Monday, June 12, 2006

Piotr Anderszewski

Hungarian-polish pianist, born 4 April 1969 in Warsaw.
Anderszewski began to study piano at the age of six and subsequently attended conservatories in Lyon and Strasbourg, the Academy of Music in Warsaw, and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He further honed his skills in Italy, in a series of master classes lead by Fou Ts'ong, Murray Perahi, and Leon Fleisher. His execution of the 33 DIABELLI VARIATIONS IN C-MAJOR by Ludwig van Beethoven at the INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION IN LEEDS in 1990 opened the door to his professional debut at Wigmore Hall in London, and subsequently to an international career. Anderszewski has given concerts in England (with the ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA and the LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA), Ireland, Germany (series of Beethoven concerts with the MÜNCHENER PHILHARMONIKER in 1996), France, Austria, Portugal, Italy, and in Poland. In 2001 in Paris he performed the 4TH SINFONIA "CONCERTANTE" of Karol Szymanowski, under the direction of Charles Dutoit. His repertoire also includes the METOPES, MASKS, 3RD PIANO SONATA, and MAZURKAS of this composer. Piotr Anderszewski has performed chamber music with Victoria Mullova, with whom he has recorded three albums for the Philips label (the sonatas of Johannes Brahms, Leos Janácek, and Serge Prokofiev), as well as with Andrzej Bauer and his sister Dorota, a violinist. His album containing the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Anton Webern, recorded for the CD Accord label, was enthusiastically received by critics and won the pianist the "Fryderyk '96" Polish Recording Industry Award. In 1999 the Harmonia Mundi label released an album with Anderszewski's recordings of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach. In 2001 the pianist signed a recording contract with Virgin Classics, a label for which he will record Ludwig van Beethoven's 33 DIABELLI VARIATIONS, the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, and the piano concertos of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In the year 2000 Anderszewski received the Karol Szymanowski Award. He has been living abroad, primarily in Paris, since 1990. Piotr Anderszewski took his first steps towards an international career in 1990 at the Leeds Piano Competition, though in fact he did not fare well in that contest. At this unusually prestigious event, comparable to Poland's CHOPIN COMPETITION, he failed to win any prize but succeeded in garnering attention with his semi-final performance of the unusually difficult cycle of Beethoven's 33 DIABELLI VARIATIONS. "All other sonatas seem banal compared to this one," said Anderszewski, and Beethoven's VARIATIONS would become a permanent companion to the pianist throughout his career, up to the present time. Following the competition, the Teldec company approached Anderszewski about recording the work, but insisted on a studio recording. This was not in line with the pianist's plans: "Recording in a studio is too analytical a process, too repetitive; it's a cold and calculated way of dismantling a piece into its component parts, followed by a cold synthesis of the work. It's a different artistic discipline, and entirely different vocation," Anderszewski stated in an interview for the recording and broadcasting industry magazine "Studio" in 1997. He seemed more interested in facing the challenge of the moment, in the fact of having a single chance and being forced to use it. The ideal for Anderszewski would have been to record an excellent performance during a concert. Teldec refused to bow and ultimately Anderszewski did not record Beethoven's VARIATIONS for this label. The pianist nevertheless received performance offers and began to give concerts in England, Ireland, and Germany. He also appeared solo or with orchestras in Rome and Lisbon, Prague and Munich, but most frequently in London. For a time the pianist traveled the world with violinist Victoria Mullova, whose career was blooming at the time. The duo traveled to Japan, the Far East, and throughout Europe, and it was in the end with Mullova that Anderszewski made his first recording. The album, produced by the Philips label, contained the sonatas of Debussy, Janácek, and Prokofiev. This was followed by another album for Philips, also with sonatas, this time those of Brahms. Finally, Anderszewski arrived in Poland, where he both began giving solo concerts and recording. The pianist's first solo album was published by CD Accord and contained recordings of the works of Bach, Beethoven (SONATA IN A-FLAT MAJOR, OP. 110), and Anton Webern. The DIABELLI VARIATIONS awaited... Before they would get their chance, the pianist would record the works of Bach for the Harmonia Mundi label. Anderszewski says that over the years he deepened his knowledge of Beethoven's cycle, and when his expanding career got the attention of Virgin Classics, a division of the publishing giant EMI, and he was offered the opportunity to record the DIABELLI VARIATIONS, he did not hesitate... even though he would be forced to do this in a studio. The record received excellent reviews, and Virgin decided on another album for which Anderszewski recorded two of Mozart's concertos. At this point the pianist is working on convincing Virgin to produce a recording of the solo pieces of Karol Szymanowski, a composer with whom the pianist has become fascinated only recently.

A film by Bruno Monsaingeon

Listen: HERE

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