Sir Andrew Davis to Conduct NY Philharmonic in U.S. Premiere of Julian Anderson's THE DISCOVERY OF HEAVEN, 4/24-26
Sir Andrew Davis will return to the New York Philharmonic to conduct the U.S. Premiere of Julian Anderson's The Discovery of Heaven, a New York Philharmonic Co-Commission with the London Philharmonic Orchestra; Franck's Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra, with Marc-Andre Hamelin as soloist in his Philharmonic subscription debut; and selections from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet Suites Nos. 1 and 2. These performances mark the 40th anniversary of Sir Andrew's New York Philharmonic debut.
The musical language of Julian Anderson's The Discovery of Heaven has a variety of influences, including Japanese Gagaku court music, Mongolian overtone chanting, and Nielsen's Symphony No. 5. Mr. Anderson was aware of The Nielsen Project - New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert's initiative to perform and record Nielsen's complete symphonies and concertos - when he began The Discovery of Heaven. Like the first movement of Nielsen's Fifth Symphony, Mr. Anderson says, the third movement of The Discovery of Heaven pits "lyrical melodies against sharp, savage attacks. A violent struggle ensues between them. There's no resolution: there's a last, violent assault, but the work ends peaceably and doesn't resolve emotionally or harmonically - a shrug of the shoulders."
In 2010 Alan Gilbert led the Philharmonic in Julian Anderson's The Comedy of Change during CONTACT!, the Philharmonic's new-music series, in a performance praised by The New York Times: "Mr. Anderson's vivid imagination and technical creativity were evident throughout.... Hearing it performed with such finesse and assurance made you hope that Mr. Gilbert will come to explore more of Mr. Anderson's oeuvre in programs to come."
Marc-Andre Hamelin, who will perform Franck's Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra in these concerts, has previously appeared with the New York Philharmonic during its Summertime Classics series, led by Bramwell Tovey. Of his debut on the series, in 2005, The New York Times described his performances as being "intense, rhapsodic and ferociously brilliant."
On the Saturday Matinee Concert April 26 at 2:00 p.m. Sir Andrew Davis will conduct the same selections from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet suites following a performance of Faure?'s Piano Quartet No. 1 in C minor by Mr. Hamelin and Philharmonic principal players: Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow, Associate Principal Viola Rebecca Young, and Principal Cello Carter Brey. Each of the concerts on this season's Saturday Matinee series includes chamber music by French composers.
- Pre-Concert Talks
Composer Daniel Felsenfeld 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, except the Saturday Matinee Concert, 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 May 11, 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.
Sir Andrew Davis is the music director and principal conductor of Lyric Opera of Chicago and chief conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. His career spans 40 years, during which he has been the artistic leader at several of the world's most distinguished opera and symphonic institutions, including the Glyndebourne Festival Opera (1988-2000), BBC Symphony Orchestra (1991-2004), and Toronto Symphony Orchestra (1975-88). Sir Andrew has conducted virtually all the world's major orchestras, opera companies, and festivals. In the 2013-14 season he takes the BBC Symphony Orchestra on tour to the Middle East and Asia, and tours with the Melbourne Symphony to European summer festivals, including the London Proms, in August 2014. Also with the BBC Symphony, he will conduct two Elgar oratorios, The Dream of Gerontius and The Apostles, in concerts celebrating his 70th birthday. He conducts two weeks this season at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as its conductor laureate, and at Lyric Opera leads productions of Wagner's Parsifal, Dvor?a?k's Rusalka, and Mozart's La clemenza di Tito. He also appears with the Boston, Montreal, and German symphony orchestras; New York, BBC, and Bergen Philharmonic orchestras; Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; and the Gran Teatre del Liceu. He also embarks on a multi-disc recording project of orchestral works by Charles Ives with the Melbourne Symphony for the Chandos label. Born in 1944 in Hertfordshire, England, Sir Andrew Davis studied at King's College, Cambridge, where he was an organ scholar before taking up conducting. His diverse repertoire ranges from Baroque to contemporary, and his vast conducting credits span the symphonic, operatic, and choral worlds. He has an extensive discography on multiple labels and currently records exclusively for Chandos. In 1992 he was made a Commander of the British Empire for his services to British music, and in 1999 he was designated a Knight Bachelor in the New Year Honours List. He made his New York Philharmonic debut in 1974 leading a program of Tippett, Mozart, Weber, and Hindemith; he most recently conducted performances of Berlioz, Chausson, and Saint-Sae?ns in 2010.
