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Andras Schiff to Return to New York Philharmonic as Conductor, Performer

Andras Schiff to Return to New York Philharmonic as Conductor, Performer

András Schiff will return to the New York Philharmonic to conduct and perform J.S. Bach's Piano Concerto in A major, BWV 1055, and Schumann's Piano Concerto; he also conducts Haydn's Symphony No. 80 and Bartók's Divertimento for String Orchestra.

The program takes place Thursday, October 19, 2017, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, October 20 at 8:00 p.m.; and Saturday, October 21 at 8:00 p.m.

In its review of András Schiff's most recent appearance leading the New York Philharmonic from the piano - during The Bach Variations: A Philharmonic Festival - The New York Times wrote: "You can imagine that [Bach] would have been exhilarated by the performances ... [Schiff's] performance, as always, was a model of pristine articulation, varied colorings and rhythmic élan. ... The Philharmonic musicians seemed delighted to be working with this longtime colleague and great artist."

András Schiff has returned to the works of Schumann, Haydn, Bartók, and J.S. Bach (of whom he says, "Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Bartók - they all come from Bach") throughout his career. Each composer was the focus of Mr. Schiff's recordings for the Denon label between 1977 and 1981; in August 2015, the Heritage label compiled and re-released these recordings on the album The Denon Recordings.

PROGRAM:

New York Philharmonic

David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center

Thursday, October 19, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Open Rehearsal - 9:45 a.m.
Friday, October 20, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 21, 2017, 8:00 p.m.

András Schiff, conductor / piano

HAYDN Symphony No. 80
BARTÓK Divertimento for String Orchestra
J.S. BACH Piano Concerto in A major, BWV 1055
SCHUMANN Piano Concerto

Single tickets for this performance start at $33. Tickets for Open Rehearsals are $20. Tickets may be purchased online at nyphil.org or by calling (212) 875-5656, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday; 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5:00 p.m. Sunday. Tickets may also be purchased at the David Geffen Hall Box Office. The Box Office opens at 10:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and at noon on Sunday. On performance evenings, the Box Office closes one-half hour after performance time; other evenings it closes at 6:00 p.m. A limited number of $18 tickets for select concerts may be available for students within 10 days of the performance at nyphil.org, or in person the day of. Valid identification is required. To determine ticket availability, call the Philharmonic's Customer Relations Department at (212) 875-5656. (Ticket prices subject to change.)

About the Artist:

Born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1953, András Schiff started piano lessons at age five with Elisabeth Vadász. He continued his studies at the Franz Liszt Academy with Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág, Ferenc Rados, and, later in London, with George Malcolm. Recitals and special cycles - including the major keyboard works of J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, and Bartók - form an important part of his activities. Since 2004 he has performed complete cycles of the 32 Beethoven piano sonatas worldwide; the cycle in Zurich's Tonhalle was recorded live for ECM. An exclusive ECM artist, Mr. Schiff has recorded works by Schubert, Schumann, Janá?ek, Beethoven, and J.S. Bach to critical acclaim. The most recent, Encores After Beethoven, a collection of encores performed after his Beethoven cycle programs, was released in 2016. His newest recording - with violinist Yuuko Shiokawa, to be released in October - includes sonatas for violin and piano by Bach, Busoni, and Beethoven. Mr. Schiff has worked with most major international orchestras and conductors, and in recent years he has performed mainly as a conductor and soloist. In 1999 he created his own chamber orchestra, the Cappella Andrea Barca. This season he appears as conductor and soloist with the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, in addition to more than a dozen recitals in two North American visits. He served as artistic director of the Musiktage Mondsee chamber music festival (1989-98), and in 1998 he started a similar series, Hommage to Palladio, at the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy. The recipient of numerous international prizes, András Schiff became an honorary member of the Beethoven House in Bonn in 2006 in recognition of his interpretations of Beethoven's works. In 2008 he was awarded the Wigmore Hall Medal in appreciation of 30 years of music-making at the hall. He has also received the Schumann Prize, International Stiftung Mozarteum's Golden Mozart-Medaille, and the Royal Philharmonic Society's Gold Medal; was made a Member of the Honour of Vienna Konzerthaus; and received an honorary degree of doctor of music honoris causa by the University of Leeds in July 2014. In June 2014 Mr. Schiff was knighted for his services to music in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. In spring 2011 he attracted attention because of his opposition to alarming political developments in Hungary. In light of the ensuing attacks on him from some Hungarian Nationalists, he decided not to perform again in his home country. András Schiff's book, Musik kommt aus der Stille, comprising essays and conversations with Martin Meyer, was published in March 2017 by Bärenreiter and Henschel. András Schiff made his New York Philharmonic debut in November 1982 performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 17, conducted by Rafael Kubelík. He most recently performed and conducted a program of J.S. Bach, Mendelssohn, and Schumann as part of The Bach Variations: A Philharmonic Festival in April 2013.

