Sebastian Knauer to play at opening of Sofia Philharmonic's season

Photo: Gregor Hohenberg

Two-time Echo Klassik Award winner Sebastian Knauer has agreed to step in for pianist Stephen Kovacevich after it became clear that he might be unable to enter the country due to the newly introduced measures to combat the spread of Covid-19. Sebastian Knauer promptly shuffled his busy schedule to make room for a performance in Sofa. He is set to play Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 9 under the conduction of Adrian Prabava.

The German virtuoso's impressive biography spans three decades of appearances in prestigious venues such as the Berlin Philharmonie, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, the Zurich Tonhalle, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Lincoln Center in New York and many others. One of the most renowned Mozart specialists, he has performed the famed composer's entire cycle of 27 piano concerts with the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and all Haydn piano concerts with the Bamberg Symphonikers - conducting the orchestra from his spot at the piano in both instances.

Sebastian Knauer's varied and extensive repertoire is reflected in 15 CD recordings so far. His ÜBERBACH record won him the Echo Klassik Award. Bach & Sons and Bach & Sons II, which he recorded together with the Zürcher Kammerorchester, earned critical acclaim: “Brilliant” (Stern), “Fantastic” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung), “Excellent” (Die Presse Wien). He has worked with music labels such as Berlin Classics, Warner Classics, Deutsche Grammophon and Naxos. East Meets West, his collaboration with Daniel Hope, was awarded the 2005 Echo Klassik and got nominated for a Grammy that same year. Sebastian Knauer has enjoyed a close professional relationship and friendship with British conductor Sir Roger Norrington for many years. Their 2006 release featuring Mozart compositions performed along with the Camerata Salzburg was praised by critics as one of the best Mozart records of all time.

A true fan of chamber music, Sebastian Knauer has performed in a number of projects with great musicians such as the Emerson String Quartet, the Philharmonia Quartet Berlin, Renaud Capuçon, Sabine Meyer, Albrecht Mayer and Hermann Prey as well as with choreographer John Neumeier.

Very much involved with social causes, Knauer has taken part in many charity events. On 13 July 2017, he organised a special concert together with the newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt, which took place in the grand hall of the new Elbphilharmonie Hamburg for an audience of over 1,000 police officers and their partners. The concert was called RESPEKT as a tribute to their efforts in handling the violent clashes at the G20 summit in Knauer's home town of Hamburg.

Since 2001, he has been organising the Wort trifft Musik (Word Meets Music) educational programmes, which focus on one particular composer at a time. Sebastian Knauer personally writes the detailed descriptions of the respective composers' lives, which are then read out on stage by popular German actors such as Martina Gedeck, Iris Berben, Katja Riemann, Klaus Maria Brandauer and Ulrich Tukur.

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