Viennese musicians and musicologists took the occasion of the composer’s 74th birthday on 9 March 2023 to celebrate the anniversary with a chamber concert and a round of talks on the two preceding days, with Kalevi Aho present on both occasions.

The concert, which took place on 7 March in the ‘Glass Hall’ of the Vienna Musikverein, featured the violinist couple Rémy and Iris Ballot, also known as conductor and concertmaster of the Klangkollektiv Wien, and the pianist Anika Vavić. Two compositions by Kalevi Aho formed the framework of the programme.

It would have been difficult to open the evening more impressively than with Rémy Ballot’s performance of In memoriam Pehr Henrik Nordgren, a solo piece written by Kalevi Aho in 2009 in honour of the great composer’s colleague who had died the year before. Ballot let the music unfold with rhapsodic spontaneity, without forgetting the strict, consistent structure of the work. The melismatic sections and the chorale-like double-stop passages emerged from each other like choruses and responsories, creating the compelling effect of a shamanic mourning ritual. It should also be emphasised how confidently Ballot mastered an extremely quiet passage in the highest register, in which the music is barely audible against the rustling background of the bowing.

Read Florian Schuck’s full review here (in German).


Remy Ballot’s new recordings of Beethoven string quartets with his Klangkollektiv Wien has been chosen as CD of the Week by Vienna’s classical station:

‘Rémy Ballot writes about this CD that “this performance practice offers the possibility to experience greater contrasts and to be able to unfold the musical message in its full meaning”. Especially with Beethoven’s late string quartets, which are often described as unwieldy, this bringing out of contrasts is particularly important. Dynamic differences are brought to extremes by the sound collective here that would not be possible for a usual four-piece instrumentation. The double bass also lends additional volume in the depths. Rémy Ballot’s experience as a violinist and quartet or quintet primarius is of great benefit here, and he knows how to share his own experience of Beethoven’s chamber music with his musicians. Much has fallen victim to the pandemic in the Beethoven Year 2020. So it is all the nicer to receive a belated musical greeting from 2020 here and now!’ (Michael Gmasz, Radio Klassik Stephansdom, 21.01.2023)

Jonathan Powell: Dvořák, Kaprálová, Janáček, Winterberg & Ullmann

Following his highly acclaimed Scriabin cycle this autumn, Jonathan Powell’s second concert at the Jacqueline du Pre Hall this season focusses on twentieth-century Czech piano music, and specifically the work of Hans Winterberg and Viktor Ullmann, both of whom were prominent German-speaking Jewish composers who were interned at the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Although Winterberg was eventually freed and was able to compose in relative obscurity in Germany after the Second World War, recordings are only now starting to be released of his strikingly sonorous music, including Jonathan Powell’s highly-acclaimed Capriccio release of the first piano concerto from 1948.

B4CH in Riga

After a very successful pilot in Tallinn last March, the B4CH project is coming for two concerts on 17th and 18th of December to the Dzintaru Concert Hall in Jurmala.

All Bach multiple piano concertos in one program, likely to be a premiere event in that format with leading Estonian and Latvian pianist: Sten Lassmann, Sten Heinoja, Reinis Zarins and Daumants Liepins are getting together with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Taki – Alsop Fellow Anna Duczmal-Mroz.

There’s a bilingual English-Latvian broadcast about the project with Anna Duczmal-Mroz and Reinis Zarins on Latvijas Radio Klasika worth listening to:

Remy Ballot – Klangkollektiv Wien Vienna debut:

Florian Schuck writes an equally detailed and enthusiatic review about Remy Ballot’s Vienna debut with the Klangkollektiv Wien, including also the presentation of their new CD with Beethoven string quartets.

‘Highlight of Viennese musical life’

‘one of the most outstanding chamber orchestras of our time’.

‘The way Ballot allows the music to pause here and at the same time creates an enormous tension, which is only released in the final movement, is simply great art…He leaves nothing to chance, each phrase seems examined for its place in the greater whole.  ‘Chamber’ and the ‘orchestral’ music-making arise naturally from the respective situation in the course of the music’.

