Tomorrow at 11:00am ET Shai will be on Facebook Live rehearsing for his upcoming concert at the Brooklyn Chamber Music Society. Watch live here on his page!
We are ending out New Year countdown with one more of Shai's favorite memories of 2016. Number 1: "Release of my first concerto CD - a program which I had always wanted to record and which I was incredibly fortunate to be able to do with an amazing group of musicians - the outrageously terrific Nick Collon, who is equally at home in Haydn and in Ligeti and the fantastic people of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra who not only nailed the nasty parts of the Ligeti as if they were a piece of Hungarian cake, but also were also fun to be with while consuming copious amounts of coffee during session breaks."
Counting down to the New Year Shai looks back at some of his favorite memories of 2016 Number 2: "Playing Beethoven with the great Zoltán Kocsis (April) - I met him a few years ago at a festival, playing piano 4-hands, and I feel very lucky to have had the chance to also work with him as a conductor with the Hungarian National Philharmonic just months before he passed away. When I was a child, my parents brought me from Budapest a cassette (!) - yes, I am dating myself - of him playing Mozart K414 and K488 with the Liszt Chamber Orchestra and János Rolla and I still remember being enraptured not only with the music, which I was only getting to know, but also by the pianist's crisp articulation and sheer effortlessness of it all. That name on the cover assumed a mythic status in my 9-year-old mind, which stays with me today."
Number 3 on Shai's list of his favorite memories of 2016 is teaching! This year Shai taught at Longy School of Music of Bard College and at New England Conservatory as guest faculty. "I always enjoyed it but this fall I actually started doing it for real and have found it more rewarding than I ever imagined. You talk to students about music and life - two rather complicated subjects. But you also experience quite a few special moments while trying to help them pursue the line of work of Beethoven and Brahms."
Counting down to the New Year, more personal milestones of 2016. Number 4: This year, for the first time, I have noticed I can begin to talk more seriously about music with the 8.5-year-old cellist living in my house. As every parent knows, there are moments of seemingly sudden growth in your child, literally an almost overnight difference in maturity that takes place every now and then (admittedly, not always as often as we would like!). I don't know if it is because I do not come from a family of musicians but to be able to - all of a sudden - discuss phrasing and dynamics and articulation and all aspects of musical expression with someone who happens to be an offspring is nothing short of mind-blowing, as far as I am concerned.
Here is a little personal countdown of milestones and memories of 2016. Here is number 5: "André Hajdu (1932-2016) - I have always felt very lucky to have had the chance not only to meet André - one of the most inspiring and profoundly knowledgeable people you can imagine - but to literally grow up his student, from about age 9 to 19. He introduced me to everything. From 14th-century motets to Mahler, from basso continuo to Bartok, from retrograde canons to retro-klezmer by way of free form improvisation. He was himself a student of Messiaen and Kodály, and was one of the most original thinkers about not just music but everything that's worth giving a thought to. Spending time with him meant being constantly fascinated. From every encounter you came out feeling you had greater insight into everything around you: the piano, the people, the world."
Live recording of Michael Hersch's haunting "along the ravines" for piano and orchestra, written for Shai Wosner. With Tito Muñoz, conductor and the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Listen.
Haydn/Ligeti Concertos CD on the New York Times Best of 2016 List Read more.