It’s always a pleasure to welcome legendary pianist Emanuel Ax, who made his Celebrity Series debut 35 years ago and has since returned for nearly 30 more performances. He arrived in Boston last week for a highly anticipated solo recital that featured an all-Beethoven program. Taking place at the New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, the sold-out concert marked one of the Series’ final performances of the 2015-16 Season.
Ax graciously allowed Celebrity Series photographer Robert Torres to capture behind-the-scenes moments from the evening—from his arrival at the hall to his warm up and methodical process of choosing between the American and Hamburg Steinway pianos. Boston piano technician John Von Rohr was there to assist him, as were Celebrity Series staff members Sarah Cronin and Katherine Ludington.
Ax had an understandably difficult time choosing a piano, but after much back and forth at the keyboards, during which he varied between slow and fast sections and then soft and loud passages of Beethoven excerpts, he ultimately decided on the Hamburg. And, considering the enthusiastic standing ovation and much demanded encore, we think the audience was pleased with his decision. (PHOTOS: ROBERT TORRES)
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Opus 13 “Pathétique”
BEETHOVEN: Six Variations on a Theme in F Major, Opus 34
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 16 in G Major, Opus 31, no. 1
BEETHOVEN: Polonaise in C Major, Opus 89
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Opus 57 “Appassionata”
From Schubert’s song cycle: Die schöne Müllerin – No. 19 – “Der Müller und der Bach” (“The Miller and the Brook”)