Brian Ganz

“There isn’t much about Chopin that Brian Ganz doesn’t know...His delight and wonder in this music seems to grow, apparently without bounds.” - The Washington Post /// See Blog for Brian's New Video.

Nearing the 3/4 mark, February 18 Concert Focuses on Chopin as “A Young Genius”

BRIAN GANZ IS AVAILABLE FOR ADVANCE INTERVIEW.

Media Contact: Marc Apter, 301-904-3690, marca1030@gmail.com  

 

Pianist Brian Ganz Continues “Extreme Chopin” Quest

May Become the First Pianist to Perform Every Note Composer Wrote

Nearing the 3/4 mark, February 18 Concert Focuses on Chopin as “A Young Genius”

North Bethesda, MD (October 2016) — As Pianist Brian Ganz moves into the second half of his “Extreme Chopin” quest, he is set to perform both world-famous and little-known works of Chopin — including an early composition written at 11 years of age — in an all-Chopin recital on February 18, 2017. Ganz began his “Extreme Chopin” quest in January 2011 at a sold-out recitalin partnership with the National Philharmonic at The Music Center at Strathmore. Ganz has since maintained a packed concert schedule, that may result in his being the only living pianist to perform Chopin’s entire oeuvre — roughly 250 works. “As far as I know, Brian is the first musician to attempt to perform all the works of Chopin,” said Piotr Gajewski, National Philharmonic music director. “He is the perfect pianist to take up this challenge—not only because of his great love for the composer, but also because of his intense connection with his audience,” Gajewski said. Witness musical history in the making at 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 18th, 2017 at The Music Center at Strathmore. Children ages seven to 17 are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information or to purchase tickets ($28-$88) visit nationalphilharmonic.org or call 301-581-5100. 

At the February 18 concert, Ganz will explore the theme of “Chopin: A Young Genius.” With a total of 22 pieces (with one intermission), the program showcases a wide variety of Chopin’s musical output: nocturnes, études, mazurkas, polonaises, and more. Perhaps most illuminating are the two early Polonaises, written when Chopin was only 11 and 14 years old. As Ganz notes, “These early pieces, juxtaposed with Chopin’s more mature works, perfectly showcase what I call ‘musical gardening.’ It’s a term I like to use to help us understand and appreciate the maturation of a composer. In this instance, we can quite clearly find ‘the seeds’ of Chopin’s musical genius in the Polonaise in A-flat major, written when Chopin was just a child. To continue the metaphor, I'll demonstrate the ‘full flowering’ of his genius with the first polonaise he chose to publish, the C-sharp minor, Op. 26, No. 1. I'll do some musical gardening with mazurkas as well.”

The evening’s program begins with three Nocturnes, Op. 9. These pieces are generally believed to have transformed the nocturne genre from polite background music for social gatherings into a serious art form. Even the most casual classical music listener will recognize Op. 9, No. 2, as it’s one of those pieces that are omnipresent in pop culture (included in the soundtrack to movies like Saturday Night Fever, Blue Lagoon, and Bad Santa). Ganz then gives us a glimpse of the early works of Chopin with two Polonaises (followed by the mature one from Op. 26) and the Variations on a German Air (“Der Schweizerbub”), a charming piece that is almost entirely neglected. Most of these early pieces were published posthumously by Chopin’s friend Julian Fontana, contrary to Chopin's deathbed wish that all his remaining manuscripts be burnt. These seldom performed works offer a window into the workings of Chopin as a budding composer. 

The second half of the program begins with three Mazurkas, a Polish country dance that was a recurring comfort to the composer, and finally closes with one of his first masterpieces, the set of twelve Études, Op. 10. The Études, dedicated to Franz Liszt, were widely considered a breakout moment in Chopin’s career. The collection was published in 1833, when Chopin was only 23. “No. 3 in E Major is perhaps the most beloved of the set,” said Ganz, “but all are remarkable for their stunning technical brilliance, originality, and musical range. There’s no finer way to finish the concert than with Chopin’s No. 12. It’s a ferociously beautiful piece, famously referred to as the ‘Revolutionary Etude’ since Chopin supposedly composed it after hearing Russians had invaded his homeland.”

