Performance Wednesday, April 11, 2012 | 8 PM

Mitsuko Uchida

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Mitsuko Uchida is one of the most distinctive pianists today, “an elegant, deeply musical interpreter who strikes and inspired balance of head and heart in everything she plays” (Chicago Tribune). Schubert is one of the composers whose music Uchida illuminates with a particularly individual light. Here she performs three sonatas written only two months before his death.


  • Mitsuko Uchida, Piano


  • Sonata in C Minor, D. 958
  • Sonata in A Major, D. 959
  • Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960


  • Mitsuko Uchida

    Mitsuko Uchida is a performer who brings a deep insight into the music she plays through her own search for truth and beauty. She is renowned for her interpretations of Mozart, Schubert, and Beethoven, both in the concert hall and on recordings. She has also illuminated the music of Berg, Schoenberg, Webern, and Boulez for a new generation of listeners. 

    Ms. Uchida performs with the world's finest orchestras and musicians in all the major concert halls. Performance highlights include her artist-in-residency with The Cleveland Orchestra, during which she directed all the Mozart concertos from the keyboard over a number of seasons. She was a Carnegie Hall Perspectives artist during the 2003-2004 season, and was also artist-in-residence at the Vienna Konzerthaus and with the Berliner Philharmoniker, where she performed a series of chamber music concerts and a Beethoven piano concerto cycle with Sir Simon Rattle.

    Ms. Uchida records exclusively for Decca. Her recordings include the complete Mozart piano sonatas and piano concertos; the complete Schubert piano sonatas; Debussy's etudes; the five Beethoven piano concertos with Kurt Sanderling;  the final five Beethoven piano sonatas; and Berg's Chamber Concerto with Ensemble intercontemporain, Pierre Boulez, and violinist Christian Tetzlaff. She recently released a disc of Mozart's K. 488 and K. 491 concertos, followed by a second disc of K. 466 and K. 595; both recordings featured Ms. Uchida directing The Cleveland Orchestra from the piano. She also recently released an acclaimed disc of Schumann's solo piano music, featuring the Davidsbündlertänze and Fantasie.

    Ms. Uchida has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to the development of young musicians and is a trustee of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust. She is also co-director with Richard Goode of the Marlboro Music Festival. In June 2009, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

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Schubert Piano Sonata in C Minor, D. 958 (Allegro)
Mitsuko Uchida, Piano

At a Glance

Schubert's final trilogy of piano sonatas presents an Everest to performer and audience alike. Imbued with the composer's hallmark lyricism, the sonatas are nonetheless austere, diffident, and ambiguous. All three were composed within the space of a month, just weeks before Schubert became ill and died in his brother's house at the age of 31.

After Schubert's death, his friends and family fought hard to construct an acceptable image of a dear, departed genius. Portrayed as a warm, loving, and cozy chap, recent research has shown that Schubert was just as likely to have been aloof, alcoholic, and indignant. These piano sonatas also demonstrate how that official description was likely one-sided.

Along with the 1828 String Quintet and the Schwanengesang songs, Schubert's final sonatas remain impossible to pin down. From the austere and often embittered C-Minor Sonata comes the pregnant longing of the A Major and the warm regret of the final B-flat–Major masterpiece. Toying with our expectations, they push far beyond the traditional bounds of homely music making. In short, Schubert's last works are bloody, bold, and resolute, energetically belying the frailty of the composer who created them.
Program Notes
Please note that if you purchase stage seating, please arrive one hour before concert time. There will be no late seating.