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Press

Review: La Jolla Music Society winter season opener offers fresh takes on established traditions

The Apollon Musagète’s textures switched easily and impressively between the bumptious rhythmic ostinati and delicate, atmospheric harmonic effects answered by Ohlsson’s deft upper-register playing.

“A critical debate has existed for years regarding Shostakovich’s G minor piano quintet. Shostakovich’s work remains so entangled with its reception by the Soviet regime that the alternating approval and opprobrium his music received in his own country have become an unfortunate (and inappropriate) barometer of musical substance and authenticity in ours. The quintet’s long popularity…

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Garrick Ohlsson Lays a Classical Foundation

Pianist Garrick Ohlsson, a faculty member at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, grew up in White Plains, New York, going into Manhattan for concerts at Carnegie Hall, where Arthur Rubinstein’s Chopin recital made a huge impression on him at the age of 9.

SFCV Ohlsson attended Juilliard at 13, and in 1970, he became the first American to win the Chopin International Piano Competition. He’s also won the Avery Fisher Prize and top prizes at the Busoni Competition and the Montreal Piano Competition, and he’s known for his performances of the works of Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, and the Romantic repertoire. He won a Grammy for the third volume of…

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Garrick Ohlsson on Challenges, Changes, and Chopin

Ohlsson, the first and currently only first-prize American winner of the Chopin International Piano Competition, explains his history with the composer and how the critical appraisal of Chopin has changed.

SFCM What is your experience with this piece? I grew up in White Plains, New York, and I went to concerts at Carnegie Hall quite frequently, so by the time I was 18 and an undergrad, I had probably heard seven or eight of the world’s greatest pianists play this piece. I knew I wanted to play it, but didn’t get around to it until I was in my mid-20s. The F Minor Fantasie was the so-called…

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SummerFest opening concert

Warm and stately, yet chockfull of craft, the Variations were masterfully played by Ohlsson and Barnatan. Well matched in tone with perfect coordination, theirs was a joyful performance.

“Where would SummerFest — indeed, all chamber music — be without Brahms? His Variations ended the first half, as if to show those Russian composers, “This is how you write a theme and variations!” Warm and stately, yet chockfull of craft, the Variations were masterfully played by Ohlsson and Barnatan. Well matched in tone with perfect coordination, theirs was a joyful…

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