30 July - 7 August 2017
I am delighted to welcome you to the 2017 Oxford Piano Festival where you will hear the world’s most celebrated pianists in performance and observe as they engage with our exceptional young participants through illuminating masterclasses and lectures. The opportunity to discover how world-class interpretations are formed never fails to inspire – a rare glimpse indeed inside the artistic process.
To launch the Festival, we welcome two artists of the younger generation who are blazing a trail across the world’s great concert halls. An imaginative soloist, chamber musician and former BBC New Generation Artist, Zhang Zuo performs an eclectic programme of works by Beethoven, Granados and Liszt. An all-Beethoven recital by Israeli pianist Saleem Ashkar follows, giving Oxford audiences a glimpse of his world-wide, season-long sonata cycle project.
We are delighted to welcome back the inimitable John Lill. A long-time friend of the Festival and an insightful artist in both performance and teaching roles, Lill will give a masterclass and a recital of music by Beethoven, Prokofiev, Schumann and Chopin.
Two unmissable début Piano Festival appearances this year come in the form of a recital by Richard Goode in the atmospheric setting of Merton College Chapel and Yefim Bronfman as soloist with the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra at our Sheldonian Theatre home. Renowned for the emotional depth he brings to his interpretations, Goode will perform works by Mozart, Janáĉek and Brahms, as well as a selection of Debussy’s intoxicating Préludes from Book II. To close the festival in grand style, Bronfman will perform what promises to be a thrilling interpretation of Brahms’s gargantuan second piano concerto.
A further standout Sheldonian Theatre performance comes from President of the Oxford Piano Festival, Sir András Schiff and an opportunity to hear him perform Book I of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier in its entirety.
Completing our distinguished performer line-up is Menahem Pressler who, in 2016 was made Life President of the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra in acknowledgment of his outstanding contribution to the Oxford Piano Festival. An opportunity to witness one of the most beloved pianists of our time, Pressler will give a recital in the Holywell Music Room.
The young artists featured in the Participants’ Recital astound audiences every year and for those who have followed their progress across the numerous masterclasses, this concert provides an opportunity to see those lessons put into practice.
Good teaching is characterised by a holistic approach to the development of young artists and this year, for the first time, we present an insightful lecture by leading performance coach, Charlotte Tomlinson, on the subject of performance anxiety. Further talks come from two towering pillars of the piano world who have shaped the course of the instrument in modern times: Alfred Brendel, our Festival Patron and esteemed authority on the instrument, returns to once again share his unique perspective; and Dame Fanny Waterman, co-founder of the Leeds Piano Competition, who has been at the centre of piano education in the UK for over half a century.
Our Festival remains a unique, non-competitive environment for tomorrow’s star pianists to hone their musical personalities and the historic city of Oxford provides the perfect backdrop for both inspiration and learning. I very much look forward to welcoming you.