Nicola Benedetti Performs Szymanowski's VIOLIN CONCERTO NO. 1 with the NY Philharmonic Tonight
Violinist Nicola Benedetti will make her New York Philharmonic subscription debut - replacing Janine Jansen, who has been advised by her doctor not to play for at least a week - in performances of Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 1. Vladimir Jurowski will make his Philharmonic debut conducting the concerts, tonight, May 21, 2014, at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, May 23 at 2:00 p.m.; and Saturday, May 24 at 8:00 p.m. The program will conclude with selections from Prokofiev's Cinderella.
Nicola Benedetti made her New York Philharmonic debut in September 2011 in Andrea Bocelli Live in Central Park, performing Lorin Maazel's arrangement of Rodrigo's "En Aranjuez con tu Amor" alongside Mr. Bocelli, conducted by Music Director Alan Gilbert. Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 1 is the work with which Ms. Benedetti won the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 2004; it also featured on her debut recording, recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra led by Daniel Harding on the Deutsche Grammophon label.
Both works on the program are programmatic, one inspired by a poem and the other by a fairytale, each depicting passionate love. Szymanowski based his First Violin Concerto on a poem that reads, in part: "All the birds pay tribute to me / for today I wed a goddess. / And now we stand by the lake in crimson blossom / in flowing tears of joy, with rapture and fear, / burning in amorous conflagration." Prokofiev said of his ballet Cinderella, which is based on the eponymous fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, "What I wished to express above all in the music of Cinderella was the poetic love of Cinderella and the Prince, the birth and flowering of that love, the obstacles in its path, and finally the dream fulfilled."
- Pre-Concert Talks
Lawrence Tarlow, New York Philharmonic Principal Librarian, will introduce the program. Pre-Concert Talks are $7; discounts available for multiple talks, students, and groups. They take place one hour before these performances in the Helen Hull Room, unless otherwise noted. Attendance is limited to 90 people. Information: nyphil.org/preconcert or (212) 875-5656.
- National and International Radio Broadcast
The program will be broadcast the week of June 15, 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 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. Information subject to change. *Check local listings for broadcast and program information.
Vladimir Jurowski was born in Moscow, and in 1990 moved with his family to Germany, where he completed his musical studies at the Hochschules fu?r Musik in Dresden and Berlin. In 1995 he launched his career with his successful debut at the Wexford Festival conducting Rimsky-Korsakov's May Night. He has since been a guest at some of the world's leading opera houses such as the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Ope?ra Bastille de Paris, Welsh National Opera, Dresden Semperoper, Komische Oper Berlin, and The Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Jurowski was appointed the London Philharmonic Orchestra's principal guest conductor in 2003 and became that ensemble's principal conductor in September 2007. He is also principal artist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and artistic director of the Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra. Previous posts include first Kapellmeister of the Komische Oper Berlin (1997-2001), principal guest conductor of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna (2000-03), principal guest conductor of the Russian National Orchestra (2005-09), and music director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera (2001-13). Mr. Jurowski has conducted leading orchestras in both Europe and North America, including the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras; Boston and Chicago Symphony Orchestras; and The Philadelphia, Zurich's Tonhalle, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw, Leipzig Gewandhaus, and Dresden Staatskapelle orchestras. Highlights of his 2013-14 season and beyond include debuts with the New York Philharmonic, Tokyo's NHK Symphony Orchestra, and San Francisco Symphony; tours with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Mahler Chamber Orchestra; and returns to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. His operatic appearances have included Verdi's Rigoletto, Jana?c?ek's Jenufa, Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades, and Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel at The Metropolitan Opera; Wagner's Parsifal and Berg's Wozzeck at Welsh National Opera; Prokofiev's War and Peace at the Ope?ra national de Paris; Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin at Milan's Teatro alla Scala; Glinka's Ruslan and Ludmila at the Bolshoi Theatre; Tchaikovsky's Iolanta at the Dresden Semperoper; and operas by Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Richard Strauss, Britten, and others, including Peter Eo?tvo?s's Love and Other Demons, at Glyndebourne Opera. In 2013 he returns to The Met for Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten, and future engagements include Schoenberg's Moses und Aron at the Komische Oper Berlin and Prokofiev's The Fiery Angel at Munich's Bavarian Staatsoper. These appearances mark Mr. Jurowski's Philharmonic debut.
Violinist Nicola Benedetti's recent and future engagements include appearances with the London, Frankfurt Radio, Danish National, San Francisco, National (Washington, D.C.), Dallas, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Melbourne symphony orchestras; Strasbourg and Hong Kong Philharmonic orchestras; and Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice, WDR Cologne, Orchestre National D'Ile de France, Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Royal Scottish National, Scottish Chamber, Netherlands Radio Chamber, and Philadelphia orchestras. She is scheduled to tour with the Bergen Philharmonic, Camerata Salzburg, and BBC Scottish Symphony. In the 2014-15 season Ms. Benedetti will pursue her interest in music of the Italian Baroque and historical performance in collaborations with Andrea Marcon and WDR Cologne, Venice Baroque Orchestra, and La Cetra Barokorchester Basel's European tour. With her regular duo partner, pianist Alexei Grynyuk, Nicola Benedetti frequently performs in recital, including in Dresden, Rome, Montreal, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hong Kong, Paris, Sacile, New York, Boston, and Washington D.C. A devoted chamber musician, she has performed as a trio with cellist Leonard Elschenbroich and Mr. Grynyuk since 2008. Ms. Benedetti has formed associations with schools, music colleges, and local musical establishments. In 2010 she became Sistema Scotland's official musical "Big Sister" for the Big Noise project, an initiative partnered with Venezuela's El Sistema (Fundacio?n Musical Simo?n Boli?var). She recently developed The Benedetti Sessions, her own education and outreach initiative piloted at Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall and presented at Royal Albert Hall. Winner of Best Female Artist at the 2012 Classical BRIT Awards, Ms. Benedetti records exclusively for Decca (Universal Music). Her most recent recording is The Silver Violin, and her discography, of works by composers ranging from Vivaldi to Tavener, includes Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 1 with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Harding. Her honors include being appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) and five honorary degrees. Born in Scotland of Italian heritage, Nicola Benedetti attended the Yehudi Menuhin School. She plays the Gariel Stradivarius (1717), courtesy of Jonathan Moulds. Nicola Benedetti made her New York Philharmonic debut in September 2011 in Andrea Bocelli Live in Central Park, performing Lorin Maazel's arrangement of Rodrigo's "En Aranjuez con tu Amor" alongside Mr. Bocelli, conducted by Music Director Alan Gilbert.
While much of the world was at war when Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) composed his Concerto No. 1 for Violin and Orchestra (1916), the sounds therein give no indication of that turbulent time when it was created. The perfumed atmosphere that pervades this sensuous work has its origins in Szymanowski's musical and extra-musical influences. He composed it in what some have dubbed his "exotic" period: he drew inspiration from Scriabin, Debussy, and Ravel, and through his travels to Sicily and North Africa. The Concerto's program is based on Polish philosopher/poet Tadeusz Micinski's poem "May Night," which reads, in part: "All the birds pay tribute to me / for today I wed a goddess. / And now we stand by the lake in crimson blossom / in flowing tears of joy, with rapture and fear, / burning in amorous conflagration." The first time that member of the New York Philharmonic performed this concerto was in May 1944, when they were joined by Bronislaw Huberman as soloist and were conducted by Gregor Fittelberg; Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow was the soloist in the most recent Philharmonic performances, led by Daniel Harding in March 2011.
Of his 1945 fairytale ballet, Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) wrote: "What I wished to express above all in the music of Cinderella was the poetic love of Cinderella and the Prince, the birth and flowering of that love, the obstacles in its path, and finally the dream fulfilled." Cinderella was commissioned by the Bolshoi Theatre, where it was premiered on November 21, 1945. Based on Charles Perrault's (1628-1703) fairytale Cendrillon, Nikolai Volkov created the scenario, and Rostislav Zakharov, the choreography. The music from Prokofiev's ballet Cinderella - which includes the selections that Vladimir Jurowski is conducting in this program - reflects the heroine's excitement as she gets ready for the big event, her show-stopping arrival at the ball, the elegant entrance of the dashing prince, glorious waltzes, and ecstatic love themes. The Philharmonic has presented selections from the ballet twice before: in May 1987, led by Andrew Davis, and in 2006 Summertime Classics concerts, led by Bramwell Tovey.
Tickets for the concerts start at $28. 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.]
Pictured: Nicola Benedetti. Photo by Simon Fowler.