THE CELLO SONATAS
SAT 24 APRIL 2021 & MON 3 MAY 2021
ESPLANADE CONCERT HALL, SINGAPORE
ONLY 250 TICKETS AVAILABLE PER CONCERT.
If Bach’s six cello suites are often referred to as ‘the cellist’s bible’, this bible would consist of two books, the second comprising Beethoven’s five sonatas for piano and cello. Before Beethoven wrote the first sonatas, there were virtually no works in which the cello fully broke away from its subservient role of basso continuo to become an equal partner to the piano. They are works of extraordinary breadth and grandeur.
Following up on his intensely personal solo Bach voyage in January, Chinese Australian cellist QIN LI-WEI explores the creative development of Beethoven through his last three cello sonatas. The highly-positive Sonata in A major, Op. 69 is from his productive middle period, radiating serenity, humour and joy. The final two sonatas, Op. 102, exude the atmosphere of other-worldliness, of transcendent spirituality, that characterise his last utterances.
Hailed by Gramophone as a “superbly stylish, raptly intuitive performer”, Qin is partnered by pianist ALBERT TIU, a regular collaboration acclaimed by The Straits Times as “the most celebrated cello and piano duo resident in Singapore”. They are reuniting before a ‘live’ audience for the first time since the pandemic, to make good their delayed plans to commemorate Beethoven’s 250th birth anniversary in 2020.
“A highly accomplished Beethoven sonata cycle” (Gramophone)
“[Li-Wei Qin and Albert Tiu] respond with vigour and brio, breathing life into these scores. Qin’s tone is voluminous and breathtaking, while Tiu’s exacting piano partnership comes through with great immediacy and clarity… this set deserves to happily sit alongside celebrated versions by Rostropovich, Maisky and Yo-Yo Ma.” (The Straits Times)
QIN LI-WEI, cello
“Mr. Qin has a great deal going for him, including a meltingly beautiful tone, flawless centered intonation and an ironclad technique” (New York Times)
“Aside from an extraordinary technical fluency, he has a musical intelligence and sensitivity which is breathtaking both for its maturity and profound vision." (The Strad)
As one of the most sought-after cellists of his generation, Chinese Australian Qin Li-Wei has appeared all over the world as a soloist and as a chamber musician. After being awarded the Silver Medal at the 11th Tchaikovsky International Competition, Qin won First Prize in the prestigious 2001 Naumburg Competition in New York. “A superbly stylish, raptly intuitive performer ” (Gramophone Magazine, January 2015) was the description of the cellist’s Elgar and Walton concerti recording with the London Philharmonic.
Two times soloist at the BBC Proms in London’s Royal Albert Hall, Qin has enjoyed successful artistic collaborations with many of the world’s great orchestras including all the BBC symphony orchestras, Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, NDR-Sinfonierorchester Hamburg, Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin, La Verdi Orchestra Milan, ORH Vienna Radio Orchestra, Prague Symphony, Osaka Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, China Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony and Melbourne Symphony among many others. Leading conductors with whom he has worked include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir Andrew Davis, Marek Janowski, Jaap Van Zweden, Gianandrea Noseda, Jan Pascal Totelier, Hans Graf, Yu Long, Lü Jia, Tan Dun, the late Machello Viotti, the late Jiří Bělohlávek and the late Lord Yehudi Menuhin. Qin has also appeared with chamber orchestras such as the Kremerata Baltika, Sinfonia Varsovia, the Munich, the Manchester, the Zurich, and the Australian Chamber Orchestras.
Highlights in recent seasons includes debuts with the London Symphony, Russian Philharmonic, Czech Chamber and Brussels Chamber Orchestras. Return visits include to the Finnish Radio orchestra, China Philharmonic and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
In recital and chamber music, Qin is a regular guest at the Jerusalem, Rheingau and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Music Festivals, and the Lincoln Centre Chamber Music Society, New York, with musicians including Daniel Hope, Nobuko Imai, Mischa Maisky and Peter Frankel.
He has recordings on Universal Music/Decca with the Singapore Symphony, on Sony Classical with Shanghai Symphony, and on ABC Classics with London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Qin was invited to join the BBC 'New Generations' scheme in 2001, and in 2002 received the Young Australian of the Year Award. Other major invitations included appearances at the 2008 Beijing Olympics (New Zealand Symphony), 2012 London Olympics, Davos World Economics Forum (Basel Symphony) and recently the Fortune Global Forum 2017 Opening Ceremony.
Prior to teaching at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory at the National University of Singapore, Qin was a professor of cello at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He is also a guest professor at Shanghai and Central Conservatories in China. As artistic director, Qin successfully founded the annual Qingdao International Cello festival in 2018.
Qin plays a 1780 Joseph Guadagnini cello, generously loaned by Dr and Mrs Wilson Goh.
ALBERT TIU, piano
Born in Cebu, Philippines, Albert Tiu has been called “an artist of uncommon abilities” by American Record Guide. His Centaur recording, “Grand Russian”, pairing Tchaikovsky’s Grand Sonata and Rachmaninoff’s First Sonata, was cited in ARG: “Even with some legendary competition in this repertoire, Tiu stands tall with his interpretations and technical accomplishment.” A previous disc, “The Classical Elements”, was rated 5 Stars in International Piano and praised by Fanfare for a “fascinating recital containing some stunning playing.” His 2010 tribute to Chopin and Skryabin, “Nocturnal Fantasies”, was dubbed “one of the all-time great piano recordings” by Fanfare.
Currently an Associate Professor of Piano at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore, Tiu is a prizewinner of competitions in Calgary (Honens), Santander (Paloma O’Shea) and Helsinki (Maj Lind). He won First Prize, as well as special prizes for Best Mozart Concerto and Best Piano Concerto, in the 1996 UNISA International Piano Competition in Pretoria, South Africa.
He has performed with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Hamburg Symphony, Finnish Radio Symphony, Gstaad Festival Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic and Winnipeg Symphony. In 2005, he gave the Singapore premiere of Barber’s Piano Concerto with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
His students (affectionately known as “Tiudents”) have distinguished themselves all around the world. Aside from teaching, Albert has adjudicated in international piano competitions in France, Denmark, New Zealand, Thailand and Indonesia.
He is addicted to Angry Birds, a constant source of humour in the family and in his studio, but somehow he still manages to practice some piano.