Esa-Pekka Salonen to Lead the NY Philharmonic in Debut of His Violin Concerto, 10/30-11/5
Composer-conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen will return to the New York Philharmonic to lead the New York Concert Premiere of his Violin Concerto, featuring Leila Josefowicz as soloist in her Philharmonic subscription debut; Ravel's Mother Goose Suite; and Sibelius's Symphony
No. 5, Wednesday, October 30, 2013, at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, October 31 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, November 1 at 11:00 a.m.; Saturday, November 2 at 8:00 p.m.; and Tuesday, November 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Mr. Salonen has said that in composing the concerto, Mr. Salonen composed his Violin Concerto for Leila Josefowicz, who premiered the work in 2009. "I worked with Leila a few times on contemporary concertos, and I was very impressed that she played those pieces with the same intensity and commitment that other musicians reserve for Brahms, Mendelssohn, and so on. So I thought, I want to write for this musician. It was a very close collaboration, mentally and psychically," Mr. Salonen said. The Violin Concerto has been heard in New York once before, performed by Ms. Josefowicz in 2010 at the New York City Ballet as the score to Peter Martins's Mirage.
Paired on this program with works by Ravel and Mr. Salonen's countryman Sibelius, the Violin Concerto "could be a child or grandchild of Ravel and Sibelius with an American accent," Mr. Salonen said. Sibelius composed and conducted his Fifth Symphony, featured on the program, to mark his 50th birthday; Mr. Salonen composed the Violin Concerto shortly before his own 50th birthday, when his tenure as the Los Angeles Philharmonic's music director was coming to a close, and he says it contains a "strong, internal, private narrative."
The Philharmonic and Yefim Bronfman gave the World Premiere of Mr. Salonen's Piano Concerto, a Philharmonic commission, in 2007, led by the composer. Mr. Salonen has conducted the Orchestra in 27 other concerts, including in the March 2011 Hungarian Echoes: A Philharmonic Festival.
Esa-Pekka Salonen also hosts An Evening with Esa-Pekka Salonen - launching the fifth season of CONTACT!, the Philharmonic's new-music series - November 4 at 7:30 p.m. at SubCulture. The program features musicians from the New York Philharmonic performing five of his compositions: knock, breathe, shine for solo cello, Memoria for wind quintet, YTA III for solo cello, Homunculus for string quartet, and Second Meeting for oboe and piano.
- Pre-Concert Talks
Author, pianist, and professor Arbie Orenstein will introduce the program. Pre-Concert Talks are $7; discounts available for multiple concerts, 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. Information: nyphil.org or (212) 875-5656.
- Insights Series Event - "Anatomy of a Concerto: A Collaboration Between Composer Esa-Pekka Salonen and Violinist Leila Josefowicz"
Composer-conductor Esa Pekka-Salonen, speaker
Violinist Leila Josefowicz, speaker
New York Philharmonic Vice President, Artistic Planning, Edward Yim, moderator Monday, October 28, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center (Columbus Avenue at 62nd Street) Composer-conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen speaks with violinist Leila Josefowicz about the Violin Concerto he composed for her, a work that summed up his musical experiences when he wrote it, as he was approaching his 50th birthday and the conclusion of his tenure as the Los Angeles Philharmonic's music director. Tickets for Insights Series events are free; subscribers, Friends at the Affiliate level and above, and Patrons may request reserved seating by e-mailing AdultEd@nyphil.org. Space is limited.
- National and International Radio Broadcast
The program will be broadcast the week of November 24, 2013,* 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 52-week series, hosted by actor Alec Baldwin, is generously underwritten by The Kaplen Brothers Fund, 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 105.9 FM WQXR on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m.
*Check local listings for broadcast and program information.
Esa-Pekka Salonen is currently the principal conductor and artistic advisor for London's Philharmonia Orchestra and the conductor laureate for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he was music director from 1992 to 2009 and was widely credited with revitalizing the organization and bringing the idea of the symphony orchestra into the 21st century. At both organizations, he has pioneered several award-winning festivals, installations, and collaborations. As a composer, his pieces Floof and LA Variations have become established modern classics, and new compositions continue to be performed around the globe. In addition to his work with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Philharmonia Orchestra, he performs frequently as a guest with the world's top orchestras. During the 2013-14 season, he will make appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and FilarMonica Della Scala. Mr. Salonen has an extensive recording career of wide-ranging repertoire including works by Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, Mahler, Bartók, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Berlioz, Pärt, Sibelius, Janá?ek, Lutos?awski, Dutilleux, and Strauss, and he has earned a Grammy Award and two Grammy nominations. Recordings of his own works include his Violin Concerto and his orchestral work Nyx released with Leila Josefowicz and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, a portrait CD of his orchestral works performed by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and a CD with his Piano Concerto (which the New York Philharmonic co-commissioned and premiered) and his works Helix and Dichotomie. Mr. Salonen is the recipient of many major awards: in 1995 he received the Royal Philharmonic Society's Opera Award and two years later the Society's Conductor Award. He was awarded the Litteris et Artibus medal, one of Sweden's highest honors, by the King of Sweden in 1996. In 1998 the French government awarded him the rank of Officier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He was also honored with the Pro Finlandia Medal of the Order of the Lion of Finland. To date, Mr. Salonen has received seven honorary doctorates in four different countries. Musical America named him its Musician of the Year in 2006, and he was elected as an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010.
