MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-The Scottish pianist Steven Osborne will share his acclaimed interpretation of a rare piano work at an 8 p.m. recital on Friday, March 11, in the Concert Hall at Middlebury College's Center for the Arts.
The program for the evening is Olivier Messiaen's "Vingt regards sur l'enfant Jésus," a rare and complex two-hour piece which Osborne has recorded and performed to the delight of music lovers around the world.
Released in 2002, Osborne's recording of the piece was hailed as "one of the most successful and spectacular piano discs of recent years," by the Daily Telegraph in Britain. BBC Music Magazine gave it a five-star rating, saying: "Few possess the spiritual, emotional and physical stamina required for a successful interpretation of the complete cycle ... Steven Osborne's new account certainly demonstrates these qualities in abundance [and] holds off substantial competition."
Osborne's current tour is focused entirely on the Messiaen work. Upcoming stops include Miami and San Francisco before he returns to Great Britain for performances in London, Glasgow and Liverpool.
Born in Scotland in 1971, Osborne studied with Richard Beauchamp at St. Mary's Music School in Edinburgh and with Renna Kellaway at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. In 1988 he was a finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition and went on to capture first prize in the prestigious Clara Haskil Competition in Switzerland in 1991 and the Naumburg International Competition in New York in 1997.
Osborne is as comfortable performing the classics by Mozart, Brahms and Beethoven as he is the rarefied works of Messiaen, Tippett and Alkan. He frequently plays with the United Kingdom's major orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Scottish National. He performs annually at London's Wigmore Hall and at the Edinburgh Festival. Outside the U.K., he is at home on concert stages around the world. His recital venues have included Vienna, Berlin, Antwerp, Tokyo, Washington D.C., and New York City.
Osborne is commended wherever he goes for his versatility and range. The San Francisco Chronicle praised Osborne's "insight, technical facility and intellectual breadth." Of his Messiaen performance there in 2002, the reviewer said: "The more tender and inward-looking pieces are suffused with a spiritual glow, while the more extroverted movements leap and dance in infectious joy."
Osborne records regularly on the Hyperion label. In addition to his highly acclaimed Messiaen CD, he has recorded solo works by Alkan and Liszt, piano concertos by Tovey and solo works by Ravel. Gramophone hailed Osborne's Liszt recordings as one of the finest ever made. The Observer in London described Osborne's handling of the pieces as "a neglected masterpiece in masterful hands."
His concert is sponsored by the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series.
The Center for the Arts is located on South Main Street (Route 30). Reserved seating tickets for the performance are $12 for general admission and $10 for seniors. A pre-performance dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. at Rehearsals Cafe in the Center for the Arts. Reservations are required. For tickets or dinner reservations, call the Middlebury College Box Office at 802-443-6433. Online tickets and information are available at www.middlebury.edu/arts.
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