In 2010, Ganz visited Poland, invited by the renowned conductor Miroslaw Blaszczyk to play with the Filharmonia Slaska and Filharmonia Pomorska. Visiting Chopin’s home country affected Ganz profoundly. “Chopin is Poland’s national treasure. His face was pictured everywhere, sometimes with no name under it and no caption of any kind. It is almost as if he is the air people breathe. This was profoundly satisfying to me, because he has always been the air I breathe,” Ganz said. “I visited the church where his heart lies in Warsaw. I visited the monument where outside concerts take place under a graceful, sweeping statue of him. I took a taxi to his birthplace in Zelazowa Wola.  The whole experience was a pilgrimage for me.”

Ganz may be the first to perform all Chopin’s works, but says, “the important thing is not whether I’m the first to do this. I’m excited to share works with Chopin lovers that they may never have heard before. There are so many beloved works of great beauty and emotional power, but there are also quite a few buried treasures that deserve to be heard.”

This is also a personal artistic endeavor for Brian Ganz. “I clearly remember, as a young pianist, having a very intense connection to Chopin. I would even dream about the scores I had not yet seen,” said Ganz. “I’ll never forget the day I bought the score for his Études at the old Harmony Hut Records at Columbia Mall. That store is long gone now, but my fascination with Chopin remains.”

“There isn’t much about Chopin that Brian Ganz doesn’t know,” The Washington Post has written. “The pianist has explored the nocturnes, the etudes, the sonatas and concertos and the rest in concerts, master classes and recordings for years now. His delight and wonder in this music seems to grow, apparently without bounds, as time goes on.” 

Widely regarded as one of the leading pianists of his generation, Ganz has appeared as soloist with such orchestras as the St. Louis Symphony, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Baltimore Symphony, the National Philharmonic, the National Symphony and the City of London Sinfonia, and has performed with such conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Marin Alsop, Mstislav Rostropovich and Piotr Gajewski. The Washington Post has written: “One comes away from a recital by pianist Brian Ganz not only exhilarated by the power of the performance but also moved by his search for artistic truth.” 

For many years Mr. Ganz has made it his mission to join vivid music making with warmth and intimacy onstage to produce a new kind of listening experience, in which great works come to life with authentic emotional power. As one of Belgium's leading newspapers, La Libre Belgique, put it, "We don't have the words to speak of this fabulous musician who lives music with a generous urgency and brings his public into a state of intense joy."

In January 2011 Mr. Ganz began a multi-year project in partnership with the National Philharmonic in which he will perform the complete works of Chopin at the Music Center at Strathmore outside of Washington D.C.. After the inaugural recital, The Washington Post wrote: "Brian Ganz was masterly in his first installment of the complete works [of Chopin]."

Mr. Ganz is on the piano faculty of St. Mary's College of Maryland, where he is artist-in-residence, and is also a member of the piano faculty of the Peabody Conservatory. He is the artist-editor of the Schirmer Performance Edition of Chopin’s Preludes (2005). 

Photo Cut Line: Brian Ganz plays world-renowned and seldom-heard works of Chopin on February 18, 2016 at Strathmore. (photo credit: Jay Mallin).

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National Philharmonic Season Opening Concerts, Sept 17-18 Works by Beethoven/ Symphony No. 7

PIANIST BRIAN GANZ AND MAESTRO PIOTR GAJEWSKI ARE AVAILABLE FOR ADVANCE INTERVIEWS. Media Contact: Marc Apter, 301-904-3690, marca1030@gmail.com

Award-Winning Pianist Brian Ganz

Plays "The Greatest Piano Concerto Ever Composed” 

Conducted by Renowned Maestro Piotr Gajewski

 

