“Mr. Ohlsson centered the performance, playing with his customary clarity, command and wit. He…brought elegance to the beguiling slow movement and zipped through the sprightly finale with zest and humor that still allowed for lyrical turns of phrase in dreamy passages.” - New York Times
Garrick Ohlsson is the most important American pianist of his generation, and the greatest. He was the first American to win the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in 1970, the first of many honours including first prize at the Busoni and Montreal Piano Competitions, the Avery Fisher Prize, and a Grammy Award. An alumnus of Juilliard School, Mr. Ohlsson credits his musical development to his teachers, most notably Claudio Arrau, for teaching him to master the works of Mozart, Beethoven, and Shubert, for which he is now legendary. He has performed with orchestras across the globe, recently completing a North American tour and European performances with the Salzburg Mozarteum and the Deutsche Symphony Berlin.
Bramwell Tovey, conductor
A musician of striking versatility, Bramwell Tovey is acknowledged around the world for his artistic depth and his warm, charismatic personality on the podium. Tovey’s career as a conductor is uniquely enhanced by his work as a composer and pianist, lending him a remarkable musical perspective. His tenures as music director with the Vancouver Symphony, Luxembourg Philharmonic and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras have been characterized by his expertise in operatic, choral, British and contemporary repertoire.
He continues as Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and as founding host and conductor of the New York Philharmonic’s Summertime Classics series at Avery Fisher Hall. An esteemed guest conductor, Tovey has worked with orchestras in Europe and the UK including the London Philharmonic, London Symphony, Frankfurt Radio and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras. This season, Tovey returns to the Ulster and Helsingborg Orchestras having made his successful debut in 2008/09 and to Opera North and Trondheim Symphony. He makes his debut with Bergen Philharmonic in 2009/10 and will also return to Melbourne as curator of the contemporary Metropolis Festival in summer 2010 and to the main subscription season in autumn 2011. That season, he will also conduct the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for the first time. In North America, along with his work with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Tovey has made guest appearances with the orchestras of Baltimore, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Seattle, Montreal as well as ongoing performances with Toronto, where he conducts each season.
With a profound commitment to new music, Tovey has established himself as a formidable composer and is the first artist to win a Juno Award in both conducting and composing. He has been commissioned by the Calgary Opera to compose the company’s third original full-length opera.
He has also recorded several DVDs, of works including Holst’s The Planets Suite with distinguished guests such as percussionist Evelyn Glennie, among many others.
Garrick Ohlsson, piano
Since his triumph as winner of the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition, pianist Garrick Ohlsson has established himself worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess. Although he has long been regarded as one of the world's leading exponents of the music of Frederic Chopin, Mr. Ohlsson commands an enormous repertoire, which ranges over the entire piano literature. A student of the late Claudio Arrau, Mr. Ohlsson has come to be noted for his masterly performances of the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the Romantic repertoire. His concerto repertoire alone is unusually wide and eclectic - ranging from Haydn and Mozart to works of the 21st century - and to date he has at his command some 80 concertos.
A prolific recording artist, Mr. Ohlsson can be heard on the Arabesque, RCA Victor Red Seal, Angel, Bridge, BMG, Delos, Hanssler, Nonesuch, Telarc, and Virgin Classics labels. His undertaking of the complete Beethoven sonatas for Bridge Records has already resulted in 3 discs, the third of which won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance. His most recent project is a 16-disc set of the complete works of Chopin for the Hyperion label, to be released in Fall 2008. He is currently recording a series with WQXR in New York in which he guides listeners through each of Beethoven's sonatas, playing excerpts and talking about the pieces. The first ten sonata sessions are available at WQXR.com.
A native of White Plains, N.Y., Mr. Ohlsson began his piano studies at the age of 8. He attended the Westchester Conservatory of Music and at 13 entered The Juilliard School in New York City. His musical development has been influenced in completely different ways by a succession of distinguished teachers, most notably Claudio Arrau, Olga Barabini, Tom Lishman, Sascha Gorodnitzki, Rosina Lhevinne and Irma Wolpe. Although he won First Prizes at the 1966 Busoni Competition in Italy and 1968 Montreal Piano Competition, it was his 1970 triumph at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw, where he won the Gold Medal that brought him worldwide recognition as one of the finest pianists of his generation.
Since then he has made nearly a dozen tours of Poland, where he retains immense personal popularity. Mr. Ohlsson was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize in 1994 and received the 1998 University Musical Society Distinguished Artist Award in Ann Arbor, Mich. In February 2008, he won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra) for his Beethoven Sonatas, Vol. 3 (Bridge Records, Inc.). He makes his home in San Francisco. -- www.vancouversymphony.ca