Spring Arts Guide 2013

Maurizio Pollini April 14 at Strathmore Music Center

High-profile pianists abound in D.C. this April. András Schiff, Emanuel Ax, and Maurizio Pollini all play within two weeks of each other, and unless you’re a wealthy piano junkie, you’re probably not going to all three. It’s tough to pick favorites, as each has his signature strengths—Schiff’s soft hands, Ax’s clarity—but if technical precision is your metric of musicianship, you can’t beat Maurizio Pollini. It isn’t everyone’s. Pollini gets called “icy,” “aristocratic,” and a “cold fish,” and these are by critics who like him. But the man doesn’t showboat. He simply plays every piece perfectly and with ruthless efficiency, minimal pedalwork, and an intolerance for superfluous dynamic changes. His dominance of the instrument is evident in the unflappable air he assumes in the most strenuous performances. If this makes him a bit stiff, he’s certainly no Lang Lang. And for many, that’s a good thing. 4 p.m. $38–$78.

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