Pianist Menahem Pressler has made recording and performing history for more than half a century with the Beaux Arts Trio, which he founded in 1955. Pressler was born in Magdeburg in 1923 and fled the National Socialist regime with his family. The grand seigneur of the piano gave his long-overdue debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker in January 2014 with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto in G major, K. 453. The audience hailed Pressler with a standing ovation; the press raved about the “masterful exhilaration” of his musicality and his “unique tone, as full as it was intimate”.
For his appearance at the 2014 New Year’s Eve Concert in the Philharmonie, Pressler selected Mozart again: the Piano Concerto in A major, K. 488, composed during Mozart’s prime in Vienna and one of his most beautiful contributions to the genre.
The New Year’s Eve Concert opens with Sir Simon Rattle conducting music by Jean-Philippe Rameau: a suite of instrumental pieces from the opéra-ballet Les Indes galantes show French Baroque music at its finest. Following the intermission, the musicians ring in the new year in a lively way with Slavic strains: an orchestral suite from Zoltán Kodály’s charming folk opera Háry János as well as a selection from the popular Slavonic Dances by Antonín Dvořák.