Yefim Bronfman Performs The Beethoven Piano Concertos with the NY Phil, Beg. Tonight
The New York Philharmonic will conclude its 2013-14 subscription season with The Beethoven Piano Concertos: A Philharmonic Festival, featuring The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in- Residence Yefim Bronfman and conducted by Alan Gilbert, today, June 11-28, 2014.
Over the course of the three-week festival, Mr. Bronfman will perform the complete Beethoven Piano Concerto cycle and the Triple Concerto with Principal Cello Carter Brey and Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow, in his final appearances as Concertmaster before concluding his 34-year tenure. The Festival will also feature the World Premieres of Lyra by Anthony Cheung and Songs by Sean Shepherd, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic as part of The Marie-Jose?e Kravis Prize for New Music, pairing the master composer's concertos with new commissions now entering the repertoire.
"It was always a dream of mine to play the Beethoven cycle with a major orchestra like the New York Philharmonic," Yefim Bronfman added. "I've practiced this music every day since I was a child, and the more I practice it, the more I struggle, and the more questions I have, and the fewer answers I get."
"Everything Beethoven touched became iconic in its genre," Alan Gilbert said. "Beethoven's five piano concertos are a canon that I think deserve to be held in a special category among all piano concertos. It's fascinating to see one performer treat all five concertos in one fell swoop."
In the opening program of The Beethoven Piano Concertos, Alan Gilbert conducts Beethoven's Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 4, with Mr. Bronfman as soloist, and the World Premiere-New York Philharmonic Commission of Anthony Cheung's Lyra, Wednesday, June 11, 2014, at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, June 12 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, June 13 at 8:00 p.m.; and Saturday, June 14 at 8:00 p.m.
Anthony Cheung is one of the composers whom inaugural Kravis Prize for New Music recipient Henri Dutilleux (1916-2013) selected to share the proceeds of his honor, and Mr. Cheung dedicated Lyra to Dutilleux's memory. Lyra is a response to Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto and the theory that it reflects the narrative of Orpheus in the underworld taming the Furies with his lyre. "The strumming or plucking of a lyre: if western music has an origin myth, the lyre is inextricably linked to it," writes Mr. Cheung in his program note. "From a simple action upon an instrument comes the mythology of music's power to tame, sway, placate, and console."
"Having attended many of the Philharmonic's CONTACT! concerts since their inception, as well as very memorable performances with the full Orchestra of newer works, I've already been extremely impressed with and thankful for Alan Gilbert's vision for new music," Anthony Cheung said. "The premiere of Lyra will follow on the heels of the inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL, expanding the scope of activities to an unprecedented level and making it the rival of the great international new music festivals."
"When I go back to Beethoven after playing a new work by a living composer," Yefim Bronfman said, "the new music highlights Beethoven's adventurousness, and I realize that maybe his music is even more modern than what we play today."
The Beethoven Piano Concertos: A Philharmonic Festival continues June 18-21, 2014, when Alan Gilbert leads Beethoven's Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3, with Yefim Bronfman as soloist, and the World Premiere-New York Philharmonic Commission of Sean Shepherd's Songs; the Festival concludes June 24-28, 2014, when Alan Gilbert leads Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor, with Yefim Bronfman as soloist, and Beethoven's Triple Concerto, with Yefim Bronfman, Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow, and Principal Cello Carter Brey.
The Beethoven Piano Concertos is the first confluence of the Philharmonic's multi-week festival and Artist-in-Residence position, two initiatives Alan Gilbert launched at the beginning of his tenure in the 2009-10 season. These initiatives were also launched with the Composer-in- Residence posts and CONTACT!, the new-music series, with the goal of broadening the range of artistic influences at the Philharmonic. In past seasons, Philharmonic festivals have included The Russian Stravinsky (conducted by Valery Gergiev), Hungarian Echoes (conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen), The Modern Beethoven (conducted by David Zinman), and The Bach Variations (conducted by Masaaki Suzuki, Alan Gilbert, Andra?s Schiff, and Bernard Labadie).
- Pre-Concert Talks
Writer and music historian Harvey Sachs 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.
- Insights Series Event - "The Pinnacle of Cycles: Pianist Yefim Bronfman Speaks on Beethoven's Piano Concertos"
The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence Yefim Bronfman discusses The Beethoven Piano Concertos: A Philharmonic Festival, his first-ever cycle of this august oeuvre with the New York Philharmonic, which includes the Triple Concerto, the work with which he made his Philharmonic debut 35 years ago.
Tickets for Insights Series events are free; subscribers, Friends at the Affiliate level and above, and Patrons may request reserved seating by e-mailing AdultEd@nyphil.org. Space is limited.
- National and International Radio Broadcast
The program will be broadcast the week of July 6, 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.
Music Director Alan Gilbert began his New York Philharmonic tenure in September 2009, the first native New Yorker in the post. He and the Philharmonic have introduced the positions of The Marie-Jose?e Kravis Composer-in-Residence and The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in- Residence; CONTACT!, the new-music series; and, beginning in the spring of 2014, the NY PHIL BIENNIAL.
In addition to inaugurating the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, in the 2013-14 season Alan Gilbert conducts Mozart's three final symphonies; the U.S. Premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Frieze coupled with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony; world premieres; an all-Britten program celebrating the composer's centennial; the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey as the film was screened; and a staged production of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson. He continues The Nielsen Project - the multi-year initiative to perform and record the Danish composer's symphonies and concertos, the first release of which was named by The New York Times as among the Best Classical Music Recordings of 2012 - and presides over the ASIA / WINTER 2014 tour. Last season's highlights included Bach's B-minor Mass; Ives's Fourth Symphony; the EUROPE / SPRING 2013 tour; and the season-concluding A Dancer's Dream, a multidisciplinary reimagining of Stravinsky's The Fairy's Kiss and Petrushka, created by Giants Are Small and starring New York City Ballet principal dancer Sara Mearns.