Andrew von Oeyen's new Bach and Beethoven recording to be released by Warner Classics on June 11
“Indisputable gifts and an extravagantly thorough and effortless technique...von Oeyen seems incapable of misarticulating a musical sentence” –Los Angeles Times
“Andrew von Oeyen leaves you convinced that he can do absolutely anything he likes with a keyboard.” –Chicago Tribune
On June 11, 2021, Warner Classics releases pianist Andrew von Oeyen’s next album featuring the music of Bach and Beethoven. Shaped by von Oeyen’s experience of lockdown, this solo recital, recorded in France in September 2020, comprises Bach’s eight-movement Overture in the French Style BWV 831, Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas No. 13 in E flat and No. 23 in F minor, “Appassionata,” and and two Bach arrangements by Wilhelm Kempff.
Hailed worldwide for his elegant and insightful interpretations, balanced artistry and brilliant technique, Andrew von Oeyen has established himself as one of the most captivating pianists of his generation. At the start of 2020, von Oeyen had been planning an album of Beethoven sonatas to salute the composer’s 250th birthday and to offer a striking contrast to his debut Warner Classics release, a program of Ravel, Saint-Saëns and Gershwin with the Prague Philharmonia. The onset of the pandemic radically altered both von Oeyen’s plans and his feelings about the music he was playing.
As he writes: “I began to get concerned when the repertoire I normally love to play sparked little interest. Given my own mood and the prevailing sense of doom, I wasn’t keen to explore the stormy and heroic Romantic voices of Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninoff; even the soothing sensuality of Debussy and Ravel had little allure. This was no time for emotional subjectivity, or poetic fantasy; I needed something raw and direct, stripped of anything non-essential. Most importantly, it had to be universal: less ‘me,’ more ‘we.’ It came as a surprise that the composer who appealed above all was one with whom I had not previously had a close relationship.”
That composer was Johann Sebastian Bach. “While I had studied many of his keyboard works, I almost never performed them; I was not a specialist. Yet his music was calling, and with a newfound liberty of time to explore repertoire without professional deadlines, I decided to bury my troubles in his contrapuntal canon,” von Oeyen writes. “While reading through a four-voice fugue I told myself: ‘This is good for the brain and fingers.’ … But I soon realised this was no academic pursuit; the attraction was deeper. Something about this music just seemed to make sense now, when so little else did. Immersing myself in Bach’s pure universe offered a tabula rasa, a chance to musically reset as an unravelling catastrophe was compelling us to slow down and re-evaluate all kinds of basic things in our lives: priorities, careers, relationships, even where and how we live.”
“Perhaps more than any other composer, Bach expresses the clearest sense of order in a chaotic world,” says Von Oeyen. “If Bach served as my first musical mooring in confinement, I returned to Beethoven for second-wave pandemic relief. I was now ready to weigh anchor and face the storm in the company of stalwart and indestructible 19th century sonatas. Indeed, the directness, virility, determination, and sheer willpower of Beethoven – qualities revealed most explicitly on this album in the last movements of both Op. 27 and 57 – aligned with my own growing resolve to transcend this trial. As with Bach, Beethoven’s goal-oriented approach and universal vision, devoid of extraneous content, appealed especially at this urgent time.”
Andrew von Oeyen has recorded for Warner Classics since 2017. His albums under that label, including works for piano and orchestra by Saint-Saëns, Ravel and Gershwin and a disc including Debussy’s Fantaisie pour Piano et Orchestre, have been met with critical acclaim. Mr. von Oeyen has also recorded award-winning recital albums of Liszt, Debussy, and Stravinsky under the Delos label.
About Andrew von Oeyen
Since his debut at age sixteen with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen, Andrew von Oeyen has extended his interpretive voice to a broad spectrum of repertoire as both a soloist and recitalist. He has collaborated with such ensembles as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Mariinsky Orchestra, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony, Grant Park Orchestra, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, Utah Symphony, Orchestre Symphonique de Marseille, Geneva Chamber Orchestra, Spoleto USA Orchestra, Slovenian Philharmonic and Slovak Philharmonic. As both soloist and conductor he has led concerti and orchestral works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Ravel and Kurt Weill. On July 4, 2009, he performed at the U.S. Capitol with the National Symphony in “A Capitol Fourth,” reaching millions worldwide in the multi-award-winning PBS live telecast.
Andrew von Oeyen has appeared in recital at Wigmore Hall and Barbican Hall in London, Lincoln Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Boston’s Symphony Hall, Zürich’s Tonhalle, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall, St. Petersburg’s Philharmonia, Dublin’s National Concert Hall, Royce Hall in Los Angeles, Herbst Theater in San Francisco, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, Sala São Paulo, Teatro Olimpico in Rome, in Mexico City, Hanoi, Macau, and in every major concert hall of Japan and South Korea. Festival appearances include Aspen, Ravinia, Grant Park, Mainly Mozart, Saratoga, Schubertiade, Spoleto, Brevard, Grand Teton, Chautauqua and the Mariinsky’s “Stars of the White Nights.”
Mr. von Oeyen’s 2020-21 engagements include, among others, appearances with the Atlanta Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, PKF-Prague Philharmonia, Magdeburg Philharmonic, Kansai Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony, Orquesta Filarmonica de Buenos Aires (Teatro Colón), Krakow Philharmonic, Zagreb Philharmonic, Murten Classics Festival Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, in addition to recitals across the US and Europe. His 2019 engagements included appearances with the San Francisco Symphony, Mariinsky Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, PKF-Prague Philharmonia, Bilbao Symphony, Biel Solothurn Symphony, North Czech Philharmonic, HKBU Orchestra (Hong Kong), Arizona MusicFest Orchestra, and recitals throughout the US and Europe. The same season also saw debuts in Vienna’s Konzerthaus, in Kuwait City, and a return engagement at the Royal Opera House, Muscat, for the Sultan of Oman’s New Year’s Eve Gala.
Of German and Dutch origin, Andrew von Oeyen was born in the U.S. He began his piano studies at age five and made his solo orchestral debut at age ten. An alumnus of Columbia University and graduate of The Juilliard School, where his principal teachers were Herbert Stessin and Jerome Lowenthal, he also worked with Alfred Brendel and Leon Fleisher. He won the prestigious Gilmore Young Artist Award in 1999 and also took First Prize in the Léni Fé Bland Foundation National Piano Competition in 2001. Mr. von Oeyen lives in Paris and Los Angeles.
Bach & Beethoven | Andrew von Oeyen, piano
Release date: June 11, 2021
[1-8] Johann Sebastian Bach: Overture in the French Style, BWV 831
[9-12] Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata No. 13 quasi una fantasia, Op. 27, No. 1
[13-15] Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57, “Appassionata”
 Johann Sebastian Bach: Siciliano from Sonata No. 2 in E-flat for flute and harpsichord, BWV 1031 (attrib. J.S. Bach; arr. piano solo Wilhelm Kempff)
 Johann Sebastian Bach: Largo from Concerto No.5 in F minor for harpsichord, strings & b.c., BWV 1056 (arr. piano solo Wilhelm Kempff)
Recorded: Sept. 1-3, 2020, Cité de la Musique et de la Danse GrandSoissons, Soissons, France
Producer and Editor: Michael Fine
Engineer: Erdo Groot