Harris Theater Presents Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica Tonight
Due to the sudden death of guest vocalist Alexei Mochalov's wife, tonight's February 7 program of Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica at the Harris Theater has been changed. Mieczyslaw Weinberg's Concertino, Op. 42 and Benjamin Britten's Young Apollo, Op. 16 replaces the previously scheduled Antiformalist Rayok by Dmitri Shostakovich and Britten's Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10. With the addition of Concertino, Op. 42, audience members will have the extraordinary opportunity to hear two works featuring violinist Gidon Kremer. Kremer also leads Kremerata Baltica in Weinberg's Symphony No.10 for strings, Op.98, appearing onstage in three of the evening's four works.
Additionally, Kremerata Baltica welcomes Grammy-nominated pianist Andrius Zlabys, performing Britten's Young Apollo. A frequent performer with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Rotterdam Symphony, and Philharmonic Orchestra of Buenos Aires, Zlabys has been described by the Chicago Tribune as "one of the most gifted young keyboard artists to emerge in years." The pianist makes a special guest appearance on Friday in place of Mochalov.
"Our thoughts are with Mr. Mochalov and his family right now," said Harris Theater President and Managing Director Michael Tiknis. "Despite the circumstances, the program remains one of artistic significance, including a rare opportunity for the audience to hear Mr. Kremer perform Weinberg's Concertino, Op. 42 and Shostakovich's Sonata for violin and piano, Op.134, as well as the addition of pianist Andrius Zlabys performing Britten's Young Apollo."
Weinberg composed more than 150 opuses during his lifetime. Composed in 1948, Weinberg's melancholy yet powerful Concertino, Op. 42 for violin and string orchestra draws on some of the virtuoso's signature sounds and structures, during a time when Soviet-era composers were being denounced as formalists. It's one of two pieces that features Kremer as solo violinist.
Young Apollo, considered one of Britten's least known orchestral pieces, is a radiant work for piano, string quartet, and string orchestra, taking inspiration from 19th-century English Romantic poet John Keats's unfinished poem Hyperion. Apollo premiered in Toronto in 1939, now known as one of the few works that Britten dedicated the piano as solo instrument. The evening also includes Weinberg's Symphony No. 10 for strings and Shostavokich's Sonata for violin and piano Op. 134 G major, also featuring Kremer as solo violinist.
The updated program for Friday's performance at the Harris is as follows:
Mieczyslaw Weinberg Concertino, Op. 42
I. Allegretto cantabile
II. Lento, Adagio
III. Allegro moderato poco rubato
Gidon Kremer, violin
Weinberg Symphony No.10 for strings, Op.98
I. Concerto grosso
Dmitri Shostakovich Sonata for violin and piano, Op.134 G major
III. Largo - Andante
Gidon Kremer, violin
Benjamin Britten Young Apollo, Op. 16
Andrius Zlabys, piano
Tickets for the performance are $15 - $30, available at HarrisTheaterChicago.org, or by calling the Box Office at 312.334.7777.
About Kremerata Baltica: In 1997, Austria's legendary Lockenhaus chamber music festival witnessed a small revolution, when the violinist Gidon Kremer presented a new orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, comprised of 23 young players from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The orchestra captivated the audience, injecting new blood into the festival with their exuberance, energy, and joyful playing. Kremerata Baltica-an educational project with a long-term vision-was Kremer's 50th birthday present to himself, a way of passing on his wisdom to young colleagues from the Baltic states while making no compromises on artistic standards as he nurtured and inspired musical life in the region.
In a few years, the talented group of musicians developed into one of the best international chamber orchestras worldwide, cementing its international reputation in major concert venues around the world. Kremerata Baltica has played in more than 50 countries over the last 15 years, performing in 600 cities and given more than 1,000 concerts in the world, including Asia, Australia, the USA, Latin America, Russia and all over Europe. It has released more than 20 CDs and won a Grammy Award in 2002, the ECHO prize in 2002, and the Praemium Imperiale Grant for Young Artists in 2009.
