Piano, Harpsichord & Fortepiano

Kristian Bezuidenhout

“Above all, Bezuidenhout knows how to make a fortepiano sing.”
★★★★★ Kate Molleson, The Guardian, 14 January 2016  

Credit: Marco Borggreve

Introduction

Kristian Bezuidenhout is one of today’s most notable and exciting keyboard artists, equally at home on the fortepiano, harpsichord, and modern piano. Born in South Africa in 1979, he began his studies in Australia, completed them at the Eastman School of Music, and now lives in London.
Kristian is a regular guest with the world’s leading ensembles including the Freiburger Barockorchester, Les Arts Florissants, Orchestre des Champs Elysées, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester; and has guest-directed (from the keyboard) the English Concert, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Collegium Vocale,  and Dunedin Consort .
He has performed with celebrated artists including John Eliot Gardiner, Philippe Herreweghe, Frans Brüggen, Trevor Pinnock, Giovanni Antonini, Isabelle Faust, Alina Ibragimova, Rachel Podger, Carolyn Sampson, Anne Sofie von Otter and Mark Padmore.

In the 2018/19 season, Kristian play-directs programmes with Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Irish Baroque Orchestra, as well as Freiburger Barockorchester and English Concert. As a soloist he performs with Cleveland Orchestra, Swedish Chamber Orchestra/Dausgaard, London Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches-Sinfonie Orchester Berlin and Orchestre de Paris. Solo recitals and chamber music take him to Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Vienna, New York, Washington DC, Montreal, Vancouver, Zurich and Oxford.

 


Contact


Video & Audio

Performance Schedule

From The Green Room

Discography

  • More info  
    13 Jan 18 Bach: Sonatas for Violin and Keyboard
    Harmonia Mundi

    “Little miracles of ensemble and understanding throughout”.

    Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review; Disc of the Week

    “However uplifting the individual contributions are throughout, that consummate sense of partnership prevails…the warmth and presence of Bezuidenhout’s harpsichord poignantly assuages the violin’s veiled asides”.
    BBC Music Magazine, April 2018

  • More info  
    22 Oct 17
    Wigmore Hall

    “Bezuidenhout has added immeasurably to the richness of the Wigmore Hall’s programming with his regular presence here. His recital last year devoted entirely to Beethoven songs with the baritone Matthias Goerne was a revelation…Two masterpieces followed after interval, Haydn’s Andante con variazioni in F minor and Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata, and Bezuidenhout shed new light on both. After episodes of nimble-fingered virtuosity, when he arrived at Haydn’s harmonically adventurous ending it was striking how he used the old instrument to underline the music’s modernity.”

    Telegraph 22 Oct 2017

  • More info  
    18 May 17 Early Mozart Keyboard Concertos
    Wigmore Hall

    “And delightful it all was too, partly because the performer at the harpsichord was Kristian Bezuidenhout, a musician who could probably conjure sweet music from a piece of dry toast. Harpsichords being shy creatures, you had to listen closely to spot him twinkling away among Mozart’s orchestral foliage. However, Page’s musicians played so well and the foliage was of such interest — harbingers of the full bloom to come — that only a fool would complain. ★★★★
    Geoff Brown, The Times, 18 May 2017

    “…both harpsichord and accompaniment had settled into a glorious conversational balance. Both parried the other with joie de vivre… Bezuidenhout’s cadenzas were as flamboyant and sparkling.” ★★★★
    Olivia Bell, Bach Track 18 May 2017

  • More info  
    08 Dec 16 MOZART Piano Concerto Nos 20 & 22
    With the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

    “But the night, ultimately, belonged to Bezuidenhout for his stupendously needle-sharp characterisations of Mozart, through the subversively-pulsing rhythm of the great K466 D minor Concerto and the near-serene perfection of the E flat Concerto K482, each with the SCO welded to the discreet direction of the soloist.”
    Michael Tumelty, The Herald Scotland, 11 December 2016 

  • More info  
    28 Oct 16 Recital 28 October 2016
    Boston Early Music Festival

