Edward Auer and the Shanghai Quartet – Fryderyk Chopin: The Two Piano Concertos

Culture/Demain Recordings announces its newest release: Fryderyk Chopin: The Two Piano Concertos, featuring Edward Auer, Piano, and the Shanghai Quartet with Peter Lloyd, Bass. The CD, which features Chopin’s Concerto in F minor, op. 21 (world premiere recording of Auer’s own arrangement) and Concerto in E minor, op. 11, was recorded in 2010 in honor of the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth and is now being commercially released in June, 2012. The recording is now available for purchase at www.edwardauer.com and www.cdbaby.com.

According to pianist Edward Auer: “the original string parts for Chopin’s works for piano and orchestra were printed with alternate versions that could be used for performances with a variety of chamber ensembles, including string groups without winds or brass. We based our performances and the recording on Chopin’s alternate orchestral parts for the E minor concerto, and I arranged the F minor in similar fashion.”

Auer continues, “Chopin wrote these two magnificent concertos when he was only 19 and 20 years old—they are surely among the most youthful compositions to find a place in the permanent concert repertoire. His use of Polish dance genres (Krakowiak and Mazurka) in the final movements and the recitativo section in the middle movement of the F minor concerto are especially noteworthy.”

Edward Auer has long been recognized as a leading interpreter of the works of Chopin. As the first American to win a prize in the prestigious International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, he has returned to Poland for well over 20 concert tours, playing in every major Polish city and with every major orchestra. Auer has played solo recitals and concertos in over 30 countries on five continents, collaborating with such conductors as Zubin Mehta, Charles Dutoit, Herbert Blomstedt, Sergiu Comissiona and Riccardo Chailly. Auer grew up in Los Angeles, where he studied piano with Aube Tzerko, a protégé of Artur Schnabel, and composition with Leonard Stein, a Schoenberg student. A precocious chamber musician and the son of an accomplished amateur violist, he was playing the Mozart piano quartets and the Schumann quintet with his father and his friends at the age of eight. When he was thirteen, the Budapest Quartet heard his trio’s performance of Beethoven and Mendelssohn; Auer later became a frequent participant in chamber music festivals including those in Santa Fe, Seattle, Sitka, Kuhmo (Finland), among many others. Auer’s studies continued at the Juilliard School of Music with Rosina Lhevinne. While in Juilliard he made his New York debut under the auspices of Young Concert Artists. Studies continued on a Fulbright Grant in Paris with Julius Katchen. Auer was a prizewinner in the 1966 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow (for which he was invited to the White House), the Beethoven Competition in Vienna and the Queen Elisabeth in Brussels, and took First Prize in the Concours Marguerite Long in Paris. Now, years later, these and other contests regularly invite him to be on their juries. Auer has made a number of acclaimed recordings, many of them of the works of Chopin. He is currently continuing his Chopin series, of which this is the third volume. Edward Auer is on the Piano faculty at Indiana University Bloomington.

Other recordings by Edward Auer on the Culture/Demain label celebrating the Chopin bicentennial, include Nocturnes volume I, and Nocturnes volume II & the four Scherzi.

Renowned for its passionate musicality, the Shanghai Quartet has become one of the world’s foremost chamber ensembles. Formed at the Shanghai Conservatory in 1983, the Shanghai Quartet has worked with the world’s most distinguished artists and regularly tours the major music centers of Europe, North America and Asia. The Quartet, now featuring Weigang Li and Yi-Wen Jiang, violins, Honggang Li, viola, and Nicholas Tzavaras, cello, has appeared at Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium in chamber performances and with orchestra. They have been regular performers at many of the leading chamber music festivals in North America including Santa Fe and Ottawa. Penderecki’s String Quartet no. 3 was premiered at a special concert in Poland honoring the composer’s 75th birthday, followed by numerous subsequent performances worldwide. They will play it again in Poland for the composer’s 80th birthday celebration in November 2013. The Quartet has a discography of more than 30 recordings. Delos released the Quartet’s most popular disc, Chinasong, in 2003: a collection of Chinese folk songs arranged by Yi-Wen Jiang reflecting his childhood memories of the Cultural Revolution in China. They recorded the complete Beethoven String Quartets for Camerata, a seven-disc project that was completed in 2009. The Shanghai Quartet currently serves as Quartet-in-Residence at Montclair State University in New Jersey, Ensemble-in-Residence with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and visiting guest professors of the Shanghai Conservatory and the Central Conservatory in Beijing. www.shanghaiquartet.com