Hélène Grimaud-credit Mat Hennek

The thirty-second year of the Master Pianists series offers once again a varied and fascinating programme.

The season begins with a concert of the South-Korean star pianist Seong-Jin Cho. This glorious winner of the 2015 Chopin Concours made his debut in the series in June 2017 and now returns with a programme full of—literally—‘fantasy’. The Russian Alexander Romanovsky, who last year was one of the stars at the ‘Russian coloured’ Jubilee Concert, will offer an astounding programme. Besides Liszt’s monumental Sonata, he will also play the complete Etudes op. 10 and op. 25 of Chopin. Only few lions of the keyboard dare to do this live. It is truly a heroic undertaking.

In January 2015 the Italian Roberto Cominati replaced at the spur of the moment the sick Jorge Luis Prats. He did so in a very convincing manner, and his return could, therefore, not be delayed for very long.

The immensely popular Denis Matsuev, who also comes from Russia and who is a giant among the pianists, returns with sonatas of Beethoven and Tsjaikovski. In 2018 we will pay tribute to Sergei Rachmaninov, who died seventy-five years ago. He is, beyond any doubt, one of the greatest composers of all times and we continue to enjoy the fruits of his legacy of unparalleled Russian piano music. Three prominent, and in this series highly valued, pianists—Arcadi Volodos, Alexander Gavrylyuk and Hélène Grimaud, focus in their programme on this composer who is so crucial for the piano.

We eagerly welcome the French ‘poet of the keyboard’, David Fray, who returns with Bach’s sublime Goldberg variations. And this year, as we are used to, we once again introduce a new talent. This time from our own soil and already known to many of you. After a number of successful performances in the Concertgebouw, we are delighted to present Hannes Minnaar in this series.

The Russian maestro Grigory Sokolov and the aristocratic Krystian Zimerman are the next two icons of the piano. Both, in their own ways, continue to perfect their musical expressions. Our very beloved and sympathetic Emanuel Ax closes the season with the celebration of his seventieth birthday.

And, finally, the Extra Concert. After an absence of more than two decades in the Master Pianists series it will, at long last, happen. In March 2019 the legendary master pianist Martha Argerich, at age seventy-six, will, without any doubt, deliver a spectacular piano evening on two grand piano’s, together with Stephen Kovacevich. An event that you certainly should not miss.