Alessio Bax in 2016-17: Three Wigmore Appearances, Plus Collaborations with Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Bramwell Tovey, Joshua Bell, CMS, and More

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Alessio Bax in 2016-17: Three Wigmore Appearances, Plus Collaborations with Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Bramwell Tovey, Joshua Bell, CMS, and More

Through a full and varied lineup of solo recitals, orchestral collaborations, and chamber concerts, over the coming season Alessio Bax continues to prove himself among the most remarkable young pianists now before the public” (Gramophone). In the first of three 2016-17 appearances at London’s Wigmore Hall, the Leeds and Hamamatsu winner makes his solo recital debut at the storied venue with a program of Schubert, Scriabin, and Ravel. He also gives solo recitals in Spain, Italy, and at multiple destinations throughout the United States. Orchestral highlights include dates with the Vancouver Symphony and Bramwell Tovey, playing Edward MacDowell’s Second Piano Concerto, and with the National Orchestra of Spain and Miguel Harth-Bedoya, playing Tchaikovsky’s First. With his regular recital partner, superstar violinist Joshua Bell, Bax embarks on a national tour crowned by an appearance at New York’s Alice Tully Hall. He returns to the venue on an extensive U.S. tour with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, with which he also appears in Copenhagen and at Wigmore Hall. A superlative chamber musician who has been recognized with both Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal and the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Awards, he gives six chamber recitals at Japan’s Le Pont Music Festival in company with artists including Berlin Philharmonic concertmaster Daishin Kashimoto and flutist Emmanuel Pahud; appears with his wife, fellow pianist Lucille Chung, in Virginia, Mexico, and at Guatamala’s Bravissimo Festival; and gives a pair of duo recitals in California with cellist Sol Gabetta. These engagements follow a summer replete with festivals on both sides of the Atlantic, including [email protected], the Seattle and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festivals, Switzerland’s Verbier Festival, and Italy’s Incontri in Terra di Siena Festival, where the pianist looks forward to returning and launching a three-season tenure as Artistic Director next summer.

Solo dates: Wigmore solo recital debut and more

For his solo recital debut at London’s Wigmore Hall (April 17), Bax plays Schubert’s Sonata in A minor, Ravel’s La Valse, and Scriabin’s Third Sonata. This last piece features on his all-Russian album, a Signum Classics release in which “his musical sensitivity is fully on display” (Washington Post) that was named one of the “Best of 2015” (Music-Web International). For further solo dates in Westport, CT (Jan 20), San Jose, CA (Feb 5), and Alicante, Spain (March 20), he rounds out this program with Mozart’s Six Variations on a Theme from the Clarinet Quintet. Besides additional U.S. engagements, the pianist’s solo schedule takes him to Perugia in his native Italy (Nov 13) for works by Scriabin, Mussorgsky and Beethoven. Selected as one of the “Top 10 recent Beethoven recordings,” it was Alessio Bax Plays Beethoven, another 2015 Signum Classics title, which prompted Gramophone to marvel:

Even when compared to legendary performances of this sonata (Kempff, Richter, Gilels, Brendel, etc), this performance stands its ground in music to test the technique and intellect of even the greatest pianists.”

Concertos with Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Bramwell Tovey, and others

This past March, Bax stepped in at the eleventh hour to play Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto under Miguel Harth-Bedoya’s leadership at the Fort Worth Symphony. As Theater Jones reported:

The result … was an incendiary and inspired throw-caution-to-the-winds performance, … the likes of which we may never hear again.”

Next spring, the pianist and conductor reunite in Madrid to reprise the concerto, this time with the Orquesta Nacional de España (April 28–30), highlighting a full orchestral lineup that also takes Bax to the Vancouver Symphony for Edward MacDowell’s quintessentially American Second Piano Concerto under Bramwell Tovey (March 11 & 13); the Norwegian Radio Orchestra for Mozart (Dec 1); the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra for Schumann (May 16); the Santa Rosa Symphony for Brahms (Feb 11-13); Italy’s Camerata Strumentale di Prato (Nov 10) and Alabama’s Mobile Symphony (Nov 19 & 20) for Beethoven’s Fourth; and the Williamsburg Symphony for the master composer’s “Emperor” concerto (March 29 & 30). The “Emperor” forms the centerpiece of his forthcoming Signum Classics release, an all-Beethoven album that he looks forward to recording with London’s Southbank Sinfonia next April.

