By Jessie Williams
In the upcoming 2023/2024 season, several of today’s leading pianists will join the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center to take on monumental works, including Ludwig van Beethoven’s complete Cycle of Piano Concertos. Each of these artists bring a passion for music which shines through their performances. Subscriptions to your SLSO guarantee a comprehensive experience of cycle. Curated and Compose Your Own Subscriptions for the 23/24 season are available here.
The six pianists who will perform with the SLSO in the 23/24 season:
Pianist Jonathan Biss, known as “one of today’s foremost Beethoven exponents,” recorded all 32 Beethoven sonatas over the course of nine years, just in time to be released on the composer’s 250th birthday. In 2020, Biss recorded an audio book Unquiet: My Life with Beethoven in which he explains his complex relationship with the composer. Biss performed twice with the SLSO in 2005, playing Beethoven's First and Third Piano Concertos and most recently performed Mendelssohn’s Second Piano Concerto in 2007. With Stéphane Denève as conductor, Biss will begin the season’s Beethoven Piano Concerto Cycle with performances of the first concerto on September 29-30, 2023.
Just 23 years old, Israeli pianist Tom Borrow has won every piano competition in Israel and was recently named a BBC New Generation Artist for 2021-2023. The New Generation Artists scheme supports the international careers of talented musicians with radio broadcasts, studio recordings, and festival appearances. Borrow will tackle Beethoven's fifth and last concerto at his SLSO debut on March 22-23, 2024, under the direction of Stéphane Denève. Nicknamed “Emperor”, for its majestic character, the Fifth is simultaneously virtuosic and intensely expressive, and considered the last of the classical or the first of the great romantic concertos.
Pianist Ingrid Fliter is one of the few pianists and the only woman to win the exclusive Gilmore Artist Award. This award recognizes extraordinary piano artistry and is awarded to classical pianists regardless of age or nationality. Fliter first shared her talents with the SLSO in 2008 playing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and since has appeared as a regular guest. On October 20-21, 2023, Fliter will return to perform Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto with Elim Chan conducting.
To perform Beethoven’s Piano Cycle in a season with five soloists is an endeavor: pianist Paul Lewis performed all 5 Beethoven Concertos in a single weekend at the 2010 BBC Proms. Lewis’ cycles of Beethoven and Franz Schubert piano works have earned him international recognition and in 2016, he was appointed Commander of the order of the British Empire. On November 3 & 5, 2023, he will perform the Fourth Beethoven Concerto alongside Stéphane Denève, in his first collaboration with the SLSO.
Pianist Marie-Ange Nguci has a hunger for music: in addition to piano, Nguci plays the cello and holds a Diploma of Ondes Martenot—the electric keyboard, and a Masters in Piano Performance which she received at the age of 16. She studied conducting for a year at Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna and is the youngest candidate to be accepted to study for a Doctor of Musical Arts at the City University of New York. Nguci will make her SLSO debut playing Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto on April 19-21, 2024, with conductor John Storgårds. Beethoven’s Second was actually composed before his First and honors the traditions of Mozart and Haydn.
Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin and pianist Jeffery Siegel share a long history with the SLSO dating back to Slatkin and Siegel’s 1974 recording of George Gershwin works with the orchestra. For the past 30 years, Siegel has presented Keyboard Conversations, a concert with commentary aimed to educate people and create interest in classical music. Siegel’s Keyboard Conversations have been recorded all over the United States and are broadcasted on U.S. and BBC classical radio stations nationwide. Siegel and Slatkin will return to the SLSO on January 21, 2024, to perform Gershwin’s electric Rhapsody in Blue—part of a three-concert series exploring connections between jazz and orchestral music.
Jessie Williams is the SLSO's Communications Intern.