Christoph Eschenbach Conducts U.S. Premiere of TOWARDS OSIRIS
Christoph Eschenbach will conduct the New York Philharmonic in a program of music by German and Austrian composers from three centuries: the U.S. Premiere of Matthias Pintscher's towards Osiris, Berg's Violin Concerto with Pinchas Zukerman as soloist, and Brahms's Piano Quartet No. 1, arranged by Schoenberg, Thursday, March 18, 2010, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 19, at 2:00 p.m., and Saturday, March 20, at 8:00 p.m.
Composer/conductor Victoria Bond will introduce the program one hour before each performance. Tickets are $5 in addition to the concert ticket. Attendance is limited to 90 people. Information: nyphil.org or (212) 875-5656
New York Philharmonic Podcast
Elliott Forrest, Peabody Award-winning broadcaster, producer, and weekend host on Classical 105.9 FM WQXR, is the producer of this podcast. These award-winning previews of upcoming programs - through musical selections as well as interviews with guest artists, conductors, and Orchestra musicians - are available at nyphil.org/podcast or from iTunes.
National Radio Broadcast
This concert will be broadcast the week of March 29, 2010,* on The New York Philharmonic This Week, a radio concert series syndicated nationally to more than 295 stations by the WFMT Radio Network. The 52-week series, hosted by the Emmy Award-winning actor Alec Baldwin, is generously underwritten by The Kaplen Foundation, 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 9:00 p.m.
*Check local listings for broadcast and program information.
Christoph Eschenbach is currently music director designate of the National Symphony Orchestra as well as music director designate of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.; he will become music director of these two organizations in the 2010-11 season. In 2009-10 Mr. Eschenbach returns to the Vienna Philharmonic at the Mozartwoche in Salzburg (to play the piano and conduct) and to The Philadelphia Orchestra (where he was music director from 2003 to 2009) to lead two programs, including a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 7 in Carnegie Hall, completing his Mahler cycle with the orchestra. He leads concerts with the National Symphony Orchestra and conducts two programs at Royal FestivAl Hall with the London Philharmonic in addition to a tour of China. He also returns to the Dresden Staatskapelle, conducting its annual nationally televised Advent Concert; subscription concerts in Dresden; and a tour throughout Germany and in Abu Dhabi. Other highlights of the current season include engagements with the FilarMonica Della Scala in Milan, San Francisco Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestra Sinfonica dell'Accademia di Santa Cecilia, and the NDR Symphony Orchestra, where he served as music director from 1998 to 2004. Principal Conductor of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival International Orchestral Academy since 2004, he also leads the that Festival Orchestra on tours in Hungary and the Czech Republic as part of the centennial of Mahler's death, and in North America with Lang Lang as soloist. A prolific recording artist as both a pianist and a conductor over five decades, Christoph Eschenbach has released recordings with ensembles including the Orchestre de Paris (Ondine and Deutsche Gramophone); London Symphony Orchestra (Sony/BMG); Vienna Philharmonic (Decca); Hamburg NDR symphony (BMG/Sony & Warner) and Houston symphony (Koch) orchestras. Over the past five years, Ondine has released 16 critically acclaimed recordings featuring Mr. Eschenbach with the Orchestre de Paris and The Philadelphia Orchestra. His recent Ondine recording of the music of Kaija Saariaho with the Orchestre de Paris and soprano Karita Mattila won the 2009 MIDEM Classical Award in Contemporary Music. Mr. Eschenbach held the posts of chief conductor and artistic director of the Tonhalle Orchestra from 1982 to 1986; music director of the Houston Symphony from 1988 to 1999; music director of the Ravinia Festival from 1994 to 2003; and artistic director of
the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival from 1999 to 2002. His many honors include the Légion d'Honneur; Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres; the Officer's Cross
with Star and Ribbon of the German Order of Merit; and the Commander's Cross of the German Order of Merit for outstanding achievements as pianist and conductor. Mr. Eschenbach last appeared with the New York Philharmonic in November 2008. Pinchas Zukerman is well respected as a violinist, violist, conductor, pedagogue, and chamber musician, and was celebrated in more than 100 concerts in 17 countries in 2008, his 60th birthday year. His 2009-10 season includes more than 100 performances on five continents, bringing him to Australia, New Zealand, China, Russia, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Germany, and throughout North and South America. He spends 10 weeks teaching, as director of the Pinchas Zukerman Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music and as artistic director of the National Arts Centre Summer Music Institute in Ottawa, including the Young Artist Program, Conductors' Program, and Composers Program.
