Emanuel Ax to Kick Off Three Concert Series with Music of Brahms & Premieres, 1/28

On Tuesday, January 28 at 8:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Hall, pianist Emanuel Ax launches a three-concert retrospective focusing on the music of Brahms played alongside new works, all co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall. On the first program, mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter sings the New York premiere of Nico Muhly's So Many Things. Also on the program is Brahms's beloved song cycle, Zigeunerlieder, as well as selected lieder, and solo piano pieces by the composer.

The series continues on Sunday, February 23 at 2:00 p.m., when Mr. Ax is joined by longtime friend and collaborator cellist Yo-Yo Ma in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Hall. The concert includes Brahms's first two cello sonatas as well as the New York premiere of a new work for cello and piano, The MAX Duo, by Swedish composer Anders Hillborg, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall. In addition, this performance marks the first annual Isaac Stern Memorial Concert, honoring the late violinist and conductor. The concert will be will be aired on WQXR 105.9 FM in New York and on stations nationwide as part of the Carnegie Hall Live broadcast and digital series. Produced by WQXR, New York City's classical music station, and Carnegie Hall, and presented in partnership with American Public Media, the series is hosted by WQXR's Jeff Spurgeon and APM's Fred Child, and is available for live streaming on wqxr.org and carnegiehall.org/wqxr. Select concerts will be archived for on-demand streaming post-broadcast. During each broadcast, WQXR and Carnegie Hall will host live chats featuring behind-the-scenes insights by the broadcast team, color commentary by the hosts, and interaction with the broadcast / webcast listeners, connecting national and international fans to the music and to each other.

The final concert in the series features the pianist in a solo recital, on Thursday, May 15 at 8:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage. The program includes Brahms's Piano Sonata No. 2 in F-sharp Minor; Klavierstücke, and Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, alongside New York premieres of Carnegie Hall co-commissions by Brett Dean and Missy Mazzoli.

Having studied and practiced the music of Brahms for over forty years, Emanuel Ax is dedicated to sharing the prolific composer's music with audiences. The commissioned composers Missy Mazzoli, Anders Hillborg, Nico Muhly, and Brett Dean were asked to include a motive or theme based on the notes F, A, and F, a pattern heard in the opening of Brahms's Third Symphony, as well as several other pieces, referring to the composer's motto Frei aber Froh (free but happy). "We always do a lot of great music from the past, and there's great music being written now" said Mr. Ax. "Sometimes it's very enjoyable for me to try to make some connection between the two worlds."

More On: Carnegie Hall, Nico Muhly, Yo-Yo Ma, Isaac Stern,

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by Peter Danish