You can read the full review in German here, Deepl and other online services provide reasonable results in English:

Jonathan Powell in Prague: an unforgettable evening

Jonathan Powell ended his European tour of Scriabin’s sonatas for the 150th anniversary with standing ovations for his recital at the Ivan Moravec Academy / Prague Music Performances in Prague:

‘a pianist of extraordinary artistic and intellectual abilities’
‘Powell can be described as the master of the tenor voice’
‘an unforgettable evening’

You can read Jiri Bezdek’s equally enthusiastic and scholarly review for Opera +, Czechia’s leading Classical Music Magazine, here. Google and Chrome offer reasonable translations for all non-Czech speakers:

Rémy Ballot live on Radio Klassik

Prior to the Vienna Debut of his Klangkollektiv Wien, Remy Ballot talks to Christoph Wellner on Radio Klassik Stephansdom about his studies with Celibidache, the latest CD of the Klangkollektiv Wien, and of course his Bruckner cycle in St Florian (in German):

Jonathan Powell – Scriabin 150

As part of his European Scriabin 150 tour, Jonathan Powell will play a complete cycle of Scriabin’s piano sonatas on 22nd October at the Tallinn International Piano Festival ‘KLAVER’


‘Thanks to his penchant for writing short and succinct movements. Winterberg’s tough, gritty and uncompromising music never outstays its welcome. It certainly receives persuasive advocacy from Johannes Kalitzke and the Berlin Radio Symphony, and Jonathan Powell does a terrific job in projecting the piano concerto’s dynamic energy.’

‘An invaluable rediscovery’

Siebe Riedstra’s enthusiasic review of the new recording of Hans Winterberg’s orchestral works for Opus Klassik:

‘The importance of this publication cannot be underestimated, so any attempt at a valuation is superfluous. With his extensive experience with Musikfabrik and Ensemble Modern, composer and conductor Johannes Kalitzke (1959) is the right person to bring these partly very complicated scores into the limelight. Jonathan Powell has a formidable reputation in the modern repertory and delivers an impressive performance, particularly in the huge cadence of the last movement of the piano concerto.’

You can read the full text here.

HANS WINTERBERG: ‘new discovery, unparalleled in music history’.

Martin Blaumeiser writes a glowing review for KLASSIK HEUTE about all aspects of the first commercial CD of Hans Winterberg’s orchestral music, which also includes Jonathan Powell’s rendition of the 1st piano concerto with the Berlin Radio Orchestra and Johannes Kalitzke conducting.

‘new discovery, unparalleled in music history’…
‘No wonder that this artist, who is technically almost unbeatable at the moment, immediately enchants the listener here.’

An important rediscovery: Hans Winterberg

An important rediscovery according to Rémy Franck in the Pizzicato Magazine:

‘The First Piano Concerto becomes attractive in the exciting interpretation of Jonathan Powell and Johannes Kalitzke. The English pianist is responsible for the critical edition of all the piano works (including 4 piano concertos)’

‘Jonathan Powell is undoubtedly today’s most highly-qualified pianist

Martin Blaumeiser reviewed in The New Listener Jonathan Powell’s monumental performance of Sorabji’s Sequentia Cyclica, a highlight of the 25th anniversary edition of the Heidelberger Fruehling Festival, curated by Igor Levit.

‘A sensational performance in every respect’

‘Jonathan Powell is undoubtedly today’s most highly-qualified pianist for this extreme repertoire’

‘His piano playing is characterised by enormous sonority and precisely differentiated dynamics; even in the loudest passages’

Powell masters the necessary precision of touch – and he also keeps track of the large-scale harmonic progressions.’

Jonathan Powell – Sequentia Cyclica – Heidelberger Frühling

On personal invitation by Igor Levit, Jonathan Powell will perform the German premiere of Sorabji’s monumental 8.5 hour set of variations ‘Sequentia Cyclica’ in 5 concerts over 3 days at the Heidelberger Frühling Festival beginning of April.

Michael Zlabinger debut Tonkünstler Orchester

On Saturday 26th March, Michael Zlabinger accepted to conduct his debut with the Tonkünstler Orchester Niederösterreich with only a few hours notice. The programm included among others Kurt Weill’s second Symphony: