New York Philharmonic to Present 11th Season of SUMMERTIME CLASSICS, Begins Today
The New York Philharmonic will present its 11th season of Summertime Classics, July 2-6, 2014, featuring five themed concerts with Bramwell Tovey, who has been the host and conductor of the series since its founding in 2004. On the first program, July 2-3, 2014, titled "Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, and Friends," the New York Philharmonic will perform Shostakovich's Festive Overture; Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 1, with pianist Joyce Yang as soloist; Musorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain; Rachmaninoff's arrangement of his own Vocalise; and Tchaikovsky's Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker, and Marche slave. The second program, July 4-6, 2014, titled "Star-Spangled Celebration," will feature the New York Philharmonic and United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps - "The Commandant's Own," which is celebrating its 80th-anniversary year - in a program that includes Copland's Clarinet Concerto, with Associate Principal Clarinet Mark Nuccio as soloist, and Fanfare for the Common Man; Gershwin's "Strike Up the Band" from Strike Up the Band; Sousa marches; and more. In these performances Major Brian Dix, director and commanding officer of "The Commandant's Own," will share conducting duties with Bramwell Tovey.
Grammy and Juno Award-winning conductor/composer Bramwell Tovey was appointed music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) in 2000; under his leadership it has toured China, South Korea, Canada, and the U.S. He is also artistic adviser of the VSO School of Music, which opened in downtown Vancouver in 2011. Mr. Tovey's tenure has included complete symphonic cycles of Beethoven, Mahler, and Brahms, and the establishment of an annual festival dedicated to contemporary music. In 2018, the VSO's centenary year, he will become the orchestra's music director emeritus. During the current season Mr. Tovey's guest appearances include the New York, Los Angeles, BBC, and Royal philharmonic orchestras; Boston and Toronto Symphony Orchestras; and The Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras. In the summer of 2014 he will make his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival and in 2015 he will lead Korngold's Die Tote Stadt for Calgary Opera. In 2003 he won the Juno for Best Classical Composition for his choral and brass work Requiem for a Charred Skull. He has been commissioned to compose works for ensembles including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Calgary Opera, which premiered his first full-length opera, The Inventor, in 2011 (a VSO recording with UBC Opera and the original cast will be issued by Naxos in 2014). Earlier this season, his Trumpet Concerto, Songs of the Paradise Saloon, was performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Alison Balsom as soloist; she will join The Philadelphia Orchestra for the work in December 2014. Mr. Tovey has appeared as pianist with many major orchestras including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras, and the Sydney, Melbourne, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Toronto, Royal Scottish symphony orchestras. In the summer of 2014 he will perform and conduct Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and in Saratoga with The Philadelphia Orchestra. He has performed his own Pictures in the Smoke with the Melbourne and Helsingborg Symphony Orchestras and the Royal Philharmonic. Bramwell Tovey was music director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra from 1989 to 2001 where he founded the WSO's New Music Festival, and from 2002 to 2006 he was music director of Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, leading tours of Europe, the U.S., China, and South Korea. He is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London and of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and he holds honorary degrees from the universities of British Columbia, Manitoba, Kwantlen, and Winnipeg. In 2013 he was appointed an honorary Officer of the Order of Canada for services to music. Mr. Tovey made his New York Philharmonic debut leading a Young People's Concert in 2000; he most recently conducted the Philharmonic during its Bravo! Vail residency in July 2013.
Pianist Joyce Yang came to international attention in 2005 when she won the silver medal at the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The youngest contestant at 19 years old, she also took home the awards for Best Performance of Chamber Music and of a New Work. In 2010 she received an Avery Fisher Career Grant. Ms. Yang has performed with the New York, Los Angeles, and BBC philharmonic orchestras; Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore, and Houston symphony orchestras; and Philadelphia Orchestra, among many others. She has worked with such conductors as Edo de Waart, James Conlon, Lorin Maazel, Leonard Slatkin, David Robertson, Bramwell Tovey, and Jaap van Zweden. She has appeared in recital at New York's Lincoln Center and Metropolitan Museum of Art, Washington's Kennedy Center, Chicago's Symphony Hall, and Zurich's Tonhalle. March 2014 marks the release of Wild Dreams, Ms. Yang's second solo album for Avie Records, and recordings of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Denmark's Odense Symphony Orchestra (Bridge Records) and Brahms and Schumann Piano Quintets with the Alexander String Quartet (Foghorn Classics). Born in Seoul, South Korea, she received her first piano lesson from her aunt at age four. At ten she entered the School of Music at the Korea National University of Arts, and in 1997 she moved to the United States to begin studies at the pre-college division of The Juilliard School. After winning The Philadelphia Orchestra's Greenfield Student Competition, she performed Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto with that orchestra at just 12 years old. She graduated from Juilliard with special honor as the recipient of the school's 2010 Arthur Rubinstein Prize, and in 2011 she won its 30th Annual William A. Petschek Piano Recital Award. A Steinway artist, Ms. Yang appears in the film In the Heart of Music, a documentary about the 2005 Cliburn Competition. Her first performance with the Philharmonic was during its 2006 tour of Asia led by Lorin Maazel; her most recent appearance was in 2008, again with Mr. Maazel.
Mark Nuccio, Associate Principal Clarinet, joined the New York Philharmonic in 1999, having served in ensembles including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. An active solo and chamber musician, he has been the featured performer with several orchestras in the United States and on numerous occasions at the International Clarinet Association conventions. He made his New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall in 2001, and regularly gives recitals internationally. Mr. Nuccio performs chamber music at Colorado's Strings in the Mountain Music Festival and Bravo! Vail. He is featured on movie sound tracks, including Failure to Launch, The Last Holiday, The Rookie, The Score, Intolerable Cruelty, Alamo, Pooh's Heffalump Movie, Hitch, and The Manchurian Candidate, and in numerous television commercials. He also performed on the Late Show with David Letterman as well as on the 2003 Grammy Awards. Mr. Nuccio's first CD, Opening Night, featuring the clarinet quintets of Mozart and Brahms, was released in 2006. A Colorado native, Mark Nuccio holds a master's degree from Northwestern University, where he studied with the renowned pedagogue Robert Marcellus. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Colorado. Beyond his active performing schedule, Mr. Nuccio is committed to training the next generation of musicians. He currently serves on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music in New York City; teaches master classes in the U.S. and abroad; and is a Rico advising artist and clinician as well as an artist/clinician for Buffet Crampon, and performs exclusively on Buffet clarinets. He last appeared as a soloist with the Philharmonic in June 2013 performing Copland's Clarinet Concerto, led by Music Director Alan Gilbert, during Gilbert's Playlist, four programs showcasing themes the Music Director has introduced during his tenure.
The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, known as "The Commandant's Own," was originally formed to augment the United States Marine Band in November 1934 to support local ceremonies at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., and within the National Capitol Region. Over the course of several generations this original group of 28 Marines has blossomed to its current strength as a world-class military unit recognized for superior musical performance. Its history can be traced to the early days of the Marine Corps: 18th- and 19th-century military musicians, or "field musics," provided a means of passing commands to Marines in battle formations. In 1882 the Secretary of Navy ordered that the bugle should be the official form of communication, replacing the fife, which was considered obsolete. Since this historical directive, "The Commandant's Own" has been a part of the Marine Corps' and Americas' story. Along with playing daily bugle calls on Navy vessels and Marine Corps posts, the Drum & Bugle Corps' Marines has performed Honors at Arlington National Cemetery since the late 19th century when "Taps" was adopted as an official bugle call. During World War II the Drum Corps provided personal military escorts for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as he traveled to his retreat in Warm Springs, Georgia. In 2006 the Commandant of the Marine Corps officially designated The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps as "The Commandant's Own" in 2006.
Celebrating 80 years of service, this musical ensemble's international appearances have included the World's Fair in Brussels, Belgium; Australia's bicentennial celebration; Queen Elizabeth II's Jubilation in Edinburgh, Scotland; the Winter Paralympics in Salt Lake City, Utah; the Sultan of Oman's National Celebration in Muscat; the 65th Memorial Ceremony on the island of Iwo Jima, Japan. It was personally requested by President Jimmy Carter to perform at the Middle East Peace Accords at Camp David, and has performed live numerous times for PBS.
Major Brian Dix currently serves as the fourth director of "The Commandant's Own." The ensemble joined the Philharmonic for its 2011 Summertime Classics performances, conducted by both Bramwell Tovey and Major Dix.
Program I is "Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, and Friends" and will run July 2-3, 2014. While some scholars have differing opinions about its genesis, it is generally believed that Dmitri Shostakovich composed his Festive Overture in only three days in 1954. Preparing for a concert commemorating the anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution, Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre conductor Vassili Nebolsin realized he needed a concert opener, so he contacted Shostakovich, who was then the theater's musical consultant. Apparently based on Glinka's Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla (1842), it has subsequently become one of the composer's most widely performed pieces. The Philharmonic's first presentation was in 1956 at Carnegie Hall, conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos; Bramwell Tovey led its most recent performances in summer 2008.
Sergei Rachmaninoff completed his Piano Concerto No. 1 in 1891, but revised it in 1917, pronouncing it "really good now. All the youthful freshness is there, and yet it plays itself so much more easily." While he indeed retained his youthfulness, his revisions illustrated all he had mastered since finishing that first version. Given Rachmaninoff's career as a keyboard virtuoso performing his own works, he included plenty of fireworks for the soloist: the first movement's cadenza is a challenge for even the most athletic of pianists. Arthur Shattuck performed the first version of the concerto in 1911 with the New York Symphony (which merged with the Philharmonic) at the Century Theatre, conducted by Walter Damrosch. Rachmaninoff himself was the soloist for the revised version on three occasions: twice with the New York Symphony and Damrosch (1919 and 1922) and once with the Philharmonic, led by John Barbirolli (1938). Stephen Hough joined Lorin Maazel and the Orchestra for its most recent presentation in 2005.
