Igor Levit


Sun, 22.11. | 16.00 | No. 20504

KKL Luzern, Concert Hall

Beethoven Farewell – Cancelled

20.11.-22.11. 2020



    Igor Levit  piano
    Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)
    Piano Sonata in E major, Op. 109
    Piano Sonata in A-flat major, Op. 110
    Piano Sonata in C minor, Op. 111

    Ludwig van Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas have taken on mythic status. He composed these works when he was already completely deaf, i.e., when he himself could no longer hear what kind of masterpieces he had achieved. In the process, he conceived a music so visionary that it seemed to Richard Wagner like the “key to the mystery of the world.” About the very last sonata in C minor, Thomas Mann wrote in his novel Doktor Faustus that Beethoven had thus taken the entire genre to its endpoint: “It had fulfilled its destiny, reached its goal, beyond which there was no going; cancelling and resolving itself, it had taken its farewell.” It is with this musical legacy that Igor Levit concludes his Beethoven cycle in Lucerne. At the end, a hymn-like chant resounds, radiating ever more ecstatically and liberating us from the entire weight of the earth. “This Beethoven pounces on us, grabs us by the ears, and shakes us to our core,” wrote Christian Wildhagen in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung about Levit’s Beethoven interpretations – declaring the pianist a great stroke of fortune for the 2020 Beethoven Year.

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    Igor Levit

    The pianist Igor Levit was born in 1987 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, and began taking piano lessons at the age of three. His family moved to Germany in 1995, where Levit continued his studies with Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Matti Raekallio, and Bernd Goetzke in Hanover before transferring to Hans Leygraf at the Salzburg Mozarteum. He won four prizes at the Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv in 2005 and was also a victor at Hamamatsu Competition in Japan. Levit soon began performing with such renowned orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Saxon Staatskapelle Dresden, and the Boston and London Symphony Orchestras. He made his debuts with the Vienna Philharmonic in 2018 and, in 2019, with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. In the 2020-21 season, Levit will be artist-in-residence with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and will also be the featured artists at the Essen Philharmonie. He will make his debuts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic under Herbert Blomstedt. Additional plans include concert engagements with the Orchestre de Paris, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Royal Concertgebouworkest, and he will go on tour with the Hagen Quartet. Among Levit’s major current projects is the cycle of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas, which he is performing at LUCERNE FESTIVAL, the Salzburg Festival, and Musikfest Berlin, as well as in Hamburg, Stockholm, and London. He has also released his recording of the complete set. His other recordings include accounts of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, and Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated. Encounter, which contains works by Bach, Brahms, and Feldman, is his latest album and will appear in September 2020. Levit was named recipient of the Gilmore Artist Award in 2018, and in 2020 he received the Beethoven Prize for his political engagement.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 11 September 2011 as the soloist in Scriabin’s Prométhée with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski.

    August 2020

    Other dates

    15.00 | Introduction to the concert (in German) by Susanne Stähr | KKL Luzern, Auditorium