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Maurizio Pollini

Sunday, May 21, 2017 3 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
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When Maurizio Pollini comes to Carnegie Hall, his performance is not just an eagerly awaited recital, it’s a feast for anyone hungry for the poetry of great pianism. Audiences last experienced Pollini’s “searching musicianship and exquisite pianism” (The New York Times) in a 2015 Carnegie Hall recital. It’s time to feast again.


Maurizio Pollini, Piano


Two Nocturnes, Op. 27
Ballade No. 3 in A-flat Major, Op. 47
Ballade No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 52
Berceuse in D-flat Major, Op. 57
Scherzo No. 1
Two Nocturnes, Op. 55
Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58

Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23

Event Duration

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

At a Glance

In a career that spanned less than two decades, Chopin revolutionized piano music with dozens of nocturnes, waltzes, mazurkas, and other solo pieces that imbued the superficial brilliance of the salon style with unprecedented poetic depth. Schumann, who declared that “imagination and technique share dominion side by side” in Chopin’s music, likened his playing to the sound of an Aeolian harp, as exemplified by the undulating arpeggios that characterize the two Op. 27 Nocturnes.

Chopin deliberately set out to work on a grander scale in his ballades, scherzos, and sonatas. As their names suggest, the Ballade in A-flat Major and Ballade in F Minor can be thought of as tonal narratives: extended multi-section works with sharply characterized themes and subtle tonal shadings. Their dramatic energy contrasts with the intimacy of the Berceuse in D-flat Major, a tender lullaby that wears its virtuosity lightly. The B-Minor Scherzo and the two Op. 55 Nocturnes further illustrate Chopin’s innovative approach to the keyboard, as well as the extraordinary range and subtlety of his musical language.

Chopin demonstrated uncompromising independence in both his artistic and his private life. Liszt characterized him as “one of those original beings” who are “adrift from all bondage.” It was arguably the unparalleled range and subtlety of his pianism that enabled him to cast off the shackles of musical convention so successfully in works like the great Sonata in B Minor.


Maurizio Pollini

The name of Maurizio Pollini evokes the story of an internationally renowned artist, prized by critics and audiences across several generations and in every corner of the globe.

For more than 40 years, Mr. Pollini has performed with celebrated conductors and orchestras at all the major European, American, and Japanese concert halls and festivals. He has been awarded many of classical music's highest honors, including the Vienna Philharmonic Ehrenring, Salzburg's Goldenes Ehrenzeichen, Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, A Life for Music-Artur Rubinstein Prize, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli Prize, Tokyo's Praemium Imperiale, and Royal Philharmonic Society Award.

In 1995, Mr. Pollini opened Tokyo's Pierre Boulez Music Festival with Boulez in attendance. That same year, the Salzburg Festival in Austria invited Mr. Pollini to present his own cycle of concerts, for which he devised a program of works drawing from different epochs and styles; in 1999, he was invited back to create another concert program. From 1999 through 2006, Mr. Pollini performed new concert cycles in New York, Paris, Tokyo, Rome, Switzerland, Milan, Berlin, and Vienna, with programs that mirrored his wide musical tastes, including both chamber and orchestral performances, from Gesualdo and Monteverdi to contemporary composers.

Mr. Pollini has recorded works from the Classical, Romantic, and contemporary repertoire to worldwide critical acclaim, including multiple albums of Mozart piano concertos with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. His recordings of the complete works for piano by Schoenberg, and of works by Berg, Webern, Manzoni, Nono, Boulez, and Stockhausen are a testament to his great passion for music of the 20th century. His album of Chopin nocturnes earned him many honors, including the ECHO Award, Choc de la Musique, Victoires de la Musique, Diapason d'Or de l'Année, Grammy Award, and Disco d'Oro.

In recognition of his 75th birthday, Deutsche Grammophon recently released Pollini's complete recordings, comprising more than 55 CDs and three bonus DVDs. This includes his early interpretations of works by Boulez, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and others, as well as his complete cycle of the Beethoven sonatas, and the first CD release of his 1979 recording of Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 with the NHK Symphony Orchestra under Maxim Shostakovich.

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