Berliner Philharmoniker

The reluctant virtuoso

Child prodigy

Krystian Zimerman gave his first public concert just one day after his sixth birthday: On 6 December 1962, he played at a St Nicholas’ Day event for Silesian factory workers. His performance was enthusiastically received and was quickly followed by other concerts. Not long after, there were even television reports about the talented young pianist. In the autumn of 1963, Zimerman began studying with Andrzej Jasinski, who not only prepared him thoroughly for a career as a pianist, but also passed on his love of French music.

Krystian Zimerman und sein Lehrer (© Interpress)

Mit Herbert von Karajan (© Gustav Zimmerman)

Winner of the International Chopin Piano Competition

The 19-year-old pianist burst onto the international concert scene with a spectacular victory at the Chopin Competition in 1975. He made his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker just a year after: Under the direction of Herbert Blomstedt, Krystian Zimerman performed Chopin's E minor Piano Concerto. According to press reports, he impressed at this concert with his polished technique, brilliant touch and powerful musical expression. “This young master is a gift to the musical world,” exulted the critic of the Berliner Morgenpost.

With Sir Simon Rattle

Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker – the first encounter with Gershwin in this combination was at the Waldbühne concert in 1995. In addition to the Rhapsody in Blue, the orchestra and Simon Rattle, who was not yet chief conductor of the Philharmoniker, presented an hour–long excerpt from Porgy and Bess. Rattle had recorded an award–winning complete recording of the opera with the London Philharmonic Orchestra only six years earlier. The Porgy from that recording also took part in the Waldbühne concert: Sir Willard White. He can also be heard in this role in the concert performances on 14, 15 and 17 September and just like Lawrence Winters in the 1950s, he is regarded as one of the leading interpreters of this role.

Live-webcast of the opera on 15 September in the Digital Concert Hall
Digital Concert Hall

Krystian Zimerman (© Kasskara/DG)

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