Alessio Bax is back in the Bay Area for a series of concerts with the Santa Rosa Symphony this Saturday through Monday. He’ll play the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 on a Valentine’s themed program (that has Prokofiev and Berlioz retelling Romeo and Juliet). He’ll return next month to play a pair of duo works with Orion Weiss and the Symphony Silicon Valley.
Bax just this past weekend played a solo recital as part of the Steinway Society in San Jose. The Brahms he’ll play in Santa Rosa is as he puts it, a ’cause for celebration’ whenever he has a chance to perform it. It was written twenty or more years after the first piano concerto. “By the time he wrote the second concerto, he had mastered everything there was to master about orchestration,” he says. “So, I love the first concerto, but it feels a little bit more raw and you have this constant feeling of a piano fighting with the orchestra, (and maybe that’s why it’s so exciting, and so wonderful too). Whereas in the second piano concerto, no matter how difficult it is in the piano, the orchestration is kept in a way that you don’t really have to fight, you’re working together toward the same goal. And once you learn the piece, and you’re comfortable playing it, it really becomes so rewarding.” In a little over a month, he’ll return for the duo-piano performance with Orion Weiss and Symphony Silicon Valley. “When it comes to 2-pianos and piano 4-hands, you really have to know each other’s playing intimately well – and otherwise it’s a very hard process to get things close to what should be ideal… But last season I had a collaboration with Orion for a Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center, we played a concert at Tully Hall, and we both approached it with a lot of trepidation. Orion’s wife is also a wonderful pianist and they play together and we both were dreading the first rehearsal, and then it went really really well!”