On 22 March 2010, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Poland to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva offered an exceptional piano recital by Mr. Krystian Zimerman
, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederic Chopin . This concert, which took place in the Assembly Hall of the Palais des Nations, in Geneva, was the only public performance of the Maestro in Switzerland for this year.
More on Mr. Krystian Zimerman
The programme was the following:
Nocture in F sharp major, Op. 15, n° 2
Sonata in B flat minor Op. 35, n° 2
I. Grave Doppio movimento
III. Marche Funèbre: Lento
IV. Finale: Presto
Scherzo B flat minor Op. 31
Sonata in B minor, Op. 58, n° 3
I. Allegro Maestoso
II. Scherzo: Molto vivace
IV. Finale: presto non tanto
Krystian Zimerman was born into a family rich in music-making tradition. Musicians would meet almost daily in his home to play mostly chamber music, and these performances afforded Zimerman an intimate, natural, everyday contact with live music and provided an early impetus to his musical preoccupations. He undertook his first steps in music under his father’s supervision and then, at the age of seven, started working systematically with Andrzej Jasiński, then a senior lecturer at the conservatoire in Katowice.
Although not greatly drawn towards competitions, he followed that common course of musical development for concert pianists and won in the process the highest prizes at several prestigious competitions including the Grand Prix at the 1975 Chopin competition – a success that paved the way for performances in concert halls worldwide.
Zimerman’s more than 25 years of artistic activity have been particularly marked by a close rapport with dedicated audiences, and wherever his concert tours take him, he always recognizes familiar faces. Since making the decision 10 years ago to transport his own piano for each and every performance, he has made the audiences and concert promoters accustomed to the unusual practice. The confidence which is afforded by always performing on his own, thoroughly-familiar instrument, combined with his own pianobuilding expertise (acquired in Katowice and developed through close cooperation with Steinway in Hamburg) allows him to reduce to an absolute minimum anything which might distract him from purely musical issues.
Zimerman’s comparatively early acquaintance with main developments of European music precluded him from becoming a “Chopin specialist” and instead stirred in him an ambition, which he has since achieved, to perform music in the place and culture of origin: French works in Paris, Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert in Vienna, Brahms in Hamburg, American music in New York, conducted in case of Bernstein by the composer himself. Lutoslawski’s dedication of his Piano concerto to Zimerman inspired the pianist to treat that work in a similar way, performing it at the Warsaw Autumn festival of contemporary Music, with the composer as conductor.
It has, he claims, been his great good fortune to have encountered many pre-eminent musicians: chamber partners such as Gidon Kremer, Kyung-Wha Chung, Kaja Danczowska and Yehudi Menuhin, and conductors such as Bernstein, Karajan, Maazel, Boulez, Previn, Mehta, Haitink, Skrowaczewski, Rattle and Ozawa. He has also embraced the opportunity to make close acquaintance with the older generation of masters: Arrau, Michelangeli, Rubinstein and Richter, all of whom exerted a powerful influence on his musical development. The piano is not his only musical passion: he has always been an exceedingly keen organist and he has also enriched his knowledge of conducting through his collaboration with many of the most illustrious conductors of his time.
Zimerman limits himself to 50 concerts per season, enabling him to pursue a comprehensive approach to the music profession, including organizing his own management and studying hall acoustics, the latest sound technology, instrument construction as well as psychology and computer science.
He has developed a similar approach to recording a process that he controls at each and every stage. Last year Zimerman celebrated his 25th anniversary with “Deutsche Grammophon”, with whom he has made almost 30 records, which have earned him many of the most prestigious awards. In 1999 he recorded the Chopin concertos with an orchestra specially formed for this project, the Polish Festival Orchestra, with whom he then toured throughout Europe and America, performing these two works to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Chopin’s death in October of that year.
2003 has been an exciting and fruitful year for Krystian Zimerman, a year that included the longest world tour of his career to date, which took him from Europe to both coasts of the USA, Canada, Japan, Korea. During the tour he celebrated 25 years of concert giving in Japan. In that quarter of a century he played over 100 concerts for Japanese audiences with more than 20 different programs (in 27 different combinations). This anniversary coincided with the 150th jubilee celebration of Steinway & Sons piano manufacturers, with whom Zimerman has been working very closely for many years and who are a constant source of support for his concert tours. Zimerman participated in the jubilee festivities in Japan by sharing his own expertise in the form of a lecture in front of more than 200 piano tuners and technicians. The crowning event in Japan tour was his election as “Pianist of the Year” by the audience and music critics associated with the magazine “Mostly Classic”.