    “..high-minded, beautifully essayed and very thoughtful appearance.  Bezuidenhout’s singular, elegant artistry thoroughly engaged our ears and minds.”
    John Elrich, The Boston Musical Intelligencer, 31 October 2016 

  • More info  
    27 Oct 16 Recital 26 October 2016
    Library of Congress

    “Bezuidenhout starts making music the moment his fingers touch the keyboard. Two youthful Beethoven Rondos, Op. 51 displayed the silvery singing quality of the fortepiano, in this case a replica by Thomas and Barbara Wolf of an instrument built by Schanz about 1800. The lithe D Major Sonata, Op. 10, No. 3 overflowed with Beethoven’s inimitable sense of humor, occasionally subtle but more often in your face, surrounding a slow movement of deep seriousness.”
    Patrick Rucker, The Washington Post, 27 October 2017

  • More info  
    28 Jun 16 BEETHOVEN Duo recital 27 June 2016
    With Matthias Goerne, Wigmore Hall

    “Playing a copy of an 1824 fortepiano, Bezuidenhout emphasised the sparse yet emotionally telling quality of Beethoven’s piano writing. A beautiful, thoughtful and thought-provoking evening.”
    Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 28 June 2016 

    “… an intense, impassioned evening in which Kristian Bezuidenhout’s fortepiano was as revelatory as Matthias Goerne’s baritone… Bezuidenhout’s playing of the feather-light accompaniment to these lines was a joy.”
    Melanie Eskenazi, Music OHM, 28 June 2016

  • More info  
    04 Mar 16 Concert 04 March 2016
    With Boston Baroque, Jordan Hall

    ” Where in the first movement the orchestra was earnest, Bezuidenhout was mischievous, hopscotching  through the initial falling motif and improvising a searching cadenza. In the hymn-like Adagio, he tamed the orchestra’s ominous outbursts, much the way the piano does in the Andante of Beethoven’s Fourth, but then he dashed away cheekily in the Rondo finale.”
    Martin Pearlman, Boston Globe, 5 March 2016 

    “Bezuidenhout chose to improvise his own cadenza, alternating introspective musings on thematic material with dizzying virtuosic display. The second movement, Adagio, offered a different kind of virtuosity: the ornamentation of a singing line with complex arabesques while maintaining melodic coherence throughout.”
    Virginia Newes, The Boston Musical Intelligencer, 6 March 2016 

  • More info  
    05 Feb 16 Concert 05 February 2016
    With the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Herbst Theatre

    “Bezuidenhout’s presence at the keyboard was almost like the still center of the universe. The result was familiar Mozart given an alternative  reading that rose to a new height through a well-calculated disposition of understatement.”
    Stephen Smoliar, Examiner.com 6 February 2016 

  • More info  
    08 Jan 16 MOZART CD Recording Keyboard Music Vol 8&9
    Harmonia Mundi

    “Articulation sparkles and ornaments are neat; slow movements sing like arias and he has fun giving weight to the Rondo themes; virtuosity buzzes under the surface but never becomes the focal point. On his modern keyboard – a Czech copy of an 1805 Viennese instrument – the sound is sweet, nutty and declamatory. Above all, Bezuidenhout knows how to make a fortepiano sing.”
    ★★★★★ Kate Molleson, The Guardian, 14 January 2016  

  • More info  
    19 Oct 15 Schubert lieder with Mark Padmore
    Alice Tully Hall, New York

    “Bezuidenhout, the fortepianist, was a revelation as a lieder accompanist. It’s not easy to steal the stage from the singer in this cycle, and he nearly did, though not by showing up his partner or drawing extra attention to his part. Throughout the evening his articulations were precise and his textures rich; at times, his playing seemed to show a greater range of color than Padmore’s singing.  But a good accompanist has to fly under the radar somewhat, and so it was Bezuidenhout’s subtlest gestures that added the most to the collaboration”.
    New York Classical Review, 15 October 2015 

