Steinway Piano Series
The concerts of James Tocco and Ursula Oppens are presented in collaboration with the Adams Foundation. The remaining concerts of the 2011-2012 Steinway Piano Series are sponsored by R. Philip Hilf, CFP®, Financial Advisor, and Jeffrey Mendola, CMFC, Managing Principal of the Monroeville office of Waddell & Reed.
All Steinway Piano Series concerts are held in the theater at Pittsburgh CAPA on Sundays at 3:00 p.m.*
October 9, 2011
*concert at 7pm
November 13, 2011
Presented in collaboration with the Adams Foundation.
November 13, 2011
Presented in collaboration with the Adams Foundation
Italian-American virtuoso James Tocco enjoys international renown as a recitalist, orchestral soloist, chamber musician, and pedagogue at the absolute peak of his powers. Beyond his vast repertoire of American masterworks, including Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety, which he recently recorded with Leonard Slatkin and the BBC London Symphony, and the Corigliano Piano Concerto, of which he is acknowledged the definitive interpreter by the Pulitzer-Prize winning composer. He has performed this spectacular work to great acclaim with the Atlanta, San Diego, Kansas City, and Phoenix symphonies and the Louisville Orchestra, the latter including an acclaimed recording. The pianist’s recent seasons included his Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra debut, performing the MacDowell Concerto and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, both conducted by Leonard Slatkin. An especially accomplished recitalist, Mr. Tocco has been widely praised for his interpretations of Beethoven, Chopin, and Liszt, as well as 20th-century composers, and he is among the very few pianists to regularly program the keyboard works of Handel. His 2011–2012 season includes performances of Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety with Marin Alsop and the New York Symphony and Leonard Slatkin and the BBC London Symphony.
Born of Italian parents in Detroit, Mr. Tocco’s love of music—especially opera—began in early childhood. At six he started studying piano and at twelve he made his orchestral debut, performing Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto. Among the countless awards that followed were a scholarship to the Salzburg Mozarteum and a French government grant to study with Magda Tagliaferro in Paris. His musical education was completed with Claudio Arrau in New York. International prominence came with his first-prize victory in the International ARD Competition in Munich, followed by a major triumph as a last-minute replacement for Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli as guest soloist for the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto at the Vienna Festival. In the years since then he has performed literally around the world: throughout North and South America, Europe, the Soviet Union, Japan, Australia, South Africa, and the Middle East. His orchestral engagements include the Cleveland and Minnesota orchestras; Berlin; London; Los Angeles; the Hong Kong and Munich philharmonics; the London, Houston, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit, Chicago, New World, National, and NHK (Japan) symphonies. Conductors with whom he has collaborated include Marin Alsop, David Atherton, Esa-Pekka Solonen, Jesús Lopez-Cobos, Andrew Litton, Yoav Talmi, Robert Shaw, Yoel Levi, Zdenek Macal, Gerard Schwarz, Raymond Leppard, David Zinman, Lukas Foss, Georges Prêtre; Neeme Järvi, James DePreist. Hugh Wolff, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Leonard Slatkin, John Nelson, Christoph Eschenbach, Christoph Hostein, and Christof von Dohnányi. Festival invitations include Salzburg, Vienna, Lockenhaus, Holland, Schleswig-Holstein, Dubrovnik, Wolf Trap, the Hollywood Bowl, Blossom, Ravinia, New York’s Mostly Mozart, Spoleto (USA), and Sante Fe.
Mr. Tocco’s voluminous discography reflects his varied tastes and astonishing versatility: the world premiere recording of Bernstein’s complete solo piano music; an all-Copland disc, including the first recording of the solo piano version of the Suite from Rodeo; the complete Chopin Préludes; the complete piano music of Charles Tomlinson Griffes; Erwin Schulhof’s Cinq Etudes de Jazz; Bach-Liszt organ transcriptions; and the four piano sonatas of Edward MacDowell. Just issued to unanimous acclaim is Mr. Tocco’s recording of Corigliano’s Etude-Fantasy on Sony Classical.
In addition to his international performing itinerary, Mr. Tocco is Eminent Scholar/Artist in Residence at the University of Cincinnati College-Concervatory of Music, and professor of piano at the Musikhochschule in Lübeck, Germany. Mr. Tocco is also the artistic director of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival.