The elegant and world-renowned Bach pianist Angela Hewitt was born in Ottawa, Ont. But she got one of her first big breaks in Buffalo. In 1975, when she was in her teens, she won a contest here called the Chopin Young Pianists' Competition. She went on to win a string of other competitions, and one of them proved a portent of her career. It was the Toronto International Bach Competition, which led to a contract with the prestigious German label Deutsche Grammophon.
Hewitt has since become famous for her pristine but lively recordings of Bach, many of them for Hyperion, in Britain. Among them are "The Art of the Fugue," the "Goldberg Variations" and the Flute Sonatas, with flutist Andrea Oliva. Canada has named her Companion of the Order of Canada, a high honor. The Guardian, the British paper, has called her "the pre-eminent Bach pianist of our time." Hewitt has also won applause and honors for her recordings of music by many other composers, including Chopin, Debussy, Scarlatti, and Mozart.
It's rare for Hewitt to visit Buffalo. After spending years in Paris, she now makes her home in London, England. Her trip here lends yet more excitement to an already sparkling Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra season. Here's what to look forward to:
At 8 p.m. March 22, Hewitt is giving a solo recital. She will perform Bach's "Goldberg Variations" in Kleinhans Music Hall's Mary Seaton Room. General admission tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students.
At 5:30 p.m. March 24, Hewitt is presiding over a master class at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. The event, featuring local high school and college piano students, is free and open to the public. However, reservations are required.
Hewitt's visit culminates with a concert at 8 p.m. March 25 and 2:30 p.m. March 26. In celebration of the birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach, she will be joining the BPO for two Bach keyboard concertos -- No. 3 in D Major and the popular No. 1 in D Minor. She'll be conducting the music from the keyboard. To round out the concert, Resident Conductor Stefan Sanders is conducting music of Mendelssohn -- the well-known "Hebrides Overture" ("Fingal's Cave") and the "Reformation" Symphony.
Tickets to this Bach Birthday Bash are $35-$85. For more information on any of these events, call 885-5000 or visit bpo.org.