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Listen to Mendelssohn’s Variations sérieuses, Op. 54 and Schumann’s Sonata in F-sharp minor, No. 1, Op. 11


András Schiff:

András Schiff was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1953 and started piano lessons at age 5 with Elisabeth Vadász. Subsequently he continued his musical studies at the Ferenc Liszt Academy with Professor Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados, and in London with George Malcolm. Recitals and special cycles of the major keyboard works of J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann and Bartók form an important part of his activities. Between 2004 and 2009, he performed complete cycles of the 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas in 20 cities throughout the United States and Europe, a project recorded live in the Zurich Tonhalle and released in eight volumes for ECM New Series.

In October 2010, Schiff’s North American engagements focus on the solo piano works of Schumann and Mendelssohn with recitals at Disney Hall in Los Angeles, Herbst Theater in San Francisco, Benaroya Hall in Seattle, Strathmore Hall in Maryland, Paige Auditorium in Durham, Symphony Hall in Chicago and Carnegie Hall in New York. Future North American engagements will focus on Hungarian themes, as well as a two-season project dedicated to Johann Sebastian Bach.


Program Information**:*

Felix Mendelssohn’s _Variations sérieuses _are unquestionably the composer’s masterpiece in the solo piano repertoire — even more than his justly popular Songs without Words. Clearly affected by the memory of Beethoven, Mendelssohn composed his Fantasie in F-sharp minor, Op. 28, a three-movement, Janus-faced piece that acknowledged Beethoven’s incomparable legacy while at the same time anticipating Mendelssohn’s own unique genius.

Robert Schumann’s tempestuous and ardently Romantic Piano Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp minor, Op. 11, is one of several passionate works that expresses his love for his future wife Clara, herself a superb pianist and under-appreciated composer. The Fantasy in C major also expresses Schumann’s deep love for Clara. He composed the work when the two lovers were forced to contend with strenuous opposition from her father, Schumann’s erstwhile piano teacher.

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