the joy of playing

2 December 2021
Michiel Commandeur

Michiel Commandeur



In November it was finally time to go on tour with Leif Ove Andsnes.

I say finally because in the past couple of years the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Leif Ove have been quite unlucky: The tour where we would present Unboxing Mozart, a project that was done by Lars Vogt (he did an amazing job, but that aside) was postponed because Leif Ove was unwell. After that it was planned that we would do our first big Mozart Momentum tour through Europe, but Corona changed the world so all was cancelled.

Fortunately we were able to do the “nearly impossible”: last year in December. During a serious lockdown period in Berlin, we managed to get together and work in an empty Philharmonie to record our first “Momentum” CD. So the first steps were made, and the year 1785 was recorded.
And now it was time to play those pieces live, including two later piano concertos (1786) that would be recorded in Vienna on the tour.

We started off in Lisbon where late summer was still leaving its mark. The Gulbenkian building, in the middle of a kind of Japanese park, hosts two museums and a concert hall. With our hotel around the corner, the morning walks to the hall were very nice. Although at the entrance there was serious corona-control: temperature, hand wash and new face mask was required until we were seated.

As soon as we started playing with Leif Ove it felt as if we had never stopped playing together. It’s a very natural collaboration. He had brought with him a fellow piano player that specialised in the human body in relation to music making: Tina Margareta Nilssen. She offered us a workshop and private lessons, in which she could confront us with our physical issues. I had two lessons with her and also took part in the workshop and it was a revelation! I heard from colleagues as well that she really knows how the body works and has very good ideas about sitting down for example, a thing we mostly do in the MCO. For the rest of the tour people were sitting straight up with more focus and therefore even better sound!

If you are interested visit:
Thank you again Tina for this!

We had the luxury of staying in Lisbon for five nights, so we had a lot of opportunities to eat well at night and make long walks along the river and the sea. After three days of rehearsing we took off with the first concert, Leif Ove was on fire and the standard was set for the next two weeks!