Album released 2 December
Queen Elizabeth Hall debut recital 15 January
London Symphony Orchestra debut 8 & 9 February
The first single, Andantino in F# minor, is available to listen to HERE
Described by The Guardian as “one of the most exciting prospects in a long time”, Eric Lu’s career has moved from strength to strength since winning the 2018 Leeds International Piano Competition. Recent debuts with the Chicago Symphony, LA and Oslo Philharmonic Orchestras, his continuing status as an exclusive Warner Classics recording artist and BBC New Generation Artist underpin his burgeoning reputation as a significant pianist of our time. In the upcoming season, Lu continues to break new territory with a recital tour in Japan alongside Gramophone Young Artist of the Year Johan Dalene and returns to perform at London’s iconic Wigmore Hall.
Now, still only 24, Eric presents his second album on Warner Classics and looks forward to two important UK debuts in January 2023 – with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican, and at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Of his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra earlier this year – where he stepped in at the eleventh hour for Maurizio Pollini – the Chicago Tribune described him as playing with “a pliant, gossamer touch, favouring watercolour strokes over geometric blueprints”, whilst WTTW wrote “With a touch that was at once crystal clear and sublimely expressive, Lu’s playing was absolutely stunning and brought fresh life to a familiar work”.
Lu’s new solo album for Warner Classics is devoted entirely to Schubert. It is built around two of the composer’s greatest sonatas – the D. 784 in A minor (1823), and D. 959 in A major (1828), both canonised as core works in the piano repertoire. Lu complements these with Schubert’s Allegretto in C minor D. 915 (1827).
“I love Schubert,” writes pianist Eric Lu. “Schubert is the composer who moves me most intensely. He was the ultimate artist, in the purest sense of the word. Late in his life, with death staring him down and all his hopes and dreams dashed (his own words), he continued to churn out one masterpiece after another. He simply had to write down this music, and did so at an unbelievable pace … His human soul, in these compositions, goes as deep as any music ever set down.”
Lu takes the Schubert D. 959 to his debut recital at Southbank’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on 15 January, alongside Mozart and Chopin, and gives an all-Schubert recital at Elbphilharmonie Hamburg on 1 March. This forms part of a global concert tour in 2023, which sees Lu visiting prestigious venues such as the Seoul Arts Centre, Montreal Bourgie Hall, Cologne Philharmonie, National Concert Hall Taipei and Wigmore Hall.
Lu also makes his debut with London Symphony Orchestra on 8 and 9 February 2023 with guest conductor Marin Alsop at the Barbican. Eric will perform Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto, one of the composer’s most personal and lyrical works – and the very piece with which Lu scooped the Leeds Gold Medal in 2018.
Lu’s first album of Chopin, Schumann and Brahms was warmly received by the critics: BBC Music Magazine’s 5-star review described his playing as being “in a rare class,” whilstInternational Piano saw it as “truly magical”. Gramophone, praising the pianist’s “poised musicianship” and “wisdom and musicality”, found a particular highlight in “how Lu has fashioned the set into a single whole…each Prelude becomes a mini-chapter of an overall narrative.”
Storytelling also forms an essential part of Lu’s philosophy when it comes to Schubert. He writes: “In Schubert’s large-scale works, such as the D. 959 Sonata, the metaphor of going on a journey describes the experience of playing and listening. Just as in his great song cycle, Winterreise (Winter Journey), all of Schubert’s large-scale works enact a journey like nothing else …. And with the slow, timeless unfolding of this journey, we get carried into a hypnotic world of beauty, hope, and wandering wonderment. Despite this hope, however, a tragic undercurrent of depression and darkness always lurks in the background … For me, this perfectly mirrors life.”
The first single, Andantino in F# minor, is available to stream now, with an accompanying video on YouTube. A second single, Andante in A minor, is also available.
The album will be released on CD and digital on Warner Classics on 2 December.