Currently in his 11th season as music director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Mr. Zukerman has programmed a season augmented by his first performances of Mozart's The Magic Flute with Opera Lyra. The 2009-10 season also marks Mr. Zukerman's first as principal guest conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, which includes a tour in Europe. He also appears with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in the U.S.; the Gulbenkian Orchestra Lisbon; and at the Beijing Music Festival. Orchestral appearances in the U.S. include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestras, Utah, and Madison symphonies.
Born in Tel Aviv in 1948, Pinchas Zukerman began studying at age eight with Ilona Feher. With the guidance of Isaac Stern and Pablo Casals, and the support of the America-Israel and Helena Rubenstein Foundations, he came to America in 1962 to study with Ivan Galamian on scholarship at The Juilliard School. In 1967 he won first prize in the 25th Leventritt Competition. He has held numerous artistic positions, including music director of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for seven years and principal guest conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for two years. In October 2002 he became the first recipient of the Isaac Stern Award for Artistic Excellence at the National Arts Awards Gala in New York City, and in May 2006 was appointed as the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative's first instrumentalist mentor in the music discipline.
In conjunction with the making of a new recording of Gustav Holst's The Planets by the Berlin Philharmonic, Simon Rattle asked four contemporary composers to write new "asteroid" works that could serve as companions to the original suite. German composer Matthias Pintscher responded to this commission with towards Osiris, a piece that, like Holst's original, alludes to mythology, though in this case the mythology of ancient Egypt: Osiris, the god of the dead, was killed by his brother and torn to pieces, but when his wife gathered and assembled the pieces, he was restored to life. These concerts represent the U.S. Premiere of towards Osiris.
Alban Berg interrupted the orchestration of his opera Lulu in the summer of 1935 to compose his Violin Concerto. The Austrian native had been suffering financially as his homeland fell increasingly under Nazi rule and his atonal musical style was increasingly less tolerated. A commission from the American violinist Louis Krasner spurred the usually deliberate Berg to work quite quickly. The composer's only concerto, it is essentially serialist, but tonality surfaces through quotes of the Lutheran chorale "Es ist genug," which Bach used in his Cantata No. 60. Berg died in late 1935 before the concerto could be either published or performed, but the world premiere would soon occur - led by Hermann Scherchen and performed by Krasner at the 1936 Barcelona Festival of the International Society of Contemporary Music. "Berg is rooted in the Romantic tradition," says conductor Christoph Eschenbach, "but that is not so important for the work - it's the emotional content and emotional success of the piece, and its conclusion, with the last incredible celestial chord." The New York Philharmonic, under Dimitri Mitropoulos, first performed the concerto in 1949 with violinist Joseph Szigeti, and most recently in April 2007, with Anne-Sophie Mutter as soloist and Lorin Maazel conducting.
Arnold Schoenberg began his orchestration of Johannes Brahms's Piano Quartet in G minor in1937. The two composers had both been members of the Vienna Composers' Association, and the young Schoenberg was a devout proponent of Brahms: the novice Schoenberg was 23 years of age when the old master died in 1897. Schoenberg was preoccupied with the Austro-German musical tradition of Bach, Mahler, and Richard Strauss, and in his orchestration of the quartet he stated that he wanted "to remain strictly in the style of Brahms and not go any farther than he himself would have gone had he lived today." The quartet was first performed by the Philharmonic in November 1942, led by Artur Rodzinski. The most recent Philharmonic performance was in April 2004, led by Asher Fisch.