After honoring Glenn Gould, Vladimir Horowitz, Arthur Rubinstein, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and Emil Guilels, the 21st edition of the Festival of Colmar celebrates the memory of one of the most non-conformist pianists in history, Sviatoslav Richter. This incomparable musician, who always refused to teach his craft, has no direct "disciple". Yet, his influence on contemporary pianists remains palpable twelve years after his passing, as evidenced in particular by his prolific discography.
Throughout the 24 concerts of the 2009 edition, many facets of Sviatoslav Richter's concert repertory will be presented. Concertos by Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Liszt, Grieg, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev will be interpreted by renowned pianists such as Boris Berezovsky, Nikolaï Lugansky, John Lill and Denis Matsuev, as well as by rising keyboard stars, including Lise de la Salle, a Frenchwoman, Severin von Eckardstein, a German pianist, and Anna Vinnitskaya, a Russian pianist.
The 2009 Festival will focus on the variety of symphonic pieces, featuring no less than three orchestras and four conductors. Ion Marin is returning for two concerts in which he will conduct the National Philharmonic of Russia, the orchestra in residence for the fifth year. The opening concert, conducted by the Finn, Ari Rasilainen, will feature Romantic and post-Romantic works, performed by the Philharmonic Orchestra of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
The artistic director of the Festival, Vladimir Spivakov, whether playing his violin or leading with his baton, will delight us with Grieg's famous Peer Gynt Suite, Hartmann's rare Concerto for Violin and Berg's sublime Seven Early Songs, which will be sung by Tatiana Pavlovskaya, one of the most delightful "discoveries" of the 2008 Festival.
The participation of the excellent Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, led by its musical director Marek Janowski, is a very special event! Indeed, German artists and the German repertory will be "guests of honor" during the 2009 program - a tribute to Sviatoslav Richter's German origins. The entire collection of Beethoven's piano concertos, as well as his Triple Concerto, performed by the Wanderer Trio, will be some of the highlights of this "tribute within a tribute."
The piano, the incontrovertible "king" of instruments this year, will be omnipresent: there will be four recitals (with Grigory Sokolov, Mikhaïl Rudy, François-Frédéric Guy and Alexander Ghindin), two programs of violin-piano and cello-piano sonatas (with Isabelle Faust and Xavier Phillips), two voice-piano concerts with Semion Skigin in memory of Richter's work with the greatest vocalists of his time, as well as the trio with Eldar Nebolsin on the piano (winner of the grand prix at the first Richter competition in Moscow), the quartet with Fauré on the piano and finally, the quintet with piano (the young Kirill Gerstein will make his debut in Alsace).
A passion for chamber music, a school that develops the ear and the spirit of sharing, dominated Richter's career. The twelve concerts that the 2009 edition is featuring during the Festival's "noontime" and "afternoon" concert series (not to mention the special concert at the Unterlinden Museum) beckon concert lovers to partake of as many of the masterpieces from this grand repertory as they can: Bach and Mahler, Tchaikovsky and Schubert, Brahms and Schubert…
Loyal as usual to its traditions, the 2009 Festival blends genres and repertories, featuring popular hits next to lesser-known scores, and world-renowned celebrities alongside lesser-known rising stars. Two weeks of pleasure, surprises and emotion await you!
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