Shai Wosner Performs Impromptus Recital on 10/14 to Launch Peoples' Symphony Concerts Season
Pianist Shai Wosner brings music from his critically acclaimed Impromptu recording to the concert hall, performing works by Schubert, Chopin, Dvo?ák, Gershwin, and Ives on Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. at Washington Irving High School. The program, which launches the Peoples' Symphony Concerts season as part of its Mann Series, includes Schubert's Four Impromptus, D935; Chopin's Impromptus, Op. 29 and 36; Dvo?ák's Impromptu in D minor, B129; Gershwin's Impromptu in Two Keys; and Ives's Improvisations for piano, I and III. In addition to these selections from the recording, he performs Schubert's Sonata in D Major, D. 850, Op. 53, "Gasteiner," in a look ahead to his new recital series, Schubert: The Great Sonatas, performed at the 92nd Street Y in the spring.
Throughout his career, Mr. Wosner has explored subtle connections between works of contrasting styles and time periods, and this recital features an eclectic program of improvisationally inspired works by an unlikely grouping of composers. Reflecting on the recital's theme of improvisation, he says:
There is a rush that comes with losing yourself in an improvisation-the liberating feeling you get when that thing you are making up on the spot seems to take on a life of its own while you are just tagging along (there is also the thrill in the risk that the whole thing might fall flat at any moment). ... Improvising implies a certain state of mind-it is informal though not necessarily formless. And that is captured by the impromptu, which is otherwise a fully written-out piece. It can be many things to many composers but its lack of formality sets it up as an intimate, immediate and very personal musical gesture towards the listener.
Described as a "Schubertian of unfaltering authority and character" by Gramophone, Mr. Wosner opens the recital with the first of Schubert's Four Impromptus, D935-a set he describes as the "prime example" of the genre. The impromptus by Chopin, Dvo?ák, and Gershwin build on this example, with intimations of the salon (Chopin), the mazurka (Dvo?ák), and jazz (Gershwin). In contrast, Ives's Improvisations appear to be truly improvised, having been transcribed from a 1938 recording of the composer at the piano.
The recital ends with Schubert's "Gasteiner" Sonata, one of the composer's last six piano sonatas. Mr. Wosner describes these works as "six thick novels, rich with insight about the human condition," and they form the basis of his new recital series, Schubert: The Great Sonatas, to be performed in April and May at the 92nd Street Y, as well as earlier in the season in Washington, D.C. and Durham, NC.
Released in spring 2017, Mr. Wosner's Impromptu recording marked his fourth solo recital recording for Onyx Classics and his sixth recording for the label overall. In addition to the works on the concert program, the album includes Chopin's Impromptu, Op. 51; Beethoven's Fantasy in G, Op. 77; and Liszt's Impromptu (Nocturne). To listen to the recording on YouTube, click here; Spotify users can listen here.
Pianist Shai Wosner has attracted international recognition for his exceptional artistry, musical integrity, and insightful performances of a broad repertoire-from Beethoven and Schubert to the music of today. A frequent recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber musician, Mr. Wosner is known for imaginative programming that links music of the past and present. He is a recipient of Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award-a prize he used to commission Michael Hersch's concerto Along the Ravines, which he then performed with the Seattle Symphony and Deutsche Radio Philharmonie. In addition to this Peoples' Symphony Concerts performance and the Schubert recital series, highlights of his season include performances with the Alabama, Princeton, and Singapore symphony orchestras; the continuation of his Bridge to Beethoven chamber series with violinist Jennifer Koh; and a tour to Japan with violinist Veronika Eberle. He records for Onyx Classics.