How do artists such as pianist Yefim Bronfman and violinist Gil Shaham become long-term friends of the Pittsburgh Symphony? One outstanding concert after another, that's how.
And that’s what pianist Jonathan Biss has been doing at Heinz Hall over the past few seasons, and this one finds him returning again to play Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 at 8 p.m. Friday -Saturday (Oct. 31 and Nov. 1) and 2:30 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 2) under the direction of Marek Janowski.
One never knows what a concert will bring, but if his appearance is anything like the most recent, it will be a wonderful mix of vivacious tone and phrasing. There's just a jump in his step that many pianists miss, especially in Mozart.
I have been listening to him play Mozart's Concerto No. 22 on his new recording on EMI and it has so many brilliant touches, such as his playing of the primary theme of the first movement. It is elegant, but active -- especially in the left hand. We will have to see if he can bring that approach again this weekend at Heinz Hall. Of course, the other aspect of becoming a friend of patrons is opening up to them, and Biss is still rather shy on stage. But that may come. For now, we will be content with another great performance.