Piotr Anderszewski | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Piotr Anderszewski


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When the announcement was made last month that Piotr Anderszewski had won the Gilmore Artist Award--the keyboard world's equivalent of a MacArthur grant--many people probably said, Who? Now 33, the Polish-Hungarian pianist trained in France, the U.S., and Warsaw, then spent much of the 1990s in Europe; his American debut was just two years ago. He's made several recordings, and Virgin Classics is trying to turn him into a star people under 40 can identify with by emphasizing his lanky build and brooding demeanor. His CDs of Bach and Beethoven's Diabelli Variations are notable for their rhythmic energy, textural clarity, and forceful eccentricity, and his uncanny control of dynamics and blend of refinement and assertiveness are undeniably riveting--though some critics find his interpretations wrongheaded. Anderszewski made his local debut last fall at the University of Chicago, with performances that confirmed the favorable word of mouth--one reason the Symphony Center hired him as a last-minute replacement for Daniel Barenboim this Sunday. The program plays to Anderszewski's strengths. His crystalline and sensitive, if at times willful, approach to Bach--which has been compared to Glenn Gould's--should be apparent in the Partita no. 6 in E Minor and the English Suite no. 6 in D Minor. Also on the program are Three Mazurkas, op. 59, by Chopin and the third sonata of Karol Szymanowski, with its ever shifting emotions. Sunday, June 2, 3 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan; 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114.

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