Pianist Paul Lewis to Step in for Murray Perahia at UMS on April 25


ANN ARBOR, MI (April 8, 2019) — The University Musical Society (UMS) has announced that Murray Perahia has canceled his North American tour, including his UMS appearance on Thursday, April 25, 2019. A medical setback has prevented him from performing publicly.

UMS has engaged pianist Paul Lewis to perform in his place, with a program that includes Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, as well as Haydn’s Piano Sonata in e minor, Hob XVI:34 and Brahms’s Three Intermezzi, Op. 117. The concert will take place on Thursday, April 25 at 7:30 pm in Hill Auditorium, and ticketholders for the Murray Perahia concert are welcome to use their Perahia tickets to attend the Paul Lewis performance.

Lewis’s Beethoven and Schubert cycles have received unanimous critical and public acclaim, and he is widely considered one of the world’s foremost interpreters of central European classical repertoire. A former student of Alfred Brendel, he has spent the past two years exploring connections between the sonatas of Haydn, the late piano works of Brahms, and Beethoven’s Bagatelles and Diabelli Variations.

He regularly appears as soloist with the world’s great orchestras, including three performances next month with the Berlin Philharmonic and Bernard Haitink (Lewis was chosen specifically by the conductor for his 90th birthday celebration), performances of two Beethoven concertos last month with the Chicago Symphony, and recitals at the Tanglewood and Aldeburgh Festivals, as well as in Boston, Princeton, and Zurich.

This is the second time that Mr. Lewis has stepped in for an indisposed pianist on the UMS series; in 2015, he filled in for Leif Ove Andsnes on very short notice just a few days after a Lincoln Center recital, which required heroic logistics on his part to fly back to the US between two performances in England.

Publisher and composer Anton Diabelli asked 50 composers to each submit a variation on a waltz that he had composed, with a goal of using the profits to benefit survivors of the Napoleonic Wars. Schubert sent one, as did the 11-year-old Liszt, but it was Beethoven’s submission of 33 variations that caught the eye of the publisher. While Beethoven found the theme somewhat dull, he created a series of radical reinterpretations, showing how much could be done with rather banal material.

Anthony Tommasini in The New York Times called Paul Lewis’s 2011 recording of the work “elegant, sly, and richly characterized, providing rollicking humor, infectious exuberance, and mystery…All in all, Mr. Lewis again proves himself a major Beethoven interpreter.”

Learn more about Mr. Lewis’s performance

A recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Arts, UMS (also known as the University Musical Society) contributes to a vibrant cultural community by connecting audiences with performing artists from around the world in uncommon and engaging experiences. Founded in 1879, UMS is one of the oldest performing arts presenters in the country. An independent non-profit organization affiliated with the University of Michigan, UMS presents over 70 music, theater, and dance performances by professional touring artists each season, along with over 100 free educational activities. UMS is committed to bold artistic leadership, engaged learning through the arts, and access and inclusiveness. A national leader in student arts engagement, the organization has co-commissioned and supported the production of nearly 80 new or reimagined works since 1990. Matthew VanBesien became the organization’s seventh president in July 2017.

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