The New York Times has called Leif Ove Andsnes “a pianist of magisterial elegance, power, and insight.” With his commanding technique and searching interpretations, the celebrated Norwegian pianist has won acclaim worldwide; the Wall Street Journal named him “one of the most gifted musicians of his generation.” Andsnes gives recitals and plays concertos in the world’s leading concert halls and with its foremost orchestras, besides being an active recording artist. An avid chamber musician, he served as co-artistic director of the Risor Festival of Chamber Music for nearly two decades, and was music director of California’s 2012 Ojai Music Festival. He was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame in July 2013.
In the 2013-14 season Andsnes embarks on a new leg of “The Beethoven Journey,” his epic long-term focus on the master composer’s five piano concertos. Orchestral highlights include performances of the Second and Fourth concertos with Gustavo Dudamel leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the “Emperor” with the London Philharmonic and Vladimir Jurowski, besides collaborations with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; the orchestras of Munich, Stockholm, and Helsinki; and the Swedish and Norwegian Chamber Orchestras. It is with an all-Beethoven program that the pianist launches a 19-city solo recital tour of the U.S., Europe, and Japan, making stops at New York’s Carnegie Hall and Chicago’s Symphony Center, as well as in Princeton, Atlanta, London, Vienna, Berlin, Rome, Tokyo, and more. He rounds out the season in company with baritone Matthias Goerne, with whom he appears in four European capitals.
Andsnes reunites with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO) for two European tours, showcasing Beethoven’s Second and Fourth concertos in November and coupling the Fifth with his Choral Fantasy in May. Their recording of the Second and Fourth concertos will be released by Sony Classical in the spring, as the second of three installments of The Beethoven Journey. The pianist’s partnership with the MCO anchors the project, and their close musical rapport continues to develop; as Gramophone put it, “There’s so much more to this partnership than just exceptional playing; there’s a palpable sense of discovery, of living the music.” Their first recording for the project, of the First and Third concertos, was named iTunes’ Best Instrumental Album of 2012 and received Belgium’s Prix Caecilia award.
“The Beethoven Journey,” which is sponsored by Stiftelsen Kristian Gerhard Jebsen, a Bergen-based foundation established to honor the memory of Kristian Gerhard Jebsen and his contribution to the Norwegian and international shipping business, will culminate in the 2014-15 season, when Andsnes and the MCO will reunite for “full cycle” residencies in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Leif Ove Andsnes now records exclusively for Sony Classical. His previous discography comprises more than 30 discs for EMI Classics – solo, chamber, and concerto releases, many of them bestsellers – spanning repertoire from Bach to the present day. He has been nominated for eight Grammys and awarded many international prizes, including six Gramophone Awards. His recordings of the music of his compatriot Edvard Grieg have been especially celebrated: the New York Times named Andsnes’s 2004 recording of Grieg’s Piano Concerto with Mariss Jansons and the Berlin Philharmonic a “Best CD of the Year,” and the Penguin Guide awarded it a coveted “Rosette.” Both that concerto recording and Andsnes’s disc of Grieg’s Lyric Pieces won Gramophone Awards. His recording of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 9 and 18 was another New York Times “Best of the Year” and Penguin Guide “Rosette” honoree. He won yet another Gramophone Award for Rachmaninov’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 with Antonio Pappano and the Berlin Philharmonic. A series of recordings of Schubert’s late sonatas, paired with lieder sung by Ian Bostridge, inspired lavish praise; the Chicago Tribune described one release as “Schubert playing of the highest order throughout.” Reviewing his CD with the world-premiere recordings of Marc-André Dalbavie’s Piano Concerto and Bent Sorensen’s The Shadows of Silence – both written for the pianist – paired with Lutoslawski’s Piano Concerto and solo works by György Kurtág, the New York Times recognized Andsnes as “a dynamic performer of contemporary music.”
The pianist has received Norway’s most distinguished honor, Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. In 2007, he received the prestigious Peer Gynt Prize, awarded by members of parliament to honor prominent Norwegians for their achievements in politics, sports, and culture. Andsnes has also received the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist Award and the Gilmore Artist Award. Saluting his many achievements, Vanity Fair named Andsnes one of the “Best of the Best” in 2005.
Leif Ove Andsnes was born in Karmoy, Norway in 1970, and studied at the Bergen Music Conservatory under the renowned Czech professor Jirí Hlinka. Over the past decade, he has also received invaluable advice from the Belgian piano teacher Jacques de Tiège who, like Hlinka, has greatly influenced his style and philosophy of playing. Andsnes cites Dinu Lipatti, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Sviatoslav Richter, and Géza Anda among the pianists who have most inspired him. He currently lives in Copenhagen and Bergen, and also spends much time at his mountain home in Norway’s western Hardanger area. He is a Professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. Andsnes occasionally contributes written commentaries to NPR’s “Deceptive Cadence” blog. In June 2010 he achieved one of his proudest accomplishments to date, becoming a father for the first time, and his family expanded in May 2013 with the welcome arrival of twins.