Rudolf Buchbinder is one of the legendary performers of our time. The authority of a career spanning more than 60 years is uniquely combined with esprit and spontaneity in his piano playing. Tradition and innovation, faithfulness and freedom, authenticity and open-mindedness merge in his reading of the great piano literature.
His interpretations of the works of Ludwig van Beethoven in particular are regarded as setting standards. He has performed the 32 piano sonatas in cycles all over the world more than 60 times to date and has continued to develop the history of interpretation of these works over the decades.
With the edition BUCHBINDER:BEETHOVEN, Deutsche Grammophon presents a complete recording of the 32 piano sonatas and the five piano concertos in the run-up to Buchbinder’s 75th birthday in December 2021, thus creating a sounding monument to two outstanding Buchbinder-Beethoven cycles of recent times. Buchbinder was the first pianist to play all of Ludwig van Beethoven’s piano sonatas within one festival summer at the 2014 Salzburg Festival. The Salzburg cycle was recorded live for DVD (Unitel) and is now also available on nine CDs.
The sensational cycle of Ludwig van Beethoven’s five piano concertos came about during the 2019/20 concert season at the Vienna Musikverein. In celebration of its 150th anniversary, the Vienna Musikverein, for the first time in its history, gave a single pianist, Rudolf Buchbinder, the honor of performing all five piano concertos by Ludwig van Beethoven in a specially created series. Buchbinder’s partners in this unprecedented constellation were the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Gewandhauskapellmeister Andris Nelsons, the Vienna Philharmonic under Riccardo Muti and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic and the S√§chsische Staatskapelle Dresden under the baton of Mariss Jansons, Valery Gergiev and Christian Thielemann. All concerts were recorded live. The Musikverein cycle, released on three CDs in September 2021 on Deutsche Grammophon, is a historic document of these artistic summits and a tribute to Buchbinder as one of the most profound Beethoven interpreters of our time.
With his new album “Soir√©e de Vienne“, released on Deutsche Grammophon in November 2022, Rudolf Buchbinder relates to a Viennese evening society and brings together composers who are closely connected with Vienna – like himself. “Freedom in the moment, the luxury of intelligent naivety and curiosity about an instant ‚Äď all this is what makes music come alive,” says Rudolf Buchbinder. The album is a feeling of life poured into sound and transmits the spirit of a good company – inspiring, entertaining, but always profound.
As a contribution to the celebrations marking the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth, Rudolf Buchbinder initiated a cycle of new Diabelli Variations. Following the genesis of Beethoven’s epochal Diabelli Variations op. 120, Buchbinder succeeded in enlisting eleven leading contemporary composers of different generations and origins – Lera Auerbach, Brett Dean, Toshio Hosokawa, Christian Jost, Brad Lubman, Philippe Manoury, Max Richter, Rodion Schtschedrin, Johannes Maria Staud, Tan Dun and J√∂rg Widmann – to write their personal variations on the same waltz theme as Beethoven once did. The New Diabelli Variations were commissioned by eleven concert promoters worldwide with the support of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation and received their world premiere by Rudolf Buchbinder at the Vienna Musikverein before becoming a part of his touring programs in Europe, Asia and the United States. The project reflects Beethoven’s work into the 21st century and impressively underlines the universality of his language across all borders.
Under the title “The Diabelli Project”, Deutsche Grammophon released the world premiere recording of the New Diabelli Variations in March 2020 alongside a new reading of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, which Buchbinder last recorded before in 1976. The double album marked the beginning of his exclusive partnership with Deutsche Grammophon. Also in 2020, a live recording of Beethoven’s 1st Piano Concerto with Christian Thielemann and the Berlin Philharmonic followed.
Rudolf Buchbinder is an honorary member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien, the Wiener Konzerthausgesellschaft, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He is the first soloist to be awarded the Golden Badge of Honor by the Staatskapelle Dresden.
Buchbinder attaches great importance to source research. His private collection of sheet music includes 39 different editions of Beethoven’s complete piano sonatas as well as an extensive archive of first printings, original editions and copies of the autograph piano parts of both piano concertos by Johannes Brahms.
As Artistic Director, he is responsible for the Grafenegg Festival, which has been one of the most influential orchestral festivals in Europe since its founding 15 years ago.
Rudolf Buchbinder has published an autobiography entitled “Da Capo” as well as the book “My Beethoven – Life with the Master.” His latest book, “The Last Waltz,” was published to coincide with the premiere of the New Diabelli Variations in March 2020 and tells 33 stories about Beethoven, Diabelli and piano playing.