The Cleveland International Piano Competition concludes its 2019 Concert Series with Cleveland native Orion Weiss and Shai Wosner in concert at Severance Hall on Sept. 14. Their program includes Franz Schubert’s Piano Sonata in C major for piano four hands, D 812, also known as Grand Duo, David Lang’s companion pieces Gravity and After Gravity, and Johannes Brahms’ Sonata in F Minor for Two Pianos, Op. 34b.
This is the only Ohio appearance of this four-hand, two-piano performance by the longtime piano-duo partners. Earlier this year, they completed a monthlong, coast-to-coast tour across the U.S. performing these pieces.
“Schubert’s Grand Duo is a rarely heard masterpiece, a true symphony for four-hands,” Weiss said. “The Brahms offering is one of the most exciting and virtuosic two piano pieces in the entire repertoire. And there are thematic connections between the fourth movements of both pieces, as if Brahms knew the Schubert work and even thought of it and referred to it when writing his Sonata.”
Weiss, who was a congregant at Congregation Bethaynu in Pepper Pike and The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood while growing up in Lyndhurst, studied at Cleveland Institute of Music’s Young Artist Program before embarking on a career as a concert pianist.
“Beginning in late junior high, I studied for five years with Paul Schenly, who was the person that inspired me to be a pianist and showed me exactly how much work it would take to be one,” he recalled.
Weiss has performed with many major American orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic. His impressive list of awards includes the Gilmore Young Artist Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Gina Bachauer Scholarship at The Juilliard School, where he graduated in 2004, and the Mieczyslaw Munz Scholarship.
He last performed at Severance Hall in 2014 as part of the Cleveland Orchestra’s new Summers@Severance series of casual concerts, performing “The Overture” to Beethoven’s “The Creatures of Prometheus,” as well as the composer’s “Symphony No. 4,” and “Choral Fantasy,” with Jahja Ling conducting.
Shai Wosner, an Israeli living in the United States, is a recipient of Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. He has attracted international recognition for his exceptional artistry, musical integrity, and creative insight. Professional highlights include season-opening performances with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and at the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, and appearances as soloist with the Boulez Ensemble in Berlin, Aurora Orchestra in the U.K., and Princeton Symphony Orchestra in New Jersey.
The Cleveland International Piano Competition is an organization dedicated to supporting the young artists who have made musical heritage their life’s work.