    “Mr. Bezuidenhout described the instrument as the concert grand of Schubert’s day and praised its “singing tone,” although his refined playing surely enhanced that quality. In passages where the piano evokes gurgling waters or howling winds through rustling broken-chord figures, Mr. Bezuidenhout drew hazy streams of sound from the fortepiano. Over all, he played with captivating spontaneity while following Mr. Padmore’s every expressive turn.”
    Antony Tommasini, The New York Times, 18 October 2015 

  • More info  
    05 Oct 15 Recital 30 October 2015
    Wigmore Hall

    “Best were the closing four late Schubert songs to poems by Seidl, where emotional depth was communicated with a lightly-spoken ease. The encore, Schubert’s “Die Taubenpost” (another Seidl song), rippled a near-heavenly warmth in the accompaniment. With due respect to Padmore, this was the fortepiano’s evening.”
    Financial Times 

  • More info  
    09 Sep 15 Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K 466
    Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, City Recital Hall

    “This was Mozart under the microscope, played with tiny details: exquisitely crafted phrasing, subtle shading and a lightness of touch. Rather than simply turning up the volume, Bezuidenhout used a tasteful rubato to place a climactic chord or highlight a significant transition. It’s a level of artifice which, paradoxically, made the music sound effortlessly spontaneous, like it was being made up on the spot.”
    Harriet Cunningham, Sydney Morning Herald, 10 September 2015

    “Bezuidenhout’s own solo turn in the Piano Concerto No 20 was notable for its refined delicacy, astute timbral variety and the way his crystalline passagework sparkled as much as the subdued colours of his instrument would allow.”
    Murray Black, The Australian, 11 September 2015 

    “The melodic phrasing of the music making for the program ‘Mozart’s Fortepiano’ conducted and played with great dexterity by Kristian Bezuidenhout was effortlessly elegant, highly expressive and shining with subtlety.”
    Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 15 September 

    “The loudest cheer of the night greeted Bezuidenhout’s dazzling performance of the D minor Mozart concerto with its brilliant cadenzas improvised on the spot. The virtuoso’s speed and lightness of touch was matched by his attention to every nuance in the orchestral writing.”
    Steve Moffatt, Manly Daily/Saily Telegraph, 11 September 2015 

  • More info  
    01 Feb 15 MOZART CD Recording, Keyboard Music Vol 5, 6 & 7
    Harmonia Mundi

    “He’s a remarkable virtuoso, and a dazzlingly imaginative, multi-skilled Mozartian.”
    Max Loppert, BBC Music Magazine, February 2015

    “Hearing the discs themselves, one can hardly take one’s ears off the performances because they go so far inside the music and reverse much of what you thought you knew”.
    Gramophone ‘Editors Choice’, February 2015

    “Kristian Bezuidenhout’s latest Mozart piano album has a peacock flourish about it. That’s partly due to the instrument, a modern reproduction of an 1805 fortepiano. The crisp attack and variety of tone are exceptional. Then there’s Bezuidenhout’s ornate artistry in sonatas K284 and K310 and two variations sets: one particular keyboard sweep got my spine shivering. Put instrument and artist together, though, and you have a perfect example of “going at it hammer and tongs”…”
    Geoff Brown, The Times 20 February 2015 

  • More info  
    21 Feb 14 Recital 21 February 2014
    Boston Early Music Festival

    A Sonata in E minor by C.P.E. Bach, again full of mood contrasts, was the prelude to Mozart’s Rondo in A minor, K. 511, one of his most quietly radical works. Bezuidenhout’s performance was masterful, underscoring the music’s persistent gloom. At one point he introduced a completely new sound from the fortepiano, giving the music an almost Debussian wash of color…

    He earned every moment of the ovation he received, and he responded by recognizing the remarkable instrument he had played on. There was a single encore — the mesmerizing slow movement of Mozart’s C-major Sonata, K. 330.
    330.”
    Boston Globe 24 Feb 2014 

  • More info  
    01 Oct 11 Bach Harpsichord Concerto
    With the Seattle Symphony Orchestra

    “Bezuidenhout wove his web of relentless precision. Its no mean trick to take a piece with almost no rhythmic variation, written for an instrument with no volume variation, and make it expressive, but Bezuidenhout pulled off this alchemy.”
    Seattle Times, 29 October 2011

