Wilhelm Berger (1861 - 1911) was the chief conductor of the renowned Hofkapelle in Meiningen, Germany. He was a successful pianist and the composer of more than 100 compositions, which was awarded with many important prizes. Even so, after his demise, his oeuvre was consigned to oblivion. Pianist Mitsuko Saruwatari rediscovered his work and became enthralled with its artistry. In 2018 she recorded her first Berger compact disc Wilhelm Berger Piano Solo Pieces, a world premiere. Critics praised her playing, were astonished by the quality of the compositions and agreed that these deserved to be performed more regularly.
Spring 2020 will showcase another first: the compact disc: Wilhelm Berger Piano Solo Pieces volume II. The repertoire on this disc was found in the archives of the Library of Meiningen.
This recital offers the unique opportunity to become acquainted with the amazing sound pallete of Berger. Saruwatari will also play some nocturnes by Chopin as well as Beethoven’s Piano Sonata number 2, opus 31, known as 'Der Sturm'. This sonata is one of the highlights of the composer’s middle period.
Mitsuko Saruwatari was born in Tokyo, Japan. After graduating from the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo she continued her studies with Willem Brons at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam. During this time she won the first prize in a competition for French music in Kyoto and was granted a stipend in The Netherlands. Following her first solo album Frédéric Chopin in 2016 she recorded Schumann the Poet and in 2018 Wilhelm Berger Piano Solo Pieces. Mitsuko Saruwatari performs in recitals in The Netherlands: Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and De Doelen in Rotterdam, and also in Belgium, France and Germany as well as in Japan. She is also resident pianist of the Uriël Ensemble.