In 2014-15, Alessio Bax Opens Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Season, Releases All-Beethoven CD, Tours with Joshua Bell, Plays Rachmaninov in the UK

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In 2014-15, Alessio Bax Opens Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Season, Releases All-Beethoven CD, Tours with Joshua Bell, Plays Rachmaninov in the UK

 

On October 15, pianist Alessio Bax launches the 2014-15 season of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center as soloist in two Mozart piano concertos at Alice Tully Hall, one of many prominent collaborations with friends old and new around the world. He tours extensively throughout the fall with violinist Joshua Bell in the U.S. and Europe, including stops at L.A.’s Disney Hall (Oct 26) and London’s Wigmore Hall (Nov 21). He also tours the UK with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, performing Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (Jan 29 –Feb 8). In the spring he reunites with the Southbank Sinfonia, performing Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini in London under the baton of legendary pianist and conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy (March 25). The ensemble previously collaborated with Bax on his recording of Mozart’s Piano Concertos K. 491 and K. 595, released by Signum Classics in 2013. This month marks the addition of Alessio Bax plays Beethoven to his distinguished discography; the new Signum Classics album features two of the master’s greatest sonatas, the “Hammerklavier” and “Moonlight,” as well as pair of Bax’s own transcriptions from The Ruins of Athens.

 

Hailed by International Piano as “a pianist of refreshing depth,” Bax has discovered a natural musical kinship with Joshua Bell, one of the most famous violinists in the world today. The two toured five South American countries last season, winning over audiences and critics alike. The newspaper El País in Montevideo declared: “We dare say this was the best concert of the season; it will be very difficult to surpass the musical quality of these two magnificent musicians. … Alessio Bax was the revelation of the night.[He] deserves to be called ‘The Poet of the Piano’ in the way that Joshua Bell is ‘The Poet of the Violin.’

 

The coming tour is even more ambitious and occurs in three legs. First Bell and Bax concertize in the U.S. (Oct 24-Nov 8), including stops in the 2,265-seat Disney Hall in Los Angeles (Oct 26), Santa Barbara’s Granada Theatre (Oct 28), Fort Lauderdale’s Broward Center (Nov 1), Houston’s Jones Hall (Nov 5) and the AT&T Center’s Winspear Opera House in Dallas (Nov 6). In November they head to Europe for concerts in Salzburg (Nov 20), London’s Wigmore Hall (Nov 21), and further stops in Stavanger, Gothenburg, Alicante and Madrid (Nov 22-26). Finally they visit St. Petersburg, Moscow, Istanbul and Eindhoven (Dec 12-17). Their repertory reflects their geographic journey and includes Schubert’s Duo in A major, Grieg’s Sonata No. 1 and Prokofiev’s Sonata No 1.

 

Bax has also developed a close relationship with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and this year he performs four concerts with them, including the opening night. Last year the organization selected Bax for Lincoln Center’s prestigious Martin E. Segal Award. Co-artistic directors Wu Han and David Finckel explained why: “Alessio came to our attention many years ago, and we were captivated from the first notes we heard him play at the keyboard. He is the complete package – a consummate recitalist, a superb soloist, an expert recording artist, and in addition, a stellar chamber musician. … Those of us who know him well, know his warmth and humble nature, making it impossible to have any feelings but those of admiration and thanks that he is a part of our community.” For the CMS season opening concert (Oct 15) Bax plays Mozart’s Concertos K. 414 and K. 449 in special arrangements with string quintet. He returns to Alice Tully Hall April 20 for Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with pianist Wu Han, and again May 15 in a concert of Spanish music with up-and-coming American violinist Benjamin Beilman, guitarist Jason Vieaux and the Escher String Quartet. They repeat that program at the Gardner Museum in Boston on May 17 as part of the CMS on Tour series.

 

Another important musical relationship for Bax is even closer to home: his frequent collaborations in four-hand repertoire with his wife, pianist Lucille Chung. The pair is widely regarded as one of the foremost duos of their generation. Among their concerts this season is a program of Lutoslawski, Debussy, Ravel and Bartók in Dallas at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, where they are visiting faculty members (Oct 5). Gramophone praised their “effortless synchronicity” and “maximum tonal imagination” on their Signum Classic disc, Bax and Chung, which was released last fall, and the UK’s Classical CD Choice said, “Bax and Chung demonstrate an almost supernatural understanding of the demands of the duo repertoire.

