Maurizio Pollini | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Maurizio Pollini


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April is turning out to be a terrific month for piano music. At DePaul, a concert series that runs into May is celebrating keyboard works by American composers--Wednesday's program features solos and duos from the likes of Ives, Gershwin, Copland, Charles Griffes, and Edward MacDowell played by locals such as Eteri Andjaparidze, Dmitry Rachmanov, and George Oakley. It's a big month for pianists at Symphony Center as well: powerhouses Alfred Brendel and Evgeny Kissin appeared last week, Yefim Bronfman performs on the 20th, and Maurizio Pollini takes the stage the following weekend. The Milanese-born Pollini, 61, is one of a handful of great interpreters to have emerged from postwar Europe, and he's been active for over four decades, compiling a repertoire that stretches from late baroque to Luciano Berio. Few of his contemporaries measure up to him in command of technique, intellectual acuity, and ready grasp of complex emotion; he's brought clarity to knotty modern compositions and breathed new life into the canon. If he has a flaw, it's the occasional patrician detachment of his interpretations--he can seem as though he's handing down a pronouncement from Mount Olympus. I've heard Pollini play many times, and I've heard Beethoven's Fourth Concerto, which he'll perform with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra next week, even more often. But I wouldn't miss the opportunity to discover his latest take on the piece. The other work on this thoroughly old-fashioned program is Bruckner's Fourth Symphony, always a wonder when the CSO tackles it full throttle. Thursday, April 24, and next Friday and Saturday, April 25 and 26, 8 PM, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan; 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114.

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