There is chance that the Hungarian audience is already familiar with the name of the Viennese-born pianist Gottlieb Wallisch. The musical talent of Wallisch surfaced at a very young age and the virtuoso made his debut at the grand hall of the Musikverein in Vienna at the age of 12. Wallisch currently works as a professor at the Universität der Künste in Berlin. This is the first time he will perform with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra in Hungary, in the great hall of the Academy of Music. The soloist and the nearly 60-year-old orchestra began working more closely together before the pandemic, preparing for the concert on 15 February.

Speaking of the February concert, we asked the artist about the joint works and the upcoming concert in a short interview.

This is not the first time that you play with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra; in 2019 you had concerts in Slovenia and Vienna as well as a recording, so we can say the collaboration is familiar. Do you have any fond memories from that time and what are your thoughts on your return to Budapest, to the orchestra? 

I remember this collaboration in 2019 very vividly. We had intense rehearsals and preparations in Budapest, under the direction of Hartmut Rohde who was our conductor. The concerts were a big success, very good energy and atmosphere on the concert-stages. But we also had a day of CD-recording during that period, I am really looking forward that this recording will finally be released in 2022, as part of an entire disc dedicated to the Austrian composer Hans Gál (1890-1987). Now I am glad that we manage to continue our musical collaboration, after several postponements due to the pandemic. It is always a highlight for me to perform at the wonderful hall of Liszt Academy.

How would you describe the diverse programme of the upcoming concert on February 15th?

I think it is a good mix of lesser known pieces (Pilati) and true and brilliant highlights (Shostakovich). For me that’s a perfect mix!

In this evening will be the Hungarian premiere of Pilati: Suite for Piano and String Orchestra. What do you feel what might be the greatest challenge for you about this piece? 

The Suite by Mario Pilati is a typical piece of the 1920ies, when several different styles were „en vogue“ in classical music. Pilati wrote it in 1924 and it is in neo-classical style. The music is utterly rhetoric - piano and orchestra are in a constant dialogue, only in the last movement the piano takes a more soloistic role and also has a short virtuoso cadenza. Finding the right tone for this dialogue is really important for a good performance of this piece. Generally I think, the piece would deserve wider prominence.  

Do you have any techniques when preparing and attuning for a grand concert?

I try to keep fresh in mind and hearing during preparations for a concert. It is crucial to have an open mind and fresh fingers for spontaneity, both during rehearsals and the actual performance. This is the only way to make a concert lively and vibrant!

What message would you send to the audience about the February 15th concert?

Four wonderful masterpieces on our program (Beethoven, Janacek, Pilati and Shostakovich) plus talented and energetic musicians on stage promise each music-lover a unique concert-experience!