Celebrating its 10th anniversary year in 2019, Melbourne Recital Centre’s Great Performers Concert Series looks set to deliver on its promise, presenting some of the world’s greatest pianists alongside Australia’s finest.

Satu Vänskä. Photo © Kristoffer Paulsen 

The season begins in February when the ACO’s Principal Violin Satu Vänskä is joined by pianist Kristian Chong for a tantalisingly eclectic program. They’ll play the Adagio and Fugue from Bach’s Violin Sonata in G Minor, Beethoven’s Sonata for Piano and Violin in A, and Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in G as well as his Tzigane. They’ll also present rarer fare like Lutosławski’s playful Subito and Kaija Saariaho’s …de la Terre.

March sees the return of early music pioneer and viola da gambist Jordi Savall, this time teaming up with guitarist Xavier Díaz-Latorre for an exclusive MRC program. They celebrate the golden age of the gamba with works by Marin Marais, whose skills on the instrument captivated the famously discerning Sun King, Louis XIV. Other composers on the bill include Ferrabosco, Visée and Martín y Coll.

Jordi Savall. Photo supplied

Kirill Gerstein shows off his flair for colour in selections from Liszt’s Harmonies poétiques et religieuses, Janáček’s From the Street and Debussy’s last completed work, Les soirs illuminés par l’ardeur du charbon, written by the composer as a gift to his coal merchant. Gerstein will also dazzle in Beethoven’s Eroica Variations and Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin.

Violinist Vadim Gluzman then presents a recital in June, performing Bach’s D Minor Violin Partita and Auerbach’s par.ti.ta. He’s joined by pianist Daniel de Borah for Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel and the Kreutzer Sonata.

Nicole Car. Photo supplied

The esteemed American pianist Stephen Kovacevich then treats audiences in July to a program of works by his favourite composers – Bach’s Partita No 4, Beethoven’s Sonata No 20 and Schubert’s Sonata. He’s followed by soprano Nicole Car and her husband, the baritone Étienne Dupuis, who present a recital of French opera arias and melodies in August, accompanied by Jayson Gillham. It will be a chance for Australian audiences to catch the pair next year after their successful Metropolitan Opera debuts last month.

Paul Lewis then returns to Melbourne Recital Centre to complete his three-year survey of Beethoven, Haydn and Brahms. He presents three of their greatest works in this final chapter – Haydn’s E Minor Sonata, Brahms’ Three Intermezzi and Beethoven’s magisterial Diabelli Variations.

Wrapping up the season, rising Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov returns on his third visit. He’ll be in town to play Chopin’s 24 Preludes, Debussy’s Children’s Corner and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

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