On October 4, 2019, the internationally acclaimed pianist and conductor Benjamin Hochman releases his debut concerto recording with the English Chamber Orchestra on Avie Records featuring two of Mozart’s piano concertos, the joyful and lyrical No. 17 in G major, and the dark and dramatic No. 24 in C minor. Possessed of an intellectual and heartfelt musical inquisitiveness, Hochman’s playing was described by the Vancouver Sun as “stylish and lucid, with patrician authority and touches of elegant wit.” The New York Times wrote of him “classical music doesn’t get better than this.” Joining forces with the English Chamber Orchestra, the most recorded chamber orchestra in the world with discography containing 860 recordings of over 1,500 works by more than 400 composers, Hochman showcases his new conductorial skills and shares his deep personal connection to Mozart’s music.
“This recording of the Mozart Piano Concertos K. 453 and 491 is the result of a period of immersion in Mozart’s music that I have been undertaking for the last couple of years. The reason for this immersion is primarily my love for Mozart’s music, which I have felt for a long time. It also began at a time in my life when I was interested in taking on a big project, concentrating on one particular composer and seeing what that experience was like. It allowed me to go much deeper into his music and learn a lot about his musical language, form, expression, and style. It has been deeply rewarding.”
Explaining why he chose to record these specific concertos, No. 17 and 24, Hochman stated,
“I chose to record these two concertos because to me they are mirror images of each other. The G major is full of sunshine and joy, but it also has these moments of darkness that show complexity, whereas the C minor is essentially tragic, full of fury and storm, yet it also has moments of calm and resignation, including much of the slow movement. Also, the last movements of the two concertos are both in variation form- the only two final movements of Mozart Piano Concertos that are variations. For these reasons, the two concertos really complement each other very well.”
Speaking about his first collaboration with one of the finest Mozartian orchestras in the world, English Chamber Orchestra, Hochman praised, “I grew up listening to so many recordings of the English Chamber Orchestra with artistic giants like Daniel Barenboim, Murray Perahia, and Mitsuko Uchida. This really made a profound impression on me. Therefore, it was an immense pleasure to make music with this remarkable orchestra.”
Winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2011, Benjamin’s Mozart immersion extends to a Complete All-Mozart Sonata Project over the course of two seasons (2018-2019 and 2019-2020). This season, Mr. Hochman presents the complete Mozart Piano Sonatas at the Israel Conservatory in Tel Aviv and continues his traversal of the cycle at the Bard College Conservatory.
“Mozart’s music expresses so much about the human condition, but it also gives us something we truly need. Perhaps now more than ever, we need that nourishment: musical, artistic, spiritual, however you want to describe it.” Hochman stated, “To me, his piano concertos are some of the greatest expressions of his art.”
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K453 29:06
I. Allegro 11:49
II. Andante 9:36
III. Allegro - Presto 7:41
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K491 30:10
I. Allegro 13:56
II. Larghetto 7:18
III. Allegretto 8:56
About Benjamin Hochman
Jerusalem-born pianist and conductor Benjamin Hochman's eloquent and virtuosic performances blend artistic bravura with poetic interpretation, exciting audiences and critics alike. Winner of the 2011 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Mr. Hochman has established a vibrant international musical presence through concerts with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Houston, Seattle, San Francisco and Vancouver Symphonies, Prague Philharmonia, Istanbul State Orchestra, and his Carnegie Hall debut with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
A graduate of the Juilliard Conducting Program where he studied with Alan Gilbert, he has also served as musical assistant to Louis Langrée at the 2016 Mostly Mozart festival. Recent and forthcoming guest conducting appearances include the Orlando Philharmonic, Santa Fe Pro Musica and The Orchestra Now. He is founder and music director of the Roosevelt Island Orchestra in NYC.
Mr. Hochman's albums on Avie Records, Variations, was named by The New York Times one of the Best Classical Music Recordings of 2015.
Currently on the piano faculty of Bard College Conservatory of Music, Mr. Hochman is a Steinway Artist
About The English Chamber Orchestra
The English Chamber Orchestra is the most recorded chamber orchestra in the world, its discography containing 860 recordings of over 1,500 works by more than 400 composers.
The American radio network CPRN has selected ECO as one of the world’s greatest ‘living’ orchestras. The illustrious history of the orchestra features many major musical figures. Benjamin Britten was the orchestra’s first Patron and a significant musical influence.
The ECO’s long relationship with Daniel Barenboim led to an acclaimed complete cycle of Mozart piano concertos as live performances and recordings, followed later by two further recordings of the complete cycle, with Murray Perahia and Mitsuko Uchida.
Recent tours have included the USA, Bermuda, China, Finland, France, Greece, Slovenia and Austria (culminating in a concert at Vienna’s Musikverein) as well as concerts across the UK and at London’s Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Kings Place and Cadogan Hall.
The Orchestra has been chosen to record many successful film soundtracks including Dario Marianelli’s prize-winning scores for Atonement and Pride and Prejudice, and several James Bond soundtracks, and has taken part in a variety of other film and television projects.
The ECO is proud of its outreach programme, Close Encounters, which is run by the musicians in the orchestra and takes music into many settings within communities and schools around the UK and abroad.