“Ohlsson to sample from his vast repertoire”

Within two weeks of starting piano at the age of 8, playing was all Garrick Ohlsson wanted to do. “I wasn’t practicing,” he said, speaking from the Tanglewood Festival in western Massachusetts. “It was play. It was something I wanted to do, something I was good at. Success excited me.”

Youthful enthusiasm led to an international career that, after 50 years, shows no sign of fading. Ohlsson returns to the Grand Teton Music Festival for four nights of performances, including a solo recital tonight and performances of Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 9 on Friday and Saturday, the closing weekend for the Festival Orchestra, with Music Director Donald Runnicles conducting. “We have…

Read article

Review: Pianist Garrick Ohlsson outstanding at Tanglewood, including 3 encores

Last night, Ohlsson simply seemed to be having so much fun playing, he didn't want to leave the stage. He was like a kid, excited to share his enthusiasm and love for music with everyone there. It was quite touching.

Over the weekend, Ohlsson played both Chopin piano concertos to perfection on Friday and Saturday night. Last night, Ohlsson played a superb solo concert in Tanglewood’s intimate Ozawa Hall. Last weekend, Ohlsson played one encore each for both Chopin concerts – Chopin’s Nocturne in F Sharp Major, Number 2 on Friday night, Chopin’s Nocturne in C Sharp Minor, Number 27 on…

Read article

Chopin with the Boston Symphony Orchestra

There's a reason why Ohlsson always sounds so great when he performs Chopin. As Ohlsson explained during a recent interview I did with him, he lives by one simple rule when it comes to deciding which music to perform. "You've got to love it to play it," he said."

“I never hold back,” Ohlsson added. “I’m always totally involved.” Chopin only wrote two piano concertos. Ironically, he wrote the second one before the first one. Chopin wrote the second concerto in 1829, the first in 1830. The first one was simply published first. From a musical standpoint, Chopin’s first concerto isn’t the most exciting composition,…

Read article

Review: Garrick Ohlsson delivers a master class of Brahms, Scriabin and Schubert

This was a Scriabin masterclass, from the precisely defined, chromatic pattering in the Etude Op. 65 No.1 to the coy, playful sensuality of the Poème Op. 32 No.1. Ohlsson played the epic, single-movement Sonata No. 5 with titanic power and shattering intensity, the final upward rush of notes like an ecstatic leap into blue space.

“… Ohlsson delivered a superb recital, full of striking contrasts and peerless pianism. The towering American virtuoso (no, really — he stands 6’4” in his socks) began with the six pieces from Brahms’ Op. 118. Ohlsson is a wonderful Brahms pianist: soberly expressive, architectural, without any excess sentiment. The familiar A Major Intermezzo glowed with tender longing; the G…

Read article

Solo Recital / Shalin Liu Performance Center

Ohlsson plunged back in time from the composer’s most outré repertoire into a swooning, Romantic-style etude, taking the audience on a tour through Scriabin’s unique world that ended with an entrancing Sonata No. 5. The piece demanded bravura in cascades of chords and spritzing flourishes, and the performer delivered, finishing with a run up the keyboard that left him facing the audience for a bevy of cheers.

Garrick Ohlsson takes up space. The internationally acclaimed pianist takes up space in the physical sense, standing 6 feet 4 inches tall, with hands that can cover vast intervals seemingly without a stretch. He deliberately spreads his mind through the piano repertoire and has since the beginning of his career, bucking a manager’s suggestion that he stick to Chopin, whose work launched him to…

Read article