Music Director Alan Gilbert will conduct the New York Philharmonic in Aaron Jay Kernis's a Voice, a Messenger, a World Premiere-New York Philharmonic Co- Commission with the Big Band Association, featuring Philharmonic Principal Trumpet Philip Smith, and the New York Premiere of Christopher Rouse's Oboe Concerto, with Principal Oboe Liang Wang, Tuesday, December 28, 2010, Wednesday, December 29, and Thursday, December 30, at 7:30 p.m. Also on the program: Vivaldi's Concerto for Four Violins, RV 580, performed by Philharmonic violinists Sheryl Staples, Michelle Kim, Marc Ginsberg, and Lisa Kim; Hindemith's Horn Concerto, played by Principal Horn Philip Myers; and Ravel's Boléro.
"I have a very clear personal recollection of the New York Philharmonic using members from the Orchestra as soloists in the Vivaldi Concerto, because my mother [Yoko Takebe] was one of them," said Mr. Gilbert. "It's exciting to see people who are usually sitting in their normal seats step forward and actually be soloists. The New York Philharmonic is an orchestra that has any number of musicians who are able to bring something really special - and soloistic - to what they do, and to build a program around this is something that I'm very proud of."
Mr. Gilbert noted that the two premieres being performed by principals in the Orchestra were written by "two composers I really believe in. To be able to do works by contemporary American composers on either side of the intermission makes a lot of sense," he said.
Former Philharmonic Associate Principal Bass Jon Deak will introduce the program one hour before each performance in the Helen Hull Room, unless otherwise noted. Pre-Concert Talks are $7.00; discounts available for multiple concerts, students, and groups. Attendance is limited to 90 people. Information: nyphil.org or (212) 875-5656
On the Music: The New York Philharmonic Podcast
Elliott Forrest, Peabody Award-winning broadcaster, producer, and weekend host on Classical 105.9 FM WQXR, is the producer of this podcast. These award-winning previews of upcoming programs - through musical selections as well as interviews with guest artists, conductors, and Orchestra musicians - are available at nyphil.org/podcast or from iTunes.
National Radio Broadcast
This concert will be broadcast the week of January 10, 2011,* on The New York Philharmonic This Week, a radio concert series syndicated nationally to more than 300 stations by the WFMT Radio Network. The 52-week series, hosted by actor Alec Baldwin, is generously underwritten by The Kaplen Foundation, the Audrey Love Charitable Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Philharmonic's corporate partner, MetLife Foundation. The broadcast will be available on the Philharmonic's Website, nyphil.org. The program is broadcast locally in the New York metropolitan area on Classical 105.9 FM WQXR on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m.
*Check local listings for broadcast and program information.
Alan Gilbert became Music Director of the New York Philharmonic in September 2009, the first native New Yorker to hold the post, ushering in what The New York Times called "an adventurous new era" at the Philharmonic. In his inaugural season he introduced a number of new initiatives: the positions of The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in- Residence, held by Magnus Lindberg; The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in- Residence, held in 2010-11 by violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter; an annual three-week festival, which in 2010-11 is titled Hungarian Echoes, led by Esa-Pekka Salonen; and CONTACT!, the New York Philharmonic's new-music series. In the 2010-11 season Mr. Gilbert is leading the Orchestra on two tours of European music capitals; two performances at Carnegie Hall, including the venue's 120th Anniversary Concert; and a staged presentation of Janá?ek's The Cunning Little Vixen. Highlights of his inaugural season included major tours of Asia and Europe and an acclaimed staged presentation of Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre.
Mr. Gilbert is the first person to hold the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies at The Juilliard School, and is conductor laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of Hamburg's NDR Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted other leading orchestras in the U.S. and abroad, including the Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco symphony orchestras; Los Angeles Philharmonic; Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras; and the Berlin Philharmonic, Munich's Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. From 2003 to 2006 he served as the first music director of the Santa Fe Opera.