Violinist Leila Josefowicz is a frequent collaborator of several leading composers, and works with orchestras and conductors around the world. Concertos have been written especially for Leila Josefowicz by Colin Matthews, Steven Mackey, and Esa-Pekka Salonen, and John Adams and Luca Francesconi have recently been commissioned to write new pieces for her. The latter will be given its world premiere by Ms. Josefowicz in February 2014 with Susanna Mälkki and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. She premiered Mr. Salonen's concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by the composer, followed by performances throughout Europe and North America. During the 2013-14 season, she performs John Adams's Violin Concerto with the Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, conducted by the composer. Elsewhere, she appears with the BBC, Finnish Radio, and Toronto symphony orchestras, the FilarMonica Della Scala, and the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai. Ms. Josefowicz also has engagements this season with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Chicago, Baltimore, San Francisco, and National symphony orchestras. She also appears in recital at London's Milton Court Concert Hall and Handelsbeurs Concertzaal in Belgium. Recent highlights include performances with the London, Boston, Gothenburg, and Danish National symphony orchestras; London and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic orchestras; The Philadelphia Orchestra; and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Ms. Josefowicz has released several recordings, including on the Deutsche Grammophon, Philips/Universal, and Warner Classics labels. Her latest release features Esa-Pekka Salonen's Violin Concerto with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the composer (Deutsche Grammophon, 2012).
Maurice Ravel's Mother Goose Suite (1908-10; orch. 1911) started as a set of duets for piano four-hands composed for Mimi and Jean Godebski, the ten- and eight-year-old children of Ravel's friends. The pieces proved just a little too difficult for those kids, so the work was premiered by the somewhat older Jeanne leleu and Geneviève Durony. In 1911 Ravel orchestrated the suite, and later expanded it into a full ballet by adding a Prelude and a framework based on The Sleeping Beauty, with the other fairytales presented as her dreams. The movements were inspired by stories of Charles Perrault (1628-1703) and others, collected under the name Mother Goose: Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty, Conversations of Beauty and the Beast, Tom Thumb, Laideronette, Empress of the Pagodas, and The Fairy Garden. Walter Damrosch conducted the New York Symphony (which merged with the New York Philharmonic in 1928 to form today's New York Philharmonic) in Aeolian Hall in 1912; David Robertson led the Philharmonic's most recent performance of the suite in 2010.
Composer/conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen's Violin Concerto received the prestigious 2012 Grawemeyer Award for Music. In his program note, Mr. Salonen explains: "I wrote my Violin Concerto between June 2008 and March 2009. Nine months, the length of human gestation, a beautiful coincidence. I decided to cover as wide a range of expression as I could imagine over the four movements of the Concerto: from the virtuosic and flashy to the aggressive and brutal, from the meditative and static to the nostalgic and autumnal. Leila Josefowicz turned out to be a fantastic partner in this process. She knows no limits, she knows no fear, and she was constantly encouraging me to go to places I was not sure I would dare to go. As a result of that process, this Concerto is as much a portrait of her as it is my more private narrative, a kind of summary of my experiences as a musician and a human being at the watershed age of 50." Mr. Salonen composed this concerto towards the end of his 17-year tenure as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the final movement, Adieu (Farewell), has a nostalgic feel. He concludes his program note optimistically: "When I had written the very last chord of the piece I felt confused: why does the last chord - and only that - sound completely different from all other harmony of the piece? As if it belonged to a different composition. Now I believe I have the answer. That chord is a beginning of something new."
Jean Sibelius composed (and conducted) his Symphony No. 5 in 1915 to mark his 50th birthday (now a national holiday in Finland). He wrote: "In a deep valley again. But I begin already dimly to see the mountain that I shall certainly ascend. God opens his door for a moment and his orchestra plays the Fifth Symphony." In spite of his struggles with health, alcoholism, finances, and political turmoil - and numerous revisions over the course of four years - he created what is considered to be one of the great late-Romantic symphonies. The finale's horn theme, dubbed "the incomparable swan hymn" by Sibelius's patron Axel Carpelan, was inspired by a breathtaking flight of swans Sibelius witnessed. The composer noted in his diary: "Today saw 16 swans ... One of the greatest impressions of my life! God, what beauty! They circled over me for a long spell. Disappeared in the solar haze like a silver ribbon." He described the Fifth's ending as "Triumphal" in his diary, and, indeed, it is one of the most affirmative expressions in all of Sibelius's works. Years later, at the moment of his death, a performance of this symphony was taking place in Helsinki. The Philharmonic last performed the Fifth in 1994, conducted by Neeme Järvi; Josef Stranski led the Philharmonic's first performance of the symphony in 1921.
Tickets for these concerts start at $30. 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). Tickets for Insights Series events are free; subscribers, Friends at the Affiliate level and above, and Patrons may request reserved seating by e-mailing AdultEd@nyphil.org. Space is limited. 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 Saturday, and 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. on 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. A limited number of $13.50 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.]