During the 2013-14 season four multi-concert series around the world celebrate pianist Marc- Andre? Hamelin's artistry: the Celebrity Series of Boston, San Francisco Performances, London's Wigmore Hall, and Antwerp's deSingel. He will perform in solo recitals and collaborate with guest artists, including the Pacifica and Taka?cs quartets, violinist Anthony Marwood, clarinetist Martin Fro?st, and pianist Emanuel Ax. Additional recital highlights include performances at the Berlin Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, Kennedy Center's Washington Performing Arts Society, Paris's The?a?tre des Champs-E?lyse?es, Munich's Herkulessaal, and Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw. Also this season he performs the world premiere of a piano concerto by Mark-Anthony Turnage with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Yannick Ne?zet-Se?guin, and appears with Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Cologne's WDR Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, as well as the New York Philharmonic, and travels on a European tour with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Hamelin records exclusively for Hyperion Records; his most recent release features late piano works of Busoni, which follows an acclaimed disc of Haydn concertos with Les Violons du Roy and Bernard Labadie. Other recent releases include three double-disc sets of Haydn sonatas; a solo disc of works by Liszt; and an album of his own compositions, Hamelin: E?tudes, which received a 2010 Grammy nomination (his ninth) and a first prize from the German Record Critics' Award Association. The Hamelin e?tudes are published by Edition Peters. His complete Hyperion discography includes concertos and works for solo piano by such composers as Alkan, Godowsky, Medtner, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, and Schumann. Born in Montreal and a resident of Boston, Marc-Andre? Hamelin is the recipient of a lifetime achievement prize by the German Record Critic's Association, an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Chevalier de l'Ordre du Que?bec, and a member of the Royal Society of Canada. He has previously appeared with the Philharmonic during Summertime Classics performances in 2005 and 2009, conducted by Bramwell Tovey.
The Discovery of Heaven, by London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) composer-in-residence Julian Anderson (b. 1967) was co-commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and premiered by the LPO at Royal Festival Hall on March 24, 2012, conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth. The title of the work comes from Dutch author Harry Mulisch's 1992 novel, which, Anderson says, is "crazy, but absolutely wonderful" (in its mythic plot, after giving the Ten Commandments to Moses, God wants them back). Anderson's musical language absorbs several eclectic influences over its three movements: I. "An Echo from Heaven" - high-pitched, surreal, slow, imperturbably almost immobile - reflects his take on Japanese gagaku (ninth-century Japanese imperial court music); II. "In the Street" has an earthy, deep, at times delicate, at times raucous sound, reflecting what one might encounter in a teeming metropolis, and includes Mongolian overtone chanting and big band music. They all come together and "topple over" into the last movement; III. "Hymns," which Anderson describes as "fierce," draws inspiration from Gregorian chant, Jana?c?ek, and the battle between the side drum and the rest of the orchestra at the end of the first movement of Nielsen's Symphony No. 5. "Hymns" struggles to reconcile these two divergent sound worlds. The New York Philharmonic performed Mr. Anderson's Comedy of Change during its December 2010 CONTACT! performances.
The musical language of Belgian composer Ce?sar Franck (1822-90) is usually considered to be in the German, rather than French, tradition. For that reason, and because of his reserved personality and deeply held religious beliefs, he felt outside the musical mainstream when he went to Paris. Early in his career, he was acclaimed as an organist with formidable improvisatory skills, and as a teacher at the Paris Conservatoire he had many devoted students; it was later in life that he came into his own as a composer. Next to his Symphony in D, Franck's Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra (1885) is his most well-known composition. He wrote it as a sign of appreciation for Louis Die?mer (the pianist who premiered Franck's Les Djinns), referring to it as "a little something for piano and orchestra," and the three linked sections of the Symphonic Variations make it feel a little like a one-movement piano concerto. The dedicatee premiered it in 1886 at a concert of the Socie?te? Nationale de Musique at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. Walter Damrosch led pianist Roul Pugno for the Philharmonic's first presentation of the work in 1905; most recently, Sir Andrew Davis led the work with soloist Alicia De Larrocha in 1984.
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) wrote one of the most ravishing ballet versions of Shakespeare's timeless tragedy Romeo and Juliet in 1935. However, the genesis of the work was as star- crossed as the story's protagonists: the composer had been visiting, composing, and performing with mixed success in the United States and Europe, and in the year before his official return to his native Russia (in 1936) he had discussed writing a lyrical ballet for the Kirov in Leningrad. When they withdrew the offer, he signed a contract with the Bolshoi, but further complications ensued, and production was halted. Prokofiev salvaged what he'd written to create not one but two orchestral suites before the ballet in its entirety was premiered in Czechoslovakia in 1938, and finally produced at the Kirov in 1940. The Philharmonic first performed selections from the ballet in 1943, led by Efrem Kurtz; most recently Andrey Boreyko conducted selections in 2010.
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.]