About Piano Cleveland

Catching up with Alexander Schimpf

October 28th 2013

The new concert season has begun and Alexander Schimpf is off and running with the first of a series of tours that will keep him busy through the end of May. This one starts with a recital at Hiram College on October 30, and continues through November 24 with a performance of Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor with the Canton Symphony.

On November 22 he will perform a special, not-to-be-missed concert for CIPC at Steinway Piano Gallery, the new home of Steinway Hall-Akron. The event is part of CIPC’s PianoPalooza Series, and will feature a fabulous Champagne and dessert reception – not to mention the opportunity to meet the artist! (Click here for all concert details.)

As Alexander was preparing for the tour he took the time to bring us up to speed on his recent activities and some of the things he’s looking forward to on tour.

Tell us a little about what you did over the summer. We heard you were in South America!

Yes – after my U.S. trip with the CIPC opening concert, I had a performance with an orchestra in Germany and then I went on a beautiful South America trip with some chamber concerts with friends from Germany and afterwards ten days of beautiful vacation in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and other cities. It was the first time in many years that I didn’t touch a piano for more than a week…

Alexander Schimpf
Alexander performs with CityMusic Cleveland at the opening ceremony of the 2013 Competition. Joel Smirnoff, president of the Cleveland Institute of Music, is conducting.

Are you performing any special new pieces on your fall tour?

The repertoire which I’ll play on this trip really is quite special: first of all I will play the world premiere of a new composition by Hungarian composer András Hamary in my recital in Indianapolis – he dedicated this piece to me and I will perform it twice during the tour. Besides that, I will only play absolute favorites of mine in the recitals – Schubert’s Sonata D 784, the wonderful Brahms pieces op. 119 and Beethoven’s very last Sonata op. 111, and two piano concertos which are among my favorites as well: the Mozart C minor Concerto and the Grieg Concerto.

What is your favorite piano concerto to perform, and what makes it so special for you?

The piece I enjoyed most to play in the recent years has been Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto, which I also played in the 2011 CIPC finals, and it is probably the piece I performed most with orchestras so far. What I particularly like about it is the special lyrical atmosphere that it creates, and which makes it stand out among the five Beethoven concertos and any other concertos that had been written until that time. It is this special feeling of carefully leaving the classical “frame” and moving towards a more romantic, poetic style and a more subjective musical expression.

How has your playing changed in the two years since you won the CIPC?

I hope it only changed to the better! But in any case by playing a lot of new repertoire on stage since then, I got a lot of new inspiration and of course vast experience by playing at many different places, cooperating with so many new people, and traveling a lot at the same time. I can say that I feel even more at home on stage now.

What are you most looking forward to about being back in the U.S.?

I am looking forward to making two stops in Cleveland during the trip and to meeting many friends again there, also to my short visits in New York City and Chicago, two of my favorite places worldwide

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