Design ohne Titel-4
Kirill Gerstein & Oliver Schnyder

Great piano art at Klosters Music

In addition to Sir András Schiff and Franceso Piemontesi, Oliver Schnyder and Kirill Gerstein will also be performing at the festival.

Francesco Piemontesi opens Klosters Music with Robert Schumann’s piano concerto, Sir András Schiff closes the festival with a solo recital dedicated to Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Both have already been profiled in the Klosters Music newsletter. But there are two more first-class pianists at the festival.

Musical-philosophical outside view

Oliver Schnyder, together with writer friend Alain Claude Sulzer, is holding a musical-literary evening on 2 August at Atelier Bolt, entitled Travellers – Histories & Stories, which focuses on the composers Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Franz Liszt. “Mendelssohn and Liszt were the most famous musicians in Europe during their lifetime, real pop stars,” says Schnyder. “With their easy formal comprehensibility, their poetically speaking, at times brilliantly virtuoso character, Mendelssohn’s ‘Songs without Words’ quickly won the hearts of ambitious amateur pianists. “The selected works by Franz Liszt from the Années de pèlerinage, Première année (Suisse) also have great appeal for Schnyder. “With the sounding images of nature, Liszt has given Switzerland a musical-philosophical outside view with such depth that the view of our nature can never be the same after hearing it.”

From Switzerland to the USA

Switzerland is home and centre of life for the pianist, who was born in Brugg in 1973. After studying with Emmy Henz-Diémand and Homero Francesch in Zurich, he continued his training with Ruth Laredo in New York and the famous Leon Fleisher in Baltimore. Schnyder’s international career has progressed thanks to winning First Prize at the Pembaur Competition in Bern (1999) and his debuts at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. (2000) and with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (2002). With Andreas Janke (violin) and Benjamin Nyffenegger (cello), the versatile pianist forms the successful Oliver Schnyder Trio. Schnyder has also made a name for himself as an organiser with the Piano District piano series in Baden and the Lenzburgiade Klassik & Folk, which he runs together with his wife Fränzi Frick. He is very much looking forward to the musical-literary evening at Klosters Music: “Alain Claude Sulzer’s language is also like music. And the works I play speak in the same way, in a language that everyone understands. The charm is in this playful ping-pong.”

Chamber musician and soloist

Kirill Gerstein will be the piano partner of the Hagen Quartett in Johannes BrahmsPiano Quintet in F minor op. 34 at the concert on 3 August. The pianist, born in 1979 in Voronezh in the former Soviet Union, has a long association with the Hagen Quartett. He admires the ensemble, which has existed for over forty years and in which three siblings play together: “The will to keep searching and not to rely on previous musical solutions, coupled with the incredible unity of the ensemble, which has been cultivated over decades of playing together. It is another miracle that this unity does not destroy the individuality of these four musicians,” says Gerstein. He likes being a chamber musician and soloist – for him there is no fundamental difference: “Even solo works are virtual chamber music.”

Substitute for Daniil Trifonov

His early debut with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in September 2000 under David Zinman, when he played Johannes Brahms’ First Piano Concerto, similarly had a positive effect on his career. Like Schnyder, Gerstein also did part of his training in the USA – at the age of twelve he studied jazz at the Berklee College of Music before turning to classical music at the Manhattan School of Music. He celebrated his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2016 with the 2nd Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto. He stood in for Daniil Trifonov with the same work two weeks ago at the orchestra’s traditional season finale at the Waldbühne. “It was a magical evening: being with 23,000 attentive listeners, especially after the pandemic restrictions of listening to music together; rehearsing this well-known piece with the musicians of the Berliner Philharmoniker and their wonderful conductor Kirill Petrenko with great concentration, and then the thrill of the performance energy…. “. Klosters Music is looking forward to high piano art.

More information about the programme can be found here.