Duo recitals with Joshua Bell, Sol Gabetta, and Lucille Chung

Bax’s musical partnership with violinist Joshua Bell has been described as “perfect” (DrehPunktKultur). Over the past three years the two have toured Europe, Asia, and the Americas, inspiring reviews like the Santa Barbara Independent’s, which declared: “Balance and communication were the hallmarks of the evening by two young masters.” This fall, on their next U.S. tour, Bax and Bell perform works by Schubert, Brahms, and Debussy at Great Barrington, MA (Oct 28), Worcester, MA (Oct 29), SUNY Purchase, NY (Oct 30), Tampa, FL (Nov 3), Kohler, WI (Nov 4), and Madison, WI (Nov 5), as well as at New York’s Alice Tully Hall (Nov 2).

The pianist also joins Argentinean cellist Sol Gabetta for Brahms, Schumann, and Prokofiev in San Francisco (Nov 15) and Santa Barbara (Nov 16), and reunites with pianist Lucille Chung for four-hands recitals of Mozart, Mendelssohn, Stravinsky, and Piazzolla at Virginia’s Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts (Jan 8) and in Leon, Mexico (Oct 22). The two also perform together in a four-piano recital at Guatamala’s Bravissimo Festival (Oct 26). It was of the husband-and-wife pairing that Classical CD Choice observed: “Bax and Chung demonstrate an almost supernatural understanding of the demands of the duo repertoire.

Chamber music on three continents with CMS and others

A former member of CMS Two and the recipient of both Lincoln Center’s 2013 Martin E. Segal Award and an Avery Fisher Career Grant, Bax has developed a close relationship with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, which he calls his “musical home.” Likewise, 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.” It is in this capacity that the pianist embarks on the CMS’s North American tour in the New Year, performing piano quartets by Brahms and Fauré with violinist Ani Kavafian, violist Yura Lee, and cellist Paul Watkins in Cleveland, OH (Jan 17), Waterloo, ON (Jan 19), Winston-Salem, NC (Jan 21 & 22), Vancouver, BC (Jan 24), Grand Rapids, MI (Jan 26), SUNY, Purchase, NY (Jan 28), and at home in Alice Tully Hall (Jan 29). He joins Wu Han herself for Schubert’s four-hands Lebensstürme in Copenhagen (May 4), where he also plays Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet with the Danish String Quartet, and at the Wigmore Hall (May 5), where he couples it with Mozart’s Piano Quartet in E-flat. Bax undertakes additional CMS dates in Athens, GA (Feb 26) and at Lincoln Center (March 3), after giving a CMS masterclass at the New York venue on February 28. His remaining chamber commitments include fall concerts with members of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra (Nov 30) and at Japan’s Le Pont Music Festival (Oct 8–17). His collaborators there include such luminaries as Berlin Philharmonic concertmaster Daishin Kashimoto, whom he looks forward to rejoining for a Japanese tour and a return to Wigmore next summer.

2015-16 highlights, live and on recording

These engagements follow a full 2015-16 season for the pianist. He headlined the Colorado Symphony’s opening-night concerts, playing Tchaikovsky’s First under Andrew Litton, and impressing the Denver Post with the “tight coherence between the ensemble and its guest and a palpable connection running from the keyboard to the podium.” He collaborated for the first time with the nine-time Grammy Award-winning Emerson String Quartet, and joined an outstanding lineup of pianists for “Pianos/Pianists” at Lincoln Center, when the New York Times admired the way he and Wu Qian “phrased as a pair with endearing naturalness.” To celebrate the release of his all-Russian album, he debuted Pictures in the Making – a new live multimedia collaboration with American visual artist and director Doug Fitch – at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust, whose Creative and Executive Director, composer Paola Prestini, hosted a post-performance Q & A. He also played on an all-Poulenc album released by Lucille Chung that Classic FM considered “exceptional,” and released Lullabies for Mila, a collection dedicated to their baby daughter that was named “Pick of the Month” by CD Hotlist. Click here to see Bax play lullabies by Bach and Brahms to 22-month-old Mila in a special Father’s Day edition of NPR’s “Tiny Desk” concerts.

To conclude the season, the pianist headlined Tuscany’s Incontri in Terra di Siena Festival, playing Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto with the Southbank Sinfonia on the estate the New York Times has described as “an aesthete’s paradise with a rich, evocative history.” According to Bachtrack, Bax’s was “a beautifully crisp, sharp, satisfyingly phrased performance.” The review continued:

His capacity for softness and for evenness of touch came beautifully to the fore for the concerto’s many top-keyboard pianissimo flutterings, as his strong relationship with the orchestra also reaped dividends, producing satisfyingly sympathetic chamber pockets amidst the surrounding symphonic excitement. … What with Bax’s brilliantly despatched encore, György Cziffra’s arrangement of Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5, it was a very satisfied crowd that finally picked its way back through the fields.”