About the Repertoire:

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) composed his Symphony No. 80 in 1794 while working for Prince Nicolaus Esterházy. It is the second of three symphonies he sent to publishers in Vienna, London, and Paris - illustrating how the composer's renown had spread beyond his work at the Prince's court. The work - set in a minor key, an unusual choice for this period in Haydn's output - combines a Sturm und Drang opening with his signature wit conveyed through playful harmonies, rhythms, and instrumentation, especially highlighted in the entertaining, dance-like themes throughout the work. The New York Philharmonic previously performed Haydn's Symphony No. 80 in October 1951 and February 1954, both times conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos.

Béla Bartók (1881-1945) wrote his Divertimento for String Orchestra in August 1939 in Switzerland for the Basle Chamber Orchestra, which premiered the work in June 1940. Its conductor, Paul Sacher, was a friend of Bartók's and had also commissioned his Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta. It is possible that he intended the work - which he composed as Europe was about to enter World War II - to be, as its name implies, a diversion from the continent's political reality. Bartók wrote the piece in about two weeks spent in seclusion while staying in Sacher's alpine chalet in Saanen. While it doesn't completely ignore drama - the second movement is complex and powerful - the Divertimento is, overall, a light, accessible work written in the concerto grosso style (with alternating passages for solo instruments and full ensemble) that explores conventional forms, including the sonata, rondo, and folk tunes. The New York Philharmonic's first performance of Bartók's Divertimento for String Orchestra was in December 1951, on the orchestra's 5,000th concert, conducted by George Szell at Carnegie Hall. The Orchestra most recently performed the work in May 2001 in New York and June-July 2002 in Asia, led by then Music Director Kurt Masur.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was the first composer to bring the keyboard to prominence as a solo instrument; it had previously been used only as harmonic support in the continuo. Upon taking the position of director of Leipzig's Collegium Musicum in the 1730s, Bach and his sons Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel appeared as harpsichord soloists, performing arrangements of a series of concertos Bach had originally created for other instruments. Though the original manuscript of Bach's Piano Concerto in A major, BWV 1055, is lost, scholars believe he composed it for oboe d'amore while working at the court of Anhalt-Cöthen between 1717 and 1723, and transcribed it for keyboard ca. 1738. The compact work begins with a vivacious opening movement based on a single rhythmic motive; moves into a lavish, aria-like second movement; and finishes with an exuberant, dance-like finale. These performances mark the New York Philharmonic's first of the concerto in its keyboard form. The Philharmonic has previously performed the work in a reconstruction for oboe d'amore, in April 1977 led by then Music Director Pierre Boulez and in November 2000 led by Franz Welser-Möst, both with then Philharmonic English horn Thomas Stacy as soloist.

Thanks to the encouragement of his wife, Clara Wieck Schumann, also a composer and pianist, Robert Schumann (1810-56) completed his Piano Concerto in 1845. It is his only complete piano concerto; he had started, but then put aside, four previous attempts. In 1841 he completed a one-movement Phantasie for Piano and Orchestra that received two private run-throughs with Clara Schumann as soloist with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, conducted by their friend and fellow composer Felix Mendelssohn. Schumann then reworked the Phantasie as the first movement of his Piano Concerto. Democratic in the way the piano and orchestra interact, the work quickly became one of his most popular pieces. The complete, three-movement concerto was premiered by Clara Schumann in Dresden in December 1845, conducted by Ferdinand Hiller, to whom the work is dedicated. The New York Philharmonic presented the work's U.S. Premiere in March 1859, with soloist Sebastian Bach Mills and conducted by Carl Bergmann. The Orchestra most recently presented it in December 2012, with David Zinman conducting and pianist Jan Lisiecki as soloist.

Pictured: András Schiff with the New York Philharmonic. Photo by Chris Lee.


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