Leif Ove Andsnes
Managed in association with Enticott Music Management
The New York Times calls Leif Ove Andsnes “a pianist of magisterial elegance, power, and insight,” and the Wall Street Journal names him “one of the most gifted musicians of his generation.” With his commanding technique and searching interpretations, the celebrated Norwegian pianist has won acclaim worldwide, playing concertos and recitals in the world’s leading concert halls and with its foremost orchestras, while building an esteemed and extensive discography. An avid chamber musician, he is the founding director of the Rosendal Chamber Music Festival, was co-artistic director of the Risør Festival of Chamber Music for nearly two decades, and served as music director of California’s Ojai Music Festival in 2012. He was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame in July 2013, and received honorary doctorates from New York’s Juilliard School and Norway’s University of Bergen in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Andsnes is currently partnering with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO) on “Mozart Momentum 1785/86.” A major multi-season project exploring one of the most creative and seminal periods of the composer’s career, this sees the pianist lead the ensemble from the keyboard in accounts of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 20–24 at key European venues, as well as recording them for Sony Classical. When it was released in May 2021, the project’s first album, MM/1785, was named “Record of the Week” by BBC Radio 3 and “Recording of the Month” by Gramophone magazine, which pronounced it “a remarkable achievement by all concerned.” “Mozart Momentum 1785/86” marks Andsnes’s second artistic partnership with the MCO, following the success of “The Beethoven Journey.” An epic four-season focus on the composer’s music for piano and orchestra, this took the pianist to 108 cities in 27 countries for more than 230 live performances, and is perhaps his most ambitious achievement to date. He led the MCO from the keyboard in complete Beethoven concerto cycles at high-profile residencies in Bonn, Hamburg, Lucerne, Vienna, Paris, New York, Shanghai, Tokyo, Bodø and London, besides collaborating with such leading international ensembles as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, London Philharmonic and Munich Philharmonic. The project was chronicled in the documentary Concerto – A Beethoven Journey (2016), and Andsnes’s partnership with the MCO was captured on the hit Sony Classical three-volume series The Beethoven Journey. The first volume was named iTunes’ Best Instrumental Album of 2012 and awarded Belgium’s Prix Caecilia, the second recognized with BBC Music’s coveted “2015 Recording of the Year Award,” and the complete series chosen as one of the “Best of 2014” by the New York Times.Read more
Andsnes now records exclusively for Sony Classical. His previous discography comprises more than 30 discs for EMI Classics – solo, chamber, and concerto releases, many of them bestsellers – spanning repertoire from the time of Bach to the present day. He has been nominated for eleven Grammys and awarded many international prizes, including six Gramophone Awards. His recordings of the music of his compatriot Edvard Grieg have been especially celebrated: the New York Times named Andsnes’s 2004 recording of Grieg’s Piano Concerto with Mariss Jansons and the Berlin Philharmonic a “Best CD of the Year,” the Penguin Guide awarded it a coveted “Rosette,” and both that album and his disc of Grieg’s Lyric Pieces won Gramophone Awards. His recording of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 9 and 18 was another New York Times “Best of the Year” and Penguin Guide “Rosette” honoree. He won yet another Gramophone Award for Rachmaninov’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 with Antonio Pappano and the Berlin Philharmonic. A series of recordings of Schubert’s late sonatas, paired with lieder sung by Ian Bostridge, inspired lavish praise, as did the pianist’s world-premiere recordings of Marc-André Dalbavie’s Piano Concerto and Bent Sørensen’s The Shadows of Silence, both of which were written for him. As well as Chopin: Ballades & Nocturnes and the Billboard best-selling Sibelius, both recorded for Sony, his recent releases include Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring & other works for two pianos four hands, recorded with Marc-André Hamelin for Hyperion, and Schumann: Liederkreis & Kernerlieder, recorded with Matthias Goerne for Harmonia Mundi, both of which were nominated for Grammy Awards.
Andsnes has received Norway’s distinguished honor, Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav, and in 2007, he received the prestigious Peer Gynt Prize, awarded by members of parliament to honor prominent Norwegians for their achievements in politics, sports, and culture. In 2004-05, he became the youngest musician (and first Scandinavian) to curate Carnegie Hall’s “Perspectives” series, and in 2015-16 he was the subject of the London Symphony Orchestra’s Artist Portrait Series. Having been 2010-11 Pianist-in-Residence of the Berlin Philharmonic, he went on to serve as 2017-18 Artist-in-Residence of the New York Philharmonic and 2019-20 Artist-in-Residence of Sweden’s Gothenburg Symphony. He is the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist Award and the Gilmore Artist Award, and, saluting his many achievements, Vanity Fair named Andsnes one of the “Best of the Best” in 2005.
