Silverman embarks on Beethoven sonata cycle

by Gavin Wilson
Staff writer

Robert Silverman is a musician with a mission.

The acclaimed pianist and School of Music professor plans a rare feat. He is playing all 32 of Beethoven's piano sonatas in eight recitals spread over 12 months at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.

It marks the first time the complete sonatas have been played in Vancouver by one person in more than 35 years.

Silverman has spent years planning and preparing his performance of these complex works he calls "one of the great oeuvres in Western art."

"As a pianist and as a teacher, nothing else that I have done comes close to the experience that I have had while studying and performing these masterworks," says Silverman.

One of Canada's most distinguished pianists, Silverman gave his first recital at age five and made his debut with the Montreal Symphony at 14. He has performed with symphonies on four continents -- from Sydney to St. Petersburg -- and with every major orchestra in Canada.

The Chan Centre performances are one of several sonata cycles Silverman will play this year. He is in the midst of similar cycles in Kitchener-Waterloo, Courtenay/Campbell River and Madeira Park on the Sunshine Coast.

This summer he begins another at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. Other performances are being negotiated.

Silverman began the Chan Centre performances of the cycle Jan. 11. More concerts in the series are scheduled for Feb. 15, April 26 and May 10 before a summer hiatus. The series resumes in September and continues with a performance each month until December.

Silverman is not playing the sonatas in chronological order. Instead, each concert program will highlight various aspects of Beethoven's evolution as a composer.

Tickets for Silverman's performances are available through Ticketmaster or at the Chan Centre box office.