Christoph Von Dohnanyi Returns and Paul Lewis Makes Debut With BRAHM'S PIANO CONCERTO NO. 1 at the New York Philharmonic, 4/10-12
Christoph von Dohnányi will return to the New York Philharmonic to conduct Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1, featuring Paul Lewis in his Philharmonic debut, and Schumann's Symphony No. 2, Thursday, April 10, 2014, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, April 11 at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, April 12 at 8:00 p.m.
Both works on the program contain odes to Schumann's wife, Clara, with whom Brahms developed a deep friendship and for whom he professed his love. While composing his Piano Concerto No. 1, Brahms wrote to Clara, "I am also painting a lovely portrait of you; it is to be the Adagio." It is believed that the final movement of Schumann's Symphony No. 2 references his song Widmung (Dedication), which the composer wrote for Clara for their wedding. The New York Philharmonic performed the U.S. Premiere of Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1 in 1875.
A celebrated classicist who has focused on works by Beethoven and Schubert, Mr. Lewis performed Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1 for the first time last year. "I was waiting for the perfect conductor and orchestra. Dohnányi certainly embodies that, and I'm so very excited about playing a Romantic period piece with the New York Philharmonic." Paul Lewis will perform selections from Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1 at the Young People's Concert, led by Assistant Conductor Joshua Weilerstein, on Saturday, April 12, 2014, at 2:00 p.m.
Christoph von Dohnányi will return in the 2014-15 season for DOHNÁNYI / DVO?ÁK: A Philharmonic Festival, December 4-13, 2014, during which he will conduct two programs focusing on Dvo?ák in a two-week period that also includes an Insights Series event, a chamber performance presented in collaboration with 92nd Street Y, and an archival exhibit.
Writer and music historian Harvey Sachs will introduce the program. Pre-Concert Talks are $7; discounts are available for multiple talks, students, and groups. They take place one hour before each performance in the Helen Hull Room, unless otherwise noted. Attendance is limited to 90 people. I
The program will be broadcast the week of May 4, 2014, on The New York Philharmonic This Week, a radio concert series syndicated weekly to more than 300 stations nationally, and to 122 outlets internationally, by the WFMT Radio Network. The broadcast will be available on the Philharmonic's Website, nyphil.org. The program is broadcast locally in the New York metropolitan area on 105.9 FM WQXR on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Information subject to change.
Christoph von Dohnányi is recognized as one of the world's preeminent orchestral and opera conductors. His appointments have included opera directorships in Frankfurt and Hamburg and principal orchestral conducting posts in England, Germany and Paris. He enjoys a longstanding partnership with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, where he served as principal conductor and artistic adviser for ten years and is now honorary conductor for life. He is renowned the world over for his legendary 20-year tenure as music director of The Cleveland Orchestra.
Mr. Dohnányi began the 2013-14 season with concerts at the Ravinia and Tanglewood festivals, which were followed by season-opening concerts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where he returns in the spring to preside over a complete Beethoven piano concerto cycle with Yefim Bronfman as soloist. He leads concerts with Zurich's Tonhalle Orchestra, London's Philharmonia, and subscription weeks with the orchestras of New York, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Chicago, as well as a pair of gala concerts in San Diego.
Recent highlights include concerts with Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and, with the Philharmonia Orchestra, residencies in Vienna's Musikverein and at Paris's Théâtre du Chatelet and a tour of the United States; landmark series of all-Beethoven and all-Brahms concerts with Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia; and the complete Brahms symphonies with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Mr. Dohnányi frequently leads productions at the world's great opera houses, including Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Milan's Teatro alla Scala; the Vienna State Opera; and in Berlin and Paris. He has led the Vienna Philharmonic in many appearances at the Salzburg Festival, including the world premieres of Henze's The Bassarids and Cerha's Baal. He also regularly appears with Zurich Opera and Théâtre du Châtelet.
