Yefim Bronfman-Carnegie Hall Perspectives

09.27.07
Yefim Bronfman

PR representation: 21C Media

POWERHOUSE PIANIST YEFIM "FIMA" BRONFMAN

BEGINS HIS SEASON OF SEVEN CARNEGIE HALL

"PERSPECTIVES" CONCERTS ON OCTOBER 23

 

FIMA MAKES A SPECIAL MUSICAL APPEARANCE AT GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL ON BEHALF OF THE FOOD BANK FOR NEW YORK CITY DURING THE OCTOBER 17 MORNING RUSH HOUR

HIS "PERSPECTIVES" CONCERTS INCLUDE A SOLO RECITAL AND COLLABORATIONS WITH THE VIENNA PHILHARMONIC, ROYAL CONCERTGEBOUW ORCHESTRA, MET CHAMBER ENSEMBLE, ORPHEUS, AND NEW YORK STRING ORCHESTRA

SEASON ALSO FEATURES TOURS WITH THE VIENNA PHILHARMONIC, KIROV ORCHESTRA AND NDR SYMPHONY; A U.S. RECITAL TOUR; AND RETURNS TO LOS ANGELES AND CHICAGO WITH ESA-PEKKA SALONEN AND THE PIANO CONCERTO HE COMPOSED FOR FIMA

"A marvel of digital dexterity, warmly romantic sentiment and jaw-dropping bravura" - Chicago Tribune

This season, the beloved Russian-American pianist Yefim "Fima" Bronfman joins the select group of artists recognized by Carnegie Hall through its "Perspectives" series. The virtuoso pianist curates seven concerts during the season, featuring many of his long-time collaborators. At his "Perspectives" concert on October 23, Fima plays the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. "The first concerto really is a symphony with a piano in it," he explains.  "It's a funny piece that way.  Plus you can play it more like chamber music, which is always a great way to approach Brahms."

A few days before his Carnegie Hall opener, Fima makes a special musical appearance at an unaccustomed venue and hour - Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall at 8:00 a.m. on October 17.  On behalf of the Food Bank for New York City and to raise awareness and funds for the hordes of New York City's hungry, he plays a Steinway in the storied Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central for morning commuters. Steinway & Sons has generously provided a concert grand piano for the rush hour event. The performance will kick off a first-of-its-kind, 10-day online charity auction at a special web site, www.FimaForFoodBank.com.  (More information is given below.)

During the course of the season, which begins in London with Brahms, the Philharmonia, and Christoph von Dohnányi, Bronfman performs two world premieres as well as his most popular repertoire of piano concertos, including Prokofiev in Atlanta, Vienna, London, Pittsburgh, Nashville, and Madison; Brahms in San Francisco, New York, Baton Rouge and Corpus Christi; Beethoven in several Scandinavian cities; and Esa Pekka Salonen's Piano Concerto in Chicago and Los Angeles as well as in Toronto, Ontario.  He performs recitals on tour in Chicago, Seattle, New York, Kansas City, Baltimore, and in Japan. One highlight of his Carnegie Hall "Perspectives" concerts is on January 27, with the Met Chamber Ensemble and James Levine, in which Fima joins the Ensemble and violinist Gil Shaham for Berg's Chamber Concerto for Piano, Violin and 13 Winds.

Fima tours with the Vienna Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev, with Christoph von Dohnányi and the NDR Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg to Scandinavian cities, and with Gergiev and his own Kirov Orchestra to major cities of Japan.  While in Japan, Fima performs several solo recitals and gives a master class.

Bronfman's "Perspectives" series continues with a solo recital of "Fantasies" on December 17, including works by Balakirev, Beethoven, Ravel, Schumann and a world premiere by the young German composer Jörg Widmann.  On December 24, Fima joins the New York String Orchestra and Jaime Laredo for Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 22.  The pianist was befriended early in his emigré life in New York City by the NYSO's founding conductor, the late Alexander Schneider. "I made my New York debut in 1974 with the New York String Orchestra along with Shlomo Mintz and Yo-Yo Ma," remembers Bronfman.  "They played their hearts out!"

2008 takes Fima's "Perspectives" concerts back to Russian repertoire when he plays Prokofiev's Second and Third Piano Concertos with the Vienna Philharmonic (March 1) and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (February 5), respectively. Valery Gergiev, a frequent collaborator, leads the Vienna Philharmonic concert in New York after the pair have given the same program in Vienna and London. On January 27, Fima joins the Met Chamber Ensemble (members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) and James Levine in Berg's Chamber Symphony for piano, violin and 13 winds.

