Internationally acclaimed Australian pianist Sarah Grunstein returns to the Sydney Opera House by popular demand, to give two concerts in 2022. While Grunstein stands out for her interpretation of Bach’s works.
The Sydney Opera House’s first concert will be a program of three works inspired by the composer’s idea of fantasy: the Sonata in D Minor Op. 31, no. 2 (“Tempest”), Sonata in C sharp minor by Beethoven, op. 27, no. 2 (“Moonlight”), and Schumann’s Fantasy in C major, Op. 17. Grunstein remarks: “It is Beethoven’s innovative use of the piano and the damper pedal, and his inventiveness with form, that suggest the poetry and flexibility of Romanticism, while also recalling the influence of the eighteenth century. . Each work is highly structured, but also highly improvised, each in a very different way. I am fascinated by the elements of improvisation in these three contrasting works. Of Grunstein’s Beethoven performance, The New York Times wrote: “Beethoven’s Sonata in D was delivered with a directness that only accentuated the tragedy that propels the central Largo; the surrounding three movements have danced with appropriate grace…”
The second concert will feature Grunstein playing Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which is perhaps one of the most difficult works in keyboard literature. Her recent rendition of the Goldberg Variations has led her to acclaim as the “shining light” among Bach pianists of this generation.
Sarah Grunstein has established herself as a passionate interpreter of Bach. From her early studies with Australian pedagogue Nancy Salas, she learned 18th century styles, character, dance, emotion and improvisation. It was at a time when most people still played Bach in a very “rigid” way. She remarks, “People ask me how I do what I do. I studied and played a lot of Bach, and read a lot about the style of the 18th and 19th centuries – not just the musical style, but the style of composition, improvisation, improvisation (slightly different from improvisation) and the language of various artistic genres, including dance, visual arts and literature. Even though I play music composed for the harpsichord, I treat the piano like a piano and let my “pianist’s voice” do the talking. And keeping in mind and in my heart Bach’s compositional language and what I believe to be his creative intent, I’m going to town with it.
Sarah Grunstein will be remembered by many as the pianist who, as a young teenager, performed the soundtrack to Bruce Beresford’s first Australian film, ‘The Getting of Wisdom’. Sarah Grunstein soon after moved to New York, graduated from the Juilliard School (where she was later appointed as a lecturer) and earned her doctorate at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His career has included concerts at the Southbank Center in London, New York’s Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Italy, Austria, Hungary, the UK, New Zealand and his native country.
Utzon Hall, Sydney Opera House
Reservations 02 9250 7777 or sydneyoperahouse.com
Thursday, September 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Beethoven: Sonata in D minor, op. 31, n°2 (“Storm”)
Beethoven: Sonata in C# minor, op. 27, n°2 (“Moonlight”)
Schumann: Fantasy in C major, Op. 17
Monday, October 24 at 7:30 p.m.
JS Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988