Stephen Kovacevich is the most superb specialist of Beethoven who is critiqued to have 'recreated Beethoven' brings his truly Beethoven works to Korea for his third concert. From Pianissomo to fortissimo, he plays the entire gamut with courtesy and perfection. He has recorded complete 32 Beethoven piano sonatas with EMI for 10 years since 1992.
- Biography -
¡®Perhaps nobody else can play the piano with this degree of precision and turn it to such musically intense ends¡¯ The Independent, 18 December 2002
(Mozart K491/London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall)
Stephen Kovacevich has had a long and distinguished career as a concert pianist. His interpretations of Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and Schubert are renowned.
Kovacevich records exclusively for EMI International. His recordings of Sonatas Op. 53, 78 & 110, and Op. 13, 14 & 22 were nominated for the instrumental category of the 1994 and 1999 Gramophone Awards. He has recorded both Brahms Piano Concertos with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Sawallisch; No 1 was nominated for a Grammy Award and won the 1993 Gramophone Award and the Stereo Review Record of the Year, while No 2 won the Diapason D¡¯Or. He is featured with two double-discs in the Philips ¡®Great Pianists of the 20th Century¡¯ series. Of Beethoven Sonata Op. 111 The New York Times wrote: ¡®His performance is exact and melancholic at the start, unfolding organically, coherently, with a tender Arietta that ends up heaven-storming.¡¯ Over the last 10 years Kovacevich has recorded Beethoven¡¯s 32 piano sonatas. This journey, now completed, will be issued as a box set by EMI this autumn.
As a tribute to his interpretations of works of Beethoven, Stephen Kovacevich was recently featured in a six-concert project ¡®Kovacevich, Beethoven and the Piano¡¯ The project, in collaboration with the Harrods International Piano Series, the London Philharmonic and the South Bank Centre, included the Emperor Concerto with Kurt Masur in the UK and Germany, three Beethoven recitals in the Royal Festival Hall, playing/directing the London Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and a public masterclass.
Stephen Kovacevich¡¯s concerto engagements worldwide include performances with the London, Los Angeles and Israel Philharmonic orchestras, and the Pittsburgh, Finnish Radio, Swedish Radio and Montreal Symphony orchestras. Forthcoming concerto engagements include a BBC Prom concert with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Ilan Volkov, working with Houston Symphony Orchestra as their featured soloist on their European tour, with St Paul Chamber Orchestra, and a performance of all five Beethoven piano concertos in a series of concerts with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Joseph Swensen.
Recitals are planned in key concert capitals worldwide, notably in London, Paris, Rome, Tokyo and New York and more widely throughout North America, Europe and the Far East.
In addition to his solo work, Kovacevich enjoys good relations with orchestras as a conductor and by directing from the keyboard. During the 2003/04 season he directs the London Mozart Players, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in this way with concerts in the South of England, Liverpool, London and Vancouver.
Chamber music partners include Steven Isserlis, Nigel Kennedy, Lynn Harrell, Sarah Chang, Gautier Capucon, Renaud Capucon, Kyung-Wha Chung, Truls M©ªrk and Emmanuel Pahud.
Stephen Kovacevich was born in Los Angeles and made his debut as a pianist at the age of 11. At the age of 18 he moved to England to study with Dame Myra Hess.
(transcribed from http://www.cramermarderartists.com/kovacevich.htm)
'This is one of the most commanding accounts of Beethoven’s
mighty Hammerklavier - an unflinching, sometimes combative
view of a titanic masterpiece, and a version to be spoken
of in the same breath as those of Brendel, Gilels and Pollini.
Superbly recorded, with outstanding clarity and presence,
Kovacevich announces the music’s potency from the first
bar, more or less at Beethoven’s very demanding fast
metronome... Ultimately, this is one of the great records
of the Hammerklavier'.
The Classical source
'The blinkered spirits who thought the composer of the
Hammerklavier mad were themselves deluded; but a touch of
madness in the works' performance helps, as this disciplined
but ferocious, at times profoundly tender, account shows.
Kovacevich's playing gives the paradoxical impression of rigorous
control that it might lose at any moment. It combines tremendous
rhythmic thrust, wildness and the stillness of the eye of
the storm, and also a nice sense of the quirkiness writ large
of which the Op 119 Bagatelles, included here, are a miniature
but characteristic example. The disc is rounded off by a dazzlingly
eloquent performance of the Les Adieux sonata'.
David Cairns, Sunday Times, 8 June 2003
Review of Stephen Kovacevich's
CD: Beethoven Piano Sonatas Op 106 (Hammerklavier)
and Op 81a (Les Adieux), Bagatelles Op 119. EMI 7243
5 57520 2
'Kovacevich's performance was awe-inspiring...'
'This is an impressive opening to Stephen Kovacevich’s
projected Beethoven sonata cycle for EMI. Kovacevich made
some fine Beethoven recordings for Philips in the late Sixties,
and like all great interpreters he has something unique to
say about these wonderful and timeless works'.
BBC Music Magazine
'... the pianist produced the sort of playing that now places
him among the world's small number of reigning Classical masters'.
'Here was a pianist who truly did play Beethoven’s
Hammerklavier sonata as though it were a first performance...the
way he kept this fabulously risk-taking music on the edge
of playability - my 21st-century ears had never appreciated
the full audacity of the fugal finale and us on the edge of
our seats, was an index of his moral rather than his physical
(transcribed from http://www.vanwalsum.co.uk/amd/artists/sk2.htm)