Igor Levit © Robbie Lawrence
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Igor Levit © Robbie Lawrence
Recital 3 − Piano
Ludwig van Beethoven composed 32 piano sonatas, but by no means are all of them regularly performed in the Concert Hall. The complete Beethoven cycle that Igor Levit will traverse at LUCERNE FESTIVAL in 2019 and 2020 thus offers a unique opportunity to hear sonatas that have been undeservedly eclipsed by the more famous ones. And there is so much to discover! Take Beethoven’s Opus 78, which he dedicated to his former pupil and favorite Therese von Brunsvik. Levit finds it to be a “tremendous work,” adding: “F-sharp major, what a comic key. Who writes a piece in F-sharp major? The Sonata is in part genuine Schubert. It is incredibly beastly to play, really difficult,” he admits, with reference to the “defiant, immodest” second movement and its constant alternation between major and minor. How Beethoven became what he is, Levit believes, can be seen above all in the great Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 7, where, for the first time, the “drive of one’s own self” is fully expressed, resulting in “a new sound, a new time, a new sense of time, a new intensity.”
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