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Euroradio wants to know: what's your favourite piano concerto?

13 June 2017
Euroradio wants to know: what's your favourite piano concerto?
Pavel Kolesnikov (photo credit:

To mark the 50th anniversary of the EBU's radio music exchanges, the BBC and Euroradio are offering the live transmission of a special concert by the BBC Concert Orchestra on the anniversary day, 27 November 2017.

The programme will feature, among other soloists, the brilliant young Russian pianist Pavel Kolesnikov, who has just completed his time as a BBC New Generation Artist. You can learn more about him at

Pavel has four favourite piano concertos, and you, the radio listeners, have now voted on which one you would like Pavel to play on 27 November. Read what Pavel has to say about each of them below.

The name of the winning concerto will be announced at the end of July on and on the EBU Music Facebook page.

Thank you to all those who voted!

The EBU Music team

What Pavel says

1. Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 ("Emperor")

"With the first radiant chord of Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto, the world is born anew. Its dazzling saturated colours, its faultless, supreme architecture, its perfect balance of simplicity and complexity makes it hard to believe that this piece was created by a human being. Forgive me for being overly poetic, but if there is freedom and happiness, they both come together as the sound of this music. Not just the ‘Emperor’, it's the God of all piano concertos!"

2. Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1

"Tchaikovsky's 1st Piano Concerto is the concerto I currently play most frequently, yet it's never too much for me. I think this marvellous piece is terribly underrated, often seen mainly as a vehicle of sheer virtuosity. Yet it's a very unique concerto: its drama, despite the shocking scale, remains acutely human, even intimate, and it is presented in Tchaikovsky's trademark narrative style. I can't help but see it as a very candid depiction of a personal struggle, purifying and utterly contemporary in its rawness and honesty."

Pavel Kolesnikov, piano
BBC Symphony Orchestra, Giancarlo Guerrero (conductor)    
Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto no. 1 in B flat minor Op.23
Broadcast 24 December 2015

3. Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2

"Chopin's 2nd Piano Concerto was the first concerto I played with an orchestra and ever since it never ceases to amaze me. It's always difficult to talk about music and almost impossible to say anything about this piece without sounding trite and banal. How could someone, barely 20 years of age, have such a sense of the sublime? How can someone embody, so perfectly in music, such nobility, poetry, purity and sophistication? And yet here we are – the utmost simple things are often simultaneously the most complex. What makes us blush when said in words, makes our hearts surrender when expressed through music. Chopin 2 is a mystery, a musical analogy of Botticelli's Primavera."

Pavel Kolesnikov, piano
BBC Philharmonic, Juanjo Mena (conductor)    
Chopin Piano Concerto No.2
Broadcast 09 December 2016

4. Ravel: Piano Concerto for the Left Hand

"Expansive, scary and spectacular – Ravel's Left Hand Concerto must be the most exotic piece in all the classical concerto repertoire. In less than 20 minutes, the world comes to a crashing end in the swankiest of ways. Only Ravel could write a concerto- catastrophe, bone-chilling and suave. Only Ravel could produce a piece as dark as the ocean floor, and as blazing as a shining star, with tragedy erupting out of a ‘bon mot’. The concerto is formidably stylish and primeval. I am afraid of it as much as I am in love with it."

Pavel Kolesnikov, piano
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Michael Seal (conductor)    
Ravel Piano Concerto for Left Hand
Broadcast 29 March 2016

Relevant links and documents


Pascale Labrie

Head of Music

Relevant Links