Fima's "Perspectives" series closes on May 4 with a chamber music concert featuring violinist Gil Shaham , cellist Lynn Harrell and the Emerson Quartet. This concert includes works by Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky and a world premiere by the French composer Marc-André Dalbavie, whose works have been performed frequently in New York, Cleveland, and Chicago.

Bronfman gives a U.S. recital tour and records the Esa-Pekka Salonen Piano Concerto

While performing concertos is of major importance to Fima, he has always enjoyed playing recitals and chamber music just as much. Because of the scope of his Carnegie Hall "Perspectives" series, he plays fewer recitals and chamber music concerts than usual this season, focusing primarily on a program of fantasies: the C major Phantasie by Robert Schumann, the rarely-programmed Islamey of Mily Balakirev, and Ravel's nightmarish Gaspard de la nuit. This repertoire will be augmented at some performances by Beethoven and at Carnegie Hall by the world premiere of a work from Germany's young composer Jörg Widmann.

Fima explains how he worked up this season's recital program:

This recital is all about fantasy. Thankfully, there are many pieces based on fantasies and the concept of the fantasy.  Schumann wrote his Fantasy with Beethoven in mind. They were erecting a monument of Beethoven in Bonn, and Schumann wrote it for the occasion.  He had Clara in mind, but it was dedicated to Franz Liszt.  It's very eccentric and a great piece that I just love to play.  The opening piece is the Beethoven Sonata No. 13, known as the "Sonata quasi una fantasia". The new Widmann piece will be sandwiched between the Beethoven and Schumann.

Balakirev's Islamey is an "Oriental fantasy".  When Ravel wrote his Gaspard de la nuit he said he wanted it to be more difficult than Islamey, which had the reputation for being the hardest piece ever written.  And he succeeded! To put these back to back will be fun - this  Ravel piece is so different from the worlds of Beethoven and Schumann.  After the intermission you'll hear this new sonority.  I'm excited about this program!

Last season Fima and the New York Philharmonic played a new piano concerto commissioned for him by the orchestra of composer-conductor Esa Pekka Salonen, who conducted.  They will repeat the performance in the mid-west and west coast premieres - with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Salonen's own Los Angeles Philharmonic - in April and May respectively. Fima will give the first performance in Canada with the Toronto Symphony and Peter Oundjian, also in April.  Salonen, Fima and the Los Angeles Philharmonic are to record the concerto in Los Angeles for Deutsche Grammophon.

Fima and Food Bank for New York City partner for hunger relief

In an important awareness-raising event in New York, Bronfman teams with the Food Bank of New York City in a special musical appearance at Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall on October 17 at 8 am.  Steinway will provide a concert grand piano for the rush-hour appearance and for a first-of-its-kind, 10-day online charity auction on a dedicated web site.

"Any organization that feeds the hungry deserves a standing ovation," remarks Fima. "If I can help in my humble way to feed just three more people, I will consider this collaboration a great success." The prize up for bid at www.FimaForFoodBank.com  will be a private performance by the pianist and the use for six months of a Steinway seven-foot Music Room Grand Piano with Player Disc mechanism (hand-delivered by Steinway).

"I grew up hearing stories from my parents, who suffered a great deal from hunger early in their lives," said Fima. "My father, who recently passed away, was from Odessa, Ukraine. He often had to go without food: during his childhood, then during the war, and again in jail - he was jailed by Stalin.  I remember him telling me one story about when his mother - my grandmother - had to exchange some of her best clothes for three potatoes so they could eat something.  My mother, who is Polish, fled to Russia with her family when the war began in order to escape the Nazis.  She was 13 years old.  They had to hide in the forests, and all they had to eat were the mushrooms and whatever else was growing there.  When these experiences are in your family, this cause resonates very much with you.  I, however, am a very lucky person.  My parents, as a reaction to the past, made sure their children did not go hungry." 

The auction will benefit the Food Bank For New York City and is part of its NYC Goes Orange campaign (orange is the color of hunger awareness), which raises awareness and funds for the more than one million New Yorkers who depend on emergency food programs to put food on the table.  The Food Bank is the major provider of food to more than 1,000 emergency and community food programs throughout the five boroughs.  Grand Central Terminal is a proud partner in the NYC Goes Orange initiative. The auction goes live at 9 a.m. on Oct. 17 and will run until midnight on October 27. Those who wish to bid should visit the dedicated web site www.FimaForFoodBank.com.