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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
  • ZH Zankel Hall
  • SA/PS Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
  • REW Resnick Education Wing
  • WRH Weill Recital Hall

Alexandre Tharaud, Piano

Thursday, February 15, 2018 7:30 PM Zankel Hall
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Alexandre Tharaud by Marco Borggreve
He conceives the whole piece as a drama that sucks us in and doesn’t let go, and carefully paints vivid character along the way.” That’s what The Guardian wrote of Alexandre Tharaud’s recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. One of the pinnacles of keyboard literature, Bach’s set of 30 variations on an original theme poses extreme technical challenges for the performer, who must frequently cross and overlap hands to negotiate the winding threads of counterpoint.


Alexandre Tharaud, Piano


BACH Goldberg Variations

SCARLATTI Sonata in D Minor, K. 141

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately one hour without intermission. Please note that there will be no late seating.

Mix and Mingle

Join us immediately after this concert at Zankel Hall’s Parterre Bar for a 45-minute mix and mingle.
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At a Glance

Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, is a set of 30 variations bookended by two statements of an aria in G major. Harpsichordist Wanda Landowska described the aria’s transcendently beautiful melody as “grave and yet happy, tranquil and at the same time vibrant with internal life.” The same might be said of Bach’s work as a whole, which runs the gamut of moods and modes, from introspection and lyrical simplicity to brilliance and contrapuntal virtuosity.

The Goldberg Variations owe their name—and possibly their existence—to one of Bach’s star pupils: Johann Gottlieb Goldberg. The budding virtuoso served as court harpsichordist to Count Hermann Karl von Keyserlingk, Russia’s ambassador to the Saxon court in Dresden. Keyserlingk suffered from insomnia; according to Bach’s biographer, Johann Nikolaus Forkel, he asked the composer to write something “soft and somewhat lively” for Goldberg to play to help him sleep. “The Count thereafter called them nothing but his variations. He was never weary of hearing them; and for a long time, when the sleepless nights came, he used to say, ‘Dear Goldberg, do play me one of my variations.’ Bach was, perhaps, never so well rewarded for any work as for this: The Count made him a present of a golden goblet, filled with one hundred Louis d’or.” 


Alexandre Tharaud

Alexandre Tharaud has distinguished himself as one of France’s leading pianists. Recognized on the international stage as an artist of unique vision and originality, Mr. Tharaud is heralded for his brilliantly conceived programs and bestselling recordings that range from Bach, Chopin, Rameau, and Ravel, to recordings inspired by Paris cabaret music of the 1920s.

This season, Mr. Tharaud’s recital tour of North America includes performances in Montreal and Washington, DC. He continues to appear frequently in Canada and on tour with Les Violons du Roy, with whom he has recorded Bach and Mozart for Warner Classics. In recent seasons, Mr. Tharaud made debuts with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and returned to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Other recent highlights in North America include appearances at Boston’s Symphony Hall, Chicago’s Symphony Center, and Los Angeles’s Walt Disney Concert Hall. Upcoming highlights include performances with The Cleveland Orchestra, Utah Symphony, and Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. Mr. Tharaud has worked with such conductors as Peter Oundjian, Bernard Labadie, Daniele Gatti, Lionel Bringuier, Stéphane Denève, Vladimir Jurowski, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, among others.

In Europe, Mr. Tharaud performs extensively in Germany (Philharmonie Essen, Kölner Philharmonie, Alte Oper Frankfurt, and Ludwigsburg Festival) and France (Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and Opéra royal de Versailles), as well as at Warsaw’s Philharmonic, Geneva’s Victoria Hall, Brussels’s BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts, Madrid’s Auditorio Nacional de Música, Rome’s Santa Cecilia, Zürich’s Tonhalle, Bern’s Grand Casino, Prague’s Rudolfinum, Vienna’s Musikverein, Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw and Concertgebouw, and London’s Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall. His festival appearances include London’s BBC Proms, Rotterdam’s Gergiev Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Aix-en-Provence Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Domaine Forget International Music Festival, Klavier-Festival Ruhr, La Roque-d’Anthéron, Nuits de Décembre de Moscou, Rimini Meeting, and Festival de Lanaudière.

Mr. Tharaud released two CDs this season on the Warner Classics label, for which he records exclusively. The first recording is a tribute to great French singer Barbara, and the second recording is a Brahms CD with cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, who has been Mr. Tharaud’s regular chamber music partner for 20 years.

Performance highlights during the next two seasons include a Japanese tour and a European tour with The MET Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Additional tours take place across France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland with the NDR Radiophilharmonie, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, Bayerische Kammerphilharmonie, and Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi. Mr. Tharaud is a Yamaha Artist.

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