Leif Ove Andsnes

Piano

Schubert Club Performances:

  • January 18, 2002
  • April 27, 2006
  • April 25, 2012

Leif Ove Andsnes

Leif Ove Andsnes comes from an island town south of Bergen. His teacher at the Bergen Conservatory was the Czech émigré pianist Jiří Hlinka, who inspired in him an insatiable thirst for exploring unfamiliar repertoire, including composers of his native Norway. It almost goes without saying that Andsnes is unsurpassed in the music of Edvard Grieg:

Hlinka also fostered in him a cultivated central European approach to playing, exemplified by what one commentator characterized as beauty of tone, simplicity of expression and an intense inwardness. These qualities have made him an ideal interpreter of the Viennese Classics. Here he is in Mozart, (the first movement of Piano Concerto No. 9 (with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra conducted by Alan Gilbert):

and in Beethoven’s “Waldstein” Sonata at an intimate setting in New York:

Not surprisingly, the older pianists that Andsnes admired most include Artur Schnabel and, above all, Sviatoslav Richter, artists whose profound musicianship always took precedence over “mere” pianism. Both were outstanding exponents of the Viennese Classics and the early Romantic piano music of Schubert. Andsnes said in an interview: “I always knew that Schubert would be my great love. There’s a special quality in Schubert of ‘sleep-walking’. Beethoven always has a goal – he always knows where he’s going – but Schubert leads us into corners we didn’t even know existed, even within the very organized form of a sonata. In the second movement of the A major Sonata, he seems to be breaking down the form and improvising into some sort of chaos.” This is his studio recording of that movement:

Andsnes has played solo Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Mussorgsky for the Schubert Club. But he has also displayed other facets of his artistry in St. Paul, as a superb chamber and collaborative recitalist as well as conducting Mozart piano concertos from the keyboard with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. In this clip, with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, he performs the D minor Concerto K.466:

Andsnes’s Schubert Club recital partners have included violinist Christian Tetzlaff (in 2002) – they’re seen here in a recent filmed performance of Dvořák’s F major Violin Sonata:

and baritone Matthias Goerne (in 2012) – they’re heard here in a studio recording of Schumann Liederkreis to poems by Heine:

Artist note by Richard Evidon

From the Schubert Club Archive:

Signed photo of Andsnes and violinist Christian Tetzlaff from 2002

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Signed photo of Andsnes from 2006

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Artist Archive