“Musicianship that was as breathtaking in its virtuosity as it was revelatory in its grasp of the music” - Classical Source (on Leslie Howard’s latest Wigmore Hall recital)
This has been another busy season for pianist Leslie Howard. Tours on five continents throughout 2015-16 have seen him enthralling audiences with his customarily adventurous repertoire.
A citizen both of Britain and Australia, Leslie Howard has accomplished a feat unequalled by any solo artist in recording history – his 99-CD survey for Hyperion of the complete piano music of Franz Liszt, including all 17 works for piano and orchestra. Accomplished within 14 years, it encompasses more than 300 world premières, with many works prepared from Liszt’s unpublished manuscripts and works unheard since Liszt’s lifetime. This critically acclaimed project merited Leslie Howard’s entry in the Guinness Book of World Records, six Grands Prix du Disque, the Medal of St. Stephen, the Pro Cultura Hungarica award and a mounted bronze cast of Liszt’s hand presented by the Hungarian President. In 1999 the Queen bestowed on him “Member in the Order of Australia” for his “service to the arts as piano soloist, composer, musicologist and mentor to young musicians”. During the Liszt bicentenary year – 2011, Leslie Howard travelled the world with seven different all-Liszt recital programmes, maintaining at the same time a broad repertoire of concertos and chamber-music, and a quantity of solo music by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Rachmaninov and Rubinstein.
Leslie Howard has appeared internationally with the world’s finest orchestras, including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, English Northern Philharmonia, RTE National Symphony of Dublin, Hanover Band, Utah Symphony, Maryland Symphony, Mexico Philharmonic, Orchestra della Scala, Budapest Philharmonic, Budapest Symphony, and the orchestras of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Queensland and Tasmania in Australia.
His 130+ CD discography contains many other important world première recordings, including the four piano sonatas of Anton Rubinstein, the three piano sonatas of Tchaikovsky and a disc of Scandinavian piano sonatas. Leslie Howard’s recent releases include the Piano Quartets of Rubinstein – world première recordings for Hyperion; 25 Etudes in Black and White – his own compositions recorded for ArtCorp; and a disc pairing the two Rakhmaninov piano sonatas for Melba Recordings. In addition, he has produced an Urtext edition of the Liszt sonata for Edition Peters and a new reconstruction and orchestration of Paganini’s fifth violin concerto for the collected Paganini Edition.
In January 2011, Hyperion Records released a 99CD boxed set of Leslie Howard’s complete Liszt recordings, which has proved an enormous success: 'Almost any way you choose to look at it, this is a staggering achievement.’ Diapason d’Or