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TILL FELLNER
piano

“Schumann’s Fantasy in C (Op. 17) offered listeners a glimpse of an assertive heaven-storming style…Yet however turbulent, impetuous and adrenaline driven his reading was, a discerning faculty remained on duty: within the walls of sound he sent forth – with their powerful, rumbling basses and bright-edged treble figures – the individual strands remained remarkably well defined."

 

--Allan Kozinn, The New York Times

 

 
MARC-ANDRÉ HAMELIN
 

Austrian Pianist Till Fellner plays with scrupulous musicianship, purity of style, and sparkling keyboard command – qualities that have earned him acclaim throughout Europe, the United States and Japan. His readings of the works of Bach and Beethoven in particular have placed him among the elect in this repertoire, and the inspired ingenuity of his performances of such 20th century masters as György Kurtág, Harrison Birtwistle, and Elliott Carter have earned him many accolades.

In North America Till Fellner has recently appeared with the San Francisco Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Boston Symphony, and the Chicago Symphony. Mr. Fellner has performed regularly with the Montréal Symphony and Kent Nagano and has played recitals at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, San Francisco Performances, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and at the Washington Performing Arts Society.

The 2014 -15 season sees Mr. Fellner performing all across Europe as well as in Japan, and North and South America. He began the season with an extended, three-continent, 17-concert solo recital tour, including performances at the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg Festival in Austria, a series of concerts in Japan, and a recital and masterclass at Le Domaine Forget Festival in Québec. In November, Mr. Fellner joined the acclaimed tenor Mark Padmore, one of Mr. Fellner’s favorite and most frequent collaborators, on a Lieder recital tour that included performances at Vienna’s Musikverein and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Further solo recitals this season include performances in Brussels, Rotterdam, Graz, Paris (Théâtre des Champs- Elysées), Vienna (Konzerthaus), and at Wigmore Hall in London. In March 2015, Mr. Fellner will return to Canada and the USA for his Toronto recital debut and concerts in Washington, DC, Waterloo, ON, and Beacon, NY. As a soloist with orchestra, Mr. Fellner joins the Philharmonia Orchestra and Kirill Petrenko for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 at London’s Royal Festival
Hall; the Orchestre de la Chambre de Lausanne and Heinz Holliger for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in Lausanne; and the Camerata Salzburg with Louis Langrée for an extended tour of Mexico and Columbia, also with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23.

In the 2013-14 season Mr. Fellner appeared numerous times as artist-in-residence at the Bamberg Symphony with conductors Manfred Honeck and Herbert Blomstedt as well as in chamber concerts with members of the orchestra. Other highlights included concerts with the Munich Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Wiener Symphoniker, the Russian National Orchestra, and the NHK Symphony Orchestra. As soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician, Mr. Fellner performed in Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK, Russia, Japan, and Malaysia.

In the summer of 2013, Mr. Fellner stepped in for an indisposed Evgeny Kissin at the Salzburg Festival to perform a recital at the Grosses Festspielhaus. The program featured parts of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, sonatas by Haydn and Mozart and Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes. The concert was received enthusiastically by critics:

Fellner again abstained from all superficial virtuosity. His use of a seemingly endless variety of timbres revealed the structure and character of every single miniature. Illuminating and entertaining: Applause! – Der Standard, August 9, 2013

Fellner allows the score to impress with its substance rather than its shiny surface. Apart from the fact that the cycle has rarely been heard with so many correct notes: Fellner masters the extraordinary technical requirements as if they were nothing and afterwards rises from his seat as if nothing had happened. – Die Presse, August 9, 2013

The great finale, made of a single punctuated motif, was a sparkling fireworks of timbres and surging energy: a great experience. – Drehpunkt Kultur, August 9, 2013

In 2012 Mr. Fellner took a one-year sabbatical to dedicate himself to the study of new repertoire and to deepen his knowledge of composition, literature, and film. He interrupted his time off briefly to play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Manfred Honeck in January 2012, and in the spring of 2012 he followed a personal invitation of Maestro Bernard Haitink to perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-Flat Major, K. 482 with the Boston Symphony at Symphony Hall. Maestro Haitink had first collaborated with Mr. Fellner when he replaced Maurizio Pollini as guest soloist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2010 for performances in Amsterdam and Brussels.

