Saturday, January 14, 2006

My life as a Leif groupie


If there is such a thing as a classical music groupie, I am one. It was in 1997, I believe, that I first saw Leif Ove Andsnes performing. It was at the height of the movie Shine's popularity, and he was performing Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. I had never heard of him. It was a cold, icy Detroit night, and I went with one of my high school classmates. We had seats in the nosebleed section, $10 tickets. The hall was packed. The performance was electric. Driving home, the roads were coated with black ice and we drove down back roads, unable to stop at lights or stop signs because of the ice. I will never forget that night.

The next year he returned to play one of the Prokofiev piano concertos (I don't remember which). I saw him perform that twice. I went backstage to get his autograph.

I believe it was later that year, in 1998 spring perhaps, that he was awarded the Gilmore Artist Award in Kalamazoo and performed a recital there. My parents and I drove all the way out to Kalamazoo, about three hours away from home, for the recital. I again went backstage to get his autograph.

I avidly collected his recordings, and even selected my own piano repertoire based on some of the pieces he had recorded - a Grieg piano sonata, and Nielsen's Chaconne come to mind.

So I was understandably thrilled when I discovered that my move to New York in January 2005 coincided with Leif Ove Andsnes' "Perspectives" series at Carnegie Hall. Out of the seven concerts he performed, I attended five (the first was in October before I was in New York, and I was unable to attend one of the chamber concerts). Every concert was sublime - whether it was
avant-garde chamber music, a breathtaking recital (including a divine performance of Mussorgsky's Pictures At An Exhibition), a violin-piano concert (which inspired me to select Grieg's violin-piano sonata in c minor to do with my chamber partner), or Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto.

Tonight, I continued my hobby as a Leif groupie, seeing him perform with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor. His Mozart piano concertos were pearly, delicate and perfect. I expected no less.

Leif Ove Andsnes is the greatest living pianist. He is not only technically perfect, but also stylistically versatile, with an understanding of chamber music that few piano virtuosos possess. His dedication to Scandinavian and modern music shows his commitment to the future of classical music. And he's fabulously good looking. Which certainly doesn't hurt if you're going to be a groupie and attend concert after concert. It's nice to have something pretty to look at while you're listening to perfectly interpreted and performed pieces.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of which, when are we ever going to see your picture? Yes, we've seen your cat, and she is cute and everything, but now it is time to lift the curtain and reveal the countenance of "pixie".

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ohv, your so lucky! is autograph nd every thing!! im gonna marry that man some day! some day! he iset married yet is he??

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there a cult for Leif Andsnes groupies? Because I want to join it. I'm in love with this man and his music!

3:04 PM  

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