Igor Levit © Robbie Lawrence
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Igor Levit © Robbie Lawrence
Recital 2 − Piano
Some events are big enough to cast shadows of anticipation. With this recital, Igor Levit, a figure known to be provocative both musically and politically, launches his Lucerne cycle of all 32 of the piano sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven. This grand project continues at the 2019 Piano Festival, extending until 2020, when the music world will celebrate the composer’s 250th birthday. For Levit, Beethoven is more than a purely historical great figure – he is very much of today; after all, he asked himself the very same questions that we pose to ourselves. “This was not an inaccessible god whom we must dare not approach,” says Levit. “Beethoven was a human who translated human matters into music.” The pianist, who was born in Russia in 1987 and moved to Germany with his family at the age of eight, will play one of his favorites: the Waldstein Sonata. In its opening, he senses a force of nature, noting that “it shakes, like an earthquake. 300 heartbeats/minute. It’s pure life.” It also entails a paradox, he adds, since, all of a sudden, the piano, which has no vibrato, can seem as if it is producing one.
Igor Levit © Gregor Hohenberg
The pianist Igor Levit was born in 1987 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, and began his piano training at the age of three. In 1995, his family moved to Germany, where Levit continued his studies with Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Matti Raekallio, and Bernd Goetzke in Hanover and later with Hans Ley-graf at the Salzburg Mozarteum. He won four prizes at the Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv in 2005 and was additionally a winner in the Hamamatsu Competition in Japan. Levit soon began appearing with such renowned orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic; the Cleveland Orchestra; the Bavarian Radio Symphony; the Dresden Staatskapelle; the Boston and London Symphony Orchestras; and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam. In the summer of 2018, he made his debuts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival and with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival; he will make his first appearance with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in March 2019. Levit’s schedule for the 2018-19 season also includes recitals in Vienna, Munich, Paris, and Tokyo, and he will make three solo appearances at London’s Wigmore Hall. One of his major projects is the complete cycle of 32 piano sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven, which he will also perform at LUCERNE FESTIVAL beginning in 2019. Levit devoted his debut recording, which was released in 2013, to Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas. His account of Bach’s six Partitas followed in 2014, and in 2015 he released an album containing Bach’s Goldbergs and Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations as well as Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated. He received Gramophone’s Recording of the Year and Best Instrumental Recording Awards in 2016. Life (2018), his most recent release, contains the works heard on today’s recital. Igor Levit received the Gilmore Artist Award in 2018.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 11 September 2011 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski performing Scriabin’s Prométhée; most recent appearance on 23 November 2016 playing Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
October 2018Other dates