Melbourne Recital Centre has announced the 2020 program for its Great Performers concert series, with baritone Thomas Hampson, violinist Nicola Benedetti, pianist Ingrid Fliter and James Ehnes – doing a Beethoven violin sonata cycle – amongst the guest artists.
Nicola Benedetti. Photo © Simon Fowler
“In 2011 we launched a new series in our new space shining a light on great performers and performances from Australia and the world,” the series’ Director of Programming, harpist Marshall McGuire said. “And 10 years on we have established the Great Performers series as a place where audiences and performers come together to share great music in the intimacy of Elisabeth Murdoch Hall.”
“Our line-up for 2020 welcomes back old friends and introduces you to new voices, I find each and every one of them exciting as artists, as musicians, as storytellers, and hope that the variety of music, of styles and of experience that we have programmed for you is a fitting way to celebrate the 10th season of this Great Performers series,” he said.
The series begins in March with ‘Lioness of the Keyboard’ Elisabeth Leonskaja, who returns to Australia following her 2016 tour with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. In Melbourne (following a performance of Beethoven’s late piano sonatas for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra up north) the Georgian-born Austrian pianist is playing a recital of Mozart, Schoenberg and Webern.
Leonskaja is followed in June by Australian cellist Li-Wei Qin, who presents a program of Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn and Paganini with Filipino pianist Albert Tiu, before Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti (who is also Soloist in Residence with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra) gives the Australian premiere of Wynton Marsalis’ Fiddle Dance Suite in July, alongside Brahms’ Violin Sonata No 1 and Elgar’s Violin Sonata with pianist Alexei Grynyuk.
Thomas Hampson. Photo © Jiyang Cheng
Following the success of his 2018 performances in Australia, American baritone Thomas Hampson returns to Melbourne Recital Centre in September for songs by Barber and Wolf with German pianist Wolfram Rieger.
A familiar face in Australia these days, Canadian violinist James Ehnes and US pianist Andrew Armstrong celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, with two recitals in October spanning the complete Beethoven Violin Sonatas.
Argentinian pianist Ingrid Fliter makes her Great Performers debut in November with Schumann and Chopin, before returning German violinist Christian Tetzlaff caps off the year with a solo recital of Bach and Bartók.
“Many of our great performers come off stage in awe of the listening of the audiences, the intensity of really listening and absorbing the notes and the words,” McGuire said. “It’s a relationship that we hope is as exhilarating for you as it is for the performers.”