Pablo Heras-Casado to Make His NY Philharmonic Debut, 4/2-5
Pablo Heras-Casado will make his New York Philharmonic debut conducting Barto?k's Piano Concerto No. 3, featuring pianist Peter Serkin; Britten's Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes; and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10, Wednesday, April 2, 2014, at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, April 4 at 11:00 a.m.; and Saturday, April 5 at 8:00 p.m.
The program of 20th-century works includes Britten's depiction of the English seaside; Barto?k's influences from his native Hungary; and Shostakovich's response to the death of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Mr. Heras-Casado will return later in the season with Orchestra of St. Luke's, over which he presides as principal conductor, for Circles of Influence: Pierre Boulez (May 31, 2014) and Circles of Influence: George Benjamin (June 1, 2014) at the Rose Theater at Lincoln Center during the Philharmonic's inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL - an 11-day exploration of today's music scene by more than 50 contemporary and modern composers from 12 countries as curated by Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic as well as by partners on and off the Lincoln Center campus.
The program's soloist, Peter Serkin, has played Barto?k with the New York Philharmonic on previous occasions, including the First Piano Concerto in 2006, when The New York Times wrote in a review that the concerto "greatly suited the ascetic temperament and great physical skills of Peter Serkin."
- Pre-Concert Talks
New York Philharmonic Audio Producer Mark Travis will introduce the program. Pre- Concert Talks are $7; discounts 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. Information: nyphil.org/preconcert or (212) 875-5656.
- National and International Radio Broadcast
The program will be broadcast the week of April 27, 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.
Pablo Heras-Casado's repertoire encompasses the symphonic and operatic, historically informed performance, and cutting-edge contemporary scores. In 2011 he was announced as principal conductor of the Orchestra of St. Luke's in New York, beginning a four-year term including an annual concert season at Carnegie Hall. In 2013-14 he makes his debuts with the New York Philharmonic; London Symphony Orchestra; The Philadelphia, Philharmonia, and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestras; and at The Metropolitan Opera in Verdi's Rigoletto. He returns to Carnegie Hall and the Caramoor Festival with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, and conducts Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 at the New Year's concerts of Berlin Staatskapelle. Other highlights include returns to the San Francisco Symphony, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Munich Philharmonic, and Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw and Rotterdam Orchestras. He
also tours with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and guest conducts a series of concert and opera performances at the Mariinsky Theatre. In past seasons the Spanish conductor has made important appearances with ensembles including the Berlin and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras; Bavarian Radio, Boston, and Chicago symphony orchestras; and The Cleveland Orchestra. He was also re-invited by Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Zurich's Tonhalle Orchestra, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Spanish National Orchestra, and Madrid's Teatro Real. In 2012-13 he appeared for the first time at Deutsche Oper Berlin and Oper Frankfurt, while 2012 marked his Salzburg Festival debut. In the fall of 2013 harmonia mundi released Mr. Heras-Casado's recording of Schubert's Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4 with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, and Sony released a disc featuring Pla?cido Domingo in Verdi baritone arias with the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana. Mr. Heras-Casado's future albums will include the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 2, Lobgesang, and an album celebrating castrato singer Farinelli from Deutsche Grammophon's Archiv Produktion, which recently welcomed Mr. Heras-Casado as an "Archiv Ambassador." Recognized for his work with contemporary music, he is a laureate of the 2007 Lucerne Festival conductors' forum. In summer 2013 he returned for the third time to co-direct the festival's Academy at the personal invitation of Pierre Boulez. Pablo Heras-Casado is the holder of the Medalla de Honor of the Rodriguez Acosta Foundation, and in February 2012 was awarded the Golden Medal of Merit by the Council of Granada, his hometown, of which he is also an Honorary Ambassador. His 2011 DVD recording of Kurt Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny from Teatro Real received the Diapason d'Or. These performances mark Mr. Heras-Casado's New York Philharmonic debut.