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov arranged Modest Musorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, which he called a "fantasy for orchestra," in 1886, five years after Musorgsky's death. Musorgsky's original tone poem, from 1867, is inspired by the Russian legend and literary works about a witches' sabbath on St. John's Eve. It was never a success, and Rimsky-Korsakov's version fared much better, ultimately achieving popular fame as part of Disney's 1940 film Fantasia, which included an arrangement by Leopold Stokowski. Josef Stransky led the Philharmonic's
first performance in 1920 at Carnegie Hall; Alan Gilbert most recently led the work on concerts in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in February 2013.
Sergei Rachmaninoff's Vocalise began life as the final song in a collection of 14 the composer wrote between 1910 and 1912; he arranged the orchestral version in 1915. The song has a wordless melody sung by either a tenor or a soprano on one vowel of the singer's own choosing, and is evocative of his uncle's Russian steppe country estate, Ivanovka, where it was written. The song's haunting beauty has made this six-minute work a perfect choice for transcriptions for other instruments as well. The New York Philharmonic's first performance of Vocalise was led by Willem Hoogstraten in 1923, in a performance sung by Nina Koshetz; Lorin Maazel most recently conducted the work, without vocalist, in 2003 during the Orchestra's appearances in Sardinia and at the Bravo! Vail residency.
The Waltz of the Flowers, from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker (1892), appears not only as orchestral music from the ballet's second act, but also as the last number of the composer's Nutcracker Suite. Originally premiered at St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater, its story is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The Philharmonic has presented The Nutcracker, The Nutcracker Suite, or sections of the ballet score on numerous occasions since Walter Damrosch led the New York Symphony (which merged with the Philharmonic) in selections from the work at Carnegie Hall in 1901. Alan Gilbert led the most recent performance, on February 14, 2011.
Tchaikovsky's Marche slave, published in 1876, was written at the time of the Serbo-Turkish War, in which Russia supported Serbia, and was commissioned by the Russian Musical Society as part of a concert to aid the Red Cross Society, to benefit wounded Serbian soldiers. A programmatic work that reflects the oppression of the Serbs, Russia's help, and hopeful victory over tyranny, Tchaikovsky referred to it as his "Serbo-Russian March" while he was composing it. It was premiered in Moscow, conducted by Nikolai Rubenstein. Walter Damrosch led the New York Symphony for our first presentation in 1893; Bramwell Tovey conducted the Orchestra's most recent performances during the summer of 2010 in New York and Vail.
Program II is the "Star-Spangled Celebration" and runs July 4-6, 2014. Composed in 1942, in the midst of World War II, Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man was a musical response to the U.S.'s entry into the war, and was partly inspired by Vice President Henry A. Wallace's speech about the dawn of the "Century of the Common Man." It was written at the request of Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conductor Eugene Goossens, who was reviving something he'd done during World War I: asking composers to compose fanfares for the openings of concerts. Of the 18 by Americans, Copland's is the only one that remains firmly in the repertoire. Leonard Bernstein conducted the Philharmonic's first performance of the work during Lincoln Center's groundbreaking ceremony in 1959; Alan Gilbert most recently led the work on the Great Lawn in Central Park in 2013.
George Gershwin's "Strike Up the Band" is an orchestration of the title song from the musical of the same name, which had lyrics by his brother Ira. The show's first version, from 1927 with a book by George S. Kaufman, closed in Philadelphia, but the brothers' 1930 revamp, with a book by Morrie Ryskind, made it to Broadway. Strike Up the Band was a satire on America's taste for war: it tells of an American tycoon who goads the U.S. into conflict with Switzerland (in 1927 it was over cheese; in 1930, chocolate). The Philharmonic has presented songs from the show since 1937, and most recently, Alan Gilbert conducted Don Rose's arrangement of "Strike Up the Band" on Central Park's Great Lawn in July 2013.
John Philip Sousa composed songs, suites, dances, and several notable operettas, but he is best known for his band marches, which earned him the nickname "The March King." Within the strictures of the traditional quickstep march, Sousa was able to create a striking diversity of character and effect, and his 135 marches are remarkable for their variety and melodic invention. With their rousing energy and patriotic titles, Sousa's marches are quintessential Americana. The New York Symphony (which merged with the New York Philharmonic in 1928 to form today's New York Philharmonic) first performed marches by Sousa in June 1901 in Philadelphia, conducted by Walter Damrosch. Sousa marches were last performed by the Philharmonic in July 2013 during Summertime Classics.
Tickets for Summertime Classics start at $47.50. All 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. 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.]