The UK’s Catholic Herald agreed, concluding:

Bax is one of the outstanding pianists of his generation: a musician of immaculate style, sensibility and grace, but driven by an iron technique and sense of purpose. He means business when he plays.”

The pianist looks forward to returning to the idyllic Italian festival next season, which marks the first of his new appointment as Artistic Director. As he recently told Classic FM:

We already have a great line-up of musicians – Joshua Bell, Lawrence Power, Paul Watkins, Henning Kraggerud. A great line-up of close friends who love making music together.”

Recent high-resolution photos of the pianist may be downloaded here.

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Alessio Bax: 2016-17 engagements

Oct 2

Denver, CO

Denver Youth Orchestra

RACHMANINOV: Concerto No. 2

Oct 8-17

Japan

Le Pont Music Festival

Oct 8: Ako, Harmony Hall

SCHUMANN: Andante and Variations for two pianos, two cellos and horn

(with Skanavi, Bohórquez, Maintz, and Baborák)

BRAHMS: Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 87

(with Kashimoto and Bohórquez)

Oct 9: Ako, Harmony Hall

SCHUMANN: Trio No. 3, Op. 110

(with Brovtsyn and Maintz)

Oct 11: Himeji Castle Garden

BRAHMS: Piano Quintet, Op. 34

(with Kashimoto, Brovtsyn, Tamestit, and Bohórquez)

Oct 12: Himeji Castle Garden

JEAN FRANCAIX: Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano

(with Furube and Audin)

Oct 14: Himeji , Parnassos Hall

BEETHOVEN: Trio for flute, bassoon and piano, WoO 37

(with Pahud and Audin)

JACQUES IBERT: Aria for flute, violin and piano

(with Pahud and Kashimoto)

NINO ROTA: Trio for flute, violin and piano

(with Pahud and Kashimoto)

Oct 17: Tokyo, Suntory Hall

GLINKA: Divertimento brillante on themes from Bellini’s Opera La Sonnambula for piano,

two violins, viola, cello and double bass

(with Brovtsyn, Lomeiko, Caussé, Bohórquez, and Shehata)

MARTINŮ: Madrigal Sonata for flute, violin and piano

(with Pahud and Lomeiko)

Oct 22

Leon, Mexico

Recital with Lucille Chung

Oct 26

Guatemala City, Guatemala

Bravissimo Festival

Four Pianos Recital

SAINT-SAËNS (arr. E. Guiraud): Danse Macabre for four pianos (with Lucille Chung, Daniel del Pino, and Alon Goldstein)

WILBERG: Carmen Fantasy for four pianos (with Lucille Chung, Daniel del Pino, and Alon Goldstein)

POULENC: Concerto for two pianos (with Alon Goldstein)

LISZT (arr. R. Kleinmichel): Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, for four pianos (with Lucille Chung, Daniel del Pino, and Alon Goldstein)

Oct 28–Nov 5

U.S. duo recital tour with Joshua Bell, violin

Oct 28: Great Barrington, MA (Mahaiwe PAC)

Oct 29: Worcester, MA (Music Worcester)

Oct 30: SUNY Purchase, NY

Nov 2: New York, NY (Alice Tully Hall)

Nov 3: Tampa, FL

Nov 4: Kohler, WI (Kohler Foundation Series)

Nov 5: Madison, WI (Wisconsin Union Theater)

Nov 10

Prato, Italy

Camerata Strumentale di Prato / Jonathan Webb

BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G

Nov 13

Perugia, Italy

Amici della musica

Solo Recital: BEETHOVEN, SCRIABIN, and MUSSORGSKY

Nov 15 & 16

California duo recitals with Sol Gabetta, cello

SCHUMANN: Fantasiestücke, Op. 73

BRAHMS: Sonata No. 1

PROKOFIEV: Adagio from Cinderella, Op. 97 bis

PROKOFIEV: Sonata

Nov 15: San Francisco, CA (Herbst Theater)

