Francesco Piemontesi, Piano

Month

Biography

Francesco Piemontesi is a pianist of exceptional refinement of expression, which is
allied to a consummate technical skill. Widely renowned for his interpretation of Mozart
and the early Romantic repertoire, Piemontesi’s pianism and sensibility has also a close
affinity with the later 19th century and 20th century repertoire, of Brahms, Liszt,
Dvorák, Ravel, Debussy, Bartók, Messiaen, Stockhausen and beyond. Of one of his
great teachers and mentors, Alfred Brendel, Piemontesi says that [Brendel] taught him
“to love the detail of things”.
Francesco Piemontesi appears with major ensembles worldwide: the Cleveland
Orchestra, DSO and Berlin Radio Symphony, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Frankfurt
Radio Symphony, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, Israel
Philharmonic and the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale. He has performed with
conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, David Afkham, Nicholas Collon, Charles
Dutoit, Manfred Honeck, Marek Janowski, Andrew Manze, Zubin Mehta, Sir Roger
Norrington, Sakari Oramo, Vasily Petrenko and Robin Ticciati.
Orchestral engagements in 2015/16 include his debut with Leipzig Gewandhaus and
Munich Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Danish National
Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of
Europe and Yomiuri Nippon Symphony. He will return to the Philharmonia, BBC
Symphony and the Hallé, and to the DSO Berlin.
Piemontesi is also a natural and keen chamber musician and plays with a variety of
partners – the Emerson Quartet, Antoine Tamestit and Jörg Widmann in trio, Renaud
and Gautier Capuçon, Clemens Hagen, Angelika Kirchschlager, Daniel Müller-Schott
and during his formative years, Heinrich Schiff.
In solo recital, he has appeared in many prestigious venues including London Wigmore
Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Rotterdam De Doelen, Carnegie Hall and Avery
Fisher Hall in New York, Berlin Philharmonie, Zürich Tonhalle, Vienna Konzerthaus and
Musikverein. In January 2016, Piemontesi begins a complete ‘Mozart cycle’ at the
Wigmore Hall, performing the sonatas in a series of recitals over the course of three
seasons.
Festival invitations have come from the Edinburgh International Festival, La Roque
d'Anthéron, New York Mostly Mozart, Chopin International Music Festival in Warsaw,
Lucerne Festival, Schubertiade, Aix-en-Provence Easter Festival, and Rheingau and
Schleswig-Holstein festivals.
Francesco Piemontesi has released a number of fine recordings, including three
recordings for Naïve Classique: the Debussy Préludes, released in autumn 2015,
Mozart Piano Works, and Schumann and Dvorák‘s Piano Concerti with BBC
Symphony Orchestra and Jirí Belohlávek.
Born in Locarno, Francesco Piemontesi studied with Arie Vardi before collaborating
with Alfred Brendel, Murray Perahia, Cécile Ousset and Alexis Weissenberg.
He rose to international prominence with prizes at several major competitions,
including the 2007 Queen Elisabeth Competition, and between 2009-11 he was
chosen as a BBC New Generation Artist.
In 2012, Piemontesi was announced as Artistic Director of the Settimane Musicali di
Ascona.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

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Repertoire
Concertos with Orchestra

Antonin Dvorak

Piano Concerto in G minor, Op. 33

Béla Bartók

Piano Concerto No. 1, Sz 83

Benjamin Britten

Piano Concerto in D major, Op. 13

Edvard Grieg

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16

Felix Mendelssohn

Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25

Franz Joseph Haydn

Piano Concerto in D major, Hob.XVIII:11

Franz Liszt

Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major, S125/R456

Frédéric Chopin

Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21

György Ligeti

Piano Concerto

Johannes Brahms

Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83

Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19
Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58
Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73, "Emperor"

Maurice Ravel

Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D Major
Piano Concerto in G major

