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Garrick Ohlsson & Sir Donald Runnicles

Garrick Ohlsson & Sir Donald Runnicles Release The Complete Beethoven Piano Concertos

Reference Recordings has released The Complete Beethoven Piano Concertos played by GRAMMY-­winner Garrick Ohlsson, performing with the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra, conducted by Sir Donald Runnicles. This album was recorded during live Festival performances in July 2022.

A student of the late Claudio Arrau, Mr. Ohlsson is especially noted for his masterly performances of the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the Romantic repertoire. To­ date, he is the only American ever to win first prize in the International Chopin Piano Competition. Ohlsson has also been nominated for three GRAMMY Awards, winning one in 2008 for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance for Beethoven Sonatas, Vol. 3. This new recording represents a pinnacle in his career.

More than 60 years since its humble beginnings performing in a tent at the base of the Tetons, the Festival is now sought after for both listeners and performers alike as a destination to experience the finest in classical music throughout the summer. The Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra consists of top talent from across the world, including more than 220 musicians from 90 orchestras and 65 institutions of higher learning, many performing together each summer for over 25 years. The Festival, founded in 1962, also welcomes yearly some of the most sought-after soloists and visiting artists in classical music today. Under the baton of world-­renowned conductor Sir Donald Runnicles since 2005, these musicians come together to gather inspiration from the mountain setting and to provide spectacular music for Festival audiences.

In addition to being Music Director of GTMF, Sir Donald Runnicles is General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (DOB) since 2009, and in his final season as Principal Guest Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony since 2001. Runnicles enjoys close and enduring relationships with many of the most significant opera companies and symphony orchestras. His recording of Wagner arias with Jonas Kaufmann and the Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin won the 2013 Gramophone Prize for Best Vocal Recording, and his recording of Janáček’s Jenůfa with the Orchestra and Chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin was nominated for a 2016 GRAMMY award for Best Opera Recording.

“I started at the very end, with Beethoven’s Prometheus Overture, to get a feel for recorded sound and the orchestral playing: both excellent, Sir Donald setting a dignified opening against a bustling allegro, an appreciable entrée to Garrick Ohlsson and the five Piano Concertos, beginning (for me) with the ‘Emperor’, a majestic account with considered conducting, a lively orchestra, and fastidious solos from Ohlsson, an architect, a lyricist, and a dynamic purveyor of the notes, the sort of address that takes the listener into the music without performer artifice or intervention for its own sake; thus No.5 is essayed with character, a trust in – and a focus on – the music, and vivid communication, the well-balanced recording capturing enthusiastic camaraderie between the musicians and the resulting spontaneous music-making, the slow movement being especially sublime, and the Finale an exhilarating and rhythmically vital ride, nicely modulated along the way.”
ColinsColumn.com (Colin Anderson, Classical Source)

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