“A landmark of artistic integrity, intelligence and musical insight.” The Daily Telegraph
Four years in the making, the celebrated Beethoven Journey has now reached its crowning season. An intense collaborative project between Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the heart of the journey has been the recording of all five of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerti and his Choral Fantasy, with the final volume scheduled for release by Sony Classical on 15 September. Over the four years Leif Ove Andsnes has also made Beethoven’s concerti the focus of his attention on stage with over 150 performances in 55 cities and 22 countries. With the start of the 2014 / 15 season Andsnes and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra embark on a year of high-profile residencies that will see them perform the complete cycle of concerti in Hamburg, Bonn, Lucerne, Vienna, Paris, New York, Shanghai, Tokyo and London (full performance listings below). A third and integral part of the Beethoven Journey is an ambitious education project series entitled Feel the Music that gives children with hearing impairment the chance to experience music both in personal workshops and on the concert platform together with Andsnes and the orchestra.
Volume 3 – Emperor Concerto & Choral Fantasy 15 September 2014 sees the release of the third and final recording of the Beethoven Journey, featuring Piano Concerto No. 5 Emperor and the Choral Fantasy, recorded live in concert at the Prague Spring Festival in May with Andsnes performing and directing the orchestra from the keyboard. The full Beethoven Journey will be released as a box set on 27 October.
The Beethoven Journey has enjoyed worldwide acclaim from critics and audiences alike since its inception in 2011. Particular attention has been paid to the outstanding musical partnership between Leif Ove Andsnes and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra with the Guardian commenting : “You’d be hard put to find a pianist and orchestra better matched”, whilst Gramophone Magazine wrote: “There’s so much more to this partnership than just exceptional playing; there’s a palpable sense of discovery, of living the music.”
With the completion of the recording project, Leif Ove Andsnes and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra now embark on a series of high profile tours and residencies of the complete concerti which commence in September in Hamburg and Bonn and include a week of concerts and workshops at the international Beethovenfest Bonn. In November pianist and ensemble reunite in Lucerne before taking to the stage at the Musikverein in Vienna and ending the year in Brussels. In February 2015 they continue with residencies in Paris (Théâtre des Champs- Élysées) and New York (Carnegie Hall), and give an additional performance in Boston. May sees a major tour of Asia with performances in Hong Kong, Taipei, Tainan (Taiwan), Goyang (South Korea), Shizuoka, Tokorozawa (Japan) and residencies in both Shanghai and Tokyo. The project then comes to a grand finale with a residency in London in July 2015.
All these residencies and the recording project have been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Stiftelsen Kristian Gerhard Jebsen, a Bergen-based foundation established to honour the memory of Kristian Gerhard Jebsen and his contribution to the Norwegian and international shipping business.
When not on stage with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Leif Ove Andsnes continues to perform Beethoven as guest soloist with leading orchestras, launching the season with four performances of Concerto No. 1 with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas in September. In October he returns to the States for four performances of Concerto No. 5 and the Choral Fantasy with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, followed by concerts with, amongst others, the Munich Philharmonic and Thomas Dausgaard (Nos. 3 & 5), the London Philharmonic and Osmo Vänskä (No. 5) and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard (Nos. 2 & 4).
From small beginnings in 2012 Feel the Music has become an integral component of the Beethoven Journey. The project series invites hearing-impaired children across Europe to explore how music can be experienced with all senses. It thereby picks up on the subject of deafness, which increasingly affected Beethoven in the course of his life. In a three-day workshop, the children are introduced to the world of music, assisted by Leif Ove Andsnes, the orchestra, and experienced music educators. To date Feel the Music has taken place successfully in Brescia, Cologne, Brussels, London, Dublin, Prague as well as Leif Ove Andsnes’ home town of Bergen and has been awarded the 2013 European Education YEAH!Award.
This September Feel the Music continues with workshops in both Hamburg and Bonn. At the Beethovenfest Bonn the project moves to the next level: Partner classes that took part in Feel the Music projects previously will come together and perform in a concert with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. 50 hearing-impaired children from Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic and Ireland will take part in this new project which coincides with the International Week of the Deaf. Alongside their rehearsals and performance in a signed song concert, the students and teachers from the different countries will also have opportunites for social exchange and networking during their four-day stay.
Beethoven’s music is for me the most human and deeply spiritual music there is. While his music still shakes us today with its remarkably radical and modern qualities, there are other essential and important messages that Beethoven and his music communicate to us. Beethoven held an almost naively innocent belief in the value of music to humanity. He believed that changing the world is possible and that music is truth. This touches me deeply at this point of my life, and is the motivating spirit behind this project. – Leif Ove Andsnes