SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts’ 2018–19 classical season showcases some of the world’s most celebrated musicians in the intimate Virginia G. Piper Theater. Tickets go on sale April 23 at 10 a.m. Here are the upcoming performances:
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet:
An Evening with Pianist Joyce Yang
● On March 2, the innovative Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will present a program devoted to contemporary dance works accompanied by a live piano performance by Korean-born pianist Joyce Yang. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is named after the Colorado and New Mexico cities where the company maintains homes, and is devoted to curating new ballets. Yang won fame when she was awarded the Silver Medal at the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. She has performed with major orchestras and received a Grammy Award nomination for her collaboration with violinist Augustin Hadelich on Works for Violin and Piano (2016).
Academy of St Martin in the Fields
Jeremy Denk, piano
● One of America’s foremost pianists teams with legendary English chamber orchestra, theAcademy of St Martin in the Fields, for a March 6 concert that is part of the ensemble’s 68th anniversary tour. Jeremy Denk, winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship for his adventurous programming, will play two works with the orchestra: Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major, K. 414, and Benjamin Britten’s one-movement study for piano and strings, Young Apollo. The remainder of the program will feature scores by Mozart contemporaries Josef Haydn and C.P.E. Bach, and Italian Baroque master Tomaso Albinoni.
VIRGINIA G. PIPER CONCERT SERIES
● The long-running Virginia G. Piper Concert Series begins Oct. 28 with a debut season performance by Yekwon Sunwoo, Gold Medalist in the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, and where The New York Times noted his “crisp, effervescent playing.” He has been praised for “fastidious fingerwork” and “a true legato” (The Dallas Morning News), “animated, light-filled playing” (The Washington Post), and “subtle and powerful” playing (Fort Worth Star-Telegram).
● On Nov. 11, David Finckel on cello and Wu Han on piano — “America’s power couple of chamber music,” according to The Wall Street Journal — perform three works representing the peak of the Classical and Romantic traditions: Beethoven’s lyrical Op. 69 Sonata, composed at the height of the Classical period; Brahms’s soulful Sonata in E minor, with a fugue in homage to J. S. Bach; and Mendelssohn’s exhilarating Op. 58 Sonata. The evening promises to be a tour de force, exhibiting the technical and expressive powers of this instrumental combination.
● Since shooting to classical stardom as the Gold Medal winner at the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition, Garrick Ohlsson has commanded an international career of the first order. Known for bold interpretations of the Romantic repertoire, Ohlsson will perform a range of works on Jan. 6, focusing on the music of Brahms. The Manchester Evening News has called his playing “sheer magic.”
● Stellar violinist Midori and renowned pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet team for this April 6 concert of Romantic and early 20th-century masterpieces. While each enjoys a major solo career, Midori and Thibaudet will collaborate on this program featuring scores that challenge both instruments. Schumann’s Sonata No. 1, composed in 1851, represents the Romantic era at its height. George Enescu’s sonata “in Romanian folk style” from 1926 calls forth a late-blooming nationalism. Of special interest are two French works that frame the early and final stages of Impressionism: Gabriel Fauré’s A Major sonata from 1876, and Claude Debussy’s final completed work, his sole Violin Sonata from 1917.
● The Jerusalem Quartet rounds out the concert series on April 7 with a concert commemorating the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel. These four Israeli musicians perform a program that traces the history of the string quartet from its roots to the mid-20th century. Haydn, who essentially created the string quartet in its current form, composed his Op. 76 in 1797. Bartok’s quartets were famous for blending vigorous folk-music rhythms with the tradition of the string quartet; he composed his String Quartet No. 5 in 1934. Beethoven’s Op. 127 Quartet, from 1825, was the first of the composer’s five late quartets, a set famous for pushing the boundaries of the form.
Acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Siegel will return for his 40th season of Keyboard Conversations, his brilliantly polished series of concerts with commentary accessible to audiences of all ages that combine captivating remarks with world-class performances of masterpieces of the piano repertoire. Siegel’s four 2018–19 concerts are The Joyous Music of Beethoven on Dec. 11,Celebrating Rachmaninoff and Debussy on Jan. 15, The Romantic Connection: Chopin, Schumann and Liszt on Feb. 12 and Chopin in Paris on March 12.
The Denver Post writes of Siegel: “…a pianist with a bravura technique and a big, gorgeous sound…and when the artist himself offers the inside scoop, the musical experience becomes vastly more personal.”
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC
An enriching concert experience that brings together sublime chamber music, distinguished performers and insightful commentary. Artistic Director and cellist Yehuda Hanani introduces each program from the stage, placing the composers’ works and their times in perspective.
● On Jan. 16, Romantic Quintets: Brahms and Schumann, features Soyeon Kate Lee, piano; Irina Muresanu, violin; Peter Zazofsky, violin; Michael Strauss, viola; and Yehuda Hanani, cello. This concert presents the essence of Romanticism in works by two 19th-century giants, scored for piano and strings: Johannes Brahms’s Piano Quintet in F minor and Robert Schumann’s breakthrough Piano Quintet.
● Alexander Shtarkman, piano, and Yehuda Hanani, cello, collaborate on Three Russian Giants: Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Stravinsky on Feb. 6. Featured are the cello-and-piano sonatas of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) and Serge Prokofiev (1891-1953), plus the dazzling solo-piano version of Petrushka by Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971).