Alan Gilbert studied at Harvard University, The Curtis Institute of Music, and The Juilliard School. From 1995 to 1997 he was the assistant conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra. In November 2008 he made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut conducting John Adams's Doctor Atomic. His recordings have received a 2008 Grammy Award nomination and top honors from the Chicago Tribune and Gramophone magazine. On May 15, 2010, Mr. Gilbert received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music.
Marc Ginsberg joined the New York Philharmonic in 1970 and was appointed Principal, Second Violin Group, in 1972. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where he studied with Margaret Pardee, Ivan Galamian, and Paul Makanowitzky. He was also a recipient of a Fulbright scholarship for study in Paris. Mr. Ginsberg performs frequently in chamber music, including on the New York Philharmonic Ensembles series at Merkin Concert Hall and with the Washington Square Music Festival. He formed the Cleo Quartet with other Philharmonic members, including his wife, violinist Judith Ginsberg. Mr. Ginsberg's prior Philharmonic solo appearances include his debut in Vivaldi's
Concerto for Four Violins, led by Pinchas Zukerman, in 1977; J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in 1994, with then-Music Director Kurt Masur conducting; and as a member of the solo string quartet in Benjamin Lees's Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra, in November 1998, Leonard Slatkin, conductor. More recently, he performed Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in December 2008, led by Lorin Maazel.
Lisa Kim joined the Philharmonic in 1994 and was named Associate Principal, Second Violin Group (In Memory of Laura Mitchell), in 2003. She teaches in South Korea and the United States, and has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Seoul National Philharmonic Orchestra, and the SooWon, North Carolina, Winston-Salem, and Durham symphony orchestras. She has performed chamber music with the Philharmonic Ensembles series, Brooklyn's Bargemusic, Hofstra Chamber Ensemble series, Mostly Chamber Festival, and Lyric Chamber Music Society; with Lynn Harrell, Ani Kavafian, Yo-Yo Ma, Garrick Ohlsson, and the late Lukas Foss; in Europe, under the International Music Program; and at Jordan's Jurash Festival at the invitation of King Hussein. Lisa Kim began violin studies at age seven, attended the North Carolina School of the Arts, and earned bachelor's and master's degrees from The Juilliard School. She has won prizes in the Arts Recognition and Talent Search, BRyan Young Artists String Competition, Winston-Salem Young Talent Search, and Durham Symphony Young Artists Competition. She joined the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music in 1999. Ms. Kim most recent solo appearance with the New York Philharmonic was in December 2008, performing Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, conducted by Lorin Maazel.
Michelle Kim has been Assistant Concertmaster (The William Petschek Family Chair) of the New York Philharmonic since 2001. She has performed as soloist with orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, New Jersey Philharmonic, Santa Barbara Chamber and Pacific Symphony orchestras. An active chamber musician, Ms. Kim has collaborated with violinists Cho-Liang Lin, Christian Tetzlaff, and Pinchas Zukerman; cellists Mstislav Rostropovich, Lynn Harrell, and Gary Hoffman; and pianists Lang Lang and Yefim Bronfman. She has performed at the Santa Fe Chamber Music, La Jolla Chamber Music, Strings in the Mountain, and Bravo! Vail Valley Music festivals. She has also served as the first violinist of the Rossetti String Quartet, and was a Sterne Virtuoso Artist at Skidmore College in 2007-08. A former Presidential Scholar, Ms. Kim attended the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music as a Starling Foundation scholarship recipient. She has been a member of the faculty at the USC Thornton School of Music; Colburn School of Performing Arts; and University of California-Santa Barbara. Michelle Kim currently teaches at Mannes College of Music. Her most recent solo appearance with the New York Philharmonic was in June 2009, when she performed Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, conducted by Lorin Maazel.
