Four Personalities Of The World Piano Interpretation Will Celebrate The Anniversary Firkušný Festival In Rudolfinum

The anniversary 10th edition of the Rudolf Firkušný Piano Festival will feature four distinctive piano personalities. Leif Ove Andsnes, Anna Vinnitskaya, Igor Ardašev and Grigory Sokolov will perform in Prague’s Rudolfinum between 5 and 12 November. “By the creating the Rudolf Firkušný Piano Festival, the Prague Spring Festival created its own and separate counterpart or ‘alter ego‘ – a festival which, unlike the broad-spectrum spring festival, is highly specialized and compact. There is no doubt that it has become our most important festival with this focus and an event which has gained full recognition in our country and abroad,” explains the festival director Pavel Trojan.

Leif Ove Andsnes

The festival will be opened on Saturday, 5 November, by Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, who won the award for special achievement of the prestigious Gramophone magazine at the beginning of October. In recent years, Andsnes has repeatedly captivated the Prague Spring audience with concerts accompanied by an orchestra. This time, he will prove his qualities in a solo recital. “There are not many pianists who have the Poetical Tone Pictures cycle on their repertoire. It is great that we will have the opportunity to listen to this almost hour-long piano masterpiece by Antonín Dvořák being performed by such a prominent pianist as Leif Ove Andsnes,” emphasizes the programming director of the festival Josef Třeštík. The faith in Andsnes’ virtuosity has led the Sony Classical label to record the entire Poetical Tone Pictures cycle ; the recording will be released at the end of October.

Anna Vinnitskaya

“Vinnitskaya is a true lioness at the keyboard, devouring the most difficult pages of music with adamantine force,” wrote the Washington Post about her play. The winner of the famous Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, Anna Vinnitskaya distinguished herself at the Salzburg Music Festival last year. Her recordings of Ravel’s works, for which Vinnitskaya received the Echo Klassik award, the Diapason d’Or award and a tip of the month by the editor of Gramophone, met with fantastic response. From Ravel´s work, in Prague she will perform the Valses nobles et sentimentales and the virtuoso La Valse. Vinnitskaya has a special bond with Chopin and the Russian composers. For her debut at the Firkušný festival on 8 November, she chose Alexander Scriabin, the piano mystic and the prophet of composition who was born 170 years ago this January.

Photo: Marco Borggreve
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Igor Ardašev

Pianist Igor Ardašev, winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the Prague Spring competition and the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, will represent the domestic scene. He is famous for his unpretentious and even modest approach to his own presentation outside the concert stage. “He is one of the great promoters of Tchaikovsky’s sonata. We are pleased that this unjustly neglected work will also be played at the Firkušný festival,” says Třeštík. At his concert in Rudolfinum, he will also present works by Mozart, Beethoven and Prokofiev in addition to Tchaikovsky.

Grigory Sokolov

For the third time, the Rudolf Firkušný Festival will host the piano bard Grigory Sokolov, one of the most distinctive living representatives of the great Russian piano school tradition. He is able to conjure up an exceptional range of tone colour on the instrument, while every keystroke brings a different dynamic shade. Each season he withdraws from the public eye for several months in order to focus on a single new programme. He generally performs his concerts in subdued lighting to aid concentration, which evokes a sense of mystical ceremony. On 12 November, he will perform a programme consisting of works by Purcell, Beethoven and Brahms in Prague.