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SALZBURG FESTIVAL BLOG

Schubert's last sonatas – a lecture with Alfred Brendel

4 AUG 2012

by FESTSPIELKIEBITZ  11:38 h;
published in: Concert

Alfred Brendel, Photo: Ben Ealovega/Decca
Alfred Brendel, one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century, has, over the years, written highly original musical essays. Now retired from public performance, he is presenting some of his most acclaimed written work in the form of lectures. In 2009 Brendel took his listeners on a journey of discovery behind the notes and into the mysteries of the musical world at the Salzburg Festival. Immediately putting his public at ease, he captures its attention with a wealth of musical examples which he performs at the piano to illustrate his talks. Brendel fascinates each and every listener with his crystal-clear mind, vast musical knowledge, dry wit, and verbal elegance. This year he continues his lectures with “Schubert's letzte Sonaten, mit Klavierbeispielen”. The lecture is held in German.

Tickets for the lecture on August 9, 2012 are available here.

Alfred Brendel, descended from an Austrian-German-Italian-Slavic family, studied piano, composition and conducting in Zagreb und Graz, completing his education with Paul Baumgartner, Eduard Steuermann, and Edwin Fischer. He began his international career in 1949 as winner of the Busoni Competition, whereupon he performed chiefly in Europe,
but beginning in 1963, he was invited regularly to North America and became a regular guest in all the world’s major concert halls and at the major festivals, performing the complete piano works of Beethoven, then the Schubert piano sonatas, the late piano works of Liszt,
and the Concerto by Schoenberg. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of his debut, Alfred Brendel performed cycles of the five Beethoven concertos with Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Colin Davis and Schubert’s Winterreise with baritone Matthias Goerne. Successive engagements included appearances with the Munich Philharmonic under Christian Thielemann, the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra under David Zinman, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and Claudio Abbado, as well as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim. Sir Simon Rattle also invited him to perform with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra; Bernard Haitink and Sir Charles Mackerras directed his concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic. In more recent years, Brendel concentrated primarily on the works of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert; with his son, the cellist Adrian Brendel, he performed the cello sonatas of Beethoven. A BBC documentary, Alfred Brendel – Man and Mask, dealing with his artistic accomplishments, was released on his 70th birthday and broadcast throughout Europe.

In December 2008, Alfred Brendel gave his very last concert at Vienna’s Musikverein.

Besides prizes and honors for his life’s work, Alfred Brendel has received Honorary Doctorates from the universities of Oxford and Yale.
In May of 2004 he was honored with the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, as
well as being Honorary Commander of the British Empire. In 1992 he received the Hans von Bülow Medal of the Berlin Philharmonic and in December of 1998 was admitted to Honorary Membership in the Vienna Philharmonic. In 2005 he was named an Honorary Citizen of his birthplace, Louãná nad Desnou in today’s Czech Republic. Alfred Brendel has published numerous books on music and volumes of poetry.

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