The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Presents BEETHOVEN'S 9TH SYMPHONY, 3/21-23
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Edo de Waart open the 2014 Beethoven Festival with Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 on March 21-23, 2014 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. The program features the MSO Chorus, soprano Susanna Phillips, mezzo- soprano Kelley O'Connor, tenor Thomas Cooley, and baritone Christopher Maltman. The performances open with John Adams's The Wound-Dresser, a setting of Walt Whitman's Civil War prose.
In culmination of the One City, One Symphony initiative, the MSO is proud to partner with Wisconsin Public Radio for a live broadcast of the Sunday, March 23 performance. Hosted by Lori Skelton, the broadcast can be heard on WPR's News & Classical and All-Classical Networks. All concerts include Meet the Music, a free, interactive pre-concert discussion, held in the Anello Atrium of Uihlein Hall at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. John Adams's The Wound-Dresser was composed in 1988 and premiered in 1989 with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Adams was appointed composer-in-residence for the San Francisco Symphony by their music director at the time, Edo de Waart. Adams completed The Wound-Dresser utilizing the text from Walt Whitman's prose just after the premiere of his first opera, Nixon in China. About the piece, Adams wrote: "The Wound-Dresser is not just about the Civil War; nor is it just about young men dying (although it is locally about both). It strikes me as a statement about human compassion of the kind that is acted out on a daily basis, quietly and unobtrusively, and unselfishly and unfailingly."
Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Opus 125, was composed from 1822-1824 and premiered in1824. By the time he began conceptualizing the idea of his Ninth Symphony, Beethoven was completely deaf and still coming to terms with this reality. The Ninth Symphony pushed musical boundaries as never before, serving as the inspiration for several composers that came after. It is difficult to imagine another piece of music that has had more influence on modern society, as it has been used in recent history to mark momentous world events, from the celebration surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall to providing a unifying message to the student protesters at Tiananmen Square. The poignancy of its music, coupled with its message of universal brotherhood, continues to inspire our generation, and its influence will undoubtedly continue for generations to come.
A B O U T T H E A R T I S T S
The 2013.14 season is Edo de Waart's fifth as the sixth music director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He is also chief conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, artistic partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and conductor laureate of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.
Guest conducting highlights include performances with the San Francisco Symphony, NHK Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Washington's National Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. As an opera conductor, Mr. de Waart has conducted at Nikikai Opera, Geneva Opera, Opera de Bastille, Santa Fe Opera, and The Metropolitan Opera. Semi-staged and concert opera performances include Der Rosenkavalier (The Metropolitan Opera), Bluebeard's Castle (Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra), and The Rake's Progress (Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra). He regularly conducts an opera with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic as part of the Concertgebouw's Zaterdag Matinee series.
Edo de Waart's extensive catalogue encompasses releases for Philips, Virgin, EMI, Telarc, and RCA. With the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, he has recorded all the orchestral works of Rachmaninoff, the overtures of Wagner for Octavia/Exton, and a Wagner series for Challenge Classics.
Born in Holland, he studied oboe, piano, and conducting at the Music Lyceum in Amsterdam and upon graduating took up the position of associate principal oboe of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Two years later, at the age of 23, he won the Dimitri Mitropoulos Conducting Competition in New York which resulted in his appointment as assistant conductor to Leonard Bernstein at the New York Philharmonic. On his return to Holland, he was appointed assistant conductor to Bernard Haitink at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In 1967, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra appointed him guest conductor and, six years later, chief conductor and artistic director. Since then, Edo de Waart has also been music director of the San Francisco Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra, chief conductor and artistic director of the Sydney Symphony, and chief conductor of De Nederlandse Opera. In December 2004, he was made a Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion, and in 2005, he was appointed an Honorary Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia.
Alabama-born soprano Susanna Phillips, recipient of The Metropolitan Opera's 2010 Beverly Sills Artist Award, continue to establish herself as one of today's most sought-after singing actors and recitalists. The 2013.14 season sees Phillips return to The Metropolitan Opera for a sixth consecutive season. Starring roles with the company include Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte under the baton of returning music director James Levine, Rosalinde in a new staging of Strauss's Die Fledermaus as a part of the annual New Year's Eve gala, and Musetta in La Bohéme, a reprise of the role in which she made her house debut in 2008.