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Pianist Rudolf Buchbinder Returns to Crossover

Phillipp Horak

One of the world's foremost and most prolific artists returns to Crossover this week. But the Australian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder isn't just a virtuoso. He's a really interesting person as well. One who loves life just as much as music.

Maestro Buchbinder first appeared on Crossover in August 2012. He'd just finished and released a massive undertaking - recording all of Beethoven's sonatas - for the second time!  Beethoven: The Sonata Legacy was recorded live at Dresden's Semperoper (Semper Opera House) and released by RCA Red Seal/Sony. Just after that visit, Buchbinder was awarded "Instrumentalist of the Year - Piano" at the 2012 German ECHO Klassik Awards for the effort.  And that's just one of the over 100 recordings to his credit. Virtuoso, indeed.

But it was also in that interview that we learned he was a collector. Everything from first-edition musical scores to pianos, to non-musical items like 4,000 DVD movies from Abbott and Costello to Hitchcock and every single Oscar winner. We also found out that he's just a "regular guy" who loves art, architecture, books, food and a lot more. He's also quite playful. Not long after our interview, he told the arts reporter for the Huffington Post, "I am still just a little rascal. I have a problem with the word 'maturity.'" Come to think of it, there was that "twinkle" in his voice.

Meanwhile, Maestro Buchbinder continues to perform as a regular with most of the world's prestigious orchestras. He's just finishing up a run with the New York Philharmonic, and he'll be at the Kimmel Center in March to perform Mozart with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Buchbinder prefers performing live for an audience, even when recording. In his first Crossover interview he said he likes the spontaneity and the chemistry with the audience that you don't get in a recording studio. As he later explained to the Wall Street Journal, "In the studio, you can't be spontaneous. In a live concert (and thank God you don't hear a lot of wrong notes when I play), you get the kind of emotion you can't produce in an artificial setting. There is a chemistry that takes place, and I don't care if there is also coughing and rustling."

In this latest interview, Jill speaks with Maestro Buchbinder about his newest Sony Classical release, his recording Mozart Piano Concertos No. 23 and 25, with Nikolaus Harnoncourt's 37-piece Concentus Musicus Wien. Just released on January 22nd, the performance was, as is his wont, recorded live at the Vienna Musikverein last summer. But this time Buchbinder performs on a period instrument, a reproduction of a 1792 Anton Walter pianoforte - similar to one he'd just sold. You see, he sold the piano collection. Perhaps to make room for more DVDs?

Join Jill and Maestro Buchbinder Saturday morning 11:30 am to 12:30 pm on WRTI-FM, with an encore broadcast the following Friday evening at 7 pm on the All-Classical web stream and WRTI-HD2.