German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott has gained critical acclaim for her performances at major concert halls worldwide and has established herself as one of the most exciting musical talents of today. The Guardian commented on her recent performance with the London Symphony Orchestra that she "gave the kind of gawp-inducing bravura performance of which legends are made."
Recently Alice has performed with the Philharmonia Orchestra (Vladimir Ashkenazy), Washington's National Symphony Orchestra (Neeme Järvi) and Chamber Orchestra of Europe (Thomas Dausgaard). She has also toured with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Hannu Lintu), Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra (Vasily Petrenko) and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (Myung-Whun Chung).
Highlights of the 2014/15 season include debut appearances with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (Krzysztof Urbański), Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Pablo Heras-Casado), Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Cristian Macelaru) and the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse (Thomas Søndergård). She also returns to the London Symphony Orchestra (Gianandrea Noseda) and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Esa-Pekka Salonen) and tours with NHK Symphony Orchestra (John Storgards).
Previously Alice has appeared with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (Sakari Oramo), San Francisco Symphony (Pablo Heras-Casado), Danish National Symphony Orchestra (Robin Ticciati), hr-Sinfonieorchester (Paavo Järvi) and Münchner Philharmoniker (Lorin Maazel).
Following a series of successful duo recital tours with fellow pianist Francesco Tristano in Japan, South Korea and Australia, in the autumn they begin a tour of Europe which includes performances in the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Stuttgart's Liederhalle, Philharmonie Luxembourg and London's Queen Elizabeth Hall. To coincide with the tour, Alice and Tristano release their first CD together, Scandale, a duo programme recorded by Deutsche Grammophon.
Alice has recorded exclusively for DG since 2008. Her highly successful debut recording of Liszt's Douze Études d'exécution transcendante was quickly followed by an album of Chopin's complete waltzes, which entered the German and US Classical iTunes charts at No.1 and won Alice the ECHO Klassik Young Artist of the Year Award.
Alice's debut concerto album – works by Tchaikovsky and Liszt with the Münchner Philharmoniker and Thomas Hengelbrock – was named Editor's Choice in both International Piano and Classic FM magazines. January 2013 saw the release of a live recording of her recital at St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre from the 2012 White Nights Festival, which included Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. In spring 2013 she joined up with violinist Lisa Batiashvili to record a CD of works by Clara Schumann.
Ólafur Arnalds is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer who started as a drummer for a series of metal bands in his native Iceland. His entry into the neo-classical field was somewhat accidental. After German band Heaven Shall Burn heard some solo demo material, they asked him to provide piano-and-string pieces for their 2004 album Antigone. The Erased Tapes label heard the album, was impressed with Arnalds' contributions, and contacted him about recording a full album of material in that vein. The life-cycle concept album Eulogy for Evolution, released in 2007, was the result, with Arnalds -- primarily on piano -- supported by a string quartet. A trio of EPs followed in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, Arnalds provided the scores for the 13-minute short Blinky TM and the feature-length Órói (Jitters), and he also released …And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness, his second proper album. His score for Sam Levinson's Another Happy Day (2011) greatly increased his profile, as he continued to release works like Stare (2012) -- a collaborative EP with Nils Frahm -- and For Now I Am Winter (2013). Later that year, Arnaulds' scored the BBC television series Broadchurch, which produced its own soundtrack. A digital download of the composer's score for Ronald Krauss' film Gimme Shelter was released in February of 2014, followed by a physical release in April.
Olafur Arnalds & Alice Sara Ott | The Chopin Project trailer
Olafur Arnalds, Alice Sara Ott - Verses
Award-winning young Icelandic pop/classical musician Ólafur Arnalds has always loved the piano music of Frédéric Chopin, but he'd grown weary of the uniform and standardized "perfection" of Chopin recordings. "There has been no re-invention of the way Chopin's music has been presented since recording began, and I was longing for someone to come along and try something different. And one day, on a long flight to London, I thought: why don't I do it myself'" And thus, in partnership with the acclaimed German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott, THE CHOPIN PROJECT was born. The album will be released on March 17 on Mercury Classics/Universal Music Classics.
