Past Event

Sara Davis Buechner, piano: Busoni Elegies and Paganini Etudes

March 22, 2023
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
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Teatro of the Italian Academy, 1161 Amsterdam Avenue

“When I first played these Elegies, I felt the powerful emotion of Busoni’s music”

This recital is a tribute to the legendary Italian pianist-composer Ferruccio Busoni.

Free and open to the public

Busoni - Seven Elegies 
Liszt-Busoni - Six Etudes after Paganini

Click here to watch Buechner talk about the emotional layerings of Busoni’s works as part of our 2020 Summer Online Festival. 

Listen to Buechner performances on Soundcloud, including several Busoni pieces.  

About the artists

Ferruccio Dante Michelangelo Benvenuto Busoni was born in Tuscany in 1866. He was a child prodigy, a virtuoso pianist, and a composer of brilliant, intellectually powerful works. He taught piano and aesthetics in Helsinki, Moscow, New York, and Berlin. 

Busoni began composing in his early years in a late romantic style, but after 1907, when he published his Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music, he developed a more individual style, often with elements of atonality. His visits to America led to his interest in North American indigenous tribal melodies which were reflected in some of his works. Two short operas, Arlecchino and Turandot, composed in Zürich, attempted to revive the commedia dell’arte in modern form. Busoni was deeply influenced by Franz Liszt and arranged and edited Liszt’s transcriptions of the six etudes by Paganini published as Grandes Études de Paganini on tonight’s program. Busoni’s piano works include an immense concerto with choral finale; and his seven Elegies, published in 1909.  He also wrote chamber music, vocal and orchestral works, and operas—one of which, Doktor Faust, he left unfinished when he died in 1924, in Berlin, at the age of 58. It was completed by his pupil Philipp Jarnach and performed in 1925.

Sara Davis Buechner is one of the most original concert pianists of our time. Lauded for her “intelligence, integrity and all-encompassing technical prowess” (New York Times), “thoughtful artistry in the full service of music” (Washington Post), and “astounding virtuosity” (Philippine Star), Japan’s InTune magazine sums up: “Buechner has no superior.”

In her twenties Ms. Buechner earned top prizes at the world’s premiere international piano competitions — Queen Elisabeth, Leeds, Mozart, Beethoven, and Sydney. She was a Bronze Medalist of the 1986 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and the Gold Medalist of the 1984 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition.

Ms. Buechner has performed in every state and province of North America — as recitalist, chamber musician, and soloist with top orchestras like the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and Philadelphia Orchestra; and in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Hollywood Bowl. She has toured throughout Latin and South America and Europe; and she enjoys a special following in Asia, where she has been a featured soloist with the Sydney Symphony, New Zealand Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic and Shanghai Philharmonic, among many others.

As a proud transgender woman, Ms. Buechner also appears as a speaker and performer at LGBTQ events, and has contributed interviews and articles about her own experience to numerous media outlets worldwide.

Sara is a dual American-Canadian citizen who lives in Philadelphia.

Photo: Courtesy of Yukiko Onley