Behind the scenes with Leif Ove Andsnes

Leif Ove Andsnes has travelled the world and is used to handling the press, but the Norwegian pianist was exposed to some refreshingly different questions when performing in London last week.

07/01/2004 :: As Leif Ove Andsnes was in London to perform Grieg’s Piano Concerto and Mahler’s Symphony No 5 along with the London Symphony Orchestra, a group of 60 pupils from the Norwegian School in Wimbledon travelled to the Barbican Centre to listen to the final rehearsal.

The children, who are between 6 and 15 years old, got the chance to meet the celebrated pianist from their home country and everyone got his autograph.

Some of them took the opportunity to ask Andsnes some questions.

Whereas the older pupils wanted to know what inspired the pianist and what the he liked about Grieg’s music in particular, the questions from the younger children were of a somewhat different nature.

"Can you ride a bike?" one boy wondered.

"Yes I can", Andsnes replied.

"Are you any good at it then?" was the follow-up, to which Andsnes replied that he was in fact quite good.

One pupil wanted to know whether Andsnes (33) had ever had the pleasure of meeting Edvard Grieg in person, another asked if Andsnes owned the concert hall.

"No I don’t. In fact, I don’t even own this piano", Andsnes laughed.

Judging from the photos the pianist seemed to enjoy his encounter with the pupils.

Record of the Year
Leif Ove Andsnes was the recipient of The Grieg Society of Great Britain’s annual Record of the Year Award for 2003 for his highly praised EMI Classics disc of selections from Grieg’s Lyric Pieces (reviewed in May 2002). This was the eighth such award: previous winners include Raphael Wallfisch and Einar Steen-Nøkleberg, as well as historic reissues of Grieg’s music on the BMG and Dutton Laboratories labels.

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Leif Ove Andsnes seemed to enjoy meeting the pupils from the Norwegian school.

The pupils listened to the final rehearsal of Grieg’s Piano Concerto and Mahler’s Symphony No 5.