To hear Ludwig van Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas in their entirety is perhaps one of the most incredible musical journeys one can embark on. After more than ten years of preparation and for his fifth season of Music on Park Avenue, Swedish pianist and artistic director Per Tengstrand plays the sonatas in their chronological order.
This fall Tengstrand continues the musical journey of Beethoven’s sonatas he began in the spring, describing to audiences – through music and words – how the young, confident virtuoso developed into the celebrated composer of the Pathétique and Moonlight sonatas and later a deaf master in his final years.
Tengstrand also hosts pre-concert talks 45 minutes prior to the start of each concert.
Miniatures and Grandeur
A concert with two short sonatas, both full of charm and humor: Piano Sonata No. 9 in E Major, Op. 14, No. 1 (1798) and Piano Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Op. 14, No. 2 (1798-99).
Tengstrand finishes the evening with Piano Sonata No. 11 in B-flat Major, Op. 22 (1799-1800), the longest of the sonatas after the “Hammerklavier” – Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major, Op. 106 (1817-18), and the last, crowning achievement of the early period before Beethoven started to experiment more with his music.
About Per Tengstrand
Per Tengstrand (b. 1968, Växjö) is a Swedish pianist and artistic director of Music on Park Avenue: Evenings with Pianist Per Tengstrand at Scandinavia House. He began playing the piano at six years old and entered the Malmö Academy of Music at age 16, studying under Hans Pålsson. In 1985 Tengstrand was accepted at the Conservatoire de Paris in the class of Dominique Merlet. He continued private studies with Dominique Weber and Romuald Sztern to prepare for international piano competitions.
Tengstrand has received numerous honors and awards, including First Prize at the 1997 Cleveland International Piano Competition. He was named a laureate of the Geneva Competition (1996) and a laureate of the Paris International Long-Thibaud Competition (1996). Tengstrand was the recipient of the 1997 Anders Wall Foundation Scholarship and was awarded the 1999 Musician Award by the Swedish Arts Grants Committee. While at the Conservatoire de Paris, Tengstrand received the Premier Prix, Premier Nommé, and the Prix Spécial du Jury and was awarded the Prix de Virtuosité at the Geneva Conservatory. In 2005 he was decorated with the “Litteris et Artibus” Medal by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden for outstanding service to the arts.
Recent career highlights include performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major during Neeme Järvi’s final subscription concerts with the New Jersey Philharmonic; performances with the National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap; the Residentie der Leonard Slatkin; and the Madison Symphony Orchestra, under Edo de Waart. Tengstrand is also in the process of performing and recording the complete cycle of Beethoven sonatas for his Mindfeel label.
His 2014-15 concert season includes engagements with Norddeutsche Radio Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig; the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva, Switzerland; and the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.
Tengstrand makes his home in Princeton, New Jersey with his wife and collaborator, pianist Sha-shan Sun. They comprise the Tengstrand-Sun Piano Duo, which has enjoyed great success following their first prize at the 2003 Murray Dranoff International Two-Piano Competition. The duo has released three CDs on the Mindfeel label, and he has recorded a solo CD for ProPiano of Alexander Glazunov’s The Seasons (1900) and his Konzertwalzer (a world premiere).