CULTURE

Pianist Badura-Skoda at the Megaron

On Monday evening, January 19, the famous Viennese soloist and musical genius Paul Badura-Skoda is to open the Nikos Skalkottas Hall in the new International Conference Center at the Athens Concert Hall with an evening of music – by invitation only, as the new auditorium is only for very few people. Only a very few, but very lucky, people, may we add. The next evening, however, in the Friends of Music Hall, the public will be able to enjoy the pianist’s unique talent in a concert of that begins with Bach’s 1735 Italian Concerto in F Major, BWV 971, and Beethoven’s Sonata for Piano No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57, also named the «Apassionata.» The second part of the concert consists of Brahms’s Six Piano Pieces, Op. 118, and Schumann’s Carnival, Op. 9. The special evening is being held as part of the «Great Interpreters» series, sponsored by the Theoharakis group of companies. Vassilis and Marina Theoharakis are supporters of the Athens Concert Hall. Badura-Skoda is indeed a «great interpreter,» who is able to play the most difficult pieces in the repertoire for piano with the greatest of ease. He has been an official guest at the most important music festivals. Great musicians, such as Wilhelm Furtwaengler, Joseph Kripps, Karl Boehm, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Georg Solti and the violinist David Oistrakh, are among his collaborators. He has recorded over 200 records, a repertoire that includes all piano sonatas by Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. He also conducts, composes and has written books on music. He is the owner of a rich collection of historic keyboard instruments and has a massive archive of original scores, microfilms, and first editions. Now in his 70s, he is tall, slim and elegant. In 1978, he was awarded the Beisendorfer Ring, according to the Athens Concert Hall’s announcement, a distinction only awarded once previously to Wilhelm Backhaus, and in 1993 was declared a Knight of the Legion of Honor. In 1997, he was awarded the title of Commander of Letters and Arts. The internationally renowned artist Nicholas Egon and his wife Matti are giving a luncheon tomorrow in honor of the Viennese pianist at their home on Deinocratous Street, where Egon’s beautiful landscapes of Greece and paintings of its ancient monuments, in the colors of the four seasons, decorate the walls. The guests will include members of the Athens Academy, professors, diplomats, archaeologists and music critics, all friends of music who will have the privilege of meeting Paul Badura-Skoda, a master of music in our time.