Christoph Eschenbach To Lead NY Philharmonic With Till Fellner In His Debut
Christoph Eschenbach will conduct the New York Philharmonic in a program of works by Austrian composers: Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 22, with Austrian pianist Till Fellner as soloist in his Philharmonic debut, and Bruckner's Symphony No. 9 (Ed. Nowak), Thursday, April 19, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 21 at 8:00 p.m.; and Tuesday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m.
German conductor Christoph Eschenbach began his career as a pianist, making his New York Philharmonic debut as piano soloist in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24 in 1974. Both Christoph Eschenbach and Till Fellner won the Clara Haskil International Piano Competition, in 1965 and 1993, respectively. Mr. Fellner subsequently recorded Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 22 on the Claves label in collaboration with the Clara Haskil Competition.
The New York Times wrote of Mr. Eschenbach's conducting Bruckner's Symphony No. 9 with the New York Philharmonic in 2008: "Mr. Eschenbach, a compelling Bruckner interpreter, brought a sense of structure and proportion to the music without diminishing the qualities of humility and awe that make it so gripping. ... the orchestra responded with playing of striking power and commitment."
Christoph Eschenbach is in demand as a distinguished guest conductor with the finest orchestras and opera houses throughout the world, including those in Vienna, Berlin, Paris, London, New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Milan, Rome, Munich, Dresden, Leipzig, Madrid, Tokyo, and Shanghai. He is currently principal conductor designate of the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra. In June 2017 Mr. Eschenbach received the title of conductor laureate of the National Symphony Orchestra after serving as music director (2010-17). Other past positions include music director of the Orchestre de Paris (2000-10), The Philadelphia Orchestra (2003-08), NDR Symphony Orchestra (1998-2004), and Houston Symphony (1988-99). He is regularly invited to perform at prestigious music festivals, including those of Salzburg, Prague, Tanglewood, Ravinia, Schleswig Holstein, Rheingau, St. Petersburg, and Granada. A prolific recording artist whose work spans five decades, Mr. Eschenbach has an impressive discography as both a conductor and pianist on a number of prominent labels. His recordings include works ranging from J.S. Bach to music of our time, and reflect his commitment not only to canonical works but also to the music of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. In 2014 he received a Grammy Award for his Hindemith CD with violinist Midori and the NDR Symphony Orchestra. Christoph Eschenbach was mentored by George Szell and Herbert von Karajan, and as he feels it is very important to pass on musical knowledge and experience, he dedicates time each season to run master classes and orchestra academies for young performers, such as Schleswig-Holstein Academy Orchestra, Kronberg Academy, Manhattan School of Music, and Milan's Accademia della Scala. His many honors include the French distinctions of Légion d'Honneur, Officier dans l'Ordre National du Mérite, and Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He also carries the Commander's Cross of German Order of Merit, and the Leonard Bernstein Award from the Pacific Music Festival. In 2015 he received the prestigious Ernst von Siemens music Award in honor of his life's dedication to music. Mr. Eschenbach made his New York Philharmonic debut as piano soloist in February 1974 performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24 conducted by then Music Director Pierre Boulez. He made his conducting debut in February 1980 leading works by Zimmermann, Haydn, and Tchaikovsky; he most recently led March 2016 performances of works by Dvo?ák and Bartók.
Austrian pianist Till Fellner's international career was launched in 1993 when he won the prestigious Clara Haskil International Piano Competition in Vevey, Switzerland. Over more than two decades, he has become a sought-after guest with many of the world's most important orchestras and at the major music centers and festivals of Europe, America, and Japan. In addition to his New York Philharmonic debut in these performances, during the 2017-18 season Till Fellner returns to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for a subscription week with frequent collaborator Manfred Honeck. In Europe he appears with Le Concert Olympique, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. He performs recitals in Paris, Vienna, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, and France. Last season, he performed Mozart and Beethoven piano concertos with the Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Montreal, and Vienna symphony orchestras, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and London's Philharmonia Orchestra. In 2015 he made his Berlin Philharmonic debut under Bernard Haitink. Mr. Fellner regularly collaborates with British tenor Mark Padmore, with whom he premiered a work by Hans Zender in 2016 and toured Japan in February 2017. This collaboration continues in 2017-18, with Lieder recitals in Vienna and Salzburg. In addition, he regularly performs with the Belcea Quartet. An exclusive ECM recording artist, Mr. Fellner has released the First Book of J.S. Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, as well as J.S. Bach's Two- and Three-Part Inventions and Beethoven's Piano Concertos Nos. 4 and 5 with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Kent Nagano. For two seasons beginning in 2019, Till Fellner will present an all-Schubert cycle (four concerts in total) at the Schubertiade Festival and in Antwerp, Tokyo, and Taipei, among other cities. These performances mark Till Fellner's New York Philharmonic debut.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's (1756-91) Piano Concerto No. 22 was premiered in Vienna in December 1785 shortly after its completion. The last of the three concertos Mozart composed that year, it was written simultaneously with The Marriage of Figaro. One movement of the concerto was particularly successful with audiences: his father, Leopold, wrote to Wolfgang's sister, Nannerl, in January 1786: "I have had a reply from your brother in which he says that he gave without much preparation three subscription concerts to 120 subscribers, that he composed for this purpose a new piano concerto in E-flat, in which (a rather unusual occurrence!) he had to repeat the Andante." The Philharmonic's first performance of the concerto was in 1925, conducted by Willem Mengelberg and with Wanda Landowska as soloist. The Orchestra's most recent performances were in June 2012 with pianist Emanuel Ax, conducted by then Music Director Alan Gilbert.
The Symphony No. 9 (1887-96) is Anton Bruckner's (1824-96) final symphonic masterpiece. Due to his physical weakness and pleurisy, he finished only three movements, spending most of his last two years working on the third movement, the Adagio.After his death, well-meaning tinkerers attempted to complete his works - including this symphony - and there has been much debate about what Bruckner intended, what is original material, and what to do with the sketches the composer left for a fourth movement. The New York Philharmonic will perform Bruckner's original score, as published by the musicologist Leopold Nowak. Bruckner's dedication of the Ninth Symphony reads: "To the Lord of Lords, to my dear God, my last work, and hope that He will grant me enough time to complete it and will generously accept my gift." There is no denying that the Ninth inspires awe as its massive, sweeping score unfolds and rises sublimely, like spires of a cathedral. Willem Mengelberg presented the Philharmonic's first presentation of this symphony in 1927; Manfred Honeck led the most recent performances in March 2014.