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Sir András Schiff, Piano

Thursday, March 7, 2019 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Sir Andras Schiff by Peter Fischli / LUCERNE FESTIVAL
Sir András Schiff performs music by Schumann and Janáček, two composers with whom he is closely associated. Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänze is a brilliantly characterized set of dances, while his Piano Sonata No. 1 juxtaposes the turbulent and tender. Janáček’s darkly shaded On the Overgrown Path—its name comes from a Moravian wedding song—is based on his deeply personal reminiscences. A melancholy mood also colors Janáček’s Sonata, an intensely emotional two-movement work of great power and beauty.


Sir András Schiff, Piano


JANÁČEK On the Overgrown Path, Book I

SCHUMANN Davidsbündlertänze

JANÁČEK Sonata 1.X.1905, "From the Street"

SCHUMANN Piano Sonata No. 1


BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 24 in F-sharp Major, Op. 78

SCHUMANN ROBERT SCHUMANN "Fröhlicher Landmann" from Album für die Jugend, Op. 68, No. 10

Event Duration

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

This concert is made possible, in part, by The Gary C. and Ethel B. Thom Fund for Piano Performance and Education.

At a Glance

JANÁČEK  On the Overgrown Path, Book I

Janáček often sought musical inspiration in the speech patterns, folkways, and landscapes of his native Moravia. Each of the miniature tone poems in his programmatic suite On the Overgrown Path projects a distinctive mood, from the excitable, warmly inviting gestures of “Come With Us!” to the ominous nocturnal flutterings of “The Barn Owl Has Not Flown Away!”


SCHUMANN  Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6

Like many of Schumann’s early piano works, the 18 Davidsbündlertänze (Davidsbündler Dances) were musical love letters to his future wife, the gifted pianist and composer Clara Wieck. Schumann borrowed the opening theme for Op. 6 from a mazurka by Clara, and secretly back-dated the work by assigning it an opus number to match that of her Soirées musicales.


JANÁČEK  Sonata 1.X.1905, “From the Street”

Written to commemorate the death of a Czech demonstrator in 1905, this haunting two-movement piece expresses Janáček’s grief at the loss of an innocent life and his outrage at the oppression of the Czech minority in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The composer was so traumatized by the killing that he attempted to destroy his manuscript.


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

In the first of his three piano sonatas, Schumann paid homage to his beloved Clara by quoting from her own fandango-like piano piece Dance of the Phantoms. Like the Davidsbündlertänze, the Op. 11 Piano Sonata features an early appearance of Schumann’s fictitious alter egos, the dreamy Eusebius and the impulsive Florestan.


Sir András Schiff

Sir András Schiff was born in Budapest, Hungary, and started piano lessons at the age of five with Elisabeth Vadász. He continued his studies at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music with Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág, and Ferenc Rados, and later in London with George ...

Sir András Schiff was born in Budapest, Hungary, and started piano lessons at the age of five with Elisabeth Vadász. He continued his studies at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music with Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág, and Ferenc Rados, and later in London with George Malcolm.

Recitals and special cycles—including the major keyboard works of J. S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, and Bartók—form an important part of Sir András’s activities. He has performed Beethoven’s complete cycle of 32 piano sonatas worldwide since 2004 and recorded the cycle live at the Tonhalle Zurich for ECM Records.

An exclusive ECM recording artist, Sir András’s discography of works by Schubert, Schumann, Janáček, Beethoven, and Bach has been released to the highest critical acclaim. The most recent recording, Encores after Beethoven
a collection of encores performed after Sir András’s Beethoven cycle programs—was released in 2016. A recording with violinist Yūko Shiokawa that includes sonatas for violin and piano by Bach, Busoni, and Beethoven was released in October 2017.

Sir András appeared with the New York Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra last fall as both conductor and soloist. In his highly anticipated 2018–2019 tour of North America, he conducts and plays with the San Francisco and Seattle symphonies, pairing concertos by Bach and Beethoven with Bartók’s colorful Concerto for Orchestra and Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang. In recital, Sir András returns to Washington Performing Arts and Benaroya Hall. He also appears at the La Jolla Music Society, Chamber Music in Napa Valley, University of Denver, and Soka Performing Arts Center. Additional concert performances and tours bring him to major halls and music centers in Europe, Australia, Asia, and South America.

Sir András has been awarded numerous international prizes. In 2006 he became an honorary member of Bonn’s Beethoven House in recognition of his interpretations of the composer’s works, and in 2008 he was awarded the Wigmore Hall Medal in appreciation of 30 years of music-making at London’s famed venue. Sir András is also a member of the Honor of Vienna’s Konzarthaus and a recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Gold Medal.

In the spring of 2011, Sir András attracted attention because of his opposition to the alarming political developments in Hungary. In view of the ensuing attacks on him from Hungarian nationalists, he decided not to perform again in his home country. In June 2014, he was awarded a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II. Sir András’s book, Musik kommt aus der Stille: Gespräche mit Martin Meyer—essays and conversations with Martin Meyer—was published in March 2017 by Bärenreiter and Henschel.

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