Bethesda, MD (August 12, 2016)—The National Philharmonic kicks off its 12th anniversary at The Music Center at Strathmore with renditions of some of Ludwig van Beethoven’s most popular works, led by Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski. Performances include the Coriolan Overture in C Minor, Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, and Symphony No. 7 in A Major, one of Beethoven’s most beloved symphonies. Among the program’s highlights will be a performance by award-winning pianist Brian Ganz of the Piano Concerto No. 4, which he calls “arguably the greatest piano concerto ever composed.” The start of the 2016-2017 season is especially nostalgic for both musicians, as the music comes full circle with some of the pair’s most memorable childhood performances. Opening night is Saturday, Sept. 17 at 8 p.m., followed by a performance on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 3 p.m. at Strathmore. Ticket prices start at $28 and are free for children ages 7-17. Strathmore is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.nationalphilharmonic.org or call 301.581.5100.

The evening’s performance begins with the stormy Coriolan Overture, inspired by the five-act tragedy by Heinrich von Collin, about the conflicted Roman patrician Coriolanus and his quest for vengeance against Rome. The composition is followed by the Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, which marked Beethoven’s last public appearance as a concerto soloist—and Ganz’s very first performance of a concerto by Beethoven at the age of 16. The work's second movement evokes for some listeners the image of Orpheus taming the Furies of the Underworld with his music, as he arrives there in search of his beloved Eurydice. The program concludes with the Symphony No. 7, a popular work known for its energy and joy. A free educational lecture on the history and nuances of the program will be offered in the Concert Hall by National Philharmonic Associate Conductor Victoria Gau before the performances, at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday and 1:45 p.m. on Sunday. Gau concludes, “A lot of the exuberance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 work lies in its persistent dance rhythms.” 

One of the leading pianist of his generation, Ganz describes the Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major as “innovative and incredibly beautiful.” At age 16, Ganz, studying under renowned pianist Leon Fleisher, performed this concerto with the Baroque Arts Chamber Orchestra in Washington, D.C. “It was the first time I had ever performed a Beethoven concerto,” Ganz said, "and it was a deeply affecting experience for me. Beethoven seems to be reaching for a new kind of consciousness in this work, a luminous and transcendent awareness that foreshadows some of his later works. The second movement is particularly beautiful as the piano gradually quiets the angry strings, like a great spiritual teacher. It was perhaps the first time I had a glimpse of music as one voice of the divine. And yet there is every human emotion as well: playfulness, longing, sadness, excitement, and great joy." 

For Maestro Gajewski, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 marks a unique moment in his earlier years. At age 17, Gajewski participated in the 1976 Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina, a music festival for gifted young musicians, and was selected to conduct that piece. It was the first time he had ever conducted an orchestra. “As I recall, Wynton Marsalis was a member of the orchestra,” said Gajewski. Marsalis, a talented trumpeter, would later become famous for his jazz compositions. The second movement of the symphony was so popular it was often played again separately during a performance. 

The relationship between Gajewski and Ganz dates back to 1991, when the two performed Mozart's Concerto in D Minor, K. 466 together at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. It was the pair’s first collaboration. Since that time, Ganz and Gajewski have worked together numerous times. "Piotr and the National Philharmonic are like my musical family," Ganz said. "And what could be more joyful than making music with your family?" 

Led by Maestro Gajewski, the National Philharmonic is known for performances that are “powerful,” “impeccable,” and “thrilling” (The Washington Post). In July 2003, the National Chamber Orchestra and Masterworks Chorus merged to create the National Philharmonic, an ensemble with more than 50 years of combined history, bringing high caliber musical performances to the Washington area. The National Philharmonic took up residence at the state-of-the-art Music Center at Strathmore upon its opening in February 2005. Now, more than 250 performances later, and with far-reaching educational programming, the National Philharmonic is the largest and most active professional orchestra based in Montgomery County. 

The National Philharmonic boasts a long-standing tradition of reasonably priced tickets and free admission to all young people age 7-17, assuring its place as an accessible and enriching component in Montgomery County and the greater Washington, D.C., area.

