THE WISDOM OF YOUTH

Jan Lisiecki extends his award-winning discography with Schumann’s complete works for piano and orchestra, including DG’s first ever recording of Op. 134

“… music-making of integrity and substance from a man who represents the top-drawer future of classical music performance” (Independent, July 2015)

Jan Lisiecki turns to the music of Robert Schumann for his third Deutsche Grammophon album. The 20-year-old Canadian pianist presents strikingly mature and imaginative interpretations of the composer’s complete concertante works for piano and orchestra. Jan Lisiecki: Schumann – Works for Piano and Orchestra, set for international release on 8 January 2016, opens with the evergreen Piano Concerto in A minor op. 54. It also contains the Introduction and Allegro appassionato op. 92, Träumerei op. 15 no. 7 and the rarely heard Introduction and Allegro op. 134, the latter entering the DG catalogue for the first time in the yellow label’s 117-year history. Lisiecki is partnered by the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Sir Antonio Pappano, with whom he made his debut at the 2013 BBC Proms in Schumann’s Piano Concerto. “This proved to be a performance of extraordinary accomplishment,” noted the Guardian at the time.

Jan Lisiecki’s personal vision of Schumann’s poetic works has evolved over several years, backed by meticulous preparation and deep immersion in the music. His approach to the Piano Concerto and the other concertante works has also gained from Antonio Pappano’s guidance and encouragement. The album reflects the rapport shared by soloist, orchestra and conductor. Recorded in September 2015 under studio conditions in Rome, it renewed a musical relationship forged three years earlier when Lisiecki, then aged 17, performed Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Pappano and his Santa Cecilia forces during a five-concert European tour in which he alternated as soloist with Martha Argerich.

“These pieces demand an incredibly close collaboration in order to accomplish what Schumann desired,” comments Lisiecki. “I believe the sound of the Santa Cecilia Orchestra matches mine in the best possible way.” The Piano Concerto and other concertante works, he adds, are concerned above all with subtle shades of expression and intimate dialogue between soloist and orchestra. “Of course the Piano Concerto is virtuosic. But it’s virtuosic in a way that’s in the background, and that’s what speaks to me.”

Antonio Pappano, himself an accomplished pianist and tireless supporter of young musicians, recalls his first experience of hearing Lisiecki’s pianism. “I’ll admit that I was overwhelmed with envy when I first heard Jan play. What is so refreshing is that there are no fake layers of age added on – just youth,” he notes. “We’ve now worked together many times and this Schumann project provided a perfect opportunity to work on two pieces that are so rarely heard in concert, as well as to revisit a concerto that is a shared favourite.”

Jan Lisiecki’s previous releases as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, comprising piano concertos by Mozart and Chopin’s Études opp. 10 & 25, have attracted critical acclaim and strong international sales. In 2013 he received the Leonard Bernstein Award at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and was also named as Gramophone’s “Young Artist of the Year”.

The pianist’s forthcoming engagements include two tours of the United States this January, the first with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Peter Oundjian, the second with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. During the latter Lisiecki will make his debut in the main auditorium at New York’s Carnegie Hall, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4. His schedule for the remainder of the 2015/16 season also includes an extensive tour of Germany and Switzerland with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, and concerto performances with the Cleveland Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.