British Pianist Paul Lewis Brings Schubert Piano Cycle to a Triumphant Conclusion
August 4, 2014
October 26 Concert is the Fifth in a Series of Five for the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series
Middlebury, VT—British pianist Paul Lewis will perform the last three piano sonatas written by Franz Schubert on Friday, October 26 at Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts. This concert is a fitting finale to his run of five concerts featuring all of Schubert’s mature piano works from the Wandererfantasie onwards. Lewis is internationally recognized as one of the leading pianists of his generation.
Paul Lewis began his Schubert project in 2011, and Middlebury was thrilled to be among fewer than 15 venues worldwide to present the entire cycle. This fifth and final concert features a tremendous program: Schubert’s D. 958, 959, and 960. Lewis has already garnered significant critical acclaim for his Schubert performances. The Chicago Tribune noted, “Lewis’ deep insights into the emotional complications of this music were matched by his firm grasp of classical structure and the ways in which Schubert’s lyrical gift illuminates that structure. This was Schubert playing of a very high order.” Responding to Lewis’ recent Schubert CD release, Gramophone magazine wrote, “…He has developed into arguably the finest Schubert interpreter of his generation.”
This is not the first time Lewis has undertaken an epic series approach to his music work. Between 2005 and 2007, he performed the complete series of Beethoven piano sonatas at venues throughout Europe and North America to great critical acclaim, and his recordings of the cycle for Harmonia Mundi have received unanimous praise throughout the world. In the summer of 2010, Lewis became the first pianist in the history of the BBC Proms to play all five Beethoven piano concertos in a single season. The complete cycle was broadcast on BBC television. He is also a regular guest at many other prestigious venues and festivals including the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, the Roque d’Antheron Piano Festival, the Klavier Festival Ruhr, and London’s Wigmore Hall, where he has appeared on more than forty occasions.
His complete set of the Beethoven piano concertos with Jiří Bělohlávek and the BBC Symphony Orchestra was chosen as Recording of the Month in both Gramophone and Classic FM Magazine in autumn 2010. He has recently completed recordings of the three Schubert song cycles with tenor Mark Padmore. Many of these recent recordings will be made available for purchase at the concert venue in Middlebury.
Lewis studied with Ryszard Bakst at Chethams School of Music and Joan Havill at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, before going on to study privately with Alfred Brendel. Along with his wife, the Norwegian cellist Bjørg Lewis, he is artistic director of Midsummer Music, an annual chamber music festival held in Buckinghamshire, UK.
Concert attendees will be offered an additional treat on October 26. In conjunction with the concert, a special pre-performance meal “Dinner and Conversation with Friends,” will be offered at 6:30 P.M. in the lower lobby of the Mahaney Center. Patrons will be seated at large tables, with thought-provoking questions posted for all to discuss. Responses will be gathered and shared at intermission. The dinner and conversations are being presented under Americans for the Arts’ “Creative Conversations” program—local gatherings in communities across the country—part of a grassroots movement to elevate the profile of arts in America during National Arts and Humanities Month every October. Tickets for the dinner are $25.
Paul Lewis’ concert will take place on Friday, October 26, 2012, at 8:00 P.M., in the Concert Hall of the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts. The Mahaney Center is located at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, just off Route 30 south. Concert admission is $25 for the general public; $20 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and parents; and $6 for Middlebury College students. For tickets of information, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to http://go.middlebury.edu/tickets.
Photos Jack Liebeck