As the Music Center at Strathmore’s orchestra-in-residence, the National Philharmonic showcases world-renowned guest artists in time-honored symphonic masterpieces conducted by Maestro Gajewski, with additional conducting by Associate Conductor Victoria Gau, and monumental choral masterworks under National Philharmonic Chorale Artistic Director Stan Engebretson.

 

To purchase tickets for the performances and for a complete schedule, please visit www.nationalphilharmonic.org or call the Strathmore Ticket Office at 301.581.5100. Tickets are $28-$88; young people 7-17 are free through the ALL KIDS, ALL FREE, ALL THE TIME program. ALL KIDS tickets must be purchased in person or by phone. Complimentary parking is available. 

 

Photo Cut Line:  The opening night of the National Philharmonic’s 12th anniversary season features works of Beethoven conducted by Piotr Gajewski with pianist Brian Ganz performing Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Sept. 17-18 at Strathmore.

Photo Credit:  Jay Mallin

New Concert Series Comes to Purcellville, VA - June 5

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Marc Apter, 301-904-3690

New Concert Series Comes to Purcellville- June 5

“Sunday Concerts at St. Andrew: Music with a Cause”

Co-founded by New Local Resident –Classical Pianist Brian Ganz

Offering An All-Chopin Recital

Purcellville (May 18)- On Sunday, June 5 at 4:00 pm, internationally recognized pianist Brian Ganz will present an all-Chopin recital at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 711 W. Main Street in Purcellville. The recital will feature several of Frédéric Chopin’s studies for solo piano, including the renowned "Revolutionary" Etude, among other works by the Romantic master. Ganz, who recently moved to Purcellville from Annapolis, is considered one of the finest pianists of his generation. The June 5 recital will kick off a new monthly musical series in Purcellville, “Sunday Concerts at St. Andrew: Music with a Cause.” In addition to providing an excellent eclectic variety of music, these concerts, with Ganz as their artistic director, will benefit local charitable organizations. Tickets are $15 at the door or online here. For more information, visit www.standrew-pres.org or call 540-338-4332 during business hours. 

Proceeds from this first concert will benefit Heart Marks Art Therapy. In 2014, Heart Marks gathered a group of artists and therapists in Western Loudoun to offer assistance through artistic expression to those experiencing grief and trauma. The Reverend David Milam of St. Andrew said: “Heart Marks has quietly made a difference in the lives of numbers of people in our community. They have brought emotional healing to children who have suffered loss, friendship to alienated teens in our community, and have given grieving adults a safe and non-judgmental place to process their painful struggles. Through artistic expression from the simple to the profound Heart Marks has built community and helped those whose stories needed voicing… or drawing.”  For more information about Heart Marks, see their website at: www.heartmarksarttherapy.org

Washington Post critic Joan Reinthaler has written of Ganz: “One comes away from a recital by pianist Brian Ganz not only exhilarated by the power of the performance but also moved by his search for artistic truth.”  Mr. Ganz has appeared as soloist with the St. Louis Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the National Symphony, the National Philharmonic and the City of London Sinfonia, among others. In 1989 he was co-winner of the 1989 Marguerite Long Jacques Thibaud International Piano Competition in Paris. In 1991 he was a silver medalist with third prize in the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium International Piano Competition.  After his performance in the Brussels competition, the critic for La Libre Belgique wrote:  “We don't have the words to speak of this fabulous musician who lives music with a generous urgency and brings his public into a state of intense joy.”

This noted “generous urgency” and “intense joy” come to their fullest expression when Mr. Ganz plays Chopin. Brian is engaged in a current project to play all of Chopin’s music at the Strathmore Music Center in North Bethesda. After six recitals there, several of them sellouts, he is well on his way. "Chopin was taking piano music in new directions," Mr. Ganz said recently. "So he knew he had to take piano technique in new directions as well. Hisetudes now stand as the finest studies ever composed for the piano, fantastic pieces for building piano technique but, above all, works of astounding beauty, brilliance and originality. They'll be the centerpiece of the program on June 5." Through his powerful performances and soft-spoken but compelling tutorials about Chopin’s works, Ganz leads his audiences into a deeper understanding and appreciation of the works of Chopin, who has been such an inspiration to the artist.  

