Portland Piano International is thrilled to announce that renowned Canadian pianist and composer Marc-André Hamelin will curate Portland Piano International’s 2019 / 2020 SOLO season! Executive Director Ellen Bergstone Wasil and Board Chair Maryellen McCulloch originally met with Mr. Hamelin while at the Cliburn Competition in 2017 and could not be happier to welcome him on board as the next Guest Curator.
After the departure of Portland Piano International’s most recent artistic director, the Board decided to adopt a curatorial model for the organization. Each Guest Curator takes the reins for a one-season appointment; a new Guest Curator will be chosen for each following season. Founding Artistic Director Harold Gray has returned to curate the current 2018 / 2019 season.
Along with his curatorial duties, Mr. Hamelin will also perform the first concert of the 2019 / 2020 season. Portland Piano International audiences will remember him from his appearances on the recital series originally in 2001 and most recently in 2008, when he played a program that included Bach and Haydn, along with Hamelin’s Etudes Nos. 7 & 8 and an encore of Little Nocturne.
“We are incredibly honored to have Marc-André Hamelin as our first Guest Curator for our SOLO Series!” exclaimed Board Chair Maryellen McCulloch. “As a musician of the highest caliber, he is setting a high bar for future Guest Curators. We look forward to learning about his selections for the other five artists who will perform next season.”
“When the Board decided to engage a Guest Curator, the first person I imagined filling the new role was Marc-André Hamelin. I was thrilled when he said ‘yes’ to our request,” Executive Director Ellen Bergstone Wasil explains. “Mr. Hamelin is not only a superb pianist, he also composes and introduces audiences to classical pieces that have nearly been forgotten. We are so fortunate to be working with him.”
Mr. Hamelin also spoke about his Guest Curator appointment and the coming season:
“I can think of few experiences as transformative and magical as an evening spent listening to a great pianist. And I am constantly astonished by the diversity of approach and depth of imagination that define the artists of our time. It’s a thrill to have been asked to curate the 2019/2020 season of Portland Piano International.
“Each of this season’s pianists has an utterly unique artistic voice, and all of them have touched me deeply with their generosity of spirit and stirring performances. PPI has brought brilliant music-making to Portland year after year, and this season will be no exception. I promise everyone an outstanding pianistic feast!”
The news was announced first at this past weekend’s Olga Kern concerts, to the delight of the audience.
About Marc-André Hamelin
Pianist Marc-André Hamelin is known worldwide for his unrivalled blend of consummate musicianship and brilliant technique in the great works of the established repertoire, as well as for his intrepid exploration of the rarities of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries — in concert and on disc.
Marc-André Hamelin performs this summer at the Nohant Chopin Festival, Klavier Festival Ruhr, La Roque d'Anthéron, Montreux, the Minnesota Beethoven Festival, The Edinburgh Festival, and with Yannick Nézet-Séguin at Festival de Lanaudière playing Bernstein’s “Age of Anxiety” and Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2.
The coming season includes Mr. Hamelin’s return to Carnegie Hall for a recital on the Keyboard Virtuoso Series, plus recitals in Montreal, Seattle, Berlin, Florence, Salzburg, Wigmore Hall, Istanbul, among others. In repertoire from Haydn and Mozart to Ravel and Rachmaninoff, Hamelin appears with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles, Stuttgart and Moscow State Philharmonics, the Vancouver, Cincinnati, and Oregon Symphonies, and tours in Europe with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta.
Some highlights of Mr. Hamelin’s last season include recitals at Vienna’s Konzerthaus and at the Schubertiade, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, at Yale, Cincinnati and Savannah, Munich, Moscow and Vancouver — as well as his second appearance on the Keyboard Virtuoso Series at Carnegie Hall.
With orchestra, he debuted at the Orchestre de Paris with Alan Gilbert conducting the Ravel Concerto for the Left Hand; played the Schoenberg Concerto with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin in the opening weeks of Vladimir Jurowski’s inaugural season, the Ravel Left Hand Concerto with Juanjo Mena and the Toronto Symphony, Ravel’s G Major Concerto with the St. Louis Symphony and John Storgards, Stravinsky with the Seattle Symphony and Ludovic Morlot, Haydn with Osmo Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra, Mozart with Nicholas McGegan conducting the Cleveland Orchestra, the two Brahms concerti with the Moscow Philharmonic, and the Brahms D minor concerto with Andrew Manze conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.
He was a distinguished member of the jury of the 15th Van Cliburn Competition in 2017 where each of the 30 competitors in the Preliminary Round were required to perform Hamelin’s ‘Toccata on L’Homme armé,’ which marked the first time the composer of the commissioned work was also a member of the jury. Although primarily a performer, Mr. Hamelin has composed music throughout his career; the majority of his works are published by Edition Peters.
Mr. Hamelin records exclusively for Hyperion Records. His most recent releases are a disc of Schubert’s Piano Sonata in B Flat Major and Four Impromptus, a landmark disc of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Concerto for Two Pianos with Leif Ove Andsnes, Morton Feldman’s For Bunita Marcus, and Medtner Piano Concerto No. 2 and Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski. His Hyperion discography of over 60 recordings includes concertos and works for solo piano by such composers as Alkan, Godowsky, and Medtner, as well as brilliantly received performances of Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Schumann and Shostakovich.
He was honored with the 2014 ECHO Klassik Instrumentalist of Year (Piano) and Disc of the Year by Diapason Magazine and Classica Magazine for his three disc set of Busoni: Late Piano Music; and an album of his own compositions, Hamelin: Études, which received a 2010 Grammy nomination (his ninth) and a first prize from the German Record Critics’ Association. The Hamelin études are published by Edition Peters.
Mr. Hamelin makes his home in the Boston area with his wife, Cathy Fuller. Born in Montreal, Marc-André Hamelin is the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the German Record Critic’s Association. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Chevalier de l’Ordre du Québec, and a member of the Royal Society of Canada.