Rudolf Buchbinder |

Rudolf Buchbinder |

Rudolf Buchbinder

Date of birth
Rudolf Buchbinder |

The main field of interest of the Austrian pianist is the Viennese classics and romance. This is natural: Buchbinder lived and was brought up in the capital of Austria from a young age, which left an imprint on his entire creative style. His main teacher was B. Seidlhofer, a musician much more famous for his pedagogical achievements than for his artistic ones. As a 10-year-old boy, Buchbinder performed Beethoven’s First Concerto with the orchestra, and at 15 he showed himself to be an outstanding ensemble player: the Vienna Piano Trio with his participation won first prize at the chamber ensemble competition in Munich. A few years later, Buchbinder already regularly toured Europe, North and South America, Asia, without, however, having too noisy success. The strengthening of his reputation was facilitated by records on which the works of Haydn, Mozart, Schumann were recorded, as well as a recording of several Mozart concertos made with the Warsaw Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra conducted by K. Teitsch. However, with all the pianistic “smoothness”, some “myopia” and student stiffness were also noted in it.

The first undoubted successes of the pianist were two records with original programs: on one were recorded piano variations of Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart, on the other – all the works in the form of variations ever written on the famous theme of Diabelli. Samples of the work of Beethoven, Czerny, Liszt, Hummel, Kreutzer, Mozart, Archduke Rudolf and other authors were presented here. Despite the variety of styles, the disc is of a certain artistic and historical interest. In the second half of the 70s, the artist carried out two monumental undertakings. One of them – a recording of the complete collection of Haydn’s sonatas, made according to the author’s manuscripts and first editions and accompanied by comments by the artist himself, was highly appreciated by critics and was awarded two high awards – the “Grand Prix” of the French Recording Academy and the Recording Prize in Germany. It was followed by an album containing all of Beethoven’s works, written in the form of variations. This time the reception was not so enthusiastic. As noted, for example. J. Kesting (Germany), this work, for all its seriousness, “is not able to stand on a par with the majestic interpretations of Gilels, Arrau or Serkin.” Nevertheless, both the idea itself and its implementation as a whole received approval and allowed Buchbinder to consolidate his position on the pianistic horizon. On the other hand, these recordings contributed to his own artistic maturation, revealing his performing individuality, the best features of which were defined by the Bulgarian critic R. Statelova as follows: “Refined sense of style, erudition, wonderful softness of sound production, naturalness and feeling of musical movement.” Along with this, other critics point out the artist’s merits of unbiased interpretations, the ability to avoid a cliche, but at the same time they state a certain surface of performing decisions, restraint, sometimes turning into dryness.

One way or another, but the artistic activity of Buchbinder has now reached considerable intensity: he gives about a hundred concerts annually, the basis of the programs of which is the music of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, and occasionally performs the New Viennese – Schoenberg, Berg. In recent years, the musician, not without success, has also tried himself in the teaching field: he teaches a class at the Basel Conservatory, and in the summer months he also directs advanced training courses for young pianists in a number of European cities.

Grigoriev L., Platek Ya., 1990

The world-famous pianist Rudolf Buchbinder celebrated his 2018th anniversary in 60. The basis of his repertoire is the works of Viennese classics and romantic composers. Buchbinder’s interpretations are based on a meticulous study of primary sources: an avid collector of historical publications, he collected 39 complete editions of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, an extensive collection of first editions and author’s originals, autographs of the piano parts of both Brahms’ piano concertos and copies of their author’s scores.

Buchbinder was born in 1946 in Litomerice (Czechoslovakia), since 1947 he lived in Vienna with his family. In 1951 he began studying at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where his first teacher was Marianne Lauda. Since 1958 he improved in the class of Bruno Seidlhofer. He first performed with an orchestra in 1956 at the age of 9, performing Haydn’s 11th clavier concerto. Two years later he made his debut at the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein. Soon his international career began: in 1962 he performed at the Royal Festival Hall in London, in 1965 he toured South and North America for the first time, at the same time he made his debut in Japan as part of the Vienna Piano Trio. In 1969 he released his first solo recording, in 1971 he made his debut at the Salzburg Festival, in 1972 he made his first appearance with the Vienna Philharmonic under Claudio Abbado.

Buchbinder is known as an unsurpassed interpreter of Beethoven’s sonatas and concertos. More than 60 times he played a cycle of 32 sonatas, including four times – in Vienna and Munich, as well as in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Dresden, Milan, Beijing, St. Petersburg, Zurich. In 2014, the pianist presented the complete collection of sonatas for the first time at the Salzburg Festival (a cycle of seven concertos released on DVD Unitel), in 2015 at the Edinburgh Festival, and in the 2015/16 season at the Vienna Musikverein (for the 50th time).

The pianist dedicates the 2019/20 season to the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven, performing his works around the world. For the first time in the history of the Musikverein, a cycle of five Beethoven piano concertos is performed with one soloist and five different ensembles – the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Vienna and Munich Philharmonic Orchestras, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Dresden State Capella Orchestra. Buchbinder also performs Beethoven’s compositions in the best halls of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Salzburg, Budapest, Paris, Milan, Prague, Copenhagen, Barcelona, ​​New York, Philadelphia, Montreal and other major cities of the world.

In the autumn of 2019, the maestro performed with the Gewandhaus Orchestra conducted by Andris Nelsons, toured with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra conducted by Mariss Jansons, and also gave two solo concerts in Chicago. Has performed in Vienna and Munich with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and Valery Gergiev and in a recital at the Lucerne Piano Festival; gave a series of concerts with the Saxon Staatschapel and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti.

Buchbinder has recorded over 100 records and CDs, many of which have won international awards. In 1973, for the first time in history, he recorded the full version of the Diabelli Variations, performing not only the Beethoven cycle of the same name, but also variations belonging to other composers. His discography includes recordings of works by J.S. Bach, Mozart, Haydn (including all clavier sonatas), Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Chopin, Brahms, Dvorak.

Rudolf Buchbinder is the founder and artistic director of the Graffenegg Music Festival, one of the leading orchestral forums in Europe (since 2007). Author of the autobiography “Da Capo” (2008) and the book “Mein Beethoven – Leben mit dem Meister” (“My Beethoven – Life with the Master”, 2014).


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