For additional information “like” the “Music with a Cause” Facebook page or visit St. Andrew Presbyterian Church. A Sunday Six-Pack of tickets for use at future concerts in the series ($12 per concert) can be obtained at the door for $72, a savings of $18. Two works of art will be auctioned off at the concert, and the proceeds of that auction will go entirely to Heart Marks.

The next concert of the new series will take place Sunday, August 28th.  Visit the Facebook page or contact St. Andrew Presbyterian Church for more information.

Brian Ganz Continues “Extreme Chopin” Quest / February 6 & 7

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Marc Apter, 301-904-3690

Mozart, Rossini and Chopin: A Musical Dialogue

Pianist Brian Ganz Continues “Extreme Chopin” Quest

Bethesda, MD (January 4, 2016) — The National Philharmonic presents a weekend program featuring the works of three great classical composers in dialogue with each other’s work. Brian Ganz, widely regarded as one of the leading pianists of his generation, will also continue his quest to perform all of Chopin’s works, and will perform under the baton of Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski. “This evening’s program is an exploration of a public musical dialogue between three very popular composers,” says Gajewski. “Mozart was arguably the world’s first classical rock star. Rossini was nicknamed ‘The Italian Mozart’. And, Chopin’s 1827 Variations are based on a famous duet from Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni.” The performances will take place on Saturday, February 6 at 8pm and on Sunday, February 7th at 3pm at the Music Center at Strathmore. A free lecture, given by National Philharmonic Associate Conductor Victoria Gau, precedes each concert at 6:45pm and 1:45pm respectively. Ticket prices start at $29 and are free for young people age 7 to 17 (please call or visit the Strathmore Ticket Office to reserve Kids Free tickets). Strathmore is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to www.nationalphilharmonic.org or call 301.581.5100.

The program opens with Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri Overture (“The Italian Girl in Algiers”), written when the composer was only 21. The elegant melodies associated with Rossini fuse with an infectious energy that conveys the confidence of youth. This is followed by Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor. This concerto, prominently featured in the 1984 award-winning film Amadeus, is one of only two Mozart concertos written in a minor key. Pianist Ganz develops the theme of Mozart’s concerto with solo piano rippling in a rapid succession of eighth notes. Ganz then assays another work of young genius, Chopin's 1827 Variations on “Là ci darem la mano.” This was Chopin’s first work for piano with an orchestra and was completed when he was only 17. Based on the famous romantic duet from Don Giovanni, its modern style and free-flowing mood garnered an unusually positive reception. The program closes with another piece from Mozart: his Symphony No. 35, also known as the Haffner Symphony. The Haffner Symphony was composed during one of the most productive and tumultuous times of Mozart’s short life, and is notable for its exhilarating spirit.

Led by Maestro Gajewski, the National Philharmonic is known for performances that are “powerful,” impeccable” and “thrilling” (The Washington Post). In July 2003, the National Chamber Orchestra and Masterworks Chorus merged to create the National Philharmonic, an ensemble with over 50 years of combined history, bringing high caliber musical performances to the DC area. The National Philharmonic took up residence at the state-of-the-art Music Center at Strathmore upon its opening in February 2005. Now, more than 250 performances later, and with far-reaching educational programming, the National Philharmonic is the major professional orchestra based in Montgomery County.  

The Philharmonic boasts a long-standing tradition of reasonably priced tickets and free admission to all young people age 7-17, assuring its place as an accessible and enriching component in Montgomery County and the greater Washington, DC area.

As the Music Center at Strathmore’s orchestra-in-residence, the National Philharmonic showcases world-renowned guest artists in time-honored symphonic masterpieces conducted by Maestro Gajewski, with additional conducting by Associate Conductor Victoria Gau, and monumental choral masterworks under National Philharmonic Chorale Artistic Director Stan Engebretson.

