Oxford Piano Festival 2021 line-up announced

17 June 2021
By Ellie Palmer
The Festival's 23rd edition will take place from 25 July-1 August

Elisabeth Leonskaja, Stephen Kovacevich, Stephen Hough, Peter Donohoe, Kathryn Stott and Nikolai Lugansky are all set to feature at this year's Oxford Piano Festival, the Oxford Philharmonic have announced.

Opening the Festival on 25 July is Kathryn Stott, who appeared on the cover of issue 96 of Pianist. The English classical pianist will perform a selection of Satie, Bartók, Bach, Grieg, Satie Ravel and others live at St John the Evangelist Church.

Pre-eminent Mozartian Stephen Kovacevich is the soloist in the mysterious and passionate Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor on  28 July. Mozart is paired with Haydn's final symphony, No. 104 – the 'London' Symphony – in the hands of conductor Marios Papadopoulos and the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, a concert that will additionally be live-streamed.

Elsewhere, Stephen Hough brings the music of Catalan composer Federico Mompou to life on 30 July, while Elisabeth Leonskaja delivers an all-Schubert recital complete with the hidden gems of the three Klavierstücke on 27 July. Schubert also features heavily in Peter Donohoe's recital on 26 July.

The Festival closes with Nikolai Lugansky, schooled in the grand tradition of Russian pianism, on 31 July. Lugansky brings selections from Rachmaninov's Études-Tableaux to complement two of Beethoven's most towering works for the instrument: the 'Moonlight' Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor and the two-movement Sonata No. 32 in C minor, and Rachmaninov's own transcription of Bach's Violin Partita No. 3 in E major.

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Additionally, for the first time in the Festival's history, three evening recitals and a number of masterclasses will be live-streamed to audiences worldwide – streaming free via the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra's YouTube channel and available for 24 hours on demand. All concerts and masterclasses will once more welcome live audiences in accordance with coronavirus restrictions.

You can find the full listings of concerts and masterclasses here.

Main image (clockwise): Elisabeth Leonskaja, Stephen Kovacevich, Stephen Hough, Peter Donohoe, Nikolai Lugansky, Kathryn Stott