Deutsche Grammophon marked World Piano Day on Saturday 28 March with a global livestream virtual festival featuring ten of their legendary pianists. Over 4 million people in over 100 countries have so far enjoyed the virtual festival, featuring three and a half hours of piano music, via YouTube, Facebook and Medici.tv.
The emotionally charged programme was performed by Maria João Pires, Víkingur Ólafsson, Joep Beving, Rudolf Buchbinder, Seong-Jin Cho, Jan Lisiecki, Kit Armstrong, Simon Ghraichy, Daniil Trifonov and Evgeny Kissin. The pianists pre-recorded intimate live performances on smartphone video, from the safety of their current locations, which were then streamed online to create a unique global virtual festival. Those who missed Saturday’s World Piano Day livestream can watch the full concert on Deutsche Grammophon’s YouTube and Facebook channels until the evening of 31 March 2020 and the highlights below.
Maria João Pires opened the World Piano Day virtual festival with a plea for compassion
Acclaimed Portuguese pianist Maria João Pires opened the World Piano Day virtual festival with a plea for compassion and noted, “I think we should take this terrible crisis we’re going through as … a reflection, a thought about what we should do better in the future – to take more care about ourselves, about the planet and about each other.” She matched her words with a moving performance of Beethoven’s ‘Pathétique’ Sonata.
Other highlights included Víkingur Ólafsson’s mini lecture-recital on Debussy and Rameau, Chopin’s Polonaise in A flat performed by Evgeny Kissin, new works inspired by Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, by Max Richter and Jörg Widmann among others, performed by Rudolf Buchbinder, and a closing selection of pieces from Bach’s The Art Of Fugue recorded by Daniil Trifonov on a dilapidated grand piano in a closed school in the Dominican Republic. The festival also included pieces by Chopin, Brahms and Mendelssohn, and the world premiere of Joep Beving’s Solitude.
“The beauty of World Piano Day was seeing ten outstanding individual performances collectively form something greater to send out a message of unity, hope and comfort”
“Throughout music history, the piano has probably been the principal instrument of solitude, one on which musicians have expressed their innermost feelings and thoughts – and also composed new music,” explained Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon. “The beauty of World Piano Day was seeing ten outstanding individual performances collectively form something greater to send out a message of unity, hope and comfort. This was a truly global initiative, created in ten different locations and delivered to an audience in more than 100 countries. I would like to thank all our artists for their generosity and heartfelt contributions to this memorable one-off event, staged in the most challenging of circumstances.”
Deutsche Grammophon has launched and supported further online initiatives to provide a strong platform for classical music including the professionally produced Moment Musical series, featuring artists at Berlin’s legendary Meistersaal, and Hope@Home, daily recitals from violinist Daniel Hope’s living room, both presented in collaboration with Arte Concert.