Biography Leif Ove Andsnes & Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Leif Ove Andsnes
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 Risør 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 2014-15 season, Andsnes embarks on the final leg of “The Beethoven Journey,” his epic four-year focus on the master composer’s five piano concertos. With the Mahler Chamber Orchestra – his fellow traveller since the project’s inception – he leads complete Beethoven concerto cycles from the keyboard in high-profile residencies in Bonn, Hamburg, Lucerne, Vienna, Paris, New York, Shanghai, Tokyo and London, besides performing Beethoven concertos in Boston’s Celebrity Series and a host of key venues across Europe and Asia. He undertakes further Beethoven collaborations with such world-class ensembles as the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas, the London Philharmonic and Osmo Vänskä, and the Munich Philharmonic and Thomas Dausgaard. Last season, in addition to a wealth of “Beethoven Journey” orchestral engagements, Andsnes undertook a 19-city solo recital tour of the U.S., Europe, and Japan, presenting an all-Beethoven program in New York, Chicago, London, Vienna, Berlin, Rome, Tokyo, and more.

It is the pianist’s partnership with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra that anchors “The Beethoven Journey,” and the present season sees them release the third and final installment in The Beethoven Journey, their recording series for Sony Classical, completing the cycle with accounts of Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto (“Emperor”) and “Choral Fantasy.” The series has already proved a resounding success: the first volume, featuring the First and Third concertos, was named iTunes’ Best Instrumental Album of 2012 and awarded Belgium’s Prix Caecilia, while the second, a coupling of the Second and Fourth, was hailed as “a landmark of artistic integrity, intelligence, and musical insight” (Telegraph, UK).

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 the time of 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,” the Penguin Guide awarded it a coveted “Rosette,” and both that album and his 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, as did the pianist’s world-premiere recordings of Marc-André Dalbavie’s Piano Concerto and Bent Sorensen’s The Shadows of Silence, both of which were written for him.

Andsnes 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. He is the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist Award and the Gilmore Artist Award, and, saluting his many achievements, Vanity Fair named Andsnes one of the “Best of the Best” in 2005.

Leif Ove Andsnes was born in Karmøy, Norway in 1970, and studied at the Bergen Music Conservatory under the renowned Czech professor Jirí Hlinka. 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. A Professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, he currently lives in Bergen and in June 2010 he achieved one of his proudest accomplishments to date, becoming a father for the first time. His family expanded in May 2013 with the welcome arrival of twins.

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