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    Early Masterpieces

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    Berlin Philharmonie, Chamber Music Hall
    Wed, 9 Mar 20:00
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    Early Masterpieces

    Even at a very young age, the composers on this programme were able to demonstrate their outstanding talent to the music world.

    Beethoven was only fifteen years old when he began sketching his Piano Concerto in B flat major, op. 19. Schubert wrote his third symphony, op. 200, when he was eighteen, and Bizet wrote his first symphony when he was seventeen. It is not surprising that in all three cases you can feel how committed to their role models these composers were when they were younger.

    Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, which is numbered that way only because it was printed after Concerto No. 1 in C major, op. 15, has clear features of a Mozart concerto (both in terms of subject matter and form, as well as orchestra scoring), while in Schubert and Bizet you can hear how much Beethoven looked over their shoulders. Nevertheless, in these works each composer already showed a certain authenticity, their very own style and musical identity. Therefore, the three pieces are by no means to be regarded as epigonic, but as full-fledged masterpieces.

    Kit Armstrong and Claire Huangci will appear as soloists on this tour: young-star Kit Armstrong will continue his successful partnership with Le Concert Olympique from the summer at the Vienna International Music Festival, while American pianist Claire Huangci will once again captivate audiences at Elbphilharmonie Hamburg with her “radiant virtuosity”.

    Claire Huangci, Piano

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    If looking for characteristics of Huangci’s piano playing, one finds them in her superior focus, imaginative abilities, and the resulting poetry of her interpretation. (Thomas Schacher, Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

    The American pianist Claire Huangci, winner of the 2018 Geza Anda Competition, continuously captivates audiences with her “radiant virtuosity, artistic sensitivity, keen interactive sense and subtle auditory dramaturgy” (Salzburger Nachrichten). With an irrepressible curiosity and penchant for unusual repertoire, she proves her versatility with a wide range in repertoire spanning from Bach and Scarlatti, via German and Russian romanticism, to Bernstein, Gulda, and Corigliano.

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    In solo recitals and with international orchestras, Claire has appeared in some of the most prestigious halls such as Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall Tokyo, NCPA Beijing, Paris Philharmonie, Munich Gasteig, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Vienna Concerthouse, Salzburg Festspielhaus, and the Budapest Franz Liszt Akademie. She is a welcome guest in renowned festivals including Lucerne Festival, Verbier Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, and Klavier Festival Ruhr. Her esteemed musical partners include the Mozarteumorchester Salzburg, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich, ORF Radio Orchester Vienna, Vancouver Symphony, and China Philharmonic Orchestra, together with Sir Roger Norrington, Eva Ollikainen, Pietari Inkinen, Mario Venzago, Howard Griffiths, Cornelius Meister, and Elim Chan.

    During the season 2021/22, Claire is again travelling all over the world, following invitations to the US, Japan, Colombia, and Russia next to her extensive work in Europe. In the start of 2022, she will present the complete cycle of the five piano concertos by Prokofiev in a major project with the Biel Solothurn Orchestra. Touring Beethoven’s piano concerto No.2 with Le Concert Olympique as a soloist, she will return to Berlin Philharmonie and Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, among others. Further orchestra appearances will be made with Wuerttemberg’s Staatsorchester Stuttgart, the Musikkollegium Winterthur, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Nordic Chamber Orchestra, and the Basel Chamber Orchestra.

    Claire Huangci began her international career at the age of nine with concert performances and competition wins. After studying with Eleanor Sokoloff and Gary Graffman at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, she moved to Germany in 2007 for further studies with Arie Vardi at the Hannover Musikhochschule, graduating with honors in 2016. Early in her artistic career, she stood out as an expressive interpreter of Chopin, winning first prizes at the Chopin competitions in Darmstadt and Miami in 2009 and 2010. She was also the youngest participant to receive second prize at the International ARD Music Competition in 2011.

    Releasing her new solo album with Bach Toccatas at the start of 2021/22, she is adding yet another recording to her already highly acclaimed discography. After recording her debut CD with solo works of Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev and her prizewinning double album of Scarlatti sonatas (German Record Critics’ Award and Gramophone Editor’s Choice), her solo albums included complete recordings of Chopin’s Nocturnes and Rachmaninoff’s Préludes, followed by her first chamber music album with Trio Machiavelli in 2020, whose interpretations of Ravel’s trio and Chausson’s piano quartet proved “a wholly exhilarating debut […] splendidly transparent, and always expressive.“ (BR Klassik). After recordings of Beethoven’s violin concerto in the piano version and Schubert’s Fantasy for piano and orchestra (arranged by Kabalevsky) with the RSO Vienna, her first orchestral album with the Deutsche Radiophilharmonie Saarbrücken under Shiyeon Sung was released in Fall 2019 with concertos by Chopin and Paderewski.

