and pianist Claudius Tanski of chamber music by Brahms and Pfitzner.

    Mr. Hagen plays an Antonio Stradivari cello built in 1698.

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BRAHMS Piano Quartet No. 3 in C Minor (Allegro ma non troppo)
Ralf Gothóni, Piano | Péter Csaba, Violin | Matti Hirvikangas, Viola | Frans Helmerson, Cello

At a Glance

Composed over a span of two decades, Brahms's three quartets for piano and strings represent a deliberate and stunningly successful attempt to combine what musicologist Sir Donald Francis Tovey (commenting on Brahms's great F-Minor Piano Quintet) called "the rhythmic incisiveness of the piano" with "the singing powers of the bowed instruments." The first two piano quartets, written in quick succession in 1861, ingeniously exploit the distinctive personalities of the keyboard and strings, while enabling them to meet on common stylistic ground. The rollicking, Gypsy-flavored finale of the G-Minor Quartet has long been a favorite with audiences.

Although the powerful Viennese critic Eduard Hanslick dismissed the A-Major Quartet as "a continual putting together and taking apart, preparation without objective, promise without fulfillment," Clara Schumann considered it "more beautiful" and "finer altogether" than its companion in G minor. Brahms's turbulent feelings for Clara may be reflected in the tragic, brooding tone of the Quartet in C Minor, which he began in the mid-1850s but didn't finish until 1875.
Program Notes
This performance is part of Great Artists II, and Master of the Bow.