Stories » Ma, Levit, Trifonov, van Zweden-NYphil, Netrebko make The New York Times - Best Classical Music of 2018

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Ma, Levit, Trifonov, van Zweden-NYphil, Netrebko make The New York Times - Best Classical Music of 2018

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The New York Times - Best Classical Music of the year includes; Igor Levit,  Jaap van Zweden, Daniil Trifonov,  Yo-Yo Ma and Anna Netrebko. In a year of beginnings, the Jaap van Zweden era started at the New York Philharmonic, and the 92-year-old composer Gyorgy Kurtag's first opera had its premiere. It was a gamble for Anna Netrebko to sing the touchstone title role of Puccini's "Tosca" for the first time ever this spring at the Metropolitan Opera. 

I expected beautiful Chopin from Daniil Trifonov, a brilliant virtuoso with poetic sensibilities, in two programs early this year that were part of his Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall. But I was impressed by his formidable playing of nine daunting 20th-century works in the ambitious concert with which he ended his series. Called "Decades," the program offered Mr. Trifonov's personal survey of the century, with works by Berg, Prokofiev, Bartok, Copland, Messiaen, Ligeti, Stockhausen and more.

Few pleasures could equal the spectacle of this Yo-Yo Ma playing all six of Bach's suites for solo cello in a space where the composer worked, St. Nicholas Church in Leipzig, Germany. 

Igor Levit, shortly after his 27th birthday in 2014, fearlessly played Beethoven's late piano sonatas at the Park Avenue Armory with maturity beyond his years. Mr. Levit  truly blossomed this year with performances - onstage and in the recording studio - that surpassed their past achievements and brought their artistry to thrilling heights.

READ THE FULL New York Times - Best Classical Music of 2018