The 2nd Piano Concerto of Johannes Brahms is a work of epic stature – even if he himself referred to it as “a tiny little piano concerto”... it is known among pianists as ‘the long terror’, a highly demanding marathon.

Not a problem for Nikolai Lugansky: after having won a number of prestigious prizes, the pianist gained an iron-clad reputation in the Russian repertoire. We now know better, and it has become clear that Lugansky’s magic and mastery thrives on a much broader palette: “The most important experiences in music are not linked to a language or country, but with associations such as the universe, passion, God and peace.”

Nikolai Lugansky is Artist-in-residence at Flagey this season.

The work caused Brahms many a headache, because after a first piano concerto, in 1858, which had a cool reception, it took him more than twenty years to get up his courage to write a second. In 1881, he considered the time was ripe: Brahms was at the height of his career and was one of the few composers who could make a living solely from publishing his music. And he wrote: “Despite everything, the first concerto will still please people, and the second one is to sound rather different”.

His prediction came true. The first concerto ultimately made its way to the concert hall, and the second feels much more self-assured and mature. At the height of his career, Brahms achieved for the first time the perfect mix of inspiration and technique – at last, he felt that he was a fully fledged composer.


Following the new measures of the CODECO of 03.12.21 concerning indoor cultural events, Flagey has to limit the audience size to 200 people.

In order to be able to welcome as many people as possible, this concert will take place both on 17 December (20:15) and on 18 December (20:15).


Johannes Brahms
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, op. 83
soloist: Nikolai Lugansky, piano

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Symphony No. 4 in F minor, op. 36

discover more

programme booklet

Do you want to learn more about the music and the artists? Download your programme booklet or click here for the pocket sized mobile version.

download programme booklet

deep dive

An extensive and personal interview with Nikolai Lugansky.

watch the interview

brahms analysed

Stephen Johnson analyses the music and the background to the music of Brahms' 2nd Piano Concerto with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Jonathan Schiffman with piano soloist Martin Roscoe.

watch the bbc broadcast

listening project

A podcast about the paradoxical relationship between the piano and orchestra in the opening movement of Brahms' 2nd piano concerto.

listen to the podcast


🎟️🎫 €36 > €5

Venue: Studio 4, Flagey

Location: Place Sainte Croix Heilig Kruisplein | 1050 Brussels
Telephone: +32 2 620 41 10

safety measures Flagey