Repertoire

Concerto Repertoire

C. P. E. Bach
Concerto for piano, harpsichord & orchestra, Wq. 47
Johann Christian Bach
Concerto for harpsichord & strings in F minor
Concerto for piano & orchestra in E flat major
J. S. Bach
Concerto for harpsichord & strings in D minor, BWV 1052
Concerto for harpsichord & strings in D major, BWV 1054
Concerto for harpsichord & strings in A major, BWV 1055
Brandenburg Concerto Nr. 5 in D major, BWV 1050
Concerto for flute, violin, harpsichord & strings in A minor, BWV 1044
Beethoven
Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15
Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 19
Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37
Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58
Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, “Emperor”
Triple Concerto for violin, cello, and piano in C major, Op. 56
Violin Concerto, Opus 61a (Beethoven’s arrangement for piano & orchestra)
Rondo for piano & orchestra in B flat major, WoO 6
Haydn
Piano Concerto in D major, Hob. XVIII: 11
Piano Concerto in G major, Hob . XVIII: 4
Concerto for piano, violin and strings in F major, Hob, XVIII: 6
Johann Wilhelm Hertel (1727-1789)
Piano Concerto in F minor (c. 1770)
Piano Concerto in E flat major (c. 1770)
Mendelssohn
Concerto for piano & strings in A minor (1822)
Concerto for piano & orchestra in D minor, op. 40 (1837)
Concerto for piano, violin and strings in D minor (1823)
Mozart
Concerto No. 1 in F major, K. 37
Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, K. 39
Concerto No. 3 in D major, K. 40
Concerto No. 4 in G major, K. 41
Concerto No. 9 “Jenamy” in E-flat major, K. 271
Concerto No. 10 in E-flat major for Two Pianos, K. 365
Concerto No. 11 in F major, K. 413/387a
Concerto No. 12 in A major, K. 414/385p
Concerto No. 13 in C major, K. 415/387b|
Concerto No. 14 in E-flat major, K. 449
Concerto No. 15 in B-flat major, K. 450
Concerto No. 17 in G major, K. 453
Concerto No. 18 in B-flat major, K. 456
Concerto No. 19 in F major, K. 459
Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466
Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467
Concerto No. 22 in E-flat major, K. 482
Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488
Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491
Concerto No. 25 in C major, K. 503
Concerto No. 27 in B-flat major, K. 595
Rondo for piano and orchestra in A major, K. 386

