Blown away by Beethoven’s sonatas 

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Steven Osborne, a critically acclaimed pianist, plays Beethoven’s final three sonatas, at Von der Mehden Hall. Osborne will be lecturing for UConn music students later this week.  Photo by Mike McClellan / The Daily Campus

Steven Osborne, a critically acclaimed pianist, plays Beethoven’s final three sonatas, at Von der Mehden Hall. Osborne will be lecturing for UConn music students later this week. Photo by Mike McClellan / The Daily Campus

Although occupied by only one piano and one musician, the stage in Von der Mehden could not have felt more alive than when Steven Osborne performed Beethoven’s final three sonatas on Tuesday, Feb. 25.  

Returning to UConn after twenty years, Osborne was welcomed warmly to the stage before delivering an engaging show that caused the audience to fall in love with each note of the three pieces he played. In honor of the Beethoven anniversary year, he is performing these works all around the world. It has been a privilege to hear them here at UConn. 

Osborne, as an immeasurably talented British musician, has received the highest of praise for his recitals. He has won several awards, including The Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist of the Year in 2013, and two Gramophone Awards. He is currently a Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music. 

Osborne’s skill shone through in every aspect of his performance. Even the most difficult-sounding melodies appeared to be effortless for him, and the emotion he put behind each note entranced the audience. It was clear that he is passionate about his profession, and watching him play the music was equally as awe-inspiring as listening.  


Osborne has received several awards, including The Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist of the Year in 2013, and two Gramophone Awards. He is currently a Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music.  Photo by Mike McClellan / The Daily Campus

Osborne has received several awards, including The Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist of the Year in 2013, and two Gramophone Awards. He is currently a Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music. Photo by Mike McClellan / The Daily Campus

“I really really liked this one, because I played one of the pieces… Hearing it live, it’s different, it’s kind of amazing. Some things you just can’t capture in recordings… It’s just beautiful,” said Tristan Wong, a second semester piano performance major. 

Aside from the music itself, Osborne enhanced the audience’s connection with each piece by providing insight into the meaning or history attached to them. Whether comparing Beethoven’s works to those of another era or style, drawing attention to a theme that brings new meaning to the piece, or discussing comments previous audiences made regarding his execution and interpretation.  

“It was very breathtaking, and I didn’t have any words to put it into, but I was very much into all of the pieces. He kind of brought me into his world, he seemed very good at that, engaging us…” 

Saura Malahiacar, second semester student majoring in music education, specializing in piano, said. 

Upon the conclusion of the recital, Osborne received a well-deserved standing ovation. Several audience members lingered, chatting about the breathtaking performance they had the privilege of attending. It was clear that each person was in awe of Osborne’s talent, regardless of their knowledge of the pieces. It was a performance anyone could enjoy. 

“I came because I wanted to learn more about how to write for piano … and this was like eating Hershey’s milk chocolate all your life and discovering dark chocolate exists. This was a caliber above the rest … I didn’t know you could play piano like that,” Sarah Marze, second semester vocal and composition major said. 

After such an amazing and unforgettable show, UConn would be very fortunate to host Steven Osborne again, even if another 20 years goes by before he returns.


Meghan Shaw is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at meghan.n.shaw@uconn.edu

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