Keys to the Hometown

The renowned pianist Philip Thomson returns to NB for a concert of Shostakovich Piano Concerto No.2 and Mendelssohn’s fourth symphony. Soloist Philip Thomson, piano with Maestro Michael Newnham.

May 14, 2018
Moncton: Capitol Theatre

15 mai 2018
Fredericton: The Playhouse

May 16, 2018
Saint John: Imperial Theatre

Bravo series concerts are preceded by a pre-concert talk at 6:30pm. Performance begins at 7:30pm.

The season ends with the triumphal return of Saint John Native Philip Thomson playing Shostakovich’s second piano concerto, a delightful piece written by Shostakovich for his son that is guaranteed to have the audience humming the melodies.

This program opens with Mendelssohn’s wonderful Overture, The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave) and ends with Mendelssohn’s 4th symphony. Between these two joyous works in the equally joyous Shostakovich Piano Concerto #2 and Dvorak’s sublime “Romance” for Violin and Orchestra played by SNB concertmaster, David Adams.


Philip Thomson was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. He began piano studies at an early age with Carol O’Neil, who remained his teacher until he entered the University of Toronto as a student of the Swiss pianist Pierre Souvairan. He pursued his master’s degree in piano performance at The Juilliard School under the celebrated pianist Abbey Simon. While still a student, he was already concertizing widely in his native country; he has played with all the major orchestras and in every important center in Canada. While at Juilliard, he won that school’s Franz Liszt concerto competition, and performed the Liszt E-flat concerto in Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center. Mr. Thomson came to international attention in 1991, when he made the world premiere recording of Liszt’s De Profundis, a 40-minute tour-de-force whose manuscript had been kept in the Goethe-Schiller archives in Weimar, and which, astoundingly, had escaped the serious attention of musicologists for over a century and a half. Philip Thomson’s recording of this work with the Hungarian State Orchestra on the Hungaroton label won wide acclaim in musical journals throughout the world, and its success secured for him the opportunity to perform the Italian, Hungarian, Canadian, and American premieres of De Profundis during the following year. Mr. Thomson was subsequently invited by Naxos records to record three CDs of the solo music of Liszt. These recordings, released in 1995 and 1996, and containing among many other works the complete set of “Harmonies Poetiques et Religieuses,” also received international critical praise. In 1998, Mr. Thomson began to research the music of Felix Blumenfeld. In his time (1863-1931), Blumenfeld was one of the most influential musical figures in Russia, well known as a pianist, composer, conductor, and teacher. For unknown reasons, the music of this pianistic genius  the teacher of Vladimir Horowitz and Simon Barere, among other titans of the era disappeared from concert halls after his death, and his works are no longer in print. Mr. Thomson was, however, able to discover and gather much of his music from several archival sources. The Ivory Classics label invited Mr. Thomson to record a CD of Felix Blumenfeld’s piano music, and the result was the release, in 2000, of the complete preludes and impromptus of this important and surprisingly neglected composer. This CD contains thirty-four works, none of which had ever been recorded before. As with Mr. Thomson’s Liszt CDs, it has garnered wide critical acclaim. Besides his coast-to-coast Canadian concertizing, Mr. Thomson has also performed in the United States, England, Ireland, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Hungary, Italy, and China.

Philip Thomson has been on the piano faculty of the School of Music at The University of Akron since 1994.