Press Release from the Wiener Konzerthaus
The Wiener Konzerthaus has two new honorary members. Composer and conductor Beat Furrer and pianist Grigory Sokolov have both been closely associated with the Wiener Konzerthaus for decades. Beat Furrer appeared at the Wiener Konzerthaus some 50 times as a conductor since his Konzerthaus-debut in 1985. Nearly 60 different works of his have been performed on these stages; among them numerous World- and Austrian premieres. Grigory Sokolov, unquestionably one of the greatest pianists of our time, first performed at the Konzerthaus in 1993 and has been a regular guest since.
Beat Furrer was born in Schaffhausen (Switzerland) in 1954 where he received his first piano lessons at the Music School. After moving to Vienna in 1975, he studied conducting with Otmar Suitner and composition with Roman Haubenstock Ramati. In 1985 he founded the Klangforum Wien, which he directed until 1992, and with which he is still associated as a conductor. Commissioned by the Vienna State Opera, he composed his first opera «Die Blinden». «Narcissus» was premiered in 1994 at the Graz Opera as part of the «steirischer herbst» Festival. In 1996 he was composer-in-residence at the Lucerne Festival. His music theatre piece «BEGEHREN» was premiered in Graz in 2001, the opera «invocation» in Zürich in 2003 and the sound theatre piece «FAMA» in Donaueschingen in 2005. In 1991 Furrer became a full professor of composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Graz. He has been guest professor in composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt 2006–2009. Together with violinist Ernst Kovacic he founded «impuls», an International Ensemble and Composers Academy for Contemporary Music based in Graz. In 2004 he was awarded the Music Prize of the City of Vienna, and in 2005 became a member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin. He was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2006 for his work «FAMA». In 2010 his music theatre work «WÜSTENBUCH» was premiered in Basel. In 2014 he was awarded with Great Austrian State Prize.
Grigory Sokolov amazes both public and critics alike; by using little pedal, and thus superior finger-work, he draws from the concert grand an immense variety of sounds. He has an unlimited palette of colours, a spontaneous imagination and a magical control of line. His interpretations are poetic and highly individual and he has an unbelievably wide repertoire ranging from the 12th century music of Perotinus through to 20th century composers.
Born in Leningrad, he began his music studies when he was five years old and at the age of sixteen he embarked upon a great international career, having been awarded the First Prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Grigory Sokolov is a regular guest of the most prestigious concert halls and festivals of Europe. He has worked with orchestras including the London Philharmonia, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, New York Philharmonic, Münchner Philharmoniker, Wiener Symphoniker, Montreal Symphony, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Moscow and St. Petersburg Philharmonics, and has worked with many of the world’s most prominent conductors. A few years ago Sokolov decided to dedicate his entire concert activity to solo recitals and he is one of the few pianists to be a regular guest of the major European halls each year.
Honorary Members of the Wiener Konzerthaus Society:
Johann Nepomuk David
Josef Matthias Hauer
Dr. Otto Mayr
Dr. h.c. Manfred Mautner Markhof
Dr. Egon Seefehlner
Alban Berg Quartett
Gottfried von Einem
Sir Yehudi Menuhin
Sir Simon Rattle
Dr. Heinrich Haerdtl
Dr. Harald Sturminger
José Antonio Abreu