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Bramwell Tovey to Conduct New York Philharmonic in Massenet & Falla This Spring

Bramwell Tovey returns to the New York Philharmonic to conduct Massenet's Ballet Music from Le Cid; Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain, with pianist Joyce Yang as soloist; and Falla's The Three-Cornered Hat (complete ballet), with mezzo-soprano Virginie Verrez in her Philharmonic subscription debut, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, March 31 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, April 1 at 11:00 a.m.; Saturday, April 2 at 8:00 p.m.; and Tuesday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m.

Massenet incorporated dances from various regions of Spain -- including Castiliane, Andalouse, Catalane, Navaraise, and Aragonaise -- in his Ballet Music from Le Cid. Spanish composer Manuel de Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain depicts gardens throughout Spain, including the garden outside the Alhambra in Granada, and channels flamenco and other Spanish dances. Falla's ballet The Three-Cornered Hat is inspired by a Spanish novel of the same name.

Related Events:

- Pre-Concert Insights
Composer Victoria Bond will introduce the program. Pre-Concert Insights are $7, and discounts are available for three (3) or more talks and for students. 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.

ARTISTS:

Grammy and Juno Award-winning conductor/composer Bramwell Tovey was appointed music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) in 2000. Under his leadership the VSO has toured to China, South Korea, the U.S., and across Canada. Mr. Tovey is also the artistic adviser of the VSO School of Music, a state-of-the-art facility and recital hall that opened in downtown Vancouver in 2011. His tenure has included complete symphonic cycles of works by Beethoven, Mahler, and Brahms, as well as the establishment of an annual festival dedicated to contemporary music. In 2018, the VSO's centenary year, he will become the orchestra's music director emeritus. Mr. Tovey's 2015-16 season guest appearances include the Montreal, Melbourne, Pacific, and New Zealand symphony orchestras and The Philadelphia Orchestra and New York Philharmonic, reprising programs with the latter two at Bravo! Vail. The summer of 2016 also includes returns to the Blossom Music Center, Ravinia Festival, and Hollywood Bowl. In the winter of 2016 he conducted Korngold's Die Tote Stadt with Calgary Opera. As a composer, Bramwell Tovey won the 2003 Juno Award for Best Classical Composition for his choral and brass work Requiem for a Charred Skull, and he has received commissions from the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, and Calgary Opera, which premiered his first full-length opera, The Inventor, in 2011. A recording of the work by the VSO with the University of British Columbia Opera and the original cast was made for Naxos and will be released this season. In 2014 his trumpet concerto, Songs of the Paradise Saloon, was performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Alison Balsom as soloist, who performed the work again with The Philadelphia Orchestra in December 2014. Bramwell Tovey has appeared as piano soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Royal Scottish Orchestra, and the Sydney, Melbourne, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Toronto symphony orchestras. In the summer of 2014 he played and conducted Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and in Saratoga with The Philadelphia Orchestra. He has performed his own Pictures in the Smoke with the Melbourne and Helsingborg Symphony Orchestras and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Bramwell Tovey made his New York Philharmonic debut in October 2000 leading a Young People's Concert; he most recently appeared with the Philharmonic in July 2015 leading two programs at Bravo! Vail.

Pianist Joyce Yang came to international attention in 2005 when she won the silver medal at the Twelfth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The youngest contestant at age 19, she won the awards for best performance of chamber music and a new work. A Steinway artist, she received an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2010. She has performed with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, and the Chicago, Houston, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Sydney symphony orchestras, among others, working with conductors including James Conlon, Edo de Waart, Lorin Maazel, Peter Oundjian, David Robertson, Leonard Slatkin, Bramwell Tovey, and Jaap van Zweden. She has appeared in recital at Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Kennedy Center, Chicago's Symphony Hall, and Zurich's Tonhalle. Her 2015-16 season highlights include a tour of eight summer festivals (including Aspen, Seattle, and Bravo! Vail), and a steady stream of debuts, returns, and chamber music concerts. She makes her New Jersey Symphony Orchestra debut with Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3, celebrating the orchestra's season finale and music director Jacque Lacombe's final concert; performs and records the World Premiere of Michael Torke's Piano Concerto (created for her and commissioned by the Albany Symphony); and returns to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2. She also performs with the Colorado Springs, Orlando, and Reading Philharmonic orchestras, and the Alabama, Anchorage, Corpus Christi, Greenwich, Milwaukee, Nashville, Pasadena, Princeton, Santa Fe, Utah, and Vancouver symphony orchestras. Born in Seoul, South Korea, in 1986, she received her first piano lesson from her aunt at age four. In 1997 she moved to the U.S. to begin studies at The Juilliard School Pre-College Division. After winning The Philadelphia Orchestra's Greenfield Student Competition, she performed Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 with that orchestra at age 12. She appears in the film In the Heart of Music, a documentary about the 2005 Van Cliburn Competition. She made her New York Philharmonic debut in November 2006 in South Korea during a Philharmonic tour, led by Lorin Maazel; her most recent performances were in July 2014, as part of Summertime Classics and Bravo! Vail concerts led by Bramwell Tovey.

