Elisabeth Leonskaja / Piano Recital

Sonatas by Johannes Brahms – Hamburg International Music Festival

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Elisabeth Leonskaja
Elisabeth Leonskaja © Marco Borggreve

Grande Dame of the piano

Elisabeth Leonskaja is acknowledged as one of today’s eminent authorities at the piano keyboard. Since her breakthrough at the 1979 Salzburg Festival, the Russian pianist, who has been living in Vienna for more than 40 years, has enjoyed one international success after another. In 2006 she was awarded Austria’s Medal of Honour for Science and the Arts, first class, for her services to music – a distinction awarded 110 years before to no lesser figure than Johannes Brahms. At the Elbphilharmonie Leonskaja now plays all three Brahms sonatas on one evening.

A truly impressive undertaking: the Brahms piano sonatas have a reputation as not only some of the most beautiful, but also some of the most demanding works of their genre. This much was already evident in 1853 to perhaps the most influential composer and music critic of his time: Robert Schumann. He met the 20-year-old Brahms in Düsseldorf, who played Schumann the sonatas he had just completed on the piano. The wildly enthusiastic Schumann took up his pen without further ado and wrote: »These sonatas were more like veiled symphonies. He seemed as a raging current to unite them all in a waterfall, bearing a peaceful rainbow aloft as the water surged over the edge, carrying them to the shore accompanied by butterflies and the song of nightingales.«


Elisabeth Leonskaja piano


Johannes Brahms
Sonata No. 1 in C major, Op. 1
Sonata No. 2 in F-sharp minor, Op. 2

– Interval –

Johannes Brahms
Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5

Pre-Concert Talk

with Klaus Wiegmann (in German)

19:00 / Elbphilharmonie, Großer Saal

Estimated end time



Hamburg International Music Festival

Promoter: HamburgMusik

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Elbphilharmonie Plaza

A public viewing platform on the 8th floor of the Elbphilharmonie

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