Deutsche Grammophon’s Virtual Piano Festival Celebrates World Piano Day

The multi-artist compilation on DG’s YouTube channel showcases Max Richter, Brian Eno and many more.

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Max Richter - Photo: Stefan Hoederath/Redferns

Deutsche Grammophon is set to mark World Piano Day on March 29, 2023 with its fourth international festival of pianism. Available to enjoy without charge on DG’s streaming service STAGE+ and the label’s YouTube channel, the festival will turn the spotlight on artists including Joep Beving, Seong-Jin Cho, Brian Eno & Roger Eno, Jan Lisiecki, Hélène Grimaud, Lucas & Arthur Jussen, Evgeny Kissin, Lang Lang, Bruce Liu, Fabian Müller, Víkingur Ólafsson, Max Richter, Grigory Sokolov and Daniil Trifonov. Together they will offer a feast of music ranging from the keyboard works of J.S. Bach and Handel to contemporary compositions.

By way of a prelude, on 25 March STAGE+ presents Jan Lisiecki’s recent recital at the Teatro Sannazaro in Naples in which he interweaves Chopin Études and Nocturnes. The festival itself opens with a specially curated compilation which will premiere on the DG YouTube channel at 6pm CET on 27 March. Accessible until 8am on 30 March, this programme – a treat for pianophiles and an ideal entry point for new fans – will comprise excerpts from all the World Piano Day recitals, concerts and documentaries hosted by STAGE+ over the next few weeks.

Music-lovers will be able to tune in free of charge for 30 days by using promo code WORLDPIANODAY. Full details can be found at the World Piano Day official website.

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“Thanks to our wonderful family of artists, this year’s international virtual piano festival is bigger and more exciting than ever,” says Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon. “We’re delighted to strengthen our partnership with World Piano Day with such varied artists and repertoire, in particular by pairing the profound experience of full concerts in high resolution on STAGE+ with the joyful discovery through short-form contributions on our YouTube channel. We’re proud to be offering access to concerts by some of today’s finest pianists as we celebrate the piano’s versatility and affirm its power to move and inspire.”

Festival highlights include Hélène Grimaud’s delightful recital of miniatures from her album Memory, featuring music by Satie, Debussy, Chopin and Silvestrov performed with characteristic elegance in the library of Polling Abbey in Bavaria; legendary Russian pianist Grigory Sokolov’s unique renditions of solo works by Mozart and Beethoven, not to mention a rich selection of encores; and an all-Chopin recital from Bruce Liu, winner of the 2021 International Chopin Piano Competition, given at the Salon Frédéric Chopin in Paris.

There are two contrasting but equally impressive programs to enjoy from Seong-Jin Cho: as well as performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Lahav Shani, he also presents repertoire from his latest DG album, The Handel Project, shining a light on works seldom heard on a modern piano and, in the process, revealing the sheer breadth of his own pianism.

Further concerto performances come from Daniil Trifonov, who is joined by Hannu Lintu and the Gulbenkian Orchestra in the Schumann Piano Concerto; Jan Lisiecki, who directs Chopin’s two concertos from the keyboard with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra; and Lucas and Arthur Jussen who, together with the Münchner Philharmoniker and John Storgårds, can be heard giving the premiere performance of Fazil Say’s “Anka Kuşu” Concerto for piano four hands.

Four more recitals, meanwhile, reveal the work of both established artists and one of their up-and-coming colleagues. Evgeny Kissin performs works by Berg, Chopin, Gershwin and Khrennikov at a concert filmed live at the 2021 Salzburg Festival; there’s a special live session filmed in Cologne by Lang Lang, including extracts from Bach’s Goldberg Variations; Víkingur Ólafsson presents repertoire from his latest album, From Afar, and shares his thoughts about the music as part of filmmaker Erlendur Sveinsson’s cinematic music documentary; and German pianist Fabian Müller is the focus of a portrait in DG’s new Rising Stars series.

There are treats in store for fans of contemporary piano music too. Deutsche Grammophon’s WPD celebration includes the recent documentary about Max Richter’s SLEEP, incorporating live performance footage; Brian Eno and Roger Eno’s 2021 concert at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens – the brothers’ first live performance together; and an intimate programme from Joep Beving featuring a selection of his much-loved contemplative compositions. Filmed for World Piano Day 2022, these performances are shown in full for the first time here.

Finally, to complement its virtual piano festival, DG is also releasing a set of e-singles on 29 March. Roger Eno has recorded an intimate upright-piano version of “Through the Blue” from his 1985 album Voices. Joep Beving’s reflective solo piece “Passage” represents the path we take “between darkness and light”, and Lang Lang’s two-track Spotify Singles, recorded in New York City in February, presents the solo version of “Dos Oruguitas”, from the superstar pianist’s The Disney Book album, and Joe Hisaishi’s “One Summer’s Day”, from the beloved Studio Ghibli animation Spirited Away. Both tracks will be available exclusively for 90 days on Spotify as of 29 March and 31 March respectively.

World Piano Day was founded by German composer, performer and producer Nils Frahm in 2015. Reflecting the number of keys on a full-sized piano, it takes place annually on the 88th day of the year.

Watch the full length World Piano Day performances for 30 days on Stage +.

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