Mr. Fellner resumed his concert life in January 2013; in the spring 2013 he returned to North America to perform solo recitals at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall in New York, at the Howland Cultural Center in Beacon, NY, and at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. He also appeared as guest soloist with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Kent Nagano in Montréal, Canada. His European solo engagements took place in Brussels, Paris, Manchester, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, at the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, and London’s Wigmore Hall. In February Mr. Fellner performed as guest soloist with the Residentie Orkest in
The Hague and Amsterdam in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor under the baton of David Afkham, and in March he was heard as soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C Minor, K. 491 with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra conducted by Sir Neville Marriner. Later in March Mr. Fellner played Beethoven’s Third Concerto with Le Concert Olympique under the direction of Jan Caeyers. Other orchestral engagements included concerts with the SWR Sinfonieorchester, Camerata Salzburg, and the Orchestre National de France. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Fellner toured with the Belcea Quartet performing at the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, the Cheltenham Festival, at the Birmingham Town Hall in Birmingham, and at London’s Wigmore Hall. His festival engagements included solo recitals at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, the Rheingau Musik Festival, and the Carinthian Summer Festival. In the fall of 2013 Mr. Fellner took up a teaching position at the Hochschule der Künste in Zurich.

From 2008 to 2010 Mr. Fellner undertook a worldwide cycle of all 32 Beethoven solo piano sonatas, a tour de force which brought him recognition internationally as a musician of the first order. In reviewing Mr. Fellner’s February 2010 recital of Beethoven sonatas at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art – at the half-way mark of his seven-concert cycle – New York Times senior critic Anthony Tommasini reported that the pianist’s performances emphasized “structural coherence, proportion, textural clarity, dynamic balance, rhythmic integrity and other hallmarks of the Classical style.” These comments went far to confirm the fact that Till Fellner has become a master of the most indispensable core repertoire of the entire piano literature.

Positive commentary on Mr. Fellner’s live Beethoven performances have carried over into his recent recordings for ECM of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos Nos. 4 and 5 with Kent Nagano leading the Montréal Symphony Orchestra.

Words are inadequate to describe the sheer joy I experienced at hearing this disc…an ineffable poetry and grace illuminate their reading [Concerto No. 4]…in Fellner and Nagano’s hands the “Emperor” takes on the character of a true ensemble piece, as opposed to being presented…as a virtuoso display piece. It’s a winning performance that reveals many winning felicities… – Jerry Dubins, Fanfare

Beethoven’s concertos demand both power and sensitivity from soloist and orchestra, and this recording just oozes quality at every level. – MusicWeb International

The give and take between Fellner and the Montréal Symphony Orchestra is uncanny, in that they seem to be questioning or replying to one another as if only two individuals were concerned. – Michael Tanner, BBC Music Magazine, 5 star rating

Till Fellner has an impressive discography to his credit on the EMI, Claves, Erato, Philips, and ECM labels, the most recent release being a CD of Harrison Birtwistle’s Chamber Music with Lisa Batiashvili, Adrian Brendel, and Roderick Williams on ECM. Fellner also appears on an ECM album of new works by Thomas Larcher, and his recording of Bach’s Two- and Three- Part Inventions and French Suite No.V, has received widespread critical praise, in keeping with his acclaimed ECM recording of the first book of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. According to Sequenza 21, “Till Fellner’s recording of the Inventions on ECM is a reminder of how wondrous these works are …Not only is his technical execution of them brilliant – his whirlwind traversals of the D-minor and F-major Inventions are stunners – but Fellner also approaches the works with an eye towards structure… terraced dynamics and fastidious articulations.”

Fellner has also recorded Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 19, 22, and 25; Beethoven’s Concertos Nos. 2 & 3; a selection of Beethoven piano sonatas; Beethoven’s works for cello and piano (with Heinrich Schiff), Schubert’s Sonata in A minor D.784 plus 6 Moments musicaux, 4 Impromptus and 12 Waltzes; Schumann’s “Kreisleriana,” Op. 16; and Schönberg’s Suite for Piano, Op. 25.

The list of collaborators during Mr. Fellner’s international career reads like a “Who’s Who” of classical music; he has appeared as guest soloist with many of the world's foremost orchestras and has worked with such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Herbert Blomstedt, Christoph von Dohnányi, Bernard Haitink, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Manfred Honeck, Sir Charles Mackerras, Kurt Masur, Kent Nagano, Semyon Bychkov, Leonard Slatkin, and Lothar Zagrosek, among many others. Mr. Fellner first came to world attention in 1993 by winning First Prize at the important Clara Haskil International Piano Competition at Vevey, Switzerland. He was a student of Helene Sedo-Stadler before going on to study privately with Alfred Brendel, Meira Farkas, Oleg Maisenberg, and Claus-Christian Schuster.