Alessio Bax


February 10, 2019, 4 pm

Music Room

Italian pianist Alessio Bax won the Leeds International Piano Competition in 2000. He has appeared as a concerto soloist with leading conductors and orchestras, and has also worked extensively as a chamber music performer where his collaborators have included Steven Isserlis and Joshua Bell. This concert also provides a rare opportunity to hear Luigi Dallapiccola’s Quaderno musicale di Annalibera, a musical “notebook” dedicated to his daughter Annalibera on her eighth birthday, which is anything but music for children. Bax ends his Phillips Music appearance with Liszt’s formidable Dante Sonata in a program that also includes Rachmaninoff’s late Variations on a Theme of Corelli and Liszt’s St. Francis of Assisi.


Oboe Concerto in D minor, S D935 (arr. J.S. Bach, BWV 974)

Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42


Quaderno musicale di Annalibera

FRANZ LISZT (1811-86)
St. François d'Assise: La prédication aux oiseaux, S. 175/1

Après une Lecture de Dante: Fantasia quasi sonata, S. 161

Combining exceptional lyricism and insight with consummate technique, Alessio Bax is without a doubt “among the most remarkable young pianists now before the public” (Gramophone). He catapulted to prominence with First Prize wins at both the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions, and is now a familiar face on four continents, not only as a recitalist and chamber musician, but as a concerto soloist who has appeared with more than 100 orchestras, including the London and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, Dallas, and Cincinnati Symphonies, NHK Symphony in Japan, St. Petersburg Philharmonic with Yuri Temirkanov, and the City of Birmingham Symphony with Sir Simon Rattle.

This season, Bax makes his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut playing Mozart’s C minor concerto (K. 491) under Sir Andrew Davis. He and the conductor reprise the same work for his Melbourne Symphony debut, on a spring tour of Australia and New Zealand that also sees the pianist lead Mozart’s B-flat Major Concerto (K. 595) from the keyboard in his first performances with the Sydney Symphony, make his Auckland Philharmonia debut playing Grieg, and give a series of solo recitals. Other upcoming engagements include a Japanese tour featuring dates with the Tokyo Symphony, concerts in Israel, and numerous US concerto collaborations. He rounds out the season with a full summer of festivals, highlighted by his debut at France’s International Chamber Music Festival of Salon-de-Provence and his return to Tuscany’s Incontri in Terra di Siena festival, where he serves as Artistic Director.

Last season, Bax undertook duo recital tours with Joshua Bell and Emmanuel Pahud; gave solo recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall and the Leeds Piano Festival; returned to Hong Kong; and performed concertos by Gershwin, Rachmaninov, Grieg, and Schumann with orchestras including the Minnesota Orchestra, North Carolina Philharmonic, and Armenian Philharmonic. In 2016/2017, he stepped in to play Brahms’s Second with the Cincinnati Symphony, in what proved “the most exciting debut in recent memory” (Cincinnati Enquirer), and made three Wigmore Hall appearances including his solo recital debut, which aired live on BBC Radio 3. Other highlights of recent seasons include Rachmaninov with London’s Southbank Sinfonia and Vladimir Ashkenazy; his Minnesota Orchestra debut under Andrew Litton; a return to the Dallas Symphony for Barber under Jaap van Zweden, named one of the top ten concerts of 2013 (Dallas Morning News); season-opening appearances with the Colorado Symphony; and concerts at Disney Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Carnegie Hall. In 2009, the pianist was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and four years later he received both the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award and Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, which recognizes young artists of exceptional accomplishment.

Bax’s acclaimed discography for Signum Classics includes Beethoven’s “Emperor” concerto with the Southbank Sinfonia; the same composer’s “Hammerklavier” and “Moonlight” Sonatas (a Gramophone Editor’s Choice); a solo album of Mussorgsky and Scriabin; Bax & Chung (Stravinsky, Brahms, and Piazzolla); Alessio Bax plays Mozart (Piano Concertos K. 491 and K. 595); Alessio Bax plays Brahms (a Gramophone Critics’ Choice); Bach Transcribed; and Rachmaninov: Preludes & Melodies (an American Record Guide Critics’ Choice 2011). Recorded for Warner Classics, his Baroque Reflections album was also a Gramophone Editor’s Choice.

At age 14, Bax graduated with top honors from the conservatory of Bari, his hometown in Italy, and after further studies in Europe, he moved to the US in 1994. A Steinway artist, he lives in New York City with pianist Lucille Chung and their daughter, Mila.