Philip Myers joined the Philharmonic as Principal French Horn (The Ruth F. and Alan J. Broder Chair) in January 1980, and made his solo debut with the Orchestra that month in the premiere of William Schuman's Three Colloquies for French Horn and Orchestra. He has since appeared as a Philharmonic soloist often, most recently Mozart's Sinfonia concertante for Winds in February 2010, led by Music Director Alan Gilbert. He also performed Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 2, conducted by Lorin Maazel, in New York in January 2008 and again in February 2008 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and Shanghai, China. Mr. Myers began his orchestral career in 1971 with a three-year term as principal horn of the Atlantic Symphony in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was third horn with the Pittsburgh Symphony from 1974 until 1977. As principal horn of the Minnesota Orchestra for a season and a half, he made a solo debut with that ensemble in 1979, performing Richard Strauss's Horn Concerto No. 1, Sir Neville Marriner conducting. A native of Elkhart, Indiana, Mr. Myers holds two degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He plays Engelbert Schmid French horns.
Philip Smith joined the New York Philharmonic as Co-Principal Trumpet in 1978, becoming Principal Trumpet (The Paula Levin Chair) in 1988. His early training was provided at The Salvation Army and by his father, Derek Smith. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School; while still a student, he was appointed to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Smith performs regularly as soloist, recitalist, chamber performer, clinician, and recording artist. He has been featured as a soloist with the Philharmonic almost 100 times, either in New York or on tour, under conductors such as Bernstein, Neeme Järvi, Leinsdorf, Kurt Masur, and Zubin Mehta; his most recent solo appearance was in Haydn's Trumpet Concerto in June 2009, Lorin Maazel conducting. In addition to solo releases on labels such as Deutsche Grammophon, Cala, Summit, New World, and Arabesque, Mr. Smith has recorded with the Canadian Brass, Empire Brass, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Bargemusic, and New York Virtuosi Chamber Symphony.
Sheryl Staples joined the Philharmonic as Principal Associate Concertmaster (The Elizabeth G. Beinecke Chair) in 1998, and made her solo debut with the Orchestra in 1999. Previously she was the associate concertmaster of The Cleveland Orchestra and concertmaster of the Pacific Symphony and Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestras. She has appeared as soloist with more than 40 orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. Ms. Staples has participated in the Santa Fe, La Jolla, Brightstar, Martha's Vineyard, and Seattle chamber music festivals, and has been a faculty artist at the Aspen, Bowdoin, and Sarasota music festivals. She was a member of The Cleveland Orchestra Piano Trio, and now performs with the New York Philharmonic Ensembles and the Lyric Chamber Music Society. She was a scholarship student at the Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences, Young Musicians Foundation Scholar, and W.M. Keck Scholar at the Colburn School of Performing Arts, spending summers at the Encore School for Strings. She earned an artist diploma from the University of Southern California. Ms. Staples is on the faculty of The Juilliard School, where she teaches orchestral excerpts. She performs on the "Kartman" Guarnerius del Gesù, ca. 1728. Her most recent solo appearance with the New York Philharmonic was in June 2009, performing Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, conducted by Lorin Maazel.
Liang Wang joined the Philharmonic as Principal Oboe in September 2006; in February 2008 he performed Richard Strauss's Oboe Concerto with the Orchestra in Hong Kong. Previously he was principal oboe of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera, and San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, and was guest principal oboe at the Chicago and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras. Born in Qing Dao, China, he studied at the Beijing Central Conservatory and at California's Idyllwild Arts Academy; he received his bachelor's degree from Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music, and was a fellowship recipient at the Aspen Music Festival and School and at the Music Academy of the West. He has won awards at the Spotlight Competition of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Pasadena Instrumental, Fernard Gillet International Oboe, and Tilden Prize competitions; and has twice received the Los Angeles Philharmonic Fellowship. He has performed chamber music at the Santa Fe and Angel Fire Festivals; has given master classes at the Cincinnati Conservatory; and was on the oboe faculty of the University of California-Berkeley. Mr. Wang's most recent solo appearance with the New York Philharmonic was in March 2010, performing Mozart's Sinfonia concertante for Winds.
