Julian Jacobson 70th Birthday Concert Series kicks off on 22 October
at St John’s Smith Square, London, with works by Beethoven, Schubert and Prokofiev
Julian Jacobson, who has established a reputation as a pianist of extraordinary breadth and versatility, celebrates his 70th birthday this autumn with a series of Sunday afternoon concerts entitled Masterpieces of Beethoven, Schubert and Prokofiev, at St John’s Smith Square on 22 October, 26 November, 11 February and 11 March 2018.
The series features Prokofiev’s mighty War Trilogy, the 6th, 7th and 8th sonatas – widely regarded as the crowning glory of his output of piano music – a rare opportunity to hear the trilogy performed in sequence in the first three concerts. In the final concert Julian will play four pieces from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet and he will be joined by his regular duo partner, the Anglo-Japanese pianist Mariko Brown, in Gershwin’s An American in Paris, in Julian’s own virtuoso transcription for piano four hands.
Watch them play the delightful Jamaican Rumba by Arthur Benjamin:
A highly respected Beethoven pianist, Julian’s repertoire is firmly centred on the great classics of the repertoire - in recent years he has become particularly known for his Beethoven cycles and marathons (playing the complete 32 sonatas on three occasions in one day, most recently in 2013). He has also been an acclaimed exponent of contemporary music including jazz (giving the UK premiere of Ligeti's Études in 1987 among many others), and as a much sought-after duo and ensemble pianist he has partnered many leading British and international soloists. His concert tours have taken him to over 40 countries worldwide and he has recorded more than 30 CDs.
Beethoven’s perennial sonatas: No 14 'Moonlight', No 8 'Pathétique', No 23 'Appassionata', and the Eroica Variations are complemented by major works of Schubert, including the Wanderer Fantasy and his Four Impromptus D899, as well as the Prokofiev.
Speaking about the St John’s Series, Julian Jacobson says: 'As a man approaches his 70th birthday - something I thought only happened to other people - he can either try and run away from it or "face the music". And so I decided I would challenge myself by presenting four programmes of composers I love and have been involved with over many years, celebrating some of their greatest and most loved piano music. There is a time for highways and byways and I have spent many years happily exploring them, but increasingly I feel the need to try and measure up to the pinnacles of the repertoire and see what I can bring to them of myself. I invite you warmly to share my journey!'
Masterpieces of Beethoven, Schubert and Prokofiev
Four Sundays at St John’s Smith Square, London
Dates and programmes:
Sun 22 Oct 2017 at 3.00pm
Beethoven Eroica Variations Op 35
Schubert Four Impromptus D899
Prokofiev Sonata No 6 in A Op 82
Sun 26 Nov 2017 at 3.00pm
Beethoven Sonata No 14 ‘Moonlight’
Schubert Sonata in D D850
Prokofiev Sonata No 7 in B flat Op 83
Sun 11 Feb 2018 at 3.00pm
Beethoven Sonata No 8 ‘Pathétique’
Schubert Sonata in A D959
Prokofiev Sonata No 8 in B flat Op 84
Sun 11 Mar 2018 at 3.00pm
Schubert Wanderer Fantasy
Beethoven Sonata No 23 ‘Appassionata’
Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet: Ten Pieces Op 5 Nos 1, 4, 6 and 10
Gershwin An American in Paris arr. Jacobson for piano 4 hands
Photo: © Roger Harris Photography