Manfred Honeck to Conduct NY Philharmonic, Featuring Principal Oboe Liang Wang as Soloist
Manfred Honeck will return to the New York Philharmonic to conduct Richard Strauss's Oboe Concerto, with Principal Oboe Liang Wang as soloist; Beethoven's Symphony No. 6, Pastoral; and Suppe's Poet and Peasant Overture, Thursday, April 7, 2016, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, April 8 at 2:00 p.m.; Saturday, April 9 at 8:00 p.m.; and Tuesday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Manfred Honeck has been acclaimed for his performances of works by Beethoven and Strauss. Principal Oboe Liang Wang made his Philharmonic debut performing R. Strauss's Oboe Concerto, on the 2008 Asia tour.
- Pre-Concert Insights
Writer, music historian, and former Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic Harvey Sachs 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.
Manfred Honeck has served as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) since the 2008-09 season. His widely celebrated performances and distinctive interpretations continue to receive international recognition, and he and the PSO regularly perform together in major music capitals and festivals, including the BBC Proms, Lucerne Festival, Vienna's Musikverein, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center. An extensive tour of Europe is scheduled for the spring of 2016. Manfred Honeck's successful work with the PSO is also being documented on recordings with the Reference label; the CDs of works by Richard Strauss, Bruckner, Beethoven, and others have been greeted with acclaim, and the recording of Dvor?a?k's Symphony No. 8 and Honeck's own Symphonic Suite from Jana?c?ek's opera Jenu?fa was nominated for a Grammy Award. Born in Austria, Manfred Honeck began his career as conductor of Vienna's Jeunesse Orchestra, which he co-founded, and as assistant to Claudio Abbado at the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra in Vienna. He was subsequently engaged by the Zurich Opera House, where he received the European Conductor's Award in 1993. In 1996 he began a three-year appointment as one of three main conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig, and in 1997 he served as music director at the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo for a year. He also was principal guest conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic for several years; music director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra Stockholm (2000-06); and principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (2008-11), a position he resumed for another three years beginning in 2013. As music director of the Stuttgart Staatsoper (2007-11) he conducted premiere productions of Berlioz's Les Troyens, Mozart's Idomeneo, Verdi's Aida, Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, Poulenc's Dialogues des Carme?lites, and Wagner's Lohengrin and Parsifal. As a guest conductor, Manfred Honeck has appeared with leading orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, and Vienna Philharmonic. In the U.S. he has conducted the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras, The Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, and the Boston, Chicago, and National symphony orchestras. Manfred Honeck made his New York Philharmonic debut in January 2013 leading works by Braunfels, Beethoven, and Grieg with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet; most recently, in May 2015, he led the Orchestra in music by Johann Strauss II, Brahms, and Mozart, with Augustin Hadelich as soloist.
Liang Wang joined the New York Philharmonic in September 2006 as Principal Oboe, The Alice Tully Chair. Previously, he was principal oboe of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera, and San Francisco Ballet Orchestra; associate principal oboe of the San Francisco Symphony; and guest principal oboe of the Chicago and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras. He has performed as concerto soloist with the New York Philharmonic 23 times. Recipient of the 2014 Beijing International Music Festival Artist of the Year award, Mr. Wang served as artist-in-residence of the Qing Dao Symphony Orchestra, his hometown orchestra, in the 2014-15 season, at the invitation of the mayor. He was invited by the Presidents of China and France to perform Chen Qigang's Extase with the Orchestre Colonne de France at Versailles's Royal Opera House in March 2014 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of France- China diplomacy. Mr. Wang made his Carnegie Hall solo debut in April 2011 performing Chen Qigang's Extase. Other recent appearances include Mozart's Oboe Concerto with Les Violons du Roy, China Philharmonic, and Shanghai and Guanzhou Symphony Orchestras; Strauss's Oboe Concerto with the Makau Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Ballet Orchestra; Mozart and Strauss's Oboe Concertos on tour with all of China's major symphony orchestras; and J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He has performed chamber music with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Angel Fire Music Festival, and La Jolla Music Society's SummerFest, with which he premiered Sean Shepherd's Oboe Quartet. He is currently on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music and New York University, and is an honorary professor at Beijing's Central Conservatory of Music and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Liang Wang made his Philharmonic solo debut performing Strauss's Oboe Concerto, led by Xian Zhang, in Hong Kong on the Asia 2008 tour; he most recently appeared as soloist in Christopher Rouse's Oboe Concerto, led by Alan Gilbert, in November 2013.
Franz von Suppe? (1819-95) composed the Poet and Peasant Overture in 1846 as a prelude to his operetta Dichter und Bauer (Poet and Peasant), which was being premiered at Vienna's Theater an der Wien, where Suppe? had recently become music director. This introduction to his three-act "comedy with songs" shows the influences of operatic masters Donizetti (with whom Suppe? studied) and Rossini, and sets up the opera's action with hints of Viennese waltzes and the stormy, exciting musical events to come. Almost a century later, the Overture entered pop culture when it was quoted in "The Spinach Overture" in a 1935 Popeye cartoon short from Fleischer Studios. Josef Stransky conducted the Philharmonic's first performance of this work as part of a special concert at the Waldorf-Astoria in March 1916, and its most recent performance was in October 1990, led by Leonard Slatkin.
Richard Strauss (1864-1949) composed his Oboe Concerto in 1945, just as Europe was emerging from World War II. Strauss had been welcoming Allied soldiers into his home, and among them was Office of Strategic Services member and oboist John de Lancie, who had already been principal oboe of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and who would eventually hold the same position at The Philadelphia Orchestra and become the director of the Curtis Institute of Music. Strauss initially dismissed the idea, but eventually gave in, heading his autograph score, "Oboe Concerto 1945/suggested by an American soldier/oboist from Chicago." Strauss composed one of the most melodic yet demanding works in the genre: it opens with a 57- measure solo for the oboe. Although Strauss promised de Lancie the first U.S. performance, that honor ultimately went to Mitchell Miller in 1948; de Lancie finally performed the concerto in 1964, and recorded it in 1988. The Philharmonic first presented the Concerto in May 1982, featuring then Principal Oboe Joseph Robinson and conducted by Zubin Mehta; it most recently presented the work as part of the Asia 2008 tour with Principal Oboe Liang Wang as soloist, conducted by Xian Zhang.
Ludwig van Beethoven's (1770-1827) love of the countryside is well known, and his Symphony No. 6, Pastoral, was in large part composed in a country house in the Vienna suburb of Heiligenstadt, although elements of the movement titled "Scene by a Brook" can be seen in a brief musical sketch from 1803 in which he wrote "the murmuring of the brook" above flowing triplets. The symphony's subtitle, Pastoral, was assigned by Beethoven himself, although he was careful to make the distinction between the subtle feelings he was trying to suggest and the strictly programmatic pieces that were in vogue at the time. The symphony was first performed by the New York Philharmonic in April 1846, conducted by Henry C. Timm; the Orchestra most recently performed it in November 2011, led by Bernard Haitink.
Single tickets for this performance start at $45. 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.)