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Classics in Concert

  • Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has been called "a pianist of magisterial elegance, power and insight," which he proved in his Carnegie Hall recital, Feb. 15, 2012.
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    Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has been called "a pianist of magisterial elegance, power and insight," which he proved in his Carnegie Hall recital, Feb. 15, 2012.
    Melanie Burford for NPR
  • Andsnes takes a bow to begin his Carnegie Hall recital,  which he began by playing the Sonata in C minor by Haydn.
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    Andsnes takes a bow to begin his Carnegie Hall recital, which he began by playing the Sonata in C minor by Haydn.
    Melanie Burford for NPR
  • One man. One piano. An entire symphony of  sounds.
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    One man. One piano. An entire symphony of sounds.
    Melanie Burford for NPR
  • Andsnes played a few pieces that he'd never played in  concert before, including Bartok's Suite, Op. 14, music with plenty of angles,  colors and zigzagging rhythms.
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    Andsnes played a few pieces that he'd never played in concert before, including Bartok's Suite, Op. 14, music with plenty of angles, colors and zigzagging rhythms.
    Melanie Burford for NPR
  • Andsnes was at the top of his game in a program that included music from Haydn and Chopin to Debussy and to Bartok.
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    Andsnes was at the top of his game in a program that included music from Haydn and Chopin to Debussy and to Bartok.
    Melanie Burford for NPR
  • Andsnes said he wanted to show the contrasting sides of Chopin, from ear-spliting violence to gossamer delicacy. The Carnegie Hall audience heard both in the brilliant Ballade in G minor.
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    Andsnes said he wanted to show the contrasting sides of Chopin, from ear-spliting violence to gossamer delicacy. The Carnegie Hall audience heard both in the brilliant Ballade in G minor.
    Melanie Burford for NPR
  • Gazing up to the balcony at Carnegie Hall, Andsnes  acknowledges the enthusiastic applause from a full house of  admirers.
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    Gazing up to the balcony at Carnegie Hall, Andsnes acknowledges the enthusiastic applause from a full house of admirers.
    Melanie Burford for NPR
  • Andsnes has been known to helicopter a grand piano up to  the precipice of a Norwegian mountain to play Grieg. For this concert, he merely  picked out a nice sounding New York Steinway and had it delivered to Carnegie  Hall.
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    Andsnes has been known to helicopter a grand piano up to the precipice of a Norwegian mountain to play Grieg. For this concert, he merely picked out a nice sounding New York Steinway and had it delivered to Carnegie Hall.
    Melanie Burford for NPR
  • After more than two hours of solo piano, Andsnes leaves  the stage. But he would come back for three  encores.
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    After more than two hours of solo piano, Andsnes leaves the stage. But he would come back for three encores.
    Melanie Burford for NPR

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Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes At Carnegie Hall


in collaboration withAmerican Public Media

February 14, 2012Listen to the acclaimed Norwegian pianist in a program that spans pillars of the piano literature — from Haydn to Chopin to Bartok.

Leif Ove Andsnes is now on the north side of age 40, and 25 years into a busy concert career. But he's not setting out to buy a Porsche or stage a midlife crisis yet.

The Norwegian pianist, known for his thoughtful musicianship and unassuming manner, projects an image of personal balance and earnest curiosity. "The more one gets into the music the more one realizes there is more and more to learn," he said in an interview with WQXR's Jeff Spurgeon. "Everyday I'm trying to find out what makes music great."

That sensibility is on display tonight, as Andsnes' U.S. tour includes a stop at Carnegie Hall, webcast live on this page and broadcast live on WQXR and American Public Media. His program spans several pillars of the piano literature — Haydn's darkly turbulent C-Minor Sonata, several Chopin waltzes, ballades and nocturnes, Debussy's Images, Book I and Bartók's folk-based Suite, Op. 14.

While some pianists give more than 100 concerts each year and flirt with burnout and stress injuries, Andsnes limits his touring to about 60 performances. These include work as a solo recitalist, accompanist and chamber-music player. He is frequently called upon for his programming ideas, and in June he'll serve as music director at the Ojai Festival near Los Angeles, a rotating post that has a history of adventurous thinkers.

Another factor in Andsnes's schedule these days is fatherhood: he and his partner, Ragnhild Lothe, a horn player in the Bergen Philharmonic, had their first child together, a daughter named Sigrid. Still, more big plans are in the works. This year, Andsnes begins a Beethoven piano concerto cycle with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, his first recording for Sony Classical. He left his longtime home at EMI last year after some 40 albums and eight Grammy nominations.

When asked about his own favorite pianists, Andnses rattles off a list of list of legends: Artur Schnabel, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Sviatoslav Richter, Dinu Lipatti, Leon Fleisher and Vladimir Horowitz.

The latter choice may raise eyebrows among pianophiles who view Horowitz as an extroverted stage animal known for his flamboyant technique. "I also enjoy listening to Horowitz recordings even if it's a personality very far from how I feel about music," said Andsnes. "But he could orchestrate the piano. You can learn from so many people and I often find it's strange with young pianists how they don't listen to recordings of the past. Please listen to them before you play them yourself. I personally feel part of this great tradition."

Program
  • HAYDN Sonata in C Minor, Hob. XVI:20
  • BARTÓK Suite, Op. 14
  • DEBUSSY Images, Book I
  • CHOPIN Waltz in F Minor, Op. 70, No. 2
  • CHOPIN Waltz in G-flat Major, Op. 70, No. 1
  • CHOPIN Waltz in D-flat Major, Op. 70, No. 3
  • CHOPIN Waltz in A-flat Major, Op. 42
  • CHOPIN Ballade in A-flat Major, Op. 47
  • CHOPIN Nocturne in B Major, Op. 62, No. 1
  • CHOPIN Ballade in G Minor, Op. 23

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