The acclaimed French pianist Elizabeth Sombart will perform and record Beethoven’s complete Piano Concertos with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Pierre Vallet. Beginning in November 2019, the project is a celebration of the great composer’s 250th anniversary year.
Performances will take place at Cadogan Hall in London, on 5 November 2019; 17 March 2020; 16 June 2020; 2 October 2020; and 3 November 2020. The recordings will be released across three discs from March 2020, culminating in a full boxset on the Signum label in late 2021. Elizabeth Sombart is the first to record on Cadogan Hall’s brand new Steinway Concert Grand, specifically attuned to the hall’s wonderfully resonant acoustic.
Speaking about the cycle, Elizabeth Sombart comments: “The piano concertos chart a great journey for Beethoven. The first expresses his youthful genius and energy; by the last - the fifth - he was sheltering in a cellar from the violence of Napoleon's invasion while also descending into profound deafness, and yet he produced the concerto of the heavens. To strive for a kind of inner silence, to hear what he heard in those conditions, shows us the way to true beauty and hope: he is the prophet of truth, without compromise.
For any pianist, performing and recording the full cycle is a privilege. I am very happy to be embarking on this with my long-standing friend Pierre Vallet, who shares so much of my philosophy, and we are both looking forward to being reunited with the wonderful Royal Philharmonic Orchestra once again.”
An established pianist, Elizabeth Sombart has devoted her life to performing classical music in places where it is not normally found. She created the Fondation Résonnance in 1998, to present concerts in hospitals, orphanages, and prisons around the world, and the Fondation Academie, to offer music education to students of any age, entirely free of charge.
In 2006, she was elevated to the rank of Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2008 was made a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.