27 July - 4 August 2019
Piano Festival Brochure 2019
No musical instrument can quite match the universality of the piano. It is both a solo orator and a congenial conversationalist, a vessel for introspection and unbounded, triumphant communication. Pianos are now found in railway stations and airports as well as public houses and private homes. For many of us, the piano is the first non-vocal instrument from which we manage to lure music.
At the twenty-first Oxford Piano Festival, we celebrate the piano in all its diversity – as an instrument that exists at the heart of life and literature and one that is at once ubiquitous and elusive.
As I remarked last year, learning never stops at the Oxford Piano Festival. The fourteen participants in our residential teaching course will benefit from a potentially transformative experience working with some of the greatest pianists of our time. In addition our Patron Alfred Brendel, will give masterclasses on chamber music performance.
In truth, the impulses and energies of learning flow in myriad directions. And while we will surely hear more from those emerging young artists in the future, in the meantime, we are delighted to offer the public performances from some of the most communicative, honest and individual exponents of the art of pianism alive.
As usual, we traverse various schools of pianism, beginning with one of the most longstanding and thrilling: the Russian school. Boris Berezovsky, laureate of the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, opens our recital series with a programme bookended by Rachmaninov. From Argentina, we welcome Ingrid Fliter, a pianist whose revelatory work on the central European repertoire has been of vital importance. Also making her debut is Beatrice Rana, an emerging pianist of extraordinary intelligence and musicianship still in her mid-twenties. Old friends join us too: from America, Sergei Babayan returns for an evening dedicated to the music of the piano’s greatest prophet, Frédéric Chopin, while our close associate Menahem Pressler gives a recital that will be full of the atmosphere only he can generate. Steven Osborne’s acute affinity with Olivier Messiaen’s piano works (and one in particular) brings our recital series to a close with another debut appearance.
From Christ Church Cathedral to Oxford Town Hall, and from the Holywell Music Room to the Church of St John the Evangelist, 2019’s Festival offers music spanning two centuries and taking in solo, chamber and orchestral works. It is my great privilege to welcome you.