Leif Ove Andsnes was born in Karmøy, Norway in 1970, and studied at the Bergen Music Conservatory under the renowned Czech professor Jirí Hlinka. He has also received invaluable advice from the Belgian piano teacher Jacques de Tiège, who, like Hlinka, greatly influenced his style and philosophy of playing. Today Andsnes lives with his partner and their three children in Bergen. He is an Artistic Adviser at the city’s Prof. Jirí Hlinka Piano Academy, where he gives a masterclass to participating students each year.
For six-time Gramophone Award-winner Leif Ove Andsnes, 28 May marks the release of MM/1785 on Sony Classical. The first volume of Mozart Momentum 1785/1786, his second project as the inaugural Artistic Partner of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO), the new album...
Oslo Philharmonic and Vasily Petrenko Celebrate the Orchestra’s Centenary with a European Tour Featuring Leif Ove Andsnes
National and civic pride helped launch the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra a century ago. They have been boosted since by its outstanding achievements at home and on the international stage. The Norwegian orchestra, which gave its first performance in...
New Releases Today: Leif Ove Andsnes Plays Chopin, Benjamin Appl Sings Bach, and Paul Watkins Performs Finzi
Today marks the release of three major recordings by pianist Leif Ove Andses, baritone Benjamin Appl and cellist Paul Watkins. Chopin: Leif Ove Andsnes On Chopin: Ballades & Nocturnes, Leif Ove Andsnes intersperses the Romantic master composer’s four Ballades –...
“Andsnes has entered an elite circle of pianistic stardom. … When he sits in front of the keyboard …, extraordinary things happen.”
“In the first movement of his Second Piano Concerto, Beethoven interrupts the lively giddy mood for a few bars to pause briefly with a dreamy melody. Nothing big, just a pretty interlude, one would think. But, as Leif Ove Andsnes hinted, there with a trill, a slight voltage hesitation and, as the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO), dipped the sound the passage suddenly gave off a very special magic. Such small miracles – and there were several – showed the exceptional level of the evening, in the sold-out Laeiszhalle giving the Elbe Philharmonic concerts a brilliant start to the season. Normally the repertoire of orchestras and their guests allows too little time for detailed work. Andsnes and the multinational elite group of the MCO have been working for years on the intricacies of their Beethoven-image. The blind understanding between the soloist and his partner could be felt in every bar of the piano concertos … The pianist brings Beethoven down from the base of the “Titans” and provides him with both feet on the ground, where we can see him through the eyes of the soul. People rarely have the chance to come this close to Beethoven “
“Things got more refined with the appearance of pianist Leif Ove Andsnes to perform Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto no. 4 in G minor, the least well-known of the four. After emigrating from Russia after the October Revolution in 1917 and enjoying great success in the USA, the Fourth, whilst already started, was not finished until 1926. Appearing after a compositional lull, it was different enough to be scathingly received. Gone are the sweeping, eternal lines, memorable melodies and thick scoring. The Fourth is varied and subtle and more thinly scored than the Second or Third, shifting from idea to idea so quickly that it was condemned as trivial and salon-like by his critics. A New York Evening Telegramcritic clearly saw it not as progressive, but diminutive, writing that “Mme Cécile Chaminade might safely have perpetrated it on her third glass of vodka”. Andnes mastered the virtuosic work with remarkable ease. His attention to sound was beautiful and varied, and he filled the corners of each tone regardless of dynamic level or style of attack. It was a pleasure to listen to him, particularly within the introspective second movement, which was a dream. At the close of his performance one could have heard a pin drop, and Andnes was called to the stage repeatedly, graciously offering a Sibelius Romance as an encore.”
“… Leif Ove Andsnes performed Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 4 – with its complex melody and intricate solo part – displaying both an immaculate technique and virtuosic empathy for the music.”
“Andsnes’s pianistic skill in sustaining all but orchestral accompaniments was formidable.”
“Most recitalists treat programme-making as a secondary art: a bit of light and dark, fast and slow, to point up contrasts, modulate a theme and display a variety of skills. Matthias Goerne and Leif Ove Andsnes are made of sterner stuff. For their collaboration on Tuesday they chose a monothematic programme on the subject of death, comprising music by just two composers. Morbid? No, exquisite.”
“Andsnes evidently took as much care with the musical line of Shostakovich’s Night as he would have done with a solo work. He brought out the all-too-obvious ‘quirkiness’ of Immortality, and there could be no faulting strength or starkness in the performance from either artists of Death.”
“The great pleasure of the evening came from Andsnes… wonderfully penumbral in the Shostakovich, he picked out Mahler’s counterpoint with exquisite, Bach-like lucidity.”
“A pianist of magisterial elegance, power and insight.”