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

Emanuel Ax, Piano

Thursday, May 10, 2018 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
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Emanuel Ax by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco
Daring invention, profound emotion, sizzling virtuosity, and flowing lyricism are all key elements in this program that spans Bach to Liszt. Emanuel Ax is “an extremely satisfying pianist; he is at home in a wide variety of music, and his pianism is always thoughtful, lyrical, lustrous” (The Washington Post). Mozart’s drama, Liszt’s poetry, Bach’s precision, and Beethoven’s brio are showcased by one of the great pianists of our day.

Part of: Keyboard Virtuosos II


Emanuel Ax, Piano


MOZART Piano Sonata in F Major, K. 533/K. 494
LISZT Tre sonetti del Petrarca
BACH Partita No. 5 in G Major, BWV 829
BEETHOVEN Andante in F Major, WoO 57 ("Andante favori")
BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 21 in C Major, Op. 53, "Waldstein"

CHOPIN Nocturne in F-sharp Major, Op. 15, No. 2
LISZT Valse oubliée, S. 215, No. 4

Event Duration

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

The Trustees of Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Seidler in support of the 2017-2018 season.

At a Glance

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART  Piano Sonata in F Major, K. 533 / K. 494

Mozart devoted much of the last decade of his life to composing piano music, including the majority of his 27 concertos. This brilliantly inventive sonata, by turns playful and profound, was cobbled together from three movements composed at different times, hence the two numbers assigned to it in the Köchel catalog of Mozart’s works.

FRANZ LISZT  Tre sonetti del Petrarca, from Années de pèlerinage, Deuxième année: Italie, S. 161

A musical visionary, Liszt prefigured many of the major compositional developments of the 20th century. His vast catalog includes some thousand works in many genres, but he is best known for his dazzlingly virtuosic and often richly poetic piano music. The Tre sonetti del Petrarca (Three Petrarch Sonnets) appear in a musical album inspired by Liszt’s travels in Italy.

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH  Partita No. 5 in G Major, BWV 829

The six suite-like harpsichord partitas that Bach published in 1731 were an instant commercial and artistic success. His early biographer Johann Nikolaus Forkel described them as “brilliant, well-sounding, expressive, and always new.” Bach himself probably introduced the partitas at the public concerts he presented at Café Zimmermann in Leipzig in the 1730s and ’40s.

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN  Andante in F Major, WoO 57, “Andante favori”;
Piano Sonata No. 21 in C Major, Op. 53, “Waldstein”

The “Waldstein” Sonata, named for one of Beethoven’s noble patrons, followed hard on the heels of the “Eroica” Symphony; both works exemplify the boldly heroic style of the composer’s so-called middle period. Heeding a friend’s advice, Beethoven published the sonata’s original slow movement separately as the “Andante favori” and replaced it with a brief Adagio molto that ties the fast movements together in a decidedly unconventional fashion.


Emanuel Ax

Born in modern-day Lvov, Poland, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. He is a winner of the Young Concert Artists Competition and Michaels Award, Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, and Avery Fisher Prize.

In partnership with conductor David Robertson, Mr. Ax began the current season with six Mozart concertos performed over two weeks in St. Louis, repeating the project in Sydney in February. Following the gala opening of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s season, he returns to the orchestras of Cleveland, New York, San Francisco, Boston, Houston, Ottawa, Toronto, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Hall for a recital to conclude the season. In Europe, he can be heard in Stockholm, Vienna, Paris, and London, and on tour with the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Mr. Ax—a Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987—also toured across the US this winter with colleagues Leonidas Kavakos and Yo-Yo Ma in support of the recent release of their recording of Brahms’s piano trios for the label.

Always a committed exponent of contemporary composers, with works written for him by John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng, and Melinda Wagner already in his repertoire, he has most recently added to this list HK Gruber’s Piano Concerto and Samuel Adams’s Impromptus. A frequent and dedicated chamber music partner, Mr. Ax has regularly worked with such artists as Young Uck Kim, Cho-Liang Lin, Edgar Meyer, Peter Serkin, Jaime Laredo, and the late Isaac Stern.

Mr. Ax resides in New York City with his wife, pianist Yoko Nozaki, with whom he has two children. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and holds honorary doctorates in music from Yale and Columbia universities.

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