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23

Richard Strauss

Burlesque

Robert Schumann

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54

Sergei Rachmaninov

Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43

Sergej Prokofiev

Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Piano Concerto No. 11 in F Major, Op. 4, No. 2, KV 413
Piano Concerto No. 12 in A - Major KV 414
Piano Concerto No. 13 in A Major, KV 415
Piano Concerto No. 14 in E flat Major, KV 449
Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, KV 453
Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, KV 466
Piano Concerto No. 25 in C Major, KV 503
Piano Concerto No. 26 in D major, KV 537, "Coronation"
Piano Concerto no. 27 in B flat Major, KV 595
Review
Wigmore Hall Recital
Classical Source
Thu, 2014-05-01
" His excoriating, electrifying performance of Schubert's C minor Sonata. I loved the care and discretion Piemontesi lavished on the pedalling, so that you were never at the mercy of mere blasts of sound, but most memorable was the surge of possession that brought the finale to melting-point hysteria. This was drama and tragedy. and all from a coolly undemonstrative performer. There was a different but no less potent spirit of possession at work in his encore, a dazzlingly virtuosic and extrovert performance of [Debussy's] 'Feux d'artifice'."
Mozart Piano Works
The Daily Telegraph
Sat, 2014-04-05
" Piemontesi's playing on this disc identifies a Mozartian of rare refinement and wisdom." Geoffrey Norris
Five Stars
The Independent
Tue, 2012-11-13
At 29, the Swiss-Italian pianist Francesco Piemontesi is still at the beginning of his career, but his recitals and recordings attest an artistry which is world-class in its mature refinement. His training with the distinguished pianist Cecile Ousset is reflected in the way he moves his hands and arms with a relaxed awareness of their weight; Alfred Brendel has taught him, he says, to love the detail of things. And it was very much in that spirit that he launched into Mozarts early Sonata in D major K 284 at the QEH, using a light, springy touch to bring out the first movements orchestral variety of tone; the variations of the finale were vividly characterised. Piemontesi has described his approach to Schuberts sonatas as a form of cartography, and the early Sonata in A minor D 537 clearly benefited from that. He presented its first movement less as a formal structure than as a tapestry of moods, and gave the slow movement an improvisatory feel. After a finely-calibrated performance of Chopins Barcarolle came Debussys Preludes Book 2, and there his playing took the breath away. He combined the black and white notes of Brouillards to create soft grey tonalities, and went on to dazzle us with a wonderful range of effects in which a flawless technique was put to the service of some very original interpretations. Michael Church
"Brilliant Display From an Astonishing Young Talent"
The Daily Telegraph
Tue, 2012-11-13
With some young pianists, native brilliance and joy in sheer digital dexterity sometimes runs ahead of musical intelligence. Thats never the case with Italian pianist Francesco Piemontesi. At the age of 29 hes already a superbly self-possessed artist. He has technique to burn, but the striking moments in this recital  and there were plenty of them  owed nothing to the wow factor. That musical intelligence was already evident in the programme, which was cunningly shaped to create a sense of burgeoning amplitude. The sonatas by Mozart and Schubert that came before the interval were both seldom-played products of their composers youth, and though fascinating were not absolutely top-drawer works  a smart move, as it threw the focus onto Piemontesis artistry. The first thing one noticed was how well matched Piemontesis small perfectly-formed sound was to the essentially classical frame of the music. And yet there was never any sense of deliberate holding back. The operatic quality in the slow movement of Mozarts sonata was beautifully caught. You could almost hear sultry clarinets answering the curling, graceful phrases of the voice. In Schuberts slow movement, Piemontesi gave the dry bass a touch of pedal, just enough to lend its martial outline a mysterious quality (Piemontesi is as much a poet of the pedals as he is of the keyboard). After the interval came music by Chopin and Debussy, and a sudden blooming of the piano sound. Even so, Piemontesis performance of Chopins Barcarolle was restrained by many pianists standards, and probably too much so for some tastes. But I relished the unusual clarity of the inner parts, and the sense of release brought in the final pages, where Piemontesi seemed to finally let himself go. Finally came the crowning glory of this recital, a complete performance of the 2nd book of Debussys piano Preludes. Its often said of Debussy that he dissolved musical line into sheer colour, but as Piemontesis performance showed the truth is more complicated. The first piece Brouillards (Fog) is often rendered as pure mistiness, but Piemontesi gave us a sense of something solid glimpsed through the mist, which was much more interesting. Every one of the 12 pieces came up fresh, even the modest ones like Canope (Canopy) which nestled tenderly inside its opening and closing frame. Finally came Feux dartifices (Fireworks), which whirred and crackled and finally erupted with a frenzied energy, in a way Ive never heard equalled. Five stars Ivan Hewett