To purchase tickets for the performance or for a complete schedule, please visit www.nationalphilharmonic.org or call the Strathmore box office at (301) 581-5100. Tickets are $29-$89; kids 7 to 17 are FREE through the ALL KIDS, ALL FREE, ALL THE TIME program. ALL KIDS tickets must be purchased in person or by phone. Complimentary parking is available. 

Brian Ganz & Beverly Babcock on Pianos / January 26 at 8pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Marc Apter, 301-904-3690

Brian Ganz & Beverly Babcock on Pianos

Perform Mozart and Chopin Masterpieces at SMCM

St. Mary’s City (January 18, 2016) - St. Mary's College of Maryland Musician-in-Residence Brian Ganz and piano faculty member Beverly Babcock will present an evening of works for piano and orchestra on Tuesday, January 26 at 8pm in the Auerbach Auditorium of St. Mary's Hall on the college campus. The program will feature a piano concerto by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and a set of variations for piano and orchestra by Frederic Chopin. Ms. Babcock will play the orchestra part on a second piano. This will be a ticketed event. St. Mary's College of Maryland students will be admitted free of charge; seniors, college faculty and staff, as well as St. Mary's Arts Alliance members, will be charged a $10 admission fee; general admission will be $15. For more information call (240) 895-4498 or visit http://www.smcm.edu/events/organizer/music-department/

"Mozart's Piano Concerto in D minor, K. 466, is one of his greatest," Ganz said. "It is full of grace and elegance of course, being Mozart, but also displays a powerful depth of feeling and even a sense of tragedy. Beethoven loved this concerto and performed it, and in fact wrote two great cadenzas for it, which I will play. So listeners get to hear both Mozart and Beethoven within the same work!" 

Ganz and Babcock will also perform Chopin's early work for piano and orchestra, the Variations on "La ci darem la mano" from Mozart's Don Giovanni, Op. 2. "We played this work a few times last semester, but playing it again along with the Mozart concerto will be a particular pleasure," Ganz continued. "Although on the surface they are quite different from each other, the two composers work well together. Chopin loved Mozart's works and was greatly inspired by them. He even asked that Mozart be played at his funeral."  

Ganz recently performed his 6th recital  at the Strathmore Music Center in North Bethesda in his decade long journey through the complete works of Chopin, a project he has undertaken in partnership with the National Philharmonic. He began his “Extreme Chopin” quest  at Strathmore five years ago in a sold out recital that launched the ambitious endeavor to perform the composer's approximately 250 works. After the recent recital the Washington Post praised the "ravishing sensual beauty of Ganz's sound" and the "elegance of his delivery."

Ganz has appeared as soloist with such orchestras as the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the National Philharmonic, the Baltimore and the National Symphonies, the City of London Sinfonia, and L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo. He has performed in many of the world’s major concert halls and has played under the baton of such conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Pinchas Zukerman, Jerzy Semkow and Yoel Levi.  A critic for La Libre Belgique wrote of Ganz’s work: “We don’t have the words to speak of this fabulous musician who lives music with a generous urgency and brings his public into a state of intense joy.” Beverly Babcock is the Accompanist-in-Residence at the college and a member of the piano faculty. She maintains a thriving concert schedule throughout the Washington, D.C. metro area.

