Greilsammer's last performance in New York was at [Le] Poisson Rouge, where he played the program featured on his widely-praised debut recording for naÇve, Fantaisie_fantasme. He made his Lincoln Center debut in 2004 at Alice Tully Hall, as soloist in Erwin Schulhoff's Piano Concerto under the direction of James Conlon, giving a performance that led the New York Times to describe him as "ferociously able."
Greilsammer's second recording for naÇve featured early concertos by Mozart. Originally issued on the Vanguard Classics label in 2006 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth, the album was named one of the best CDs of the year by London's Daily Telegraph, while Le Monde called it "one of the greatest surprises of the Mozart year."
Below, Greilsammer discusses _ among other topics _ his new recording, his Lincoln Center program, and his new appointment in Geneva:
Q: Your recital program for Lincoln Center features quite a wide range of repertoire, from the Baroque (Rameau) to the contemporary (John Adams). So many of your programs, such as Fantaisie_fantasme, have a strong conceptual or thematic element to them. Is there one for this Lincoln Center program?
DG: Yes. I have named this program "Gates" because the idea is to present an unusual encounter between worlds that could seem far apart from one another at first sight; however, these disparate worlds have so much in common, and when they all meet, something very special happens. In this recital, all the pieces are played without any interruption, as if [they were] one large piece, and I believe that when heard this way, a series of imaginary gates appear, linking one work to the next one. These imaginary gates are like bridges that connect different islands. And then, suddenly, at the very center of this program, we hear John Adams's China Gates...
Q: Your new Mozart concertos album for naÇve features Nos. 22 and 24. Why did you choose to pair these works together on your second album devoted to the composer's concertos?
DG: My very first recording featured Mozart's early piano concertos, which are full of freshness, light, and innocence. A few years went by since that recording and I felt that it was time to dive into Mozart's late and more complex concertos. In these two late works, Mozart's inner, personal, and poignant voice is now heard. His writing becomes darker, sometimes even tragic, with a new and very striking level of depth. These two concertos symbolize Mozart's arrival at maturity, and their beauty is simply overwhelming. Recording them was one of the most extraordinary moments in my life. I was very lucky to have the musicians of the Suedama Ensemble with me for this recording, which took place in New York. They are all wonderful musicians and it has been so much fun to work on this project with them.
Q: This fall you gave the first performance since 1912 of Nadia Boulanger's Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra and have made a recording of that work for future release on naÇve. Can you give us a quick preview of what the work is like?
DG: The work comes from Nadia Boulanger's youth. At the time, she was composing very eagerly, and her pieces were getting more and more attention in France and in Europe. Then, shortly after writing this Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra, her sister Lili died, and Nadia swore that she would never compose again. It was the most tragic event in her life, and after it occurred, nothing could be the same. Then, little by little, she became the very famous teacher that we know today. The Fantasy is a beautiful piece that is very inspired by the composers she admired, such as Faur_, Wagner, Saint-SaêŠns, and Liszt. Since the piece is a "fantasy", it is made of one large movement, very free, very personal, and full of musical surprises.
Q: This season you took up a new position as Music Director of the Geneva Chamber Orchestra. How busy will this position keep you and what kinds of project will you be doing with them in the near future?
DG: I am thrilled about this new position and I am very much looking forward to my first season as Music Director with the orchestra, starting this coming fall. Obviously, this changes a lot of things for me as I will be working very closely and intensely with the orchestra and I will be spending an important amount of time in Geneva. I am very happy about further developing my career as conductor, and at the same time I will be continuing to perform as a pianist just like before, with many new and exciting projects next season. In Geneva, I will also be putting the emphasis on eclectic and original projects, along with presenting works from well-known repertoire, but perhaps in an unusual setting... There will be a growing emphasis on contemporary music, rare Baroque works, and pieces from the Classical period that are very rarely heard in the concert hall. Many young soloists will be performing with us in the next few seasons, and I am really looking forward to working closely with them.
Q: Will we hear you again in live performance in the U.S. in the 2010-11 season?
DG: Yes, I am making my San Francisco Symphony debut in February of next season, performing my beloved Mozart early concertos.
Q: You were born and raised in Israel, you studied and lived for many years in the U.S., and you've spent a long time in France and in Europe. Where do you call home these days?
DG: That is a very tough question... I wish I could answer it! Israel is still the place where my family and closest friends are, and it will always remain a very important place for me, the place where I came from. But I still don't know exactly where is "home". I feel that life has taken me to many different and beautiful places so far, and it is has been a wonderful experience. I know that eventually I will find home, but in the meantime, there are many musical adventures that are waiting, in many different places...
Sunday, February 21, 11am
New York City
David Greilsammer: "Sunday Morning Coffee Concert" recital
Lincoln Center (Walter Reade Theater)
Rameau, Ligeti, Mozart, Satie, Monteverdi, Janšcek, Scarlatti, and John Adams