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Carnegie Hall Presents

Igor Levit, Piano

Thursday, January 13, 2022 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Igor Levit by Robbie Lawrence
Igor Levit is “like no other pianist” (The New Yorker). Called “one of the essential artists of his generation” (The New York Times), he performs with startling intensity, piercing intelligence, and fiery passion each time he is at the keyboard. His repertoire is endlessly eclectic, playing and recording music that spans J. S. Bach to Beethoven to Bill Evans. This program reflects the remarkable breadth of his art with one of Beethoven’s final piano sonatas, a new work by composer-pianist Fred Hersch, Liszt’s epic Sonata in B Minor, and an arrangement of Wagner’s Prelude to Tristan und Isolde

Part of: Keyboard Virtuosos I

Performers

Igor Levit, Piano

Program

BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109

FRED HERSCH Variations on a Folksong (World Premiere)

WAGNER Prelude from Tristan und Isolde (arr. Zoltán Kocsis)

LISZT Piano Sonata in B Minor


Encore:

WAGNER "Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde (transcr. Liszt)

Event Duration

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

Listen to Selected Works

At a Glance

BEETHOVEN  Piano Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109

Beethoven’s first piano sonatas followed hard on the heels of his Op. 1 piano trios, in which the composer declared his artistic independence. By the time he wrote the last few of his 32 sonatas in the early 1820s, he was no longer a young lion but a battle-scarred warrior whose indomitable spirit shines through in the incandescent slow movement of the E-Major Sonata.

 

FRED HERSCH  Variations on a Folksong

Composed for Igor Levit and receiving its world premiere on this evening’s program, Fred Hersch’s Variations on a Folksong explores “O Shenandoah” in a set of 20 variations.

 

WAGNER  Prelude from Tristan und Isolde

The mesmerizing orchestral introduction to Wagner’s music drama foreshadows the “love-death” that awaits the titular Tristan and Isolde at the end. The late Hungarian pianist Zoltán Kocsis transcribed the Prelude for his instrument in 1978 and recorded it four years later, along with Wagner transcriptions by his compatriot Franz Liszt.

 

LISZT  Sonata in B Minor

A key figure of the Romantic era, Liszt was a musical visionary who prefigured many of the major compositional developments of the 20th century. This massive single-movement sonata illustrates the technique of thematic transformation that he also employed in his many symphonic poems.

Bios

Igor Levit

With an alert and critical mind, Igor Levit places his art in the context of social events and understands it as inseparably linked to them. The New York Times describes Mr. Levit as one of the “most important artists of his generation.” He was Musical America’s Recording Artist ...

With an alert and critical mind, Igor Levit places his art in the context of social events and understands it as inseparably linked to them. The New York Times describes Mr. Levit as one of the “most important artists of his generation.” He was Musical America’s Recording Artist of the Year in 2020 and the winner of the 2018 Gilmore Artist Award. For his highly acclaimed first recording of the 32 Beethoven sonatas, he was nominated for a Grammy in the category Best Classical Instrumental Solo in November 2020.

As a recitalist, Mr. Levit regularly performs at the world’s most renowned concert halls and festivals. He is a regular soloist with the world’s leading orchestras, such as The Cleveland Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Upcoming performances include concerts in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Vienna, and Tokyo. In 2022, he gives the world premieres a new piano concerto written for him by William Bolcom as well as the work written for him by jazz pianist Fred Hersch on this evening’s program. In spring 2021, he and the Lucerne Festival announced a new piano festival curated by Mr. Levit, scheduled to begin in 2023.

Born in Nizhny, Novgorod, Mr. Levit completed his piano studies in Hannover with the highest score in the history of the institute. In spring 2019, he was appointed professor of piano at his alma mater, the Hanover University of Music, Drama, and Media.

For his commitment to politics, Mr. Levit has been awarded the Fifth International Beethoven Prize in 2019 followed by the B award from the International Auschwitz Committee in January 2020. His 53 house concerts that streamed live on Twitter during the lockdown in spring 2020 garnered a worldwide audience, offering a sense of community and hope in a time of isolation and desperation. In October 2020, he was recognized with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In Berlin, where he makes his home, Mr. Levit plays on a Steinway D Grand Piano kindly given to him by the Trustees of Independent Opera at Sadler’s Wells.

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