Solo Repertoire

C. P. E. Bach (1714-1788)
From “für Kenner und Liebhaber”:
Rondo in C minor, Wq. 59/4
Sonata in G major, Wq. 55/6
Sonata in E minor, Wq. 59/1
Rondo in F major, Wq. 57/5
Rondo in G major, Wq. 59/2
Fantasie in C, Wq. 61/6
Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782)
Sonata in B flat major, Op. 17, Nr. 6 (1777)
Sonata in G major, Op. 5, Nr. 3
Sonata in E flat major, Op. 5, Nr. 4
J. S. Bach
Partita in D major, BWV 828
Partita in B flat major, BWV 825
Selections from the Well Tempered Clavier
Toccata in D minor, BWV 913
Toccata in E minor, BWV 914
Italian Concerto, BWV 971
Partita in A minor (arrangement of Partita for solo violin, BWV 1004)
Beethoven
Sonata in F minor, Op. 2, Nr. 1
Sonata in E flat major, Op. 7
Sonata in D major, Opus 10, Nr. 3
Sonata in C minor, Op. 13, Pathétique
Sonata in B flat major, Op. 22
Sonata in D minor, Op. 31, Nr. 2, The Tempest
Rondos in C major and G major, Op. 51
Variations in C minor, WoO 80
Andante Favori, WoO 57
Georg Benda (1722-1795)
Sonata in A minor (1781)
J. Brahms
Intermezzi, Op. 118
Ballades, op. 79
Louis Couperin (1626-1661)
Suite in E minor
Muzio Clementi (1752-1832)
Sonata in G minor, Op. 7, Nr. 3 (1782)
Jan Ladislav Dussek (1760-1812)
‘The Sufferings of the Queen of France’, in C minor, op. 23
John Field (1782-1837)
Sonata in E flat major, Op. Nr. 1
Nocturne in C minor
Johann Jakob Froberger (1616-1667)
Toccata in C major
Suite in C major
Johann Wilhelm Hertel (1727-1789)
Sonata in C major (c. 1777)
Sonata in C minor (c. 1777)
F. J. Haydn
Sonata in F major, Hob. XVI: 23
Sonata in F major, Hob. XVI: 29
Sonata in C minor, Hob, XVI: 20
Sonata in B minor, Hob. XVI: 32
Sonata in C major, Hob, XVI: 48
Sonata in E flat, Hob, XVI: 49
Sonata in E flat, Hob, XVI: 52
Sonata in G minor, Hob, XVI: 44
Sonata in D major, Hob, XVI: 51
‘Seven Last Words’, arrangement for solo Keyboard
Variations in F minor, Hob. XVII: 6
Johann Kasper Kerll (1627-1693)
Toccata in G minor
Toccata in D minor
Passacaglia in D minor
Leopold Kozeluch (1747-1818)
Sonata in D minor (1786)
Sonata in F major
Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-1792)
Sonata in E flat major
Sonata in E major
W. A. Mozart
Sonata No. 1 in C major, K. 279 (Munich, Summer 1774
Sonata No. 2 in F major, K. 280 (Munich, Summer 1774)
Sonata No. 3 in B-flat major, K. 281 (Munich, Summer 1774)
Sonata No. 4 in E-flat major, K. 282 (Munich, Summer 1774)
Sonata No. 5 in G major, K. 283 (Munich, Summer 1774)
Sonata No. 6 in D major, K. 284 (Munich, February–March 1775)
Sonata No. 7 in C major, K. 309 (Mannheim, Nov. 8 1777)
Sonata No. 8 in A minor, K. 310 (Paris, Summer 1778)
Sonata No. 9 in D major, K. 311 (Mannheim, Nov 1777)
Sonata No. 10 in C major, K. 330 (1782)
Sonata No. 11 “Turkish March” in A major, K. 331 (1783)
Sonata No. 12 in F major, K. 332 (1783)
Sonata No. 13 in B-flat major, K. 333 (1783)
Sonata No. 14 in C minor, K. 457 (Vienna, Oct. 14, 1784)
Sonata No. 15 in F major, K. 533/494 (Vienna, Jan. 3, 1788)
Sonata No. 16 in C major, K. 545 (Vienna, Jun. 26, 1788)
Sonata No. 17 in B-flat major, K. 570 (Vienna, February, 1789)
Sonata No. 18 in D major, K. 576 (Vienna, July 1789)
Klavierstück in F, K. 33b (Zurich, 30 September 1766)
Fantasy & Fugue in C major, K. 394 (Vienna, 1782)
Fantasy in C minor, K. 396 (Vienna, 1782)
Fantasy in D minor
Fantasy in C minor, K. 475 (Vienna, May 20, 1785)
Rondo in D major, K. 485
Rondo in F major, K. 494 (finale to K. 533 above initially published alone)
Rondo in A minor, K. 511
Adagio for Piano in B minor, K. 540 (Vienna, 1788)
12 Variations in C major on “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman”, K. 265
6 Variations in F major on “Salve tu, Domine”, K. 398
10 Variations in G major on the aria “Unser dummer Pöbel meint”, K. 455
9 Variations in D major on a Menuet by Jean-Pierre Duport, K 573
D. Scarlatti
Selected Sonatas
F. Schubert
Sonata in E flat, D. 568
Sonata in A major, D. 959
Sonata in B flat, D. 960
4 Impromptus, Op. 90, D. 899
‘Moment Musicaux’, D. 780
Adagio in G, D. 178
Allegretto in C minor, D. 915
Johann Schobert (c. 1720-1767)
Sonata in D minor