29 March 2022
By Ellie Palmer
29 March 2022, the 88th day of the year, marks #WorldPianoDay! And what better activity to do than to find source out some of the greatest live piano performances in history? Take a look through some of our favourites below
Claudio Arrau – Beethoven "Moonlight Sonata"
An absolute mastermind at the piano, the Chilean pianist performed pieces from almost every era throughout his career. This performance of "Moonlight Sonata" stands out from the crowd in particular. Wow.
Ivo Pogorelich – Chopin Sonata No 2 Op 35 in B flat minor
Many of you will be familiar with the 1980 Chopin Competition 'Pogorelich Affair' when, despite his performances being extremely popular with the watching audience, the pianist was NOT admitted to the final round because of his 'unconventional interpretations'.
Half the judging panel had given him exceptionally high scores, half had given him very low scores. And so, the decision was made to not admit him. Fellow pianist Martha Argerich. who was on the jury, resigned in protest in a move that has been remembered across the classical music world. The video above is taken from this very competition.
Vladimir Horowitz – Mozart, Schubert, Liszt and more
Wiener Musikverein, 1987
As one comment exclaims, "I'm not the first to make this point, but it bears being made twice. This is probably the best piano recital ever given."
What more can one say?
Yuja Wang – Cziffra's arrangement for piano of the Flight of the Bumble-Bee (Vol du Bourdon) by Rimsky-Korsakov
Verbier Church, Switzerland, 2008
Oh how we love Yuja! Flight of the Bumble-Bee is of course a notoriously difficult piece, but somehow Yuja makes it look easy.
Nobuyuki Tsujii – "Elegy for the Victims of the Tsunami of March 11, 2011 in Japan"
Carnegie Hall, 2011
This is a must-watch.
Blind Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii is filmed here playing at Carnegie Hall just a few months after a huge tsunami hit his home country of Japan, killing over 15,000 people.
The piece he played is an original composition; and it brought both him and the audience to tears.
Anna Fedorova – Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2 Op 18
With the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie conducted by Martin Panteleev. Concertgebouw Amsterdam, 2013
Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2 is arguably his most popular work, and Ukrainian pianist Anna Fedorova certainly does it justice.
Olga Scheps – Frédéric Chopin Piano Concerto No 1 in E minor
With the Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio conducted by Agnieszka Duczmal. Tonhalle Dusseldorf, 2014
Somehow – Olga Scheps and the Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio managed to make what visually looks like a small orchestra seem bigger than it actually is.
Khatia Buniatishvili – Rhapsody in Blue
With the Orchestre National de Lyon conducted by Leonard Slatkin. 2017
Just one of many very special performances that the Georgian pianist has given throughout her career.
Martha Argerich – Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 3
With the Singapore Symphony Orchestra conducted by Darío Alejandro Ntaca. Singapore International Piano Festival, 2018
It took 77 years for the Argentinian to make her Singapore debut, but she finally did in 2018 at the Singapore International Piano Festival. And it was worth the wait!
The Kanneh-Masons – Carnival of the Animals: Aquarium
Don't you just adore this family? So full of talent.
Here, Isata and her sister Konya perform the two piano parts in Carnival of the Animals: Aquarium. They are accompanied by brothers Sheku (cello) and Braimah (violin).