 

In February, Bax tours the UK performing Rachmaninov’s famously passionate Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Shelley (Feb 1-8). Bax has won plaudits for his interpretations of Rachmaninov, with Pianist magazine declaring, “Here is Rachmaninov playing on the Mercedes level” and Classics Today remarking, “Rachmaninov’s music fits Alessio Bax’s seemingly boundless technique hand in glove, along with his big, luscious, multi-colored sonority and ardent temperament.” He kicks off his tour with the orchestra with a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor” (Jan 29), a work he performs earlier in the season with Finland’s Kuopio Symphony Orchestra under Alberto Hold-Gariddo (Oct 9).

 

Beethoven is also the subject of Bax’s new CD, Alessio Bax plays Beethoven, released September 9. It includes two of the composer’s best-loved piano works, the “Hammerklavier” and “Moonlight” Sonatas, as well as Bax’s own transcription of two pieces from Beethoven’s Ruins of Athens, Op. 113. In the booklet notes for the release, Bax describes what makes the “Hammerklavier” Sonata so special for him: “It is, with no fear of exaggeration, one of the great achievements of humankind. It is Everest for a pianist. I have lived with this work for nearly twenty years now and it has singlehandedly deepened my knowledge of Beethoven, piano technique and music.”

 

In the New Year Bax performs Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Helsinki Philharmonic, led by Pietro Rizzo (Jan 14-15). He returns to London for the same work with his partners on his 2013 Signum Classics disc Alessio Bax Plays Mozart – the Southbank Sinfonia. That performance of the Rachmaninov is under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy (Mar 25). The young orchestra is a superb match for Bax’s own energy and vision, as reviews of the Mozart disc observed. Minnesota Public Radio noted, “With their combined talents, imaginations and deep collaborative commitment, Alessio Bax, Simon Over and the Southbank Sinfonia pry out some fresh ideas – and new life – in these familiar works by Mozart.”

 

Brahms also makes an appearance in Bax’s 2014-15 season, on consecutive nights in Denmark. He will perform the Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Aalborg Symphony under Rumon Gamba (Nov 28), and the complete violin sonatas with Vesselin Demirev (Nov 29), and he repeats the concerto with the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra under Heiichiro Ohyama (Mar 17). “Alessio Bax proves himself here to be an ideal Brahmsian,”stated Fanfare in its review of the album Alessio Bax Plays Brahms. “Gilels, Michelangeli, Gould, and Rubinstein, among others, each recorded distinguished versions [of the four Ballades], but Bax’s performance brings out the jagged rhyme schemes of their phrase structure with even greater eloquence than his predecessors.”

 

In addition to his busy performance schedule, Bax is keen to share his expertise with younger generations. This season he offers numerous masterclasses as he tours, and continues his work as a visiting faculty member at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas, where he is scheduled to give a masterclass to six aspiring pianists as part of the Dallas International Piano Competition (March 11). Bax himself benefited from mentors along the way: in 2007 he was filmed performing Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata for Daniel Barenboim for the PBS-TV documentary Barenboim on Beethoven: Masterclass, available as a DVD on the EMI label.

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

 

 

 

Alessio Bax: 2014-15 engagements

 

Sep 27

Flint, MI

Flint Symphony Orchestra / Enrique Diemecke

BARTÓK: Concerto for Two Pianos and Percussion

With Lucille Chung

(Sep 26: Masterclass)

 

Oct 5

Dallas, TX

SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts

LUTOSLAWSKI: Paganini Variations

DEBUSSY: En blanc et noir

RAVEL: La Valse

BARTÓK: Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion

With Lucille Chung, Brian Johns and Doug Howard

 

Oct 9 

Kuopio, Finland

Kuopio Symphony Orchestra / Alberto Hold-Gariddo

BEETHOVEN: Concerto No. 5, Op. 73 “Emperor”

 

Oct 15

New York, NY

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Opening Night

MOZART: Concertos K. 414 and K. 449

With Bella Hristova and Arnaud Sussmann, violins; Paul Neubauer, viola; Sophie Shao, cello; Joseph Conyers, double bass

 

Oct 19

Columbus, OH;

Columbus Museum of Art

Signature Series of OSU’s Jefferson Academy of Music

BEETHOVEN: Sonata No. 31 in A-flat major, Op. 110

RACHMANINOV: Hopak (from Mussorgsky); Prelude in G major, Op. 32, No. 5; Prelude in G minor, Op. 23, No. 5

MUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition

 

Oct 24-Nov 8

Joshua Bell tour – United States

SCHUBERT: Duo in A Major

GRIEG: Sonata No. 1

PROKOFIEV: Sonata No 1

Additional repertoire TBA

Oct 24: Santa Rosa Symphony recital (Weill Hall, Sonoma State University)

Oct 25: Modesto, CA (Gallo Center for the Arts)

Oct 26: Los Angeles, CA (Disney Hall)

Oct 28: Santa Barbara, CA (Granada Theatre, UCSB)

