Rochester, NY — Many of the 20th century’s greatest pianists appeared in recital in the Eastman Theatre, including Rachmaninoff, Horowitz and Serkin. With the Theatre’s magnificent new concert shell and vastly improved acoustics, it was time for the Eastman School of Music to renew this great tradition with three contemporary keyboard superstars.
Emanuel Ax opens the Grand Pianists series on Thursday, December 1 in grand style with a program entitled “Ballades”. Ax first captured public attention in 1974 when, at the age of 25, he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition. He went on to win both the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists and the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. His many Sony recordings have earned two Grammy Awards, and his acclaimed recordings with cellist Yo-Yo Ma have received four more. Ax’s warmly received appearances with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra have made him a Rochester favorite.
Emanuel Ax is renowned not only for his poetic temperment and unsurpassed virtuosity, but also for his exceptional breadth of repertoire and variety of performances. His Eastman Theatre program will include a pair of brand new works written especially for him by two female rising stars in the composition world: Ballade (2005) by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, and Ji-Dong-Nuo (2005) by Chinese-born American composer, Chen Yi. Ax’s program also will include works by Brahms, Liszt, and Chopin.
The Grand Pianist series will continue on Tuesday, February 14, 2006 with the boundary-breaking Christopher O’Riley, who juxtaposes classical works and rock transcriptions by Radiohead, Tori Amos and others. On Tuesday, April 11, the formidable Krystian Zimerman will bring his customized Hamburg Steinway to the Eastman Theatre stage.
Tickets for Emanuel Ax (and all Grand Pianists recitals) range from $15 to $30, and are available at the RPO Box Office (108 East Avenue), by phone at 454-2100, online at www.esm.rochester.edu/concerts, or at Rochester-area Wegmans Home Video departments. Any unsold tickets will be available at the Eastman Theatre Box Office one hour before concert time.
Note : a high-resolution photo of Mr. Ax is available electronically, as is detailed program information. Interviews are possible pending Mr. Ax’s availability.