The orchestra is supported by the governments of three baltic states, from where all orchestra musicians originate-Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Among the celebrated soloists with whom Kremerata Baltica has played are soprano Jessye Norman, pianists Mikhail Pletnev, Yevgeny Kissin, Oleg Maisenberg, violinists Thomas Zehetmair and Vadim Repin, and cellists Boris Pergamenshikov, Yo Yo Ma, and Mischa Maisky; conductors include Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christoph Eschenbach, Kent Nagano, Heinz Holliger, and Vladimir Ashkenazy. Each of these musicians has contributed to shaping the chamber orchestra.
Essential to Kremerata Baltica's artistic personality is its creative approach to programming, which often looks beyond the mainstream and has given rise to numerous world premieres of works by composers such as Pärt, Kancheli, Vasks, Desyatnikov, and Raskatov. The orchestra's wide-ranging and carefully chosen repertoire is also showcased in its numerous and much-praised CD recordings, such as Eight Seasons, pairing Vivaldi's set of concertos with Piazzolla's Argentinian sequence, and Silencio, compositions by contemporary composers Pärt, Glass, and Martynov. After Mozart, a 21st-century take on the composer, won an internationally-coveted Grammy Award, while Mozart's Five Violin Concertos was recorded live at the Salzburg Festival in 2006 on the composer's 250th birthday anniversary. Another Mozart recording features pianist Evgeny Kissin, Mozart concertos No.20 & 27. Latest CDs from the record label Nonesuch are De Profundis and Hymns and Prayers with Gidon Kremer. The upcoming album release, The Art of Instrumentation: Homage to Glenn Gould (recently released for Glenn Gould's 80th birthday), comprises 11 pieces and arrangements by contemporary composers, inspired by works, mostly by Bach, that Gould famously recorded during his career. The orchestra is prominently represented on a new ECM CD dedicated to Sofia Gubaidulina, The Canticle of the Sun, and Nonesuch's 7 CD project Gidon Kremer-All Piazzolla recordings, released in October, 2013. Kremerata Baltica has its own festival in Sigula, Latvia; next summer will be its 10th anniversary. This festival is one of the core values of Latvian classical music life today.
About Gidon Kremer - Soloist & Artistic Director: Of all the world's leading violinists, Gidon Kremer perhaps has the most unconventional career. Born in Riga, Latvia, he began studying at the age of four with his father and grandfather, who were both distinguished string players. At the age of seven, he entered Riga Music School. At 16 he was awarded the First Prize of the Latvian Republic and two years later he began his studies with David Oistrakh at the Moscow Conservatory. He went on to win prestigious awards, including the 1967 Queen Elizabeth Competition and the First Prize in both Paganini and Tchaikovsky International Competitions.
This success launched Gidon Kremer's distinguished career, in the course of which he has established a worldwide reputation as one of the most original and compelling artists of his generation. He has appeared on virtually every major concert stage with the most celebrated orchestras of Europe and America. Also, he has collaborated with today's foremost conductors.
Kremer's repertoire is unusually extensive, encompassing all of the standard classical and romantic violin works, as well as music by 20th and 21st century masters such as Henze, Berg, and Stockhausen. He has also championed the works of living Russian and Eastern European composers and performed many important new compositions, several of them dedicated to him. He has become associated with such diverse composers as Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Pärt, Giya Kancheli, Sofia Gubaidulina, Valentin Silvestrov, Luigi Nono, Aribert Reimann, Peteris Vasks, John Adams, Victor Kissine, Michael Nyman, Philipp Glass, Leonid Desyatnikov, and Astor Piazzolla, bringing their music to audiences in a way that respects tradition yet remains contemporary. It would be fair to say that no other soloist of his international stature has done as much for contemporary composers in the past 30 years.