American pianist Peter Serkin performs a variety of repertoire with symphony orchestras, in recitals and chamber music collaborations, and on recordings. Mr. Serkin's musical heritage extends back several generations, to his grandfather, violinist and composer Adolf Busch, and his father, pianist Rudolf Serkin. Peter Serkin has performed with the world's major symphony orchestras with such eminent conductors as Ozawa, Boulez, Barenboim, Szell, Abbado, Ormandy, Rattle, and Levine. Also a dedicated chamber musician, Mr. Serkin has collaborated with Alexander Schneider, Pamela Frank, and Yo-Yo Ma; the Budapest, Guarneri, and Orion string quartets; and TASHI, of which he was a founding member. Mr. Serkin has been instrumental in bringing to life the music of important 20th- and 21st-century composers including Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Stravinsky, Wolpe, Messiaen, Takemitsu, Henze, and Berio, and performed the world premieres of works written specifically for him by Takemitsu, Peter Lieberson, Oliver Knussen, Alexander Goehr, and Charles Wuorinen. This season, Mr. Serkin's orchestral appearances include the New York Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber and IRIS Orchestras, and the Boston, Annapolis, and Goteborg symphony orchestras. He gives recitals at 92nd Street Y and in Philadelphia, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Santa Monica, and Pawling, New York. Mr. Serkin performs with the Orion String Quartet in Detroit, Denver, Phoenix, and South Mountain, Massachusetts, and with the Shanghai Quartet at the University of Richmond. He also participates in the Library of Congress's Oliver Knussen Festival. Mr. Serkin currently teaches at Bard College Conservatory of Music and the Longy School of Music. He made his New York Philharmonic debut in 1976 performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 15 conducted by Leonard Bernstein; his most recent appearance was in 2012 in Stravinsky's Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra as part of The Modern Beethoven: A Philharmonic Festival led by David Zinman.
Benjamin Britten (1913-76) based Peter Grimes, his first opera, on George Crabbe's narrative poem The Borough, about life in a small village in Suffolk, Britten's native region on the Eastern side of England. The title character is a reclusive fisherman; after being tried for and found innocent of murdering his young apprentice, a second apprentice slips from Peter's hut and falls to his death, and a village mob becomes intent on lynching him. As circumstances close in, Peter's mind begins to deteriorate and he commits suicide by scuttling his boat. Despite the opera's dark subject, it was a huge success and is generally viewed as the beginning of English opera's renaissance. Britten extracted Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes and fashioned them into a stand-alone concert piece. The set reveals the moods of the sea at various times of the day, in the manner of tone poems, and also offers a glimpse into Peter's state of mind. Leonard Bernstein conducted the Philharmonic's first performance of the interludes in 1973; the most recent presentation of the complete work was in 2005, led by Xian Zhang.
In his final year, Be?la Barto?k (1881-1945) worked simultaneously on his Viola Concerto (commissioned by the legendary William Primrose) and his Piano Concerto No. 3 (a birthday gift for his pianist wife, Ditta Pa?sztory). In the concerto's first movement one can hear the influence of Barto?k's Hungarian homeland, perhaps a kind of nostalgia for the country he fled in 1940 after the outbreak of World War II. The second, an Adagio, is another instance of what has come to be called Barto?k's "night-music" style, in which the composer "evokes the atmosphere of nocturnal nature by musically conveying its quiet energy" (per Be?la Barto?k, Jr.). Lois Kentner was the soloist for the Orchestra's first performance of the concerto, led by Thomas Schippers at Carnegie Hall, in 1957; Zolta?n Kocsis joined Lorin Maazel and the Philharmonic for its most recent performance in October 2003.
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-75) had a fraught relationship with the repressive Soviet regime - specifically with Stalin and his cultural henchmen. Upon hearing of Stalin's death in 1953, the composer began his Symphony No. 10, his first in eight years; it was the release for the pent-up anger - "concentrated fury" as music commentator Phillip Huscher described it - that had lain buried for so long. Shostakovich wrote that he was painting a portrait of the tyrant with demonic, loud, violent music. The work is tragic, opening with dark, foreboding harmonies that slowly give way to a clarinet's plaintive song emerging from the depths. The powerful finale utilizes pitches equivalent to Shostakovich's initials in German notation - D-S-C-H - as an embedded code, and, in the struggle between the motif symbolizing Stalin and the composer's musical signature, the latter crushes the former. Dmitri Mitropoulos conducted the Philharmonic in the U.S. Premiere of the symphony in 1954; Delta David Gier led the Orchestra's most recent performance in 2008.
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.]
Pictured: Pablo Heras-Casado. Photo by Felix Broede.