International pianists open BICS 14/15

TheBirmingham International Concert Seasonis known for bringing the world’s greatest international orchestras and artists to perform here in Birmingham. Alongside the orchestras this year’s season has a focus on performances from some of the best up-and-coming, and established, pianists in the world.

The new season kicked off with a recital from young Russian pianist, Daniil Trifonov. Trifonov, who performed at Town Hall on Wednesday 1 October, is just 23 years of age but already has an impressive range of awards under his belt, including First Prize in the 2011 Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein International Piano Competitions. Rave reviews have come from critics and fellow pianists alike, and Trifonov has been hailed as ‘an artist of breathtaking poise and theatricality’ (The Times).

The young Russian’s performance of works by Bach, Rachmaninov and Liszt (a change from the previously advertised programme), went down well with audiences and critics alike.

Read the Birmingham Post’s 5* review

Next up, and no stranger to our two stages, Steven Osborne, cames to Symphony Hall with the Australian Chamber Orchestra on Sunday 5 October, 3pm. Since being named as one of the first BBC New Generation Artists in 1999, Osborne has been critically acclaimed around the world and just last year was named as the Royal Philharmonic Society’s of the Year. Osborne joined the ACO and their director, Richard Tognetti, for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 27 in an afternoon concert that also included one of the first performances of a striking new work, Water, by Jonny Greenwood – and the Radiohead guitarist even joined the orchestra on stage!

Read The Guardian’s 4* review

Find out more about the international orchestras appearing in BICS 2014/15 here

Celebrated for his integrity, intellectual rigour and stupendous technique, the second piano recital of the season comes from Marc-André Hamelin, on Saturday 25 October. Much in demand for his playing, the Canadian also manages to find the time to compose and, alongside works by Haydn, Field and Debussy, this performance features his own Variations on a Theme of Paganini (2011). In his own words, Hamelin’s treatment of the famous theme from Paganini’s 24th Caprice for solo violin ‘constantly tries to push the envelope as far as what may be aesthetically acceptable’.

Later this year, on Friday 5 December, Igor Levit returns to Town Hall following his performance in the venue as a 2012/13 ECHO Rising Star. Levit’s debut recording of Beethoven sonatas has been highly-praised, earning him the Newcomer of the Year Award at the 2014 BBC Music Magazine Awards, and Beethoven’s Sonata No 22 will form the centre of a recital that also includes works by
J S Bach and Ronald Stevenson. Despite being just 26 years of age, Levit is already highly praised, with one German critic declaring

This young man doesn’t just have the potential to become on of this century’s great pianists – he already is one!

Other pianists appearing in Birmingham as part of BICS 2014/15 includeBenjamin Grosvenor, Helen GrimaudandYundi. Visit our dedicatedPiano pagefor details of all the relevant performances coming up in the next 10 months.

Are you looking forward to the 2014/15 season? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter, using #BICS1415, and listen to works featuring in the news season in our Spotify playlist