French mezzo-soprano Virginie Verrez is a winner of the 2015 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a graduate of The Juilliard School. She joins The Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program in the 2015-16 season, where she makes her debut as the Musician in a new production of Puccini's Manon Lescaut. She will also make major debuts with the Santa Fe and Dallas Operas. Recent roles have included Verdi's Nabucco (in the role of Fenena) at Oberammergau's Passionstheater, Berlioz's Be?atrice et Be?ne?dict (Be?atrice) under Seiji Ozawa at the Saito Kinen Festival, Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro (Cherubino) at The Juilliard School, and Bizet's Carmen (Me?rce?des) with the National Symphony Orchestra as part of Wolf Trap Opera's 2014 season. Ms. Verrez has given recitals at Dallas Opera, in Paris, in Baden bei Wien, and in Vienna. As a participant at the Schubert Institute she has worked with renowned artists such as pianist Roger Vignoles and bass-baritone Robert Holl. She studied at the International Meistersinger Akademie in Neumarkt, Germany. She is a winner of both the 2014 Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition and the 2014 Mary Trueman Vocal Competition; was awarded Le Prix Jeune Espoir and Le Prix Spe?cial du Jury at the 2014 Festival Nuits Lyriques en Marmandais; is the recipient of a Lucrezia Bori Grant; and won the Lissner Charitable Fund in the 2013 Opera Index Competition. Virginie Verrez previously appeared with the Philharmonic on a Young People's Concert conducted by Assistant Conductor Courtney Lewis in March 2015; these performances mark her Philharmonic subscription debut.

REPERTOIRE

Perhaps best known as an opera composer, Jules Massenet (1842-1912) based his 1885 opera Le Cid on Pierre Corneille's literary account of the 12th-century legend of Don Rodrigue (Le Cid). When he first composed the opera, Massenet was following the convention of many late- 19th-century operas in which it was de rigueur to include a ballet, whether it made sense in the plot or not. The popularity of the Ballet Music from Le Cid comes as no surprise, in light of its colorful dances from various regions of Spain, including Castiliane, Andalouse, Catalane, Navaraise, and Aragonaise. Comprising seven movements, the work employs colorful orchestrations, striking dance rhythms, and inventive use of percussion. The Philharmonic first performed ballet music from Le Cid in October 1896, with Walter Damrosch leading the New York Symphony (which later merged with the New York Philharmonic to form today's New York Philharmonic), and most recently in July 2010, led by Bramwell Tovey as part of the Summertime Classics series and at Bravo! Vail.

Spanish composer Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) was 34 and in his fourth year of living in Paris when he began sketching Nights in the Gardens of Spain (1916), which he first conceived as three nocturnes for solo piano. It was the Spanish pianist Ricardo Vin?es, the work's dedicatee, who suggested that the composer turn it into a piece with orchestra. As suggested by its title, it depicts Spanish gardens, including Generalife, the 13th-century villa just outside the Alhambra in Granada. The work also depicts a more generalized distant garden, which dissolves into the impression of festivities in the gardens of the Sierra Cordova. The New York Symphony (which merged with the New York Philharmonic in 1928 to form today's New York Philharmonic) performed the work for the first time in January 1926, featuring pianist Walter Gieseking led by Eugene Goossens; the Orchestra's most recent performances of the work was in October 2003, with pianist Alicia de Larrocha conducted by Osmo Vanska?.

Manuel de Falla based his one-act ballet The Three-Cornered Hat on a classic Spanish novel of the same name that relates the story of a nai?ve miller and his wife, who prevail over the conniving and adulterous magistrate of their hometown in Spain. The history of this immensely popular ballet began rather impressively in London, danced by Sergei Diaghilev's renowned Ballets Russes, with choreography by Leonid Massine and sets and costumes created by Pablo Picasso. The hat of the title (the symbol of authority of the chief magistrate of the story) sits atop the head of a pompous official (corregidor) who tries to seduce the miller's beautiful but flirtatious wife. The movements are inflected with the rhythms and melodies of traditional Spanish folk dances and song. The two suites of excerpts culled from the ballet have become the most well-known of Falla's works. The New York Symphony (which merged with the New York Philharmonic in 1928 to form today's New York Philharmonic) first performed selections from The Three-Cornered Hat in December 1923 under Walter Damrosch; the Orchestra's most recent performances of music from the ballet were in October 2009, when Alan Gilbert led the Suite No. 2, which Falla based on the ballet.

Single tickets for this performance start at $30. Pre-Concert Insights are $7 (visit nyphil.org/preconcert for more information). 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 David Geffen 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. A limited number of $16 tickets for select concerts may be available through the Internet for students within 10 days of the performance, or in person the day of. Valid identification is required. To determine ticket availability, call the Philharmonic's Customer Relations Department at (212) 875-5656. (Ticket prices subject to change.)

Pictured: Bramwell Tovey conducting the New York Philharmonic. Photo by Chris Lee.



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