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Igor Levit has been announced as Featured Artist in the Barbican Presents 2019-20 classical music season

Igor Levit shadow portrait

Piano virtuoso and ‘one of the essential artists of his generation’ (New York Times) Igor Levit has been named as Featured Artist in the Barbican Presents 2019-20 classical music season. He will be giving three different concerts between 26 Jan and 19 Feb 2020, including solo recital and chamber performances, which will give an insight into all facets of the artist’s prowess.

The music Igor Levit has selected for each of the programmes not only demonstrates his prodigious talent, but each piece has personal meaning to him. ‘Every concert is in one way or another an aspect of my life and a deep declaration of love towards everyone involved,’ Levit explains.

Igor Levit is committed to humanism and often speaks out publicly on politics, as he sees his art as inseparable from the things happening in the world around us. ‘Art and politics is just the way I am as a human being,’ he says. ‘I’ve always walked around with my eyes wide open.’

Igor Levit plays Shostakovich
Sun 26 Jan 2020 7.30pm, Barbican Hall
Igor Levit piano
Shostakovich 24 Preludes and Fugues

The opening concert on 26 Jan 2020 sees Levit in recital, performing Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues, which are rarely played in full. Technically complex, this will take performer and audience on an exciting journey.

‘On many levels it’s very demanding but I couldn’t care less,’ Levit says. ‘One should hear this piece in full because it’s an extraordinary experience. The first 23 preludes and fugues are like a conversation with yourself, they are deeply unique and personal pieces and then we get to number 24 and it’s full of this feeling of “we the people”, we’re all together.’

Igor Levit plays Messiaen and Shostakovich
Thu 13 Feb 2020 7.30pm, Milton Court
Igor Levit piano, Markus Hinterhãuser piano, Ning Feng violin, Julia Hagen cello, Klaus Reda percussion, Andreas Boettger percussion, Moritz Wappler percussion, Jeremy Cornes percussion
Messiaen Visions de l’Amen, Shostakovich (arr. Derevianki & Pekarsky) Symphony No 15

For the second concert on 13 Feb Levit has chosen some of his friends to perform with him and share some of the spotlight. He says he is ‘honoured’ to be performing with people whom he would ‘trust my house keys with’. The programme includes Messiaen’s Visions de l’Amen and a chamber version of Shostakovich’s 15th Symphony (arr Derevianki & Pekarsky), for which Levit will be joined by Markus Hinterhäuser (piano), Ning Feng (violin), Julia Hagen (cello), Klaus Reda (percussion), Andreas Boettger (percussion), Moritz Wappler (percussion) and Jeremy Cornes (percussion). Levit says he chose the Shostakovich because of his ‘close relationship to the composer and his music’. ‘This chamber version is transcendent and intense. It’s a great deal of fun to play and so exciting.’

Igor Levit plays Beethoven, Bartók & Brahms
Wed 19 Feb 2020 7.30pm, Barbican Hall
Igor Levit piano, Markus Becker piano, Klaus Reda percussion, Andreas Boettger percussion
Beethoven Grosse Fugue, Brahms Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Bartók Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion

The third concert in the series on 19 Feb features a performance of Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge, Brahms’s Variations on a Theme of Haydn and Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion for which Levit is joined by three of his former teachers: Markus Becker (piano), who was his chamber music teacher as well as Klaus Reda (percussion) and Andreas Boettger (percussion).

Igor Levit is also scheduled to appear as the soloist in a concert with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 22 in E-flat major, K482 at the Barbican Hall on 7 April 2020. However, following the passing of maestro Mariss Jansons at the end of 2019, plans for this concert date are currently under discussion.