City of London Festival/Chopin, Debussy & Schumann
Classical Source
Fri, 2011-07-01
"There were many poetic insights here, from the surging romanticism of the opening to the beautiful lyricism of its successor  and its sudden departures to faster music were always tempered by the calm of the romance to which it returned. Piemontesi proved extremely adept at proceeding between moments of urgency and repose. The fifth piece, marked Sehr lebhaft, moved with particular intent. As so often with Kreisleriana, it was the last section that carried the greatest emotional weight, its strangely haunting theme like a restless butterfly. Piemontesi caught the essence of this quite beautifully and allowing silence to complete the performance. As an encore Piemontesi stayed with Schumann, the finale of Kinderszenen, 'Der Dichter spricht', which displayed the pianists poise and grace."
A real aristocratic sweep
The Guardian
Wed, 2011-06-01
"Franceso Piemontesi's latest recital disc confirms the fine impression left by his set of Schumann's piano sonatas released by Claves last year. There's a real aristocratic sweep to this 27-year-old Swiss pianist's playing; the Handel suite is generously expressive, while Piemontesi's account of the Brahms Variations themselves is full of delicacy and transparent textures that make you hang on every phrase. Liszt's transcription of Bach's G minor Fantasy and Fugue makes the neat link between the first partita and the extract from the first book of the Années de Pèlerinage. Piemontesi's unaffected Bach playing is recognisably all of a piece with his fundamentally unflamboyant approach to Liszt, which manages to present the rhetorical grandeur of Vallée d'Obermann truthfully, without exaggerating it in any way."
Intelligence, refinement, elegance of tone
Le Monde
Wed, 2011-06-01
"The name of this young Swiss pianist was unknown to us. But this record, intelligently constructed, which combines the works of Brahms and Liszt to their direct sources in Bach and Handel, gives us a great desire to learn more. Intelligence, refinement, elegance of tone, as well as complete clarity of polyphony are all characteristic of this musician, born in 1983. This is particularly beneficial in Brahms Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, which is superbly interpreted."
Remarkable insight
The Telegraph
Mon, 2011-08-01
"The young Swiss-Italian Francesco Piemontesi combines communicative panache with remarkable insight. He prefaces a virile, sensitive performance of Brahmss Handel Variations with a stylistically discerning one of the Handel suite from which Brahms took his theme. Bachs Partita No1, Liszts transcription of the G minor Fantasy and Fugue and Vallée dObermann provide further evidence of Piemontesis exceptional talent."
Phenomenal appreciation of sound
Radio Bremen
Mon, 2011-08-01
"Piemontesi will soon be regarded as one of the great pianists of our time. He plays with phenomenal appreciation of sound, sophisticated technique and high intelligence  all of which point towards a brilliant career"
Youthful charm
Tages-Anzeiger
Tue, 2011-11-01
"Two opposites met in Mozarts Piano Concerto K503: On the one hand Mehta, the grandseigneur: confident and poised. On the other hand the young Swiss pianist Francesco Piemontesi: modest but with a youthful charm. The astonishing result: an organically flowing Mozart, because Piemontesi spun out the complex lines with a graceful, beautiful sound. But far from dwelling in this beautiful sound in a narcissistic way, he adeptly and delicately integrated it into the web of orchestral voices. This Mozart was one of great subtlety. It sounded not reduced, not augmented, not indulgent, but instead radiant and natural."
Ravel Piano Concerto in G major/Orchestre National de Lille
Nord éclair
Fri, 2012-06-01
"One is struck by the constant rhythmic subtlety and technique of pianist Francesco Piemontesi. There is lyrical grace, elegance, clarity and magnitude in his playing. Were challenged and captivated at the same time, and that is the signature of a great artist."
Deutsche Radio Philharmonie / Mozart Piano Concerto, K503
Saarbruecker Zeitung
Thu, 2012-11-01
"Francesco Piemontesi performed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's piano concerto in C major K503 with grace and delicacy. He let his part sparkle with airy jeu perlé and brought a great sense of fun to the cadenza (quoting the Marseilleise alongside the concertos main themes)..... As an encore he played a minuet by Handel with a cultured and exquisite touch."
Took the breath away
International Piano
Tue, 2013-01-01
"His recital was supremely accomplished in every respect his account of Debussy Preludes Book 2 took the breath away"
Superbly self-possessed
The Telegraph
Thu, 2012-11-01
