Pianist Yefim Bronfman Kicks Off 2010-11 Season with Prokofiev in U.S. and Bartók in Europe

09.06.10
Yefim Bronfman
21C Media Group

From 21C Media Group

Pianist Yefim Bronfman Kicks Off 2010-11 Season with Prokofiev in U.S. and Bartók in Europe, Before Playing Recitals with Pinchas Zukerman and Touring Salonen Concerto with Vienna Philharmonic

New Deutsche Grammophon Recording – Sommernachtskonzert 2010 – Captures Bronfman Performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 Live with Vienna Philharmonic

Yefim Bronfman covers a vast breadth of virtuoso piano repertoire, as his 2010-11 schedule serves to underscore.  His autumn concerto programs across the U.S. and Europe range from Prokofiev and Bartók to Tchaikovsky and Brahms.  As the duo partner of violinist-violist and longtime friend Pinchas Zukerman, he performs Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms on a November tour of America capped with an appearance at Carnegie Hall.  And, in December, Bronfman tours Austria and Germany playing the Piano Concerto written for him by Esa-Pekka Salonen, with the composer conducting the Vienna Philharmonic.  Nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award for their Deutsche Grammophon recording of the concerto, Bronfman and Salonen have a long history of winning awards together; they won a Grammy in 1997 for their Bartók concertos album.

Bronfman’s latest recording is a live performance of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2, included on Sommernachtskonzert 2010 with the Vienna Philharmonic under Franz Welser-Möst.  The venerable Vienna Philharmonic chairman Clemens Hellsberg described Bronfman’s playing on the night as “heavenly.”  The album, available on DVD, CD, and download, also includes Bronfman’s solo encore of Liszt’s Paganini Etude No. 2.  Recorded this summer in the gardens of Austria’s Imperial Schönbrunn Palace, Bronfman’s performances were broadcast earlier this month on PBS’s Great Performances program.

Bronfman’s scope as a pianist has inspired critical superlatives.  Of his way with a Prokofiev concerto, the New York Times said: “Mr. Bronfman displayed an eerily relaxed mastery of every pianistic challenge: the crazed first-movement cadenza; the whirlwind Scherzo with its nonstop rippling runs; the spiky, hard-driven finale, with its keyboard-spanning leaps.  His sound was steely in the aggressive outbursts yet tender in wistfully lyrical moments.”  The Los Angeles Times hailed his Bartók: “Bronfman’s playing was a finely spun whirl of notes that verged on the unbelievable... . It was impossible to take one’s eyes or ears off the bear-like, protean pianist, who has both technical brawn and a glittery grace.”  And reviewing a performance this spring, the Philadelphia Inquirer summed up the pianist’s characteristic combination of sensitivity and virtuosity by describing him as both “a weightlifter and a poet.”

Touring Salonen’s piano concerto

In mid-December, Bronfman performs Esa-Pekka Salonen’s concerto with the composer conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in four concerts in Vienna and two in Germany.  Bronfman’s dazzling Deutsche Grammophon recording of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Piano Concerto, recorded live with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, was nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award.

Bronfman and Salonen unveiled the Piano Concerto in 2007 with the New York Philharmonic, subsequently touring it at festivals in Edinburgh, Helsinki, and Lucerne.  At Lincoln Center for that first performance, Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times wrote that Bronfman “sweated bullets at the premiere and complained to any reporter who would listen about just how outrageously difficult the solo part was… . No one took him seriously; he was a sensation.”  Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times added: “Mr. Bronfman played [the concerto] with stunning command, myriad colorings, incisive articulation, and subtlety, a performance all the more impressive because Mr. Salonen did not hand over the completed score until early last month… . I cannot remember the last time a premiere at the New York Philharmonic won such an enthusiastic ovation.”

On March 18, 2011, Bronfman will present the world premiere of an as-yet-untitled Salonen piece in his Carnegie Hall solo recital.  The pianist’s other 2011 highlights include January 13-15 performances of the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 with the New York Philharmonic and Christoph von Dohnányi, as well as a Carnegie Hall concert on February 22 of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Israel Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta. 

