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Emanuel Ax touches down for some piano time at Disney Hall

March 22, 2010 |  8:21 pm

Ax About two years ago, the pianist Emanuel Ax started thinking about how to celebrate the bicentennials of the two great Romantic Era composers, Chopin and Schumann (both born in 1810). Given that he both knew and performed with other world-class musicians and orchestras, Ax came up with the idea of a multi-part concert program involving a great many of those colleagues.

His longtime collaborator, the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, came onboard, and so did soprano Dawn Upshaw. Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, London’s Barbican, New York’s Carnegie Hall, the San Francisco Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic not only agreed to host the concerts but also to co-commission new music from a variety of composers. “It was,” says Ax, “a dream come true.”

The pianist and his dream return to Los Angeles on Tuesday for the second of three programs highlighting Chopin, Schumann and new music. Building on his well-received session at Walt Disney Concert Hall in January with Yo-Yo Ma, Ax launches his 10-day Los Angeles Philharmonic residency, beginning with Upshaw, then adding chamber music and orchestral performances later this week.

Read more about Ax and his visit to L.A. here in my Calendar story.

-- Barbara Isenberg

Photo: Ax at Walt Disney Concert Hall in January. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times