Alessio Bax Does Double Duty in Brooklyn on May 9, Making Debuts at Both Brooklyn Academy of Music and Bargemusic; Returns to Lincoln Center on May 15

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Alessio Bax Does Double Duty in Brooklyn on May 9, Making Debuts at Both Brooklyn Academy of Music and Bargemusic; Returns to Lincoln Center on May 15

 

 

Globetrotting pianist Alessio Bax has earned lifetime status as a Platinum frequent flyer on American Airlines, but the resident New Yorker has never played in Brooklyn. This will change on Saturday, May 9 when he makes not one, but two Brooklyn debuts on the same day. First up is Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata for WQXR’s Beethoven Marathon at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), revisiting repertoire from his recent Signum Classics release Alessio Bax Plays Beethoven – a Gramophone “Editor’s Choice.” Later that same day, he heads to Bargemusic, joining his keyboard partner and wife Lucille Chung in one of their signature four-hands piano recitals, with a program that features the U.S. premiere of the four-hands version of Centaurus A by Heather Schmidt. Bax returns to more familiar ground on Friday, May 15 – his “musical home” with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center – to help close the Society’s season performing solo and chamber music in an all-Spanish program at Alice Tully Hall.

 

Looking forward to his two Brooklyn debuts, Bax explains:

 

“As much as I love traveling for concerts, it’s always a great feeling to sleep in my own bed and play in New York City, taking the subway to the concert venue and having a pretty normal day until concert time. It’s also wonderful to connect with people in the city that I have now called home for the last eight years. Amazingly I will have my first two performances ever in Brooklyn on the same day.”

 

Beethoven Marathon at BAM

Bax was among those who took part in the sold-out success of WQXR’s first Beethoven Marathon at Manhattan’s Jerome L. Greene Space four years ago, when he played both the “Pathétique” and Op. 110 sonatas. This year’s edition of the marathon, held at BAM Fisher during BAM’s RadioLoveFest festival, will once again offer accounts of all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas in a single day, performed by Bax – playing the “Moonlight” Sonata – and 19 fellow Beethoven interpreters.

 

With Beethoven in the mix, Bax snared first-prize wins at both the Leeds and Hamamatsu international piano competitions. After a live performance at Alice Tully Hall, the New York Times’s Steve Smith found the pianist’s to be “as satisfying an account of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp (‘Moonlight’) as I have heard recently.

 

Bax’s rendition of the “Moonlight” Sonata may also be heard on his solo album Alessio Bax Plays Beethoven, which was released last fall to similarly glowing praise. “Bax commands our attentive respect,” stated Audiophile Audition. “The combination of imagination and technical prowess remains the performer’s hallmark.” Naming the album a Gramophone “Editor’s Choice,” the magazine observed: “Bax is clearly among the most remarkable young pianists now before the public.

 

Four-hands recital at Bargemusic with Lucille Chung

In their recital at Brooklyn’s Bargemusic, Bax and Chung look forward to giving the U.S. premiere of the four-hands version of Centaurus A, a work Chung describes as “cataclysmic and powerful,” by Canadian composer Heather Schmidt, whose numerous honors include a trio of consecutive BMI Awards. Also on the program are Schubert’s Fantasie in F minor, Mendelssohn’s original four-hands transcription of his Fingal’s Cave Overture, Ravel’s Ma mère l’Oye suite, and Bax and Chung’s own arrangements of three Piazzolla tangos. The tangos may be heard on the couple’s 2013 Signum Classics release Bax & Chung, another critical success. The UK’s Sunday Times wrote, “They share a brilliant clarity in their playing. In this scintillating recital, it’s hard to find even a fleeting moment where ensemble is less than meticulous.” Classical CD Choice admired their “almost supernatural understanding of the demands of the duo repertoire,” and Gramophone magazine “wished that Piazzolla had been alive to hear it.”

 

The couple’s four-hands arrangements often require an intricate interplay of hands and arms at the keyboard; when capturing their version of Piazzolla’s Libertango in a humorously annotated video, radio host Fred Child was moved to note, “Many states require a marriage license for this duo piano technique!”

 

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Season Closer

Bax was the featured soloist in this season’s first concert by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and he returns for the closer at Alice Tully Hall on May 15. The recipient of Lincoln Center’s 2013 Martin E. Segal Award and an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and a former member of CMS Two, he has developed a close relationship with CMS, calling it his “musical home.” CMS artistic directors Wu Han and David Finckel consider him “the complete package – a consummate recitalist, a superb soloist, an expert recording artist, and in addition, a stellar chamber musician.” The upcoming concert sees Bax join American violinist Benjamin Beilman, guitarist Jason Vieaux, and the Escher String Quartet for a Spanish-themed program where he will play solo transcriptions of favorites by Falla and Albéniz, and Ravel’s bluesy Violin Sonata. The musicians repeat the program two days later at Boston’s Gardner Museum, as part of the CMS on Tour series.

 

Next Bax heads to Cyprus to play the first of fourteen summer music festivals in Norway, Italy, Germany, Australia and the U.S.  For the indefatigable pianist, the festival season looks to be “exceptionally exciting and packed this time around, spanning three continents and lots and lots of great music.

 

A complete list of Bax’s upcoming engagements follows, and additional information may be found at his web site: alessiobax.com. Recent high-resolution photos of the pianist may be downloaded here.

 

 

 

Alessio Bax: upcoming engagements

 

April 20

New York, NY

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Spring Gala

Alice Tully Hall

With Emanuel Ax, Joseph Kalichstein, Anne-Marie McDermott, Gilles Vonsattel and Wu Han

GERSHWIN: Rhapsody in Blue

 

April 26

Washington, DC

National Academy of Sciences

BEETHOVEN: Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2 “Moonlight”

SCRIABIN: Sonata No. 3

MUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition

 

May 2

La Crosse, WI

La Crosse Symphony Orchestra / ALEXANDER PLATT

RAVEL: Concerto in G

 

May 9 (day)

Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn Academy of Music

BAM Fisher

WQXR’s Beethoven Marathon

BEETHOVEN: Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, “Moonlight”

 

May 9 (eve)

Brooklyn, NY

Bargemusic

Recital with Lucille Chung

SCHUBERT: Fantasie in F minor

MENDELSSOHN: Fingal’s Cave

HEATHER SCHMIDT: Centaurus A (U.S. Premiere)

RAVEL: Ma mère l’Oye

PIAZZOLLA: Three Tangos

 

May 15

New York, NY

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Alice Tully Hall

FALLA: Danza del Molinero

ALBÉNIZ/GODOWSKI: Tango

FALLA: Fire Dance (solo piano)

RAVEL: Sonata No. 2 in G for violin and piano (with Benjamin Beilman)

Works by Boccherini, Paganini & Falla (with Jason Vieaux, guitar; Escher String Quartet)

 

May 17

Boston, MA

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Gardner Museum

FALLA: Danza del Molinero

ALBÉNIZ/GODOWSKI: Tango

FALLA: Fire Dance (solo piano)

RAVEL: Sonata No. 2 in G for violin and piano (with Benjamin Beilman)

Works by Boccherini, Paganini & Falla (with Jason Vieaux, guitar; Escher String Quartet)

 

 

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