Philippe Jordan recently honoured him as probably the “best pianist of our time”: With the Grammy winner Yefim Bronfman, the Wiener Symphoniker have again been able to engage an absolutely exceptional musician as Artist in Residence for the 2019-20 season. Now, he will perform Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 under the direction of the Principal Guest Conductor Lahav Shani.
Listening to Bronfman is like “being in a crowded room where a particularly profound interlocutor starts to talk and everyone suddenly falls silent to listen to him with spellbound attention”, the Chicago Sun-Times once described Bronfman’s effect on the audience. His playing is positively absolutist: It completely captivates everyone and leaves no room, time or thoughts for anything else. At the same time, it never stays the same.
“I rather consider tradition a very thick crust that we drag along on our shoe soles”, Bronfman once explained his artistic approach. “Beyond that, we usually forget what is really important, what the substance is. I try to play differently – not just to be different, as an end in itself! – but the way I feel it. And this changes from performance to performance. My playing is completely different from night to night, and this happens quite naturally, but, of course, within certain limits of the acceptable, of what is appropriate to a given piece.”