Lang Lang's "Young Pianistis" open the 7th Swiss Alps Classics with a magical concert night
Vitznau (17.6.2023) - The opening concert of the 7th Swiss Alps Classics turned into a magical concert night. The ceiling of the new chamber music hall of Kultur Kulinarik Vitznau sparkled like a starry sky on Friday evening, the wall colors changed between gold and copper tones, and on stage the highly talented US young pianists CAREY BYRON and SEBASTIAN PICHT enchanted. The 19-year-old from Atlanta and the 18-year-old from Philadelphia, who shone with works by Frédéric Chopin, Johannes Brahms, Claude Debussy, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Sergei Prokofiev and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, earned a never-ending applause - and they gave themselves a youthfully refreshing "fist bump" with two fists after their deep bow.
"This new hall is spectacular!" said Carey Byron enthusiastically. "The acoustics are brilliant - and the magic of this room is unique. When I play here, everything flows with me. It looks like you're looking right up at the starry sky." Sebastian Picht added, "There are concert halls that are beautiful but have poor acoustics. This hall in Vitznau combines both - great acoustics and incredible beauty."
Carey Byron and Sebastian Picht are scholarship holders of the LANG LANG INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FOUNDATION (LLIMF), with which the festival has maintained a friendly partnership since 2018 - at that time, world star Lang Lang was a guest at Swiss Alps Classics together with four of his protégés. After two "Scholars" of the LLIMF had performed at the Park Hotel Vitznau on the picturesque shores of Lake Lucerne in 2019, 2021 and 2022 respectively, the current "relocation" to the Chamber Music Hall at DAS MORGEN represented another "quantum leap" in the history of Swiss Alps Classics. Its founder and organizer Peter-Michael Reichel always strives for exclusive and exquisite performance venues.
Sebastian Picht comes from a family of musicians. His mother, Elina Kalendarova, is a violinist and a regular member of the Philadelphia Orchestra, keeping her fingers crossed in the front row. His grandfather was the popular pianist, composer and arranger Edward Kalendar, who once emigrated to the U.S. from the former USSR. "Even as an unborn child in my mother's womb, I listened to music all day long, so I had no choice but to become a musician myself," Sebastian Picht recounted with amusement.
The teenager, whose family roots are in Hamburg on his father's side (hence the last name!), performed the first half of the concert, playing Rachmaninov's "From the Études-Tableaux op. 33 No. 6 in E-flat Major," Brahms' "Rhapsody in B Minor op. 79/1," and Prokofiev's "Piano Sonata No. 7 in B-flat Major, op 83." He called his program "a combination of a wide range of human emotions and experiences, deep feelings, profound thoughts and uninhibited passion."
Carey Byron, who has South Korean roots on her mother's side, offered supreme difficulties in the second half of the concert with the two Chopin works "Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, op. 35" and "Andante spianato et Grande Polonaise brillante, op. 22," which she presented not only with technical brilliance but also with emotionally powerful expression, taking the hearts of the audience by storm. "They are two masterpieces by Chopin that radiate opposite energies and emotions. One is dark, gloomy and tragic, the other is cheerful, playful and brilliant. So these two works represent the variety of opposing emotions I carry within me," said Carey Byron - loosely based on Chopin's saying, "The piano is my second self!" This (self-)testimony applies to no other genius in music history as comprehensively as to Frédéric (Fryderyk) Chopin.
The finale was, as every year, the four-hand piano performance - it has already become a cherished tradition at the performances of Lang Lang's "Scholars". They had chosen Mozart's masterpiece "Sonata for piano four hands KV 521". Their final encore - "Puttin' on the Ritz" by Irving Berlin (1888-1989), arranged by Edward Kalendar - was a very special experience. It was a tribute to Sebastian Picht's grandfather, who passed away last year at the age of 80. But this tribute did not sound sad at all! The whole hall was swinging along with this standard work of US jazz, made famous by the movie of the same name with Fred Astaire. It was an enchanting evening that ended with great cheerfulness.
You can see a video report about the concert HERE on the culture portal arttv.ch.
The 7th Swiss Alps Classics continues on (today's) Saturday evening (6:30 pm). The LUZERNER SINFONIEORCHESTER will celebrate its premiere at our festival with a Beethoven program in the Andermatt Concert Hall under the direction of chief conductor MICHAEL SANDERLING. The well-known Swiss violinist SEBASTIAN BOHREN will perform as soloist.
New partnership of the festival with swisspartners
Swiss Alps Classics is grateful to welcome financial services provider swisspartners as a new supporter in its festival family. Sanjeev Premchand, Partner at swisspartners AG, emphasizes: "We are pleased to be able to support two outstanding "Young Pianists" by Lang Lang as well as the oldest Swiss symphony orchestra this year as a partner of Swiss Alps Classics, 'The Art of Listening'."
About swisspartners AG
swisspartners was founded in 1993 and is today one of the largest independent financial service providers in Switzerland. The Group employs around 100 people at its locations in Zurich, Rapperswil and Vaduz. swisspartners sees itself and acts as a "one stop store" in the areas of asset management, fiduciary services and insurance solutions. The swisspartners Group is a Swiss company with a network of professionals from six Group companies. swisspartners is also a founding member of the Alliance of Swiss Asset Managers, an interest group of the largest independent asset managers in Switzerland.