Antonio Vivaldi's 1711 collection L'estro armonico (which translates approximately as "Harmonic genius" or "Harmonic inspiration") played a major role in elevating its composer's reputation, and was one of the most influential music publications of the day. The collection consisted of 12 concertos for string instruments in various combinations - the Concerto for Four Violins, KV 580, was No. 10 in the collection. Composers across Europe were inspired to imitate Vivaldi's many distinctive stylistic traits, including his energetic rhythms, fleet modulations, and playful use of brief motives. Among his many admirers was Johann Sebastian Bach, who made transcriptions of several of his works, including the Concerto for Four Violins, RV 580, which Bach adapted as a concerto for four harpsichords. The Philharmonic first performed the Vivaldi's original concerto in December 1940, with soloists Mordecai Dayan, William Dembinsky, Leo Dubensky, and Joseph Reilich, conducted by Sir John Barbirolli. Most recently it was performed in October 1983 in Washington, D.C., with Philharmonic violinists Carol Webb, Yoko Takebe, Myung-Hi Kim, and Marina Krugilov, conducted by Zubin Mehta.
Aaron Jay Kernis's a Voice, a Messenger, a four-movement work, was influenced, says the composer, "by appearances of various instruments in the Bible that relate to the trumpet and the shofar." He notes that he was able to focus his thinking about the subject - which was suggested to him by Mr. Smith - after hearing the shofar played during Rosh Hashanah services and reading pages from the Scriptures that reference the trumpet, shofar, and cornet. He absorbed moods and narrative from various Biblical passages and created the work using different sounds, colors, textures, dynamics, and rhythms that to him evoke dramatic episodes that include these instruments. The work is scored for a large orchestra of winds, brass, and percussion (without strings, except for three double basses) and includes an extra tuba, a euphonium, in addition to a solo trumpet, flugelhorn, and piccolo trumpet which plays both solo passages and dialogues with the trumpet section.
Mr. Kernis was born in Philadelphia and studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Manhattan and Yale schools of music, working with composers as diverse as John Adams, Charles Wuorinen, and the late Jacob Druckman. He received the Grawemeyer Award in Music Composition (2002) for the cello and orchestra version of Colored Field; the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for his String Quartet No. 2 (musica instrumentalis); and Grammy Award nominations for both Air and his Second Symphony. The New York Philharmonic performed the World Premiere of Mr. Kernis's Garden of Light on October 8, 1999.
In the 1920s and early 1930s, the prolific Paul Hindemith became increasingly dismayed by what he saw as a divide between composers and the public. He responded by making a commitment to writing music for "practical use," in the sense that the new works were intended for particular players, or to expand the repertoire of instruments for which little literature existed. In the case of the French horn, he wrote a sonata as well as a Horn Concerto; English virtuoso Dennis Brain premiered the latter in Baden-Baden in 1950. The concerto reflects the warmer, more accessible quality that Hindemith brought to his works of the 1940s and 1950s, while maintaining the strong profile of his musical personality. As Hindemith explained in 1952 in A Composer's World: Horizons and Limitations, the composer "can do nothing better than to reach a mutual understanding with the consumers on their inarticulate desires and his ability of wisely and honestly gratifying them." The Philharmonic has programmed Hindemith's Horn Concerto twice before: first in April 1986, under Zubin Mehta, and then in March 2000, under Valery Gergiev; Principal Horn Philip Myers was the soloist on both occasions.