Pianist Brian Ganz Continues His “Extreme Chopin” Quest To Be The First to Perform All of the Composer’s Works With Jan. 9 Concert

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Marc Apter, 301-904-3690

Pianist Brian Ganz Continues His “Extreme Chopin” Quest To Be The First to Perform All of the Composer’s Works With Jan. 9 Concert

Joined by Polish Soprano Iwona Sobotka They Will Perform Little Known Chopin Songs On Van Cliburn’s Steinway

(North Bethesda, MD, November 12 , 2015) – Pianist Brian Ganz, in partnership with the National Philharmonic at The Music Center at Strathmore, will highlight 10 of Chopin’s seldom heard songs in his sixth all-Chopin recital. Ganz will accompany Polish Soprano Iwona Sobotka [Evona Sobotka], in "Chopin: Bel Canto of the Piano,” as well as feature works for solo piano that capture the composer's gift for making the piano “sing,” including the great Sonata No. 3, Op. 58. Ganz’s “Extreme Chopin” quest to perform all the approximately 250 works of Chopin crosses beyond its mid-point at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9 at Strathmore. Ganz will be playing Van Cliburn’s Steinway as he also performs a little-known Cantabile, the first Impromptu and two Nocturnes. Children ages seven to 17 are admitted free. For more information or to purchase tickets visit nationalphilharmonic.org or call 301-581-5100. 

"Chopin loved the human voice, and he made the piano sing as no other composer has before or since," said Ganz. "I'll begin the program with a few solo works that highlight that ability, like the rarely heard 'Cantabile,' which means 'in a singing tone.' It's a tiny gem, even shorter than most of the composer's preludes.”

Ganz will highlight both the Steinway and Chopin in the first half of his concert by continuing with the Impromptu, Op. 29, and a selection of nocturnes. The highlight of the first half, according to Ganz, will be “the incredible voice of Iwona Sobotka, who will bring 10 of Chopin’s songs to life.” 

The second half of the concert will feature Ganz’s performance of Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op 58. One of only four sonatas composed by Chopin, Sonata No. 3 was written when he was at his peak of creativity. Musicologist Tadeusz Zielinski calls it Chopin’s “deepest” work. 

"The general perception is that Chopin was more comfortable writing miniatures than substantial works in sonata form, but I think that's a misperception," Ganz noted. "He made the sonata form work for him and wrote several masterpieces in the genre.”

Ganz uses a gardening metaphor to illustrate his point. "Many of Chopin's ideas arrive 'fully grown,’” he explained. “I think that's why he's such a master of miniatures. But he also had the genius to pace a larger work with musical 'seeds' that develop slowly. 

“A sonata by definition takes time to work out, grow, unfold,” Ganz continued. “The 3rd Sonata is a masterpiece of pacing. It's also music of indescribable beauty, because it's Chopin." 

Chopin’s songs are set to Polish poems, mostly written by the composer's contemporaries, including the composer's friend Stefan Witwicki and the poet generally considered the greatest of his generation in Poland, Adam Mickiewicz. The poems explore elements of Romanticism including romantic love, longing, beauty and the power of nature, and include a rather bawdy drinking song.

The translation of the first stanza of that song follows:

Hulanka (Drinking Song) Op. 74, No. 4 (Translation by Ted Mirecki on the basis of Bernard Jacobson, “The Songs” in The Chopin Companion, ed. Alan Walker, Norton Library, New York 1973) 

Little barmaid, little waitress,

what are you doing? Stop!

There you’re laughing and here

you’re pouring mead on my jacket.

 

I’ll not forgive, I’ll kiss you all over!

What eyes, what eyebrows, 

what little feet, what small white teeth,

you set my blood on fire!

 

Other selections include: Życzenie (A Maiden's Wish) Op. 74, No. 1; Ślicznyż Chłopiec (Handsome lad) Op. 74, No. 8; Hulanka (Drinking Song) Op. 74, No. 4; Precz z moich oczu (Out of My Sight!) Op. 74, No. 6; Poseł (The Messenger) Op. 74, No. 7; Moja pieszczotka (My Darling) Op. 74, No. 12; Pierścień (The Ring) Op. 74, No. 14; Smutna Rzeka (Melancholy River) Op. 74, No. 3, and Piosnka litewska (Lithuanian Song) Op. 74, No. 16.

“It’s exciting to bring these lyrical bel canto-style songs to Washington audiences as they are so seldom performed,” said Ganz, who added that Chopin never published these works. “And I am thrilled that Iwona will be the one to do it. The beauty and depth of her voice brought me to tears the first time I heard her sing. In fact, I could hardly get through our first rehearsal, the experience was so emotional.”