Nov 16: Santa Barbara, CA

Nov 19-20

Mobile, AL

Mobile Symphony Orchestra / Scott Speck

BEETHOVEN: Concerto No. 4

Nov 30

Oslo, Norway

Chamber concert with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra

MOZART: Piano Quartet in E-flat, KV 493

HUMMEL: Septet, Op. 74

Dec 1

Oslo, Norway

Norwegian Radio Orchestra / Miguel Harth-Bedoya

MOZART: Concerto in C minor, KV 491

Jan 8

Vienna, VA

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

Recital with Lucille Chung

MOZART: Sonata in C, KV 521

MENDELSSOHN: Hebrides Overture

STRAVINSKY: Petrouchka

PIAZZOLLA: Milonga del Angel; Libertango

Jan 17–29

North American tour with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

BRAHMS: Scherzo, WoO posth. 2, from “F-A-E” Sonata for Violin and Piano

FAURÉ: Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viola, and Cello No. 2 in G minor, Op. 45

BRAHMS: Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viola, and Cello No. 2 in A, Op. 26

(With Ani Kavafian, Yura Lee, and Paul Watkins)

Jan 17: Cleveland, OH

Jan 19: Waterloo, ON

Jan 21 & 22: Winston-Salem, NC

Jan 24: Vancouver, BC

Jan 26: Grand Rapids, MI

Jan 28: SUNY, Purchase, NY

Jan 29: New York, NY (Alice Tully Hall)

Jan 20

Westport, CT

Quick Center for the Arts

MOZART: Six Variations on a Theme from the Clarinet Quintet, KV 581, KV Anh 137

SCHUBERT: Sonata in A minor, D 784

SCRIABIN: Sonata No. 3, Op. 23

RAVEL: La Valse (poème chorégraphique pour orchestre)

Feb 5

San Jose, CA

Steinway Society

MOZART: Six Variations on a Theme from the Clarinet Quintet, KV 581, KV Anh 137

SCHUBERT: Sonata in A minor, D 784

SCRIABIN: Sonata No. 3, Op. 23

RAVEL: La Valse (poème chorégraphique pour orchestre)

Feb 11-13

Santa Rosa, CA

Santa Rosa Symphony / Bruno Ferrandis

BRAHMS: Concerto No. 2

Feb 17

Canyon, TX

West Texas A&M University

Solo Recital

Feb 21

Dallas, TX

Southern Methodist University

With Escher String Quartet

Feb 26

Athens, GA

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

MENDELSSOHN: Gondellied (Song without Words Op. 19b)

RESPIGHI: Sonata for Violin and Piano in B minor

ROTA: Intermezzo for Viola and Piano

Feb 28

New York, NY

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Masterclass

March 3

New York, NY

Alice Tully Hall

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

MENDELSSOHN: Gondellied (Song without Words Op. 19b)

RESPIGHI: Sonata for Violin and Piano in B minor

ROTA: Intermezzo for Viola and Piano

March 5

Rockland County, NY

Recital

March 11 & 13

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver Symphony / Bramwell Tovey

MACDOWELL: Piano Concerto No. 2

March 20

Alicante, Spain

MOZART: Six Variations on a Theme from the Clarinet Quintet, KV 581, KV Anh 137

SCHUBERT: Sonata in A minor, D 784

SCRIABIN: Sonata No. 3, Op. 23

RAVEL: La Valse (poème chorégraphique pour orchestre)

March 29-30

Williamsburg, VA

Williamsburg Symphony

BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5

April 7–9

Columbia, MO

Plowman Chamber Music Competition

April 7: solo recital

April 8 & 9: jury

April 10

Dallas, TX

Southern Methodist University

Solo Recital

April 17

London, UK

Wigmore Hall

BBC Lunchtime Concerts

SCHUBERT: Sonata in A minor, D 784

SCRIABIN: Sonata No. 3, Op. 23

RAVEL: La Valse (poème chorégraphique pour orchestre)

April 28–30

Madrid, Spain

Orquesta Nacional de España / Miguel Harth-Bedoya

TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1

May 4

Copenhagen, Denmark

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

SCHUBERT: Lebensstürme for piano four-hands (primo)

SHOSTAKOVICH: Piano Quintet, Op. 57

(With Wu Han and Danish String Quartet)

May 5

London, UK

Wigmore Hall

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

MOZART: Quartet in E-flat, KV 493

SCHUBERT: Lebensstürme for piano four-hands (primo)

(With Benjamin Beilman, Yura Lee, Jakob Koranyi, and Wu Han)

May 16

Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra / Heiichiro Ohyama

SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto

# # #

© 21C Media Group, September 2016

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