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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
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Jan  1
  • Narrative and Counter-Narrative: (Re)defining the 1960s 9 AM Offsite
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Denis Matsuev

Friday, January 19, 2018 7 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
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Denis Matsuev
When a pianist is called a “virtuoso in the tradition of Gilels, Richter, and Horowitz” (Los Angeles Times), there’s going to be electricity coursing through the audience. Such is the case with Denis Matsuev, who returns to Carnegie Hall for a recital in which he displays his “epic technique … superhuman speed, power, and agility” (The Boston Globe).


Denis Matsuev, Piano


BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Op. 110
BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 17 in D Minor, Op. 31, No. 2, "The Tempest"
TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Sonata in G Major, Op. 37

Event Duration

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

At a Glance

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN  Piano Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Op. 110

One of Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas, the A-flat–Major Sonata is full of strong and unpredictable contrasts. Throughout the work, one often has the sense that the composer is feeling his way from one idea to the next, the notes forming themselves soundlessly under his fingers, detached from their auditory moorings.


LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN  Piano Sonata No. 17 in D Minor, Op. 31, No. 2, “The Tempest”

The D-Minor Piano Sonata’s apocryphal descriptive title may owe as much to Beethoven’s unbridled energy at the keyboard as it does to Shakespeare’s play. Written not long after the “Moonlight” Sonata, “The Tempest” Sonata is similarly characterized by rippling arpeggios and moodily atmospheric harmonies.


PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY  Piano Sonata in G Major, Op. 37

Although Tchaikovsky wrote dozens of short character pieces for the piano, he composed only two full-length sonatas, the first of which remained unpublished until after his death. Unlike the contemporaneous Violin Concerto—a project that flowed easily and gave Tchaikovsky “pure enjoyment”—the G-Major Sonata of 1878 had a long and arduous gestation. Described by the composer as a “somewhat dry and complicated piece,” the sonata has had many champions since it was first performed by Russian virtuoso Nikolai Rubinstein.


Denis Matsuev, Piano

Denis Matsuev has enjoyed a stellar career since his triumphant victory in the 11th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and is now one of the most sought-after musicians of his generation. He appears regularly with world-famous orchestras such as the Chicago, Pittsburgh, London, and BBC symphony orchestras; New York and Los Angeles philharmonics; The Philadelphia Orchestra; Royal Concertgebouw, Leipzig Gewandhaus, and Mariinsky orchestras; Berliner Philharmoniker; and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Of particular note, he has performed as soloist with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra since 1995.

Since 2004, Mr. Matsuev has organized the Stars on the Baikal festival in Irkutsk. The following year, he became artistic director of the Crescendo music festival, and in 2010, he was named artistic director of the Annecy Music Festival. He also serves as artistic director of the Astana Piano Passion Festival and the Moscow Grand Piano Competition, and is the president of the charitable Russian foundation New Names, which supports music education programs for children. Mr. Matsuev has collaborated with the Sergei Rachmaninoff Foundation, performing and recording unknown pieces by Rachmaninoff on the composer’s own piano at his house in Lucerne, known as Villa Senar.

Mr. Matsuev is the recipient of awards that include the prestigious Shostakovich Prize and the State Prize of the Russian Federation in Literature and Arts. He also has been named a People’s Artist of Russia and an honorary professor of Moscow State University. He is a member of the Presidential Council for Culture and Art (Russia) and an Honored Artist of Russia, and he recently became the head of the Public Council under the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.

In April 2014, Mr. Matsuev was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador; two years later, he was announced as a FIFA World Cup Russia Ambassador. In 2017, he was awarded the Order of Honour as well as the Prize of the Government of the Russian Federation for his Stars on the Baikal festival.

During the 2017–2018 season, Mr. Matsuev performs with the Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano and Riccardo Chailly, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Mariss Jansons, London Symphony Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Zubin Mehta, Konzerthausorchester Berlin and Thomas Sanderling, Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Alain Altinoglu, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Yuri Temirkanov, and Chamber Orchestra Vienna-Berlin. Under the baton of Valery Gergiev, he also appears with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, and Mariinsky Orchestra. Mr. Matsuev was named the Capell-Virtuosen of the Staatskapelle Dresden this season, and will take part in concerts and tours with the orchestra. In honor of Rachmaninoff’s 145th anniversary, Mr. Matsuev prepared the composer’s complete piano concerto cycle, which he will perform in concerts around the world.

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