Shai Wosner, Piano; 01/12/2018

Shai Wosner, piano
Friday, January 12, 2018 - 8:00pm
Mahaney Center for the Arts, Robison Hall

Pianist Shai Wosner has attracted international recognition for his exceptional artistry, musical integrity, and creative insight. Described as a “Schubertian of unfaltering authority and character” by Gramophone, Wosner returns to Middlebury with a program of late Schubert sonatas, including opuses 42, 51, and 78, the “Fantasie.” A Nelson Series event. Reserved seating. Tickets: $28 General public/10 Youth (18 & under)/22 Midd ID holders/6 Midd students. 

Associated event:

Performing Arts Series Society (PASS) Reception
Friday, January 12, 2018 - 6:45pm
Mahaney Center for the Arts, Lower Lobby

A festive occasion for members to gather and celebrate PASS, preview select performances from the 2018–2019 season, and vote on which event to support. Membership information: 802-443-PASS (7277) or

Learn More | Media | Program | Biography | Press Release


Pianist Shai Wosner discusses Schubert's final six sonatas. He will perform three of these sonatas at Middlebury. 


Piano Sonatas by FRANZ SCHUBERT (1791-1828)

Sonata No. 16 in A Minor, Op. 42, D845

I. Moderato
II. Andante poco moto
III. Scherzo - Allegro vivace
IV. Rondo - Allegro vivace

Sonata No. 17 in D Major, Op. 51, D850

I. Allegro vivace
II. Con moto
III. Scherzo. Allegro vivace
IV. Rondo. Allegretto moderato

Sonata No. 18 in G Major, Op. 78, D894 "Fantasie"

I. Molto moderato e cantabile
II. Andante
III. Menuetto, Allegro moderato
IV. Allegretto


Shai Wosner, Piano

Pianist Shai Wosner has attracted international recognition for his exceptional artistry, musical integrity, and creative insight. His performances of a broad range of repertoire—from Beethoven and Schubert to Ligeti and the music of today—reflects a degree of virtuosity and intellectual curiosity that has made him a favorite among audiences and critics, who note his “keen musical mind and deep musical soul” (NPR’s All Things Considered) and “remarkable blend of the intellectual, physical and even devilish sides of performance” (Chicago Sun-Times). A frequent recitalist and chamber musician, Mr. Wosner is known for imaginative programming that links music of the past and present, as in his ongoing Bridge to Beethoven recital series with violinist Jennifer Koh, which pairs the composer’s violin sonatas with new works inspired by them. In the 2016-17 season, Mr. Wosner continues his focus on Beethoven through a variety of collaborations, while also launching a new solo recital series, Schubert: The Great Sonatas, which will continue into the 2017-18 season.

Described as a “Schubertian of unfaltering authority and character” by Gramophone, Mr. Wosner launches The Great Sonatas as the next chapter in his career-long and critically acclaimed engagement with the composer’s music. The series features Schubert’s last six piano sonatas, which Mr. Wosner compares to “six thick novels, rich with insight about the human condition.” The sonatas are performed in two programs—one comprising the only three piano sonatas published in the composer’s lifetime (A minor, D. 845; D major, D. 850; G major, D. 894) and the other comprising Schubert’s last three piano sonatas (C minor, D. 958; A major, D. 959; B-flat major, D. 960). Mr. Wosner performs Schubert: The Great Sonatas this season in Tel Aviv, with U.S. performances scheduled for the 2017-18 season. 

As a chamber musician, Mr. Wosner continues the two Beethoven collaborations that he began last season—Bridge to Beethoven with Ms. Koh and the complete works for cello and piano with Ralph Kirshbaum. Launched in November 2015 in New York, the Bridge to Beethoven recital series features Beethoven’s violin sonatas alongside companion pieces by contemporary composers, including Jörg Widmann’s Sommersonate and new commissions from Anthony Cheung, Vijay Iyer, and Andrew Norman. The series continues this season with U.S. performances, including a program in Philadelphia featuring the local premiere of Mr. Iyer’s Bridgetower Fantasy. In New York, Mr. Wosner and Ms. Koh perform a recital of works by Beethoven, Debussy, Fauré, and contemporary composers Kaija Saariaho and György Kurtág. 

Mr. Wosner and Mr. Kirshbaum’s 2016-17 performances of Beethoven’s complete works for cello and piano include a two-concert series at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, which opened in 2013 and has become known as one of the Los Angeles area’s major new performing arts venues. Last season, the duo performed the series at London’s Wigmore Hall, which was recorded for release on Onyx Classics in December 2016. 

Mr. Wosner further explores the music of Beethoven in performances of chamber music at the 2016 Beethovenfest in the composer’s hometown of Bonn, Germany, as well as in performances of the last three piano concertos (Nos. 3, 4, and 5, “Emperor”) with orchestras in the U.S. He also performs the Ligeti piano concerto in a London concert with conductor Nicholas Collon and the Aurora Orchestra. 