Originally commissioned for the Minnesota Orchestra in 2004, Christopher Rouse's Oboe Concerto is a recent addition to his ever-growing list of contributions to the concerto repertoire, among them his Pulitzer Prize-winning Trombone Concerto (1991) and his piano concerto Seeing (1999), both commissioned and premiered by the New York Philharmonic. In his program note for the Oboe Concerto, the composer wrote that his concertos "seem to fall into one of two categories: ‘somber' (e.g., trombone, violoncello) and ‘genial' (guitar, clarinet). My oboe concerto ... is of the latter variety. ... Unlike some of my other concerti, there is no overt program to this piece. It aims of course to explore the capabilities of the oboe, of which the first in everyone's mind is its capacity to play long, lyrical lines. However, to compose a score that would only concern itself with this aspect of the oboe would be to deny the instrument's more virtuosic attributes, and so there are plenty of moments when the soloist is asked to play music requiring substantial agility. Notwithstanding the fast - sometimes extremely fast! - music that abounds in the work, I feel that there is an overall feeling of coloristic romanticism in the concerto, especially in the central slow movement." These will be the New York Philharmonic's first performances of this work and its New York Premiere.
In 1928 Maurice Ravel withdrew to the seaside home he kept in his native Basque country of southwestern France, following an exhausting 14-month North American tour. During his tour he made the rounds of major musical capitals, marveled at the Grand Canyon, and hobnobbed in Hollywood with Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., and Charlie Chaplin, among others. The dancer Ida Rubinstein commissioned a new piece from Ravel, who used his vacation to produce what is essentially an experiment in orchestration. Boléro, the resulting piece, he wrote, "is a rather slow dance, uniform throughout in its melody, harmony, and rhythm, the latter being tapped out continuously on the drum. The only element of variety is supplied by the orchestral crescendo." Ironically, although Boléro is one of the composer's most arcane experiments, it became one of his most popular successes. The first Philharmonic performance of the work was in November 1929, led by Arturo Toscanini; the Orchestra's most recent performance took place in July 2010 in Central Park, led by Andrey Boreyko.
Credit Suisse is the Global Sponsor of the New York Philharmonic.
The commissioning of Aaron Jay Kernis's a Voice, a Messenger was made possible with
a generous gift from Marie-Josée Kravis.
Major support provided by the Francis Goelet Fund.
Programs of the New York Philharmonic are supported, in part, by public funds from the
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the
Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Single tickets for these performances start at $32. Tickets for Open Rehearsals are $18. Pre-Concert Talks are $7. Discounts are available for multiple concerts, students, and
groups (visit nyphil.org/preconcert for more information). All other tickets may be purchased online at nyphil.org or by calling (212) 875-5656, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets may also be purchased at the Avery Fisher Hall Box Office or the Alice Tully Hall Box Office at Lincoln Center, Broadway at 65th Street. The Box Office opens at 10:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and at noon on Sunday. On performance evenings, the Box Office closes one-half hour after performance time; other evenings it closes at 6:00 p.m. A limited number of $12.50 tickets for select concerts may be available through the Internet for students within 10 days of the performance, or in person the day of. Valid identification is required. To determine ticket availability, call the Philharmonic's Customer Relations Department at (212) 875-5656. [Ticket prices subject to change.]
For press tickets, call Lanore Carr in the New York Philharmonic Communications Department at (212) 875-5714, or e-mail her at email@example.com.
New York Philharmonic
Avery Fisher Hall
Tuesday, December 28, 2010, 7:30 p.m.
Open Rehearsal - 9:45 a.m.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 30, 2010, 7:30 p.m.
Pre-Concert Talk (one hour before each concert) with former Philharmonic Associate Principal Bass Jon Deak
Alan Gilbert, conductor
Sheryl Staples, Michelle Kim,
Marc Ginsberg, Lisa Kim, violins
Philip Smith, trumpet
Philip Myers, horn
Liang Wang, oboe
VIVALDI Concerto for Four violins, KV 580
Aaron Jay KERNIS a Voice, a Messenger (World Premiere-New York Philharmonic Co-Commission with the Big Ten Band Association)
HINDEMITH Horn Concerto
Christopher Rouse Oboe Concerto (New York Premiere)
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