Thursday April 22 4.00 pm
Streamed LIVE concert in an empty church
Stephen Kovacevich (piano)
Tamsin Waley-Cohen (violin)
Beethoven: Piano Sonata in E major Op 109 (20')
Brahms: Ballade in B major Op 10 no 4 (9')
Intermezzo in B minor Op 119 no 1 (4')
Capriccio in D minor Op 116 no 7 (3')
Debussy: Violin Sonata in G minor (14')
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Stephen Kovacevich is widely recognised as one of the most revered artists of his generation. With an international career spanning more than six decades, he has long been recognised as one of the most searching interpretors – “A musician completely absorbed in his craft, his interpretations are like no one else's and always eminate directly from the heart: musical messages of wisdom, peace, resignation, and hope” (The Washington Post). He is known for never being afraid to take both technical and musical risks in order to achieve maximum expressive impact. Through this, he has won unsurpassed admiration for his piano-playing, none more than from Leopold Stokowski , who famously wrote: “You do with your feet what I try to do with my Philadelphia Orchestra” .
Born in Los Angeles, Kovacevich laid the foundation for his career as concert pianist at the age of eleven. After moving to England to study with Dame Myra Hess, he made his European debut at Wigmore Hall in 1961. Since then, he has appeared with many of the world's finest orchestras and conductors, including Hans Graf , Bernard Haitink , Kurt Masur , Yannick Nezet-Seguin , Sir Simon Rattle , and the late Sir Georg Solti . As concerto soloist, recent and forthcoming highlights include Aurora Orchestra/Nicholas Collon , Los Angeles Philharmonic/Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla , Orchestre symphonique de Montréal/David Zinman , Sydney Symphony/Vladimir Ashkenazy , and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony/Sylvain Cambreling . In recital, recent and forthcoming highlights include performances in Europe, Asia, and the United States – including the NCPA (Bejing), the Phillips Collection (Washington), the Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), and the Wigmore Hall (London). Kovacevich also performs regularly across the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand, and is a regular guest at prestigious festivals worldwide – including Lugano , Verbier , and the Mariinsky International Piano Festival (the latter by personal invitation of Valery Gergiev ).
Over the course of his extensive career, Kovacevich has forged many long-standing artistic partnerships, such as that with the late Sir Colin Davis with whom he made numerous outstanding recordings, including the legendary Bartok Piano Concerto No.2 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Another such long-term affiliation is his professional partnership with Martha Argerich , with whom he regularly performs in duo on the world's leading concert stages. Recent and forthcoming highlights for the Argerich-Kovacevich Duo include recitals at Het Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Philharmonie (Paris), Victoria Hall (Geneva), the Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), and the Wigmore Hall (London). He is a committed chamber musician, with collaborations over the course of his long career including with such luminaries as the late Lynn Harrell , Jacqueline du Pré , and Joseph Suk . Kovacevich now enjoys regular artistic collaborations with such violinists as Nicola Benedetti , Renaud Capuçon , and Alina Ibragimova ; cellists Gautier Capuçon , Steven Isserlis , and Truls Mørk ; flautist Emmanuel Pahud ; and the Amadeus , Belcea , and Cleveland quartets.
Stephen Kovacevich has enjoyed an illustrious long-term relationship with recording companies Philips and EMI. To celebrate his 75 th birthday, Decca released a Limited Edition 25-CD Box Set of his entire recorded legacy for Philips. In 2008, he re-recorded Beethoven's Diabelli Variations , exactly 40 years after his first recording of the work. This Onyx recording won him the Classic FM Gramophone Editor's Choice Award (2009) and the Gramophone Magazine Top Choice Award (2015), to quote: “His seasoned yet fearless mastery reveals something new with each hearing…” .
Born in London, Tamsin Waley-Cohen enjoys an adventurous and varied career. In addition to concerts with the Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Hallé, Liverpool Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, Royal Northern Sinfonia and BBC orchestras, amongst others, she has twice been associate artist with the Orchestra of the Swan and works with conductors including Andrew Litton, Vasily Petrenko, Ben Gernon, Ryan Bancroft and Tamás Vásáry. Her duo partners include James Baillieu and Huw Watkins. She gave the premiere of Watkins' Concertino, and in Summer 2020 will premiere a new work for violin and piano with him at Wigmore Hall. She is thrilled to be a Signum Classics Artist. With her sister, composer Freya Waley-Cohen, and architects Finbarr O'Dempsey and Andrew Skulina, she held an Open Space residency at Aldeburgh, culminating in the 2017 premiere of Permutations at the Aldeburgh Festival, an interactive performance artwork synthesising music and architecture. Her love of chamber music led her to start the Honeymead Festival, now in its twelth year, from which all proceeds go to support local charities.
She is a founding member of the Albion string quartet, appearing regularly with them at venues including Wigmore Hall, Aldeburgh Festival, and the Concertgebouw. In 2016-2017 she was the UK recipient of the ECHO Rising Stars Awards, playing at all the major European concert halls and premiering Oliver Knussen's Reflection, written especially for her and Huw Watkins. In the 2018-19 season she toured Japan and China, and gave her New York Debut recital at the Frick.She is Artistic Director of the Two Moors Festival, and has previously been Artistic Director of the Music Series at the Tricyle Theatre, London, and the Bargello festival in Florence. She studied at the Royal College of Music and her teachers included Itzhak Rashkovsky, Ruggiero Ricci and András Keller.
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