Support Saint Paul Sunday with your purchases
  • News/Talk
  • Music
  • Entertainment
Saint Paul Sunday home page


Leif Ove Andsnes


The career of Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has attracted considerable interest and excitement since his international debut in the early 1990s. Described by the New York Times as "the most accomplished pianist of the new generation," the multiple Gramophone Award-winner is now firmly established as one of the most compelling artists on the world concert stage.

2004/2005 was an important American season for Andsnes, who gave 20 concerts in ten North American cities. At the heart of the season was a prestigious seven-concert "Perspectives" series at New York's Carnegie Hall, which featured Andsnes in solo and concerto performances as well as in collaboration with some of his closest musical associates. A performance of Schubert's epic song cycle Winterreise with English tenor Ian Bostridge opened the series in October 2004, and several chamber music concerts at Zankel Hall in May 2005 brought the series to a triumphant close. Andsnes was the youngest artist - and the only Scandinavian - to have been awarded the series.

Saluting this and other achievements, Vanity Fair magazine named Andsnes one of the "Best of the Best" in January 2005.

Also in 2004/5 Andsnes toured Germany and Asia directing the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra from the keyboard in performances of works by Mozart and Haydn. He played Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra as well as the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Cleveland Orchestra; he recorded both works with the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Antonio Pappano in June 2005 for release on EMI Classics this autumn. A second new album, a collection of short piano works, is due for release on the label in early 2006.

In August 2005 Andsnes gave the world premiere performance of Marc-André Dalbavie's Piano Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Jukka-Pekka Saraste - a BBC Proms co-commission with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chicago Symphony. Andsnes will give the U.S. premiere of the concerto in Cleveland under Franz Welser-Möst in January 2006.

Other highlights of the 2005/2006 season include concerts in Tokyo with the Tokyo Philharmonic conducted by Mikhail Pletnev; a European tour with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra; a special residency with the Los Angeles Philharmonic that will include solo, chamber and concerto performances at the Walt Disney Concert Hall; a U.S. tour with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra in which he will perform and conduct Mozart piano concertos from the keyboard; and a major recital tour throughout Europe and the U.S. that includes his solo debut at Vienna's legendary Musikverein.

Andsnes is co-artistic director of his own festival in Risør, which every year draws some of the most esteemed classical performers to Norway, and features artists such as Emanuel Ax, Ian Bostridge, Matthias Goerne, Barbara Hendricks, Gidon Kremer and Maxim Vengerov. He is a regular guest at such leading summer festivals as Aspen, Ravinia, Saratoga, Tanglewood, Verbier and New York City's Mostly Mozart Festival. Andsnes has been the subject of a number of television documentaries, including England's "South Bank Show," for which a team traveled and filmed with him throughout autumn 2001. In September 2002 he was the soloist at the "Last Night of the Proms" with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, playing the Grieg concerto, and in December 2003 he performed at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, which was televised worldwide.

Leif Ove Andsnes records exclusively for EMI Classics. He is the recipient of three Gramophone Awards, most recently in the Best Concerto category for his recording of Grieg and Schumann Piano Concertos with the Berlin Philharmonic and Mariss Jansons. He won the award in the same category in 2000 for his disc of Haydn Piano Concertos Nos. 3, 4 & 11, in which he directed the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra from the keyboard. In 2002 his recording of Grieg's "Lyric Pieces" - played on the composer's own piano in Troldhaugen - won the Gramophone Award for Best Instrumental recording.

His wide-ranging discography includes sonatas by Haydn, Schubert, Chopin and Schumann, Liszt piano works, Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1 and piano concertos by Shostakovich and Britten. His recordings of Mozart's Piano Concertos Nos. 9 and 18 with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and Schubert's Winterreise with Ian Bostridge were released in autumn 2004; both were listed among the Best CDs of the year by the New York Times.

In May 2002 Leif Ove Andsnes was made a Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav, Norway's most distinguished award. This is the most recent in a long list of accolades that also includes the Royal Philharmonic Society's Instrumentalist Award in 2000 and the 1998 Gilmore Artist Award from the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Leif Ove Andsnes was born in Karmøy, Norway, in 1970 and studied at the Bergen Music Conservatory under the Czech professor Jiri Hlinka.