The Berkeley Symphony and its music director Joana Carneiro won't shy away from the unorthodox and the challenging. This is why Thursday night they're welcoming Shai Wosner to join them in György Ligeti's piano concerto, one of the most demanding piano pieces of the late 20th century.
Written in the late '80s, it predates the violin concerto we recently heard by only a few years, and shares some elements: its difficulty and relentlessness for the soloist, its rhythmic intricacies and its use of toy instruments. The program also includes a world premiere by 21-year-old Dylan Mattingly and a Schumann symphony.
Shai Wosner, born in Israel in 1976, is now a New Yorker with worldwide recognition. He has performed with everybody from Barenboim to Slatkin. He was named a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist and received a bunch of awards, including an Avery Fisher Career Grant. He has collaborated with Joana in the past, performing the Beethoven piano concerto no. 4 with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. You can hear Shai and Joana's chemistry here (and we think it's pretty neat of the SPCO to put their music online). Shai was touring in Germany when we chatted with him about the Ligeti piano concerto.