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British Pianist Paul Lewis Returns May 8

April 27, 2015

Middlebury Audience Favorite to Perform Beethoven’s Final Piano Sonatas for Series Director Paul Nelson’s Swan Song


Middlebury, VT—Twelve years ago, Performing Arts Series director Paul Nelson was the first presenter to invite the now-internationally-acclaimed pianist Paul Lewis to perform in the United States. Since then, Lewis has earned accolades worldwide, returning often to Middlebury for season after season of astonishing performances. Nelson describes Lewis as “one of the happiest discoveries” of his presenting career, so it seems only fitting that Lewis should return to play Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas (opp. 109–111) for Nelson’s final concert after 30 years as series director. Lewis’ May 8 concert at the Mahaney Center for the Arts is the final Performing Arts Series event of the 2014–2015 season. Lewis will perform on the Steinway concert grand piano he helped select for Middlebury in October 2013 at Steinway’s Astoria, NY factory.

Paul Lewis

Nelson chose both Lewis and the Beethoven sonata program almost three years ago. “Paul Lewis has been a favorite pianist of mine and our series for a long time,” Nelson remarked. “Beethoven has been my most-loved composer—from the time I began to love any music at all. And there’s something quite splendid about the end of the last sonata…it whiles away into quiet, and that’s wonderful parting music.”

Middlebury has witnessed a strong connection between Lewis and Beethoven. Middlebury was one of the select few venues in the world to present Lewis’ complete Beethoven piano sonatas; the full cycle comprised eight concerts over three seasons in 2005–2007. This cycle, along with Lewis’ similarly lauded Schubert project, earned Lewis unanimous critical and public acclaim worldwide, and consolidated his reputation as one of the world’s foremost interpreters of the central European classical repertoire.

Lewis’s multi-award winning discography for the Harmonia Mundi label includes the complete Beethoven piano sonatas, concertos, and the Diabelli Variations; Liszt’s B minor Sonata and other late works; Schubert’s major late piano works, and three song cycles recorded with tenor Mark Padmore. Future recording plans include the Brahms D minor piano concerto with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Daniel Harding, and solo works by Mussorgsky and Schumann.

Paul Lewis

Lewis’s numerous awards have included the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist of the Year award, two Edison awards, three Gramophone awards, the Diapason D’or de l’Annee, the Preis Der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the Premio Internazionale Accademia Musicale Chigiana, and the South Bank Show Classical Music award. In the summer of 2010, Lewis became the first pianist in the history of the famed BBC Proms classical music festival 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 prestigious festivals and venues including London’s Wigmore Hall and Royal Festival Hall, Alice Tully and Carnegie Hall in New York, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Theatre des Champs Elysées in Paris, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Oji Hall in Tokyo, and the Sydney Opera House.

Lewis studied with Joan Havill at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama before going on to study privately with renowned Austrian pianist Alfred Brendel. Along with his wife, Norwegian cellist Bjørg Lewis, he is artistic director of Midsummer Music, an annual chamber music festival held in Buckinghamshire, UK.

This concert is made possible with support from Performing Arts Series Society members Leif Magnusson ’69 and Charlotte Sibley ’68, in honor of Paul Nelson. Audience members are invited to stay after the concert for a reception given in tribute to his 30 years of leadership.

The concert by Paul Lewis will take place on Friday, May 8, 2015 at 8:00 P.M. in the Concert Hall of the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts, on the campus of Middlebury College. Professor of Music Larry Hamberlin will offer a pre-concert lecture at 7:15 P.M. The Mahaney Center is located at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, just off Route 30 south/S. Main Street. Free parking is available curbside on Rt. 30 or in the Center for the Arts parking lot, in rows marked faculty/staff/visitors. Tickets* are $25 for the general public; $20 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students.* For more information, or to purchase tickets, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to

*This concert is now sold out. Any returned tickets will become available one hour prior to curtain by phone (802-443-3168) or in person at the Mahaney Center for the Arts Box Office.  


image credits:

top right, top, and bottom: Molina Visuals

second from top: Eurassic

Mahaney Arts Center
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 443-3168 phone
(802) 443-2834 fax