Maurizio Pollini has been a musical partner of the Berliner Philharmoniker for many years. Since 1970 he has regularly appeared with them as guest soloist and has performed all major piano concertos with the orchestra. The magical performances with Claudio Abbado, with whom he was a close musical and personal friend, became legendary. Solo recitals at the invitation of the Berlin Philharmonic Foundation, by contrast, have been genuinely rare. Only five times has the pianist presented a solo programme of his own here. All five have included works by Frédéric Chopin, the composer with whom Pollini’s international career began. In 1960, Pollini, then 18, won the renowned International Chopin Competition in Warsaw; this catapulted him into the world’s major concert halls.
His interpretative approach contradicted habitual ways of listening: pithy, clear and at the same time emotional, he found his very own convincing access to Chopin. Over the years, other focus areas of his repertoire developed: Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann and Claude Debussy. Not to omit contemporary music, which Maurizio Pollini, a close friend of composer Luigi Nono, passionately champions. He enjoys combining the classical literature with new music on his programmes. “In that way, we can often make an older work’s modernity clearer,” is his rationale.