Nov 1: Fort Lauderdale, FL (Broward Center)

Nov 5: Houston, TX (Jones Hall, Society for the Performing Arts)

Nov 6: Dallas, TX  (AT&T Performing Arts Center – Winspear Opera House)

Nov 16

Mt. Kisco, NY

4-hands piano concert

With Lucille Chung

 

Nov 20-26: Joshua Bell tour – Europe

Nov 20: Salzburg, Austria

Nov 21: London, England (Wigmore Hall)

Nov 22: Stavanger, Norway

Nov 23: Gothenburg, Sweden

Nov 25: Alicante, Spain

Nov 26: Madrid, Spain

 

Nov 28

Aalborg, Denmark

Aalborg Symphony / Rumon Gamba

BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor

 

Nov 29

Aalborg, Denmark

Recital with Vesselin Demirev

Brahms complete violin sonatas

 

Dec 2

Charlottesville, VA

Tuesday Evening Concert Series

BEETHOVEN: Sonata No. 31 in A-flat major, Op. 110

RACHMANINOV: Hopak (from Mussorgsky); Prelude in G major, Op. 32, No. 5; Prelude in G minor, Op. 23, No. 5; Liebesleid (from Kreisler); Liebesfreud (from Kreisler)

MUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition

 

Dec 12-17 

Joshua Bell tour – Europe

Dec 12: St. Petersburg, Russia

Dec 14: Moscow, Russia

Dec 16: Istanbul, Turkey

Dec 17: Eindhoven, Netherlands

 

Jan 5-11 

Akita, Japan

Chamber Music Festival

With Heiichiro Ohyama, viola

 

Jan 14-15

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki Philharmonic / Pietro Rizzo

RACHMANINOV: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

 

Jan 29

Kingston upon Hull, UK

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Alexander Shelley

BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5, Op. 73 “Emperor”

 

Feb 1-8

UK tour with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Alexander Shelley

RACHMANINOV: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18

            Feb 1: Northampton, UK

Feb 3: London, England (Cadogan Hall)

Feb 4: Croydon, South London, England

Feb 8: Southend, England

 

Feb 20 

Covington, LA

Louisiana Philharmonic / Teddy Abrams

RAVEL: Piano Concerto in G

(Feb 18: Masterclass)

 

Feb 21 

New Orleans, LA

Louisiana Philharmonic / Teddy Abrams

RAVEL: Piano Concerto in G

 

March 1

Tallahassee, FL

Peterson Music Hall at Florida State University

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

BRAHMS: Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 21, No. 1

SCRIABIN: Valse

RAVEL: La Valse
March 8

Baltimore, MD

Goucher College

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

BRAHMS: Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 21, No. 1

SCRIABIN: Valse

RAVEL: La Valse

 

March 11

Dallas, TX

Dallas International Piano Competition

SMU masterclass

 

March 17

Santa Barbara, CA

Lobero Theatre

Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra / Heiichiro Ohyama

BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor

 

March 25

London, UK

Southbank Sinfonia / Vladimir Ashkenazy

Cadogan Hall

RACHMANINOV: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

 

March 28

Fort Myers, FL

Southwest Florida Symphony

RACHMANINOV: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18

 

March 31

Grass Valley, CA

InConcert Sierra

Recital
April 20

New York, NY

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Spring Gala

Alice Tully Hall

GERSHWIN: Rhapsody in Blue with Wu Han

 

April 26

Washington, DC

National Academy of Sciences

Recital

BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonatas Op. 14/2 “Moonlight”  & Op. 110

BRAHMS: Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 21, No. 1

SCRIABIN: Valse

RAVEL: La Valse

 

May 2

La Crosse, WI

La Crosse Symphony Orchestra / Alexander Platt

RAVEL: Piano Concerto in G

 

May 15

New York, NY

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Alice Tully Hall

FALLA: Danza del Molinero; ALBÉNIZ/GODOWSKY: Tango; FALLA: Fire Dance (solo piano)

RAVEL: Sonata No. 2 in G major for Violin and Piano with Benjamin Beilman, violin

BOCCHERINI, PAGANINI and KERNIS: works with Jason Vieaux, guitar; Escher String Quartet

 

May 17

Boston, MA

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Gardner Museum

FALLA: Danza del Molinero; ALBÉNIZ/GODOWSKY: Tango; FALLA: Fire Dance (solo piano)

RAVEL: Sonata No. 2 in G major for Violin and Piano with Benjamin Beilman, violin

BOCCHERINI, PAGANINI and KERNIS: works with Jason Vieaux, guitar; Escher String Quartet

 

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© 21C Media Group; September 2014

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