Bronfman was born in Tashkent in the Soviet Union on April 10, 1958, and moved to Israel with his family in 1973.  He studied with pianist Arie Vardi, head of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University, and he made his international debut with Zubin Mehta and the Montreal Symphony.  Moving with his family to the U.S. in 1976, Bronfman studied at the Juilliard School, Marlboro, and the Curtis Institute, with Rudolf Firkusny, Leon Fleisher, and Rudolf Serkin.  He made his New York Philharmonic debut in May 1978, becoming an American citizen in July 1989.  Bronfman’s discography with the Deutsche Grammophon, Sony Classical, and Arte Nova labels includes the complete Prokofiev concertos and sonatas, as well as Mozart with Isaac Stern.  The pianist’s album of the three Bartók concertos won a Grammy Award in 1997.  Along with his new recording of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Vienna Philharmonic and his Grammy-nominated recording of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Piano Concerto from 2009, Bronfman’s most recent releases include a Perspectives recital collection complementing his Carnegie Hall “Perspectives” series, two-piano music by Rachmaninoff and Brahms with Emanuel Ax, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the complete Beethoven concertos with David Zinman and Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio with Gil Shaham and Truls Mork.

Yefim Bronfman’s fall/winter 2010 engagements
 
September 11
Albany, NY
PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 2
Albany Symphony Orchestra
David Alan Miller, conductor
Troy Savings Bank
 
September 16, 18-19
Houston, TX
TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1
Houston Symphony Orchestra
Hans Graf, conductor
Jesse Jones Hall
 
September 23-26
Seattle, WA
PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 2
Seattle Symphony Orchestra
Gerard Schwarz, conductor
Benaroya Hall
 
October 1-3
Pittsburgh, PA
BARTOK: Piano Concerto No. 3
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Manfred Honeck, conductor
Heinz Hall
 
October 14-15
Amsterdam, Netherlands
BARTOK: Piano Concerto No. 2
Concertgebouw Orchestra
Tugan Sokhiev, conductor
Concertgebouw
 
October 16
Eindhoven, Netherlands
BARTOK: Piano Concerto No. 2
Concertgebouw Orchestra
Tugan Sokhiev, conductor
Muziekcentrum Frits Philips
 
October 19-24
Berlin, Germany
PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 2
Berlin Philharmonic
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor
Philharmonie
 
October 28-29
Frankfurt, Germany
BARTOK: Piano Concerto No. 1
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Paavo Järvi, conductor
Alte Oper Frankfurt
 
November 5
Princeton, NJ
BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 1
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
Jacques Lacomb, conductor
Richardson Auditorium
 
November 6-7
Newark, NJ
BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 1
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
Jacques Lacomb, conductor
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
 
November 13
Germantown, TN
BARTOK: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 3
IRIS Orchestra
Michael Stern, conductor
Germantown Performing Arts Center
 
November 15
Princeton, NJ
MOZART, BEETHOVEN, BRAHMS
with Pinchas Zukerman, violin/viola
McCarter Theatre Center
 
November 17
Chicago, IL
MOZART, BEETHOVEN, BRAHMS
with Pinchas Zukerman, violin/viola
Orchestra Hall
 
November 19
Kansas City, MO
MOZART, BEETHOVEN, BRAHMS
with Pinchas Zukerman, violin/viola
Folly Theater
 
November 20
New York, NY
MOZART, BEETHOVEN, BRAHMS
with Pinchas Zukerman, violin/viola
Carnegie Hall
 
November 21
Boston, MA
MOZART, BEETHOVEN, BRAHMS
with Pinchas Zukerman, violin/viola
Symphony Hall
 
November 24, 26-27
San Francisco, CA
BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 1
San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor
Davies Symphony Hall
 
December 3-7
Rome, Italy
RACHMANINOV: Piano Concerto No. 3
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Diego Matheuz, conductor
Il Parco della Musica
 
December 11-12
Vienna, Austria
SALONEN: Piano Concerto
Vienna Philharmonic
Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor
Musikverein
 
December 13
Vienna, Austria
SALONEN: Piano Concerto
Vienna Philharmonic
Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor
Konzerthaus
 
December 14
Vienna, Austria
SALONEN: Piano Concerto
Vienna Philharmonic
Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor
Musikverein
 
December 17
Freiburg, Germany
SALONEN: Piano Concerto
Vienna Philharmonic
Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor
Venue to be determined
 
December 18
Cologne, Germany
SALONEN: Piano Concerto
Vienna Philharmonic
Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor
Köln Philharmonie

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