Polish pianist to play Harris Hall | AspenTimes.com

Polish pianist to play Harris Hall

Stewart Oksenhorn
Pianist Piotr Anderszewski makes his Aspen debut tonight.
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When Warsaw born and bred pianist Piotr Anderszewski makes his Aspen debut tonight, with a concert at Harris Hall in the Aspen Music Festival and School’s Winter Music Artist Recital series, the program will lean toward the music of his Polish countrymen, Szymanowski and Chopin. In June, the 35-year-old musician will direct a festival of Szymanowski’s music in Paris, where Anderszewski now resides. His most recent recording is of Chopin music; among his growing collection of notable awards is the 1999 Szymanowski Prize, given for his interpretations of the composer’s work.So the music of Poland clearly has a special place in Anderszewski’s heart, yes? Well, yes and no.

“If I find a country whose music speaks to me, it would be Germany and Austria,” said Anderszewski, who traces his artistic awakening to hearing a Beethoven piano concerto at the age of 3. “So I wouldn’t say Polish music hits me in a special way. I am not really nationalistic about music.”Anderszewski, whose concert tonight is rounded out by Bach’s Overture in the French Style, has also recorded CDs of music by Beethoven, Bach, Mozart and Brahms.What does hold a special appeal, regardless of its country of origin, is the music of Szymanowski. For six years, Anderszewski has devoted himself to the works of the compatriot who lived from 1882-1937 – and who was primarily influenced not by Polish music, but by the composers of Russia, Germany and France, and the cultures of Greece, Sicily and Arabia. In Szymanowski, Anderszewski finds a world of beauty and complexity that has been largely overlooked.

“Not many people play it,” said Anderszewski, who will perform Szymanowski’s Masques, a set of three pieces that the pianist likens to “poems – very colorful, very free writing, post-Impressionistic.”Anderszewski says Szymanowski’s work is avoided because of its initial complexity. “It’s extremely difficult and not very accessible at first sight,” he said. “He can remind you of so many other composers: He reminds you of Scriabin; he reminds you of Ravel. But that’s only on the surface. He’s got very much his own style that you recognize straight away. If you’re patient with it, it’s the most amazing music.”Anderszewski will continue his mission to unveil the music with his upcoming Szymanowski festival at Paris’ Bouffes du Nord theater, an event conceived by the pianist.

“I just wanted to make this music a little more known,” he said. “It’s practically unknown, and he’s the best composer of the 20th century still to be known. I want the public to be more aware of the greatness of this man.”It’s an honor for me to be able to do this.”Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is stewart@aspentimes.com


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