    2021/2022 season

    This biography is to be reproduced without any changes, omissions or additions, unless expressly authorised by the artist management.

    Le Concert Olympique

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    Le Concert Olympique was founded in 2010 as the brainchild of Beethoven expert and conductor Jan Caeyers. Since then, it has struck a chord in the classical music world. Le Concert Olympique represents a unique contemporary experience of a timeless tradition with relevant and authentic performances specifically of masterpieces by Beethoven and his contemporaries. The orchestra has two residencies in Belgium, one in deSingel in Antwerp and one in Flagey in Brussels. It is also ‘Orchestra in residence’ at Leuven University and supported by the Flemish Community. As from 2012, Le Concert Olympique has been invited to acclaimed concert halls such as the Vienna Musikverein, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and De Doelen in Rotterdam.

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    Le Concert Olympique is both a world-wide project and a world-class project. Its 50 players, who are meticulously screened and auditioned, are recruited internationally and converge several times a year to form a top-notch orchestra that works intensively with the world’s best soloists on an exclusive production. Everyone shares the conductor’s enthusiasm: a love of music and the ambition to perform the Viennese classics at the highest levels. The festive character is emphasized by the fact that the musicians are dressed by famous designer Anna Heylen. This collaboration symbolizes the main mission of Le Concert Olympique: to combine the timeless tradition with a fresh and vivid contemporary experience.

    The orchestra’s spirit is also captured in its name, which evokes “Le Concert de la Société Olympique”, the renowned Parisian concert organizer who commissioned six symphonies from Joseph Haydn in the 1780s. Haydn’s music, performed in the Palais-Royal, the birthplace of the progressive, pre-revolutionary social movement in France, signaled the birth of the modern classical symphony.

    Jan Caeyers, Conductor

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    The conductor and musicologist Jan Caeyers has lived, studied and worked in Vienna for many years. From 1993 to 1997, he was assistant to Claudio Abbado at the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, where he also had the opportunity to work alongside Bernard Haitink and Pierre Boulez.

    Until 2003, Jan Caeyers was Director of the Beethoven Academy and performed in many of Europe’s major concert venues, including the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Cité de la Musique in Paris, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels (Bozar) and the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid. As a freelance conductor he has worked at the Opera in Stuttgart, and with orchestras in Berlin, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Florence and Prague. He has also conducted such leading European choral ensembles as the Arnold Schoenberg Chor in Vienna and the Nederlands Kamerkoor.

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    Jan Caeyers has written his own in-depth views on Beethoven in a substantial volume which was published in Dutch in 2009. In 2012, it was translated into German by C.H. Beck as Beethoven. Der einsame Revolutionär. ´- and then into Hungarian. Further translations will include translations into Chinese and Arabic. Writing this book was an essential transitional stage for Caeyers towards founding his own orchestra, Le Concert Olympique, with whom he is able to deepen his studies and express his mature views on Beethoven and Viennese classical music.

    The superbly documented and elegantly written biography has been met with an enthusiastic reception, and the original version is now already in its seventh edition. Since the book has become a bestseller in Germany – the home of Beethoven research – it is now considered a reference work on Beethoven worldwide based on new insights that have led to a paradigm shift in the perception of the famous composer. The new English edition, as well as the latest German edition, was published during the Beethoven Anniversary Year 2020 by UCPress in cooperation with Beethoven-Haus Bonn under the title “Beethoven – A Life”. It was named ‘Book of the Year 2020’ by the Financial Times.

    Jan Caeyers has always combined his artistic career with the study of music resulting in a homogeneous project with Beethoven at its heart. His experience as a conductor has been an essential part of his academic approach as a professor at the University Leuven. Vice versa, setting up his own orchestra, Le Concert Olympique, has enabled him to convert into sound the well-founded insights he gained while writing his Beethoven biography. In 2018 he became Artistic Director of the non-profit organisation Internationale Beethoven Akademie e.V.

    Event Details

    Date: 9th March 2022 @ 8:00 pm
    Time: 8:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Venue: Berlin Philharmonie, Chamber Music Hall