"With some young pianists, native brilliance and joy in sheer digital dexterity sometimes runs ahead of musical intelligence. Thats never the case with Italian pianist Francesco Piemontesi. At the age of 29 hes already a superbly self-possessed artist. He has technique to burn, but the striking moments in this recital  and there were plenty of them  owed nothing to the 'wow'-factor. That musical intelligence was already evident in the programme, which was cunningly shaped to create a sense of burgeoning amplitude. The sonatas by Mozart and Schubert that came before the interval were both seldom-played products of their composers youth, and though fascinating were not absolutely top-drawer works  a smart move, as it threw the focus onto Piemontesis artistry. The first thing one noticed was how well matched Piemontesis small perfectly-formed sound was to the essentially classical frame of the music. And yet there was never any sense of deliberate holding back. The operatic quality in the slow movement of Mozarts sonata was beautifully caught. You could almost hear sultry clarinets answering the curling, graceful phrases of the voice. In Schuberts slow movement, Piemontesi gave the dry bass a touch of pedal, just enough to lend its martial outline a mysterious quality (Piemontesi is as much a poet of the pedals as he is of the keyboard). After the interval came music by Chopin and Debussy, and a sudden blooming of the piano sound. Even so, Piemontesis performance of Chopins Barcarolle was restrained by many pianists standards, and probably too much so for some tastes. But I relished the unusual clarity of the inner parts, and the sense of release brought in the final pages, where Piemontesi seemed to finally let himself go. Finally came the crowning glory of this recital, a complete performance of the 2nd book of Debussys piano Preludes. Its often said of Debussy that he dissolved musical line into sheer colour, but as Piemontesis performance showed the truth is more complicated. The first piece Brouillards (Fog) is often rendered as pure mistiness, but Piemontesi gave us a sense of something solid glimpsed through the mist, which was much more interesting. Every one of the 12 pieces came up fresh, even the modest ones like Canope (Canopy) which nestled tenderly inside its opening and closing frame. Finally came Feux dartifices (Fireworks), which whirred and crackled and finally erupted with a frenzied energy, in a way Ive never heard equalled." By: Ivan Hewett
International Piano Series / Mozart, Schubert, Chopin & Debussy
The Independent,
Thu, 2012-11-01
"At 29, the Swiss-Italian pianist Francesco Piemontesi is still at the beginning of his career, but his recitals and recordings attest an artistry which is world-class in its mature refinement. His training with the distinguished pianist Cecile Ousset is reflected in the way he moves his hands and arms with a relaxed awareness of their weight; Alfred Brendel has taught him, he says, 'to love the detail of things'. And it was very much in that spirit that he launched into Mozarts early 'Sonata in D major K 284' at the QEH, using a light, springy touch to bring out the first movement's orchestral variety of tone; the variations of the finale were vividly characterised. Piemontesi has described his approach to Schuberts sonatas as a form of cartography, and the early 'Sonata in A minor D 537' clearly benefited from that. He presented its first movement less as a formal structure than as a tapestry of moods, and gave the slow movement an improvisatory feel. After a finely-calibrated performance of Chopin's 'Barcarolle' came Debussy's 'Preludes Book 2', and there his playing took the breath away. He combined the black and white notes of 'Brouillards' to create soft grey tonalities, and went on to dazzle us with a wonderful range of effects in which a flawless technique was put to the service of some very original interpretations." By: Michael Church
Effortless aplomb
The Scotsman
Tue, 2013-01-01
Francesco Piemontesi played the streams of arpeggios and scale passages in the outer movements with effortless aplomb. However, his talents really came to the fore in the lyrical andante where he basked in the honeyed glow of the cello and viola accompaniment. Piemontesi then topped his own performance with Debussy's shimmering Feux d'artifice as an encore. By:Susan Nickalls
Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No.1
The Herald
Tue, 2013-01-01
The night belonged to the astonishing Swiss-Italian pianist Francesco Piemontesi for his dazzling and amazingly fleet performance of Mendelssohn's First Piano Concerto, one of those rare performances that reveals the mastery and genius of a composition and asks why we hear the piece so infrequently. The playing of the slow movement, which threw a spotlight on the lower strings of the SCO, was breathtakingly tender and beautiful. And then, having stopped hearts with his own pristine, exquisite playing in the slow movement of the concerto, Piemontesi went on to break them with an encore of a slow movement from one of Schuberts Piano Sonatas: music so simple it could be played by a capable student; music so profound it could have been uttered by a philosopher. By: Michael Tumelty
Wigmore Hall Recital
Classical Source
Mon, 2013-12-16
"Francesco Piemontesi, at 30 a fully fledged master, played four Debussy Preludes in a manner to rival Pollini's, while his account of Schubert's D960 Sonata was both ravishing and original."
Discography
Edition Klavier-Festival Ruhr
Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy, Stravinsky
Robert Schumann: The Complete Works for Piano, Vol. 4
Martha Argerich & Friends Live from the Lugano Festival, 2007
Olivier Messiaen, Thème et Variations Alissa Margulis, violino Francesco Piemontesi, piano
Recital: Haendel, Brahms, Bach, Liszt
Press Service

Photo: Benjamin Ealovega

Photo: Benjamin Ealovega

Photo: Benjamin Ealovega

Photo: Benjamin Ealovega

Representation:
DK, NO, SE, FI