A Festival of Pianism: DG Celebrates World Piano Day
Deutsche Grammophon is ready to hold its third international virtual festival as part of World Piano Day on Tuesday 29 March 2022. The comprehensive programme is set to delight pianophiles and new audiences alike with concerts on DG Stage, a heritage project on YouTube featuring video clips of great performers past and present, and a specially curated collection of piano albums on sale at DG Store.
“Music crosses all boundaries to touch people from so many places and backgrounds,” comments Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon. “We’re delighted to be an integral part of World Piano Day for a third year running. Our inaugural online festival in March 2020 and its successor last year both reached global audiences of well over a million piano lovers. This year’s festival, which includes brand-new productions, exclusive premieres and a fantastic selection of archive recordings, celebrates the limitless beauty of great pianism. I would like to thank all pianists and partners involved in this wonderfully uniting project.”
Six full concerts have been chosen for DG Stage, forming a series that begins on 24 March and ends on World Piano Day. It opens with Maurizio Pollini, described recently by The Times (London) as “one of the greatest pianists alive”, performing Beethoven’s last three Piano Sonatas, Opp.109–111.
The DG Stage schedule continues with Grigory Sokolov’s readings of Haydn and Schubert from the exquisite Haydnsaal at Eisenstadt (25 March), and Daniil Trifonov’s The Art of Life, a critically acclaimed performance of music by J.S. Bach filmed at the Berlin Philharmonie (26 March).
Daniel Barenboim’s personal selection of favourite Études and other works by Chopin from Berlin’s Pierre Boulez Saal will be screened on 27 March, with Yuja Wang’s compelling recital of works by Rachmaninov, Scriabin and Prokofiev at the Berlin Philharmonie following on 28 March. VíkingurÓlafsson takes centre stage on World Piano Day itself, performing masterpieces by Bach and Beethoven at Reykjavík’s Harpa concert hall.
Also on World Piano Day itself, Deutsche Grammophon’s YouTube channel plays host to an exclusive, hour-long film comprising seventeen clips rediscovered in the Yellow Label’s peerless archive and newly digitised. These performances, given by some of the world’s most legendary pianists, are here enjoying their first ever digital release on Deutsche Grammophon. The film features close-up shots of the hands of such iconic artists as Vladimir Horowitz and Wilhelm Kempff, a sublime extract of Hélène Grimaud playing Busoni’s transcription of Bach’s Chaconne in D minor, and thrilling videos of the young Lang Lang performing pieces by Liszt, Mozart, Schumann and Sun Yiqiang.
Other highlights include more virtuosity from Yuja Wang in works by Stravinsky and Liszt; Daniel Barenboim performing the slow movement from Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto with the Staatskapelle Berlin, conducted by Andris Nelsons; heartfelt readings of music by Schubert and Chopin by Maria João Pires; and Maurizio Pollini’s interpretation of Chopin’s Nocturne No.8, Op.27 No.2. The digitisation of this archive material has been carried out with the generous support and collaboration of Google Arts & Culture.
Piano fans can also browse the selection of albums available on CD or LP from the online DG Store. These include new releases from Daniel Barenboim, Joep Beving, Roger Eno, Bruce Liu, Grigory Sokolov and Daniil Trifonov, together with catalogue landmarks from Géza Anda, Martha Argerich, Rudolf Buchbinder, Ludovico Einaudi, Lang Lang, Jan Lisiecki, Dustin O’Halloran, Víkingur Ólafsson, Alice Sara Ottand Maria João Pires. For a limited period, customers spending €60 or more will receive a free copy of DG’s Piano Masters album.
World Piano Day was founded by German composer, performer and record producer Nils Frahm in 2015. It takes place annually on the 88th day of the year, in reference to the number of keys on a full‑sized piano. Full details of Deutsche Grammophon’s World Piano Day content can be found at www.worldpianoday.com.