Following their widely acclaimed Beethoven Journey, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Leif Ove Andsnes join forces once again to explore two especially remarkable years in the history of classical music with Mozart Momentum 1785/1786, a new performing and recording project spanning four years (2019-2022).

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was in Vienna riding the wave of his torrential creativity and blazing the path to a new era for the piano concerto. Over the course of two years, 1785 and 1786, he wrote a series of extraordinary masterpieces in the genre which re-invented the nature of the piano concerto and paved the way for Beethoven and his successors. In this period, Mozart began to re-examine the roles of the soloist and orchestra, thus developing the aspects of communication and dialogue between the two entities in a way that had not been done before.

Mozart Momentum 1785/1786 also showcases the endless creative genius of Mozart as a composer of solo, chamber and orchestral works, providing a rich portrait of a master at the top of his game. As in the Beethoven Journey, Leif Ove Andsnes will again be leading and directing the Mahler Chamber Orchestra from the piano, as well as performing chamber music with musicians from the orchestra. These close musical partners exemplify the central values that are at the core of this project. 

“When you realize how quickly Mozart developed during the early years of the 1780’s it makes you ask: why did this happen? What was going on? And that’s what this project is all about. It’s about the momentum of his creativity at this time, which must have been inspired by the need for this kind of concert and these kinds of pieces where he could show his abilities as a composer, performer and improviser.”

Leif Ove Andsnes

As they did with their Beethoven Journey, Leif Ove Andsnes and the MCO will be performing Mozart Momentum 1785/1786 in numerous concerts and festivals, commencing May 2019 in Frankfurt (over two days in a festival format), Berlin, Evian, Grenoble, Paris and Lisbon. In addition to key partners such as the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Rudolfinum Prague and DeSingel Antwerp, the project will culminate in 2022 with residencies around the globe including London, New York and Tokyo.

Mozart Momentum 1785/1786 will be recorded on two volumes for release on Sony Classical. The first was recorded in Berlin’s Philharmonie in November 2020 and released in May 2021. Repertoire for the first volume includes Piano Concertos Nos. 20, 21 and 22, Fantasia for Piano, Piano Quartet No. 1 and the Masonic Funeral March, led by MCO Concertmaster Matthew Truscott.

In addition to the concert experience, Mozart Momentum 1785/1786 includes an integral education and outreach component entitled Unboxing Mozart, an interactive live event revolutionizing the traditional concert introduction experience. Inviting concertgoers to become active participants in an artistic experience, this game – in both physical and virtual form – creates a convergence of classical music, collaborative performance, and urban gaming.

Through Unboxing Mozart, participants experience, first-hand, the energetic musical and human interaction with an ensemble by allowing the gamer to become a part of the ensemble, take on solo responsibilities, or act as part of a group to create constructive dialogues within a community.

Unboxing Mozart will be launched in Frankfurt on 11 May 2019 and plans are in motion to introduce the project to other countries as the project develops.

Mozart momentum
Mozart momentum