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In 1970 Garrick Ohlsson – a gangly pianist from White Plains, New York, all of 22 and unknown beyond his hometown – pulled off an astonishing feat: from nowhere he won the Chopin Competition in Warsaw, the only American to have done so. He somehow missed the announcement, a kindly audience member informing him that his life would never be quite the same.

In the subsequent 50 years Ohlsson has owned Chopin’s music like few others, playing it with authority, humility, a sense of discovery and deep commitment.

Ohlsson has other heroes too. Scriabin is one such example, his powerful, impressionistic music an ideal match for Ohlsson’s authoritative playing. He adores Barber and Schubert, Debussy and Liszt too, choosing this Australian tour for his first performance of the latter’s Sonata in B Minor in many years. His program also features a new work by the Australian composer Thomas Misson.

"His performance was a marvel of virtuosity, and he played with Olympian serenity and equanimity, dispatching the most strenuous passages with apparent ease"

New York Review of Books

  • Program 1 - Monday 

    Impromptu in C Minor, Op. 90, No. 1
    Piano Sonata in B Minor, S.178
    Thomas Misson
    New Work*
    Étude in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 2, No. 1
    Étude in D-Flat Major, Op. 8, No. 10
    Étude in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 42, No. 5
    Two Poems, Op. 32: Andante cantabile
    Piano Sonata No. 5, Op. 5

    Program 2 - Saturday 

    Suite bergamasque
    Piano Sonata in E-Flat Minor, Op. 26
    Thomas Misson
    New Work*
    Variations brillantes, Op. 12
    Piano Sonata No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 4: Larghetto
    Scherzo No. 2 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 31

    *World premiere performances. Commissioned for Musica Viva Australia by Stephen Johns for his wife, Michele.

  • Garrick Ohlsson