European pianist to perform exclusive recital in Morse hall

From the concert halls of Europe, Severin von Eckardstein will bring his virtuoso musical talents to New Haven for a piano recital at Morse Recital Hall as a part of the Horowitz Piano Series.

Von Eckardstein’s name may not sound familiar to the casual music follower here in the United States. That is not for a lack of talent — von Eckardstein is a professional musician in Europe and has a more substantial following and greater notoriety across the Atlantic than he does in America.

“I personally haven’t heard of him, but the piano world is large and multifaceted,” Karl Schrom, a librarian in the music library, said. “There are many very talented pianists who have regional reputations. He may be very talented, but just not well-known here.”

In addition to his European origins, von Eckardstein is also — at age 29 — a relatively young pianist. He first burst onto the international scene when, at 13, he took first place at the Incontro Internazionale Giovani Pianista in Italy.

Since that first international success, Eckardstein has gone on to win several other competitions. Even after a third-place finish at the Leeds International Piano Competition in 2000, he had critics singing praises of his performance.

The crown jewel of his international competition resume is his first-place finish at the Queen Elizabeth Piano Competition — one of the most important and prestigious in the world — in Brussels in 2003, Mingzhu Wang MUS ’07 said. This triumph thrust him further into the limelight, and, since then, he has performed in many notable festivals and events across Europe, the United States and Japan.

The Horowitz Piano Recital series he will perform in was initiated in 2000 as a way to consolidate the various piano recitals by Yale faculty. The series took the name Horowitz because Yale owns a significant amount of the late Vladimir Horowitz’s memorabilia — including his own piano — said Vincent Oneppo, the director of the Concert and Press Office at the School of Music.

Every year, the series hosts several piano recitals by Yale faculty pianists, many of whom have great reputations themselves, and invites one or two guest performers to round out the schedule, Oneppo said. Boris Berman, a professor at the Music School and a world-renowned pianist in his own right, chooses who to invite to perform from a list of recommendations.

All of the performances are held at the Morse Recital Hall, whose intimate size and sound acoustics make it a suitable venue. The hall also gives pianists the rare option of choosing between a German-made Steinway and an American-made Steinway. Von Eckardstein took advantage of this quirk and warmed up for an hour on each piano before making his decision, Oneppo said.

This will be von Eckardstein’s sole performance on this trip to the United States, as he returns to Europe immediately afterward. He will next perform in the Netherlands on Nov. 27.

In the past, the series has hosted a number of renowned pianists, including Radu Lupu, Garrick Ohlsson and Yefim Bronfman.

Oneppo said von Eckardstein promises to be a welcome addition to this list.

“He has a reputation for having fabulous technique and a very interesting program,” Oneppo said. “I don’t know what to expect, but I expect great things.

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