Sobotka achieved instant international acclaim as the Grand Prix winner of the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition of Belgium in 2004. The renowned soprano has performed all over Europe, in the Americas and Japan, in such prestigious venues as the Berlin Philharmonie, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, Salle Pleyel in Paris, Royal Albert Hall in London and and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. 

Equally at home on the concert and the opera stage, Sobotka also is widely acknowledged for her interpretations of Polish vocal repertoire – in particular the works of Karol Szymanowski. In 2004, she contributed to a complete collection of his songs released by the Dutch label Channel Classics and was distinguished by National Academy of Recording Arts in Poland with the Fryderyk Award, named for Frederic Chopin and comparable to the American Grammys, for the most outstanding recording of Polish music.

Widely regarded as one of the leading pianists of his generation, Ganz has appeared as soloist with such orchestras as the St. Louis Symphony, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Baltimore Symphony, the National Philharmonic, the National Symphony and the City of London Sinfonia, and has performed with such conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Marin Alsop, Mstislav Rostropovich and Piotr Gajewski.

Ganz is oft quoted as saying, “Chopin’s music is the language of my soul, and I have dreamed since childhood of someday performing all of his works.” His quest began in earnest in 2011.

Ganz's capacity “Extreme Chopin” concerts have received glowing reviews. An audience of about 2,000 attended the first in the series, after which the Washington Post wrote: “Brian Ganz was masterly in his first installment of the complete works.”  After the third sold out recital in 2013, Washington Post reviewer Grace Jean wrote, “It’s easy to see why so many Washingtonians flocked to hear pianist Brian Ganz…in his hands, the rarely performed Trois Ecossaises, Op.72, No. 3, became effervescent light beams.” 

Future “Extreme Chopin” recitals will include all the chamber music and remaining songs as well as the complete solo works, including each version of every mazurka and waltz. Ganz will also play such obscure and overlooked works as the little Fugue in A minor, the two bourrées and the variation Chopin wrote for Hexameron, a rarely heard work initiated by Chopin's friend, composer and pianist Franz Liszt, and completed by multiple composers.

Ganz will perform Chopin’s orchestral works with the National Philharmonic, whose music director, Piotr Gajewski, has embraced the pianist’s ambitious endeavor wholeheartedly. “Brian may be the first pianist to play all of Chopin’s works – not only because of his great love for the composer, but also because of his intense connection with his audience,” Gajewski said, adding that Ganz sometimes brings his entire collection of Chopin’s music to a performance so that he can accept requests from the audience. 

Perhaps the first pianist to perform all Chopin’s works, Ganz noted, “that significance is eclipsed by my excitement in sharing works that even lovers of Chopin may never have heard. There are so many works of great beauty and emotional power, but there are also quite a few buried treasures that deserve to be heard. It’s fascinating to hear, for example, the different authentic versions that exist of some very well known works. There are marvelous surprises in store for Chopin lovers.”

Ganz is participating in a regional tour showcasing the personal Steinway & Sons grand piano of one of classical music’s most revered artists, Van Cliburn, sponsored by Steinway Piano Gallery of Washington, D.C.

The recital will include the following Chopin compositions: Cantabile in B-Flat Major, Op. Posth; Impromptu No. 1 in A-Flat Major, Op.29; Nocturne in C Minor, Op. Posth; Nocturne in F Major, Op. 15, No.1; Songs from Op. 74 and Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op 58.

To purchase tickets to Brian Ganz’s sixth installment of his “Extreme Chopin” performance at the Music Center at Strathmore on Jan. 9, visit nationalphilharmonic.org or call the Strathmore ticket office at (301) 581-5100. More information on Ganz is available at www.brianganz.com. Tickets for kids 7-17 are FREE through the ALL KIDS, ALL FREE, ALL THE TIME program ALL KIDS tickets must be purchased in person or by phone. Parking is free.