17 NEW 20 TOTAL
SYND: Classical 24 Direct: Music Choice Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cleveland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Detroit, Canada Online: Taintradio
Today's output of classical albums is (pardon me while I scribble on the back of an envelope) something like triple what it was a generation ago. I won't vouch for that exact ratio, but I will for Anne Midgette's description of how it feels: "Keeping up with the stream of new releases is like trying to drink from a fire hose." Now imagine trying to capture a hose's jet-spray in a bucket, and you'll see why making a classical "best-of-year" list in 2015 struck many writers as a thankless task, even a hopeless one. Yet that didn't stop more of us than ever from trying - perhaps enough of us to be called a crowd. Could that crowd, taken together, have some kind of collective wisdom?
That was more or less the premise behind my "Classical Mega-Meta-List" last year (inspired by economist /blogger Tyler Cowen). I tallied every "best of year" list I could find - a total of 36, comprising about 100 writers. This year I found far more: 64 lists, with at least 160 contributors, which makes this year's meta-list 60-77% more mega. It's not surprising that almost twice as many releases made the final cut, defined by being chosen for more than three best-of-year lists. Last year, 28 albums reached that threshold; this year, 50 albums did. That's a 78% increase.
Olafur Arnalds - Alice Sara Ott's 'The Chopin Project' received 6-7 votes in this pole.
He is an Icelandic composer and electronic musician (if you watched Broadchurch, that was his score); she is a notable young pianist (her mother is Japanese, her father German, and she grew up in Germany). He was moved by her recording of the Chopin waltzes in Deutsche Grammophon. This gave rise to a unique collaboration. She plays Chopin on old pianos found around Reykjavik, but not old as in "historically correct"; some were out-of-tune bar pianos. Nor were they necessarily recorded with the idea of concert-hall realism, because the other part of the project is his electronic explorations of the implications of Chopin in his own original works and that includes altering the piano sound sometimes. It's... like nothing else you heard all year, and succeeded so well that six writers put it on their lists. And what was I saying earlier about Iceland?
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Award-winning young Icelandic pop/classical musician Ólafur Arnalds is one of the signature composers of ambient chamber music. Arnalds has always loved the piano music of Frédéric Chopin, but he'd grown weary of the uniform and standardized "perfection" of Chopin recordings. "There has been no re-invention of the way Chopin's music has been presented since recording began, and I was longing for someone to come along and try something different. And one day, on a long flight to London, I thought: why don't I do it myself?" And thus, in partnership with the acclaimed German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott, THE CHOPIN PROJECT was born.
In the last year Arnalds has also scored the BBC TV series, Broadchurch and recorded an all electronic project as Kiasmos. He draws it all together when John Diliberto talks to him tonight on Echoes.
Echoes is a daily two-hour music soundscape, distributed by Public Radio International and broadcast on 130 radio stations from Maine to California. Bringing together a wide array of styles, from acoustic to electronic, jazz to space music, the avant-garde to rock, Echoes is a sound that is cross-cultural and trans-millennial, merging cultures and forms, technology and tradition, the ancient past and the possible future.
Last June KING fm's Second Inversion began reviewing albums on a weekly basis and they can now celebrate a year's worth of awesome content by announcing the top 5 reviews. All 52 albums are superb, but "The Chopin Project" comes in at #1!
Award-winning young Icelandic pop/classical musician Ólafur Arnalds has always loved the piano music of Frédéric Chopin, but he'd grown weary of the uniform and standardized "perfection" of Chopin recordings. "There has been no re-invention of the way Chopin's music has been presented since recording began, and I was longing for someone to come along and try something different. And one day, on a long flight to London, I thought: why don't I do it myself?" And thus, in partnership with the acclaimed German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott, THE CHOPIN PROJECT was born.
KING will be tweeting about a different album each day this week, so stay tuned on Twitter! Please share the good news with your fans and followers as well!
The temptation to mix rock music and classical is often too great for most musicians, but in recent weeks we've two examples of when it works well: Teenage Fanclub'sFrancis MacDonald's Music for String, Piano & Celeste; and Iceland's Olafur Arnalds and classical pianist Alice Sara Ott's The Chopin Project. Each tapped into classical music while being respectful of its heritage and adding something idiosyncratic and experimental. Other musicians, however, don't always strike such a successful balance.
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