BIOGRAPHY

"The experience is beyond compare…his technique and taste are faultless, and his consistency, intelligence and brio create a towering monument to the music” - Diapason, France

Following his hugely successful 70th birthday concert in 2018, Leslie Howard returned to Wigmore Hall in 2019 celebrating 45 years of playing at this, his favourite venue. In the words of Director John Gilhooly “Thank you Leslie for your many fine recitals at Wigmore Hall for over four decades. It has always been a great joy to hear your performances.”  2019 also saw the release of one further CD of hitherto unrecorded pieces by Liszt, finally bringing the total to 100, and so extending the already unequalled accomplishment of the largest solo artist recording project in the history of classical music.  (The new disc can be safely slotted into the famous complete Liszt boxed set which has been available from Hyperion Records since 2011.)  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. 

 

Leslie Howard has balanced his prodigious recording career with an international concert itinerary which has seen him performing regularly throughout the world for more than half a century, always with a repertoire that seeks to extend the audience’s experience and to challenge accepted hierarchies of received wisdom.  He has appeared regularly with the world’s finest orchestras, and has also pursued a distinguished career as a chamber musician, partnering many of the greatest solo musicians and ensembles of our time.  Since a tour of Bangkok and Hong Kong in early 2020, the onset of Covid-19 has confined his work to online performances, recordings, lectures and masterclasses.  He resumed public performances at the end of July 2021 with yet another recital at his beloved Wigmore Hall: Schubert ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy and 5 major Liszt pieces.

         

In addition to his solo Liszt recordings, Leslie Howard’s CD discography contains many other important world première recordings, including the four piano sonatas of Rubinstein, the three piano sonatas of Tchaikovsky and a disc of Scandinavian piano sonatas. All his early solo and duo recordings (with David Stanhope) of the music of Grainger have been reissued in a 5-CD set by Eloquence. There are also 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.  Melba has also released two CDs with Mattia Ometto joining Howard in the complete music of Reynaldo Hahn for two pianos and piano duet.  A work in progress, Brilliant Classics are issuing three sets each of 3 CDs of Liszt’s complete music for two pianos, again with Mattia Ometto – the first box contains all 12 of Liszt’s own two-piano versions of his symphonic poems.  Leslie Howard’s latest solo release is of Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Variations and the complete ‘Creatures of Prometheus’ in Beethoven’s own solo piano version, for the Heritage label.

 

In his capacity as a renowned scholar working from primary sources, Professor Howard has produced 13 volumes of Liszt Society Publications for The Hardie Press, including the complete chamber music, 31 volumes of the annual Music Section of the Liszt Society Journal, and 9 volumes of the new Urtext Liszt scores for Edition Peters (with much-praised versions of the Sonata and the Années de pèlerinage).  The distinguished Beethoven scholar Jonathan Del Mar has written that “Leslie is almost the only musician I know who manages to combine a flawless technique with the mind, the eye, the intellect and the scientific approach of the most rigorous scholar.”  His other editorial work includes a new reconstruction and orchestration of Paganini’s fifth violin concerto for the collected Paganini Edition in Italy, the full score of Bellini’s ‘Adelson e Salvini’, and the now-standard two-piano score of Rakhmaninov’s 4th Concerto for Boosey & Hawkes.

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