Released by Onyx Classics in June 2016, Mr. Wosner’s recording of the Ligeti concerto with Mr. Collon and the Danish Symphony Orchestra also features concertos by Haydn and solo capriccios by Haydn and Ligeti. This unique pairing of classical and modern masters was named “Concerto Choice” (September 2016) by BBC Music Magazine, which writes: “Wosner’s notes describe these composers’ use of humour as ‘like two distant relatives sharing an old family joke’. Wit nevertheless rubs shoulders effortlessly with intensity and even moments of terror – that Ligeti slow movement involves sounds that resemble a siren and a police whistle. It’s the intelligence, perception and dazzling energy of Wosner’s playing that makes all this possible and vivid.” 

In keeping with Mr. Wosner’s practice of exploring links between stylistically contrasting composers, his solo recordings for the Onyx label include an album of works by Brahms and Schoenberg and an album of works by Schubert and contemporary composer Missy Mazzoli. Mr. Wosner has also recorded an all-Schubert solo album for Onyx featuring a selection of the composer’s folk-inspired piano works, a recording that put him “straight into the front rank of the Schubertians” (BBC Music Magazine). In addition to his Onyx releases, Mr. Wosner’s discography includes a duo recording with Ms. Koh, titled Signs, Games + Messages, on the Cedille label. Weaving traditional Central European folk music with 20th-century modernism, the recording features works by Bartók, Janáček, and Kurtág, including the latter’s duet piece for which the album was named. 

Mr. Wosner is a recipient of Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award—a prize he used to commission Michael Hersch’s concerto Along the Ravines, which he performed with the Seattle Symphony and Deutsche Radio Philharmonie in its world and European premieres. He was in residence with the BBC as a New Generation Artist, during which he appeared frequently with the BBC orchestras, including conducting Mozart concertos from the keyboard with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He returned to the BBC Scottish Symphony in both subscription concerts and Proms performances with Donald Runnicles and appeared with the BBC Philharmonic in a live broadcast from Manchester's Bridgewater Hall. His recital, chamber, and orchestral performances continue to be broadcast on Radio 3. 

As a concerto soloist in the U.S., Mr. Wosner has appeared with the orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Berkeley, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco, among others. In addition to the BBC orchestras, he has performed abroad with the Barcelona Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, LSO St. Luke’s, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Orchestre National de Belgique, Staatskapelle Berlin, and the Vienna Philharmonic, among others.

Mr. Wosner has also appeared with the Orpheus, St. Paul, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestras, having conducted the latter from the keyboard in a 2010 concert that was broadcast on American Public Radio. 

Mr. Wosner has worked with such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Jiří Bělohlávek, James Conlon, Alan Gilbert, Gunther Herbig, James Judd, Zubin Mehta, Peter Oundjian, Donald Runnicles, Leonard Slatkin, Jeffrey Tate, and Yan Pascal Tortelier, and has performed at summer festivals including the Bowdoin International Music Festival, Bravo! Vail festival, Grand Teton Music Festival, Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, and Ravinia Festival. For several consecutive summers, he was involved in the West-Eastern Divan Workshop led by Mr. Barenboim and toured as soloist with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. 

Widely sought after by colleagues for his versatility and spirit of partnership, Mr. Wosner has collaborated as a chamber musician with numerous artists, including Martin Fröst, Lynn Harrell, Dietrich Henschel, Cho-Liang Lin, Christian Tetzlaff, and Pinchas Zukerman. He has also collaborated with leading chamber ensembles, including the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet in The Schubert Effect recital series. Mr. Wosner is a former member of Lincoln Center's Chamber Music Society Two and performs regularly at various chamber music festivals, including Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, the Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival, the Oregon Bach Festival, the Piano Aux Jacobins festival in France, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Recent chamber music engagements include collaborations with the Pro Musica Society at the Maison Symphonique de Montreal and the Le Club Musical de Quebec at le Palais Montcalm in Canada; performances of works by Brahms, Schumann, and Takemitsu with the Friends of Chamber Music in Denver, Colorado; and appearances at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Laguna Beach Music Festival, and the Ravinia Festival. Among his recent solo recitals, he performed a program of Gershwin and Dvořák at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

Born in Israel, Mr. Wosner enjoyed a broad musical education from a very early age, studying piano with Emanuel Krasovsky as well as composition, theory, and improvisation with André Hajdu. He later studied at The Juilliard School with Emanuel Ax. Mr. Wosner is on the faculty at the Longy School of Music in Boston. He resides in New York with his wife and two children.

Mahaney Center for the Arts
Middlebury College
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