Christoph von Dohnányi has made many critically acclaimed recordings for London/Decca with The Cleveland Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic. With the latter he recorded a variety of symphonic works and a number of operas, including Beethoven's Fidelio, Berg's Wozzeck and Lulu, Richard Strauss's Salome, and Wagner's The Flying Dutchman. His discography with The Cleveland Orchestra includes concert performances and recordings of Wagner's Die Walküre and Das Rheingold; the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann; symphonies by Bruckner, Dvo?ák, Mahler, Mozart, Schubert, and Tchaikovsky; and works by Bartók, Berlioz, Ives, Varèse, and Webern, among others. He first appeared with the New York Philharmonic in 1981, and his most recent performances were in January-February 2013.
British pianist Paul Lewis's recent cycles of Beethoven's and Schubert's core works for piano received unanimous critical and public acclaim worldwide. He has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and enjoys particularly strong relationships with both the Boston and Chicago Symphony Orchestras. He is also a frequent guest at festivals including Lucerne, Mostly Mozart, Tanglewood, Schubertiade, Salzburg, Edinburgh, La Roque d'Antheron, Rheingau, Klavier Festival Ruhr, and London's BBC Proms, where in 2010 he became the first pianist to perform a complete Beethoven piano concerto cycle in one season. His recital career takes him to London's Wigmore Hall and Royal Festival Hall, New York's Alice Tully Hall and 92nd Street Y, Vienna's Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, the Berlin Philharmonie and Konzerthaus, Zurich's Tonhalle, Palau de Musica Barcelona, Tokyo's Oji Hall, Melbourne's Recital Centre, and the Sydney Opera House. Mr. Lewis's multi-award winning discography for Harmonia Mundi includes the complete Beethoven piano sonatas, concertos, and Diabelli Variations; Liszt's B-minor Sonata and other late works; and all of the major piano works Schubert composed in the last six years of his life, including the three song cycles in which the pianist collaborated with tenor Mark Padmore. Awards include the Royal Philharmonic Society's Instrumentalist of the Year, the South Bank Show Classical Music Award, and three Gramophone awards. Paul Lewis studied with Joan Havill at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London before going on to study privately with Alfred Brendel. Along with his wife, Norwegian cellist Bjørg Lewis, he is artistic director of Midsummer Music, an annual chamber music festival held in Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom. These concerts mark his New York Philharmonic debut.
Johannes Brahms's (1833-97) Piano Concerto No. 1 (1854-58) had a long, complex evolution - the composer revised it even after it was premiered in 1859. It is symphonic in scope, lasting around 45 minutes. After a long and stormy orchestral introduction, the peaceful Adagio comes as blessed relief. In his book on Brahms, Burnett James wrote: "The D-minor Concerto...marks the end of Brahms's youthful romantic period. Never again was he to let himself go with such uninhibited passion; never again to wear his heart so unashamedly on his sleeve." The Philharmonic performed the concerto's U.S. Premiere at The Academy of Music in 1875, featuring soloist Nannetta Falk-Auerbach conducted by Carl Bergmann; Lorin Maazel led Yefim Bronfman for the most recent performance in January 2013.
Robert Schumann (1810-56) composed his Symphony No. 2 (1846) while he was recovering from the nervous breakdown he suffered in 1844. Frequently tormented by bouts of depression, exhaustion, the physical distress of tinnitus, and even attempted suicide, his creativity had suffered. The following year he and his wife, Clara, left Leipzig's hustle and bustle to move to quieter Dresden. This symphony, though long in coming, was the first large-scale piece to follow his breakdown, and its creation had a salubrious effect on him: "I wrote the symphony ... when I was still half sick; it seems to me that one must hear this in it. Not until the last movement did I
begin to feel myself again; actually, after finishing the entire work my health did improve. Still... it reminds me of a dark time." In 1846 his friend and champion Felix Mendelssohn premiered the symphony in Leipzig with the legendary Gewandhaus Orchestra. Theodore Eisfeld conducted the Philharmonic's first performance of the symphony at the Broadway Tabernacle in 1854; Alan Gilbert led the most recent presentation in December 2009.
Tickets for the concerts start at $30. Tickets for Open Rehearsals are $20. Pre-Concert Talks are $7; discounts are available for multiple talks, 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 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday; 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5:00 p.m. Sunday. Tickets may also be purchased at the Avery Fisher Hall Box Office. 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. To determine ticket availability, call the Philharmonic's Customer Relations Department at (212) 875-5656. [Ticket prices subject to change.]