NY Philharmonic Presents THE RUSSIAN STRAVINSKY 4/21-5/8
The New York Philharmonic will present The Russian Stravinsky: A Philharmonic Festival conducted by Valery Gergiev on April 21-May 8, 2010. The three-week festival - one of several initiatives launched during Alan Gilbert's first season as Music Director - will offer an in-depth look at Stravinsky, exploring how his Russian roots informed his works. Led by the Russian-born Mr. Gergiev, the festival will feature eight programs over three weeks, including concerts, lectures, pre-concert talks, radio broadcasts, podcasts and an Archives exhibit.
The festival, which will include performances of six of Stravinsky's famed ballets over the three weeks, will open with Mr. Gergiev leading the New York Philharmonic in the composer's dance cantata based on a Russian folk wedding, Les Noces and the complete score for the ballet The Firebird, as well as Symphonies of Wind Instruments on Wednesday, April 21, 2010, and Thursday, April 22, both at 7:30 p.m. Soloists for Les Noces - all making their Philharmonic debuts - are soprano Mlada Khudoley; mezzo- soprano Olga Savova; tenor Alexander Timchenko; and bass Gennady Bezzubenkov; they will be joined by pianists Alexander Mogilevsky, Youliya Zaichkina, Maxim Mogilevsky, and Svetlana Smolina, and the Mariinsky Theatre Chorus, also in its Philharmonic debut.
The first week of The Russian Stravinsky will feature a second program, including the score to the ballet Jeu de cartes; the Symphony of Psalms, featuring the Mariinsky Theatre Chorus; and The Firebird (complete) on Friday, April 23, 2010, at 2:00 p.m., and Saturday, April 24, at 8:00 p.m.
• Pre-Concert Talks
Composer/conductor Victoria Bond will introduce Program I (April 21-22) one hour before each performance. Paul Moravec, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and University Professor at Adelphi University will introduce Program II (April 23-24). 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, will be the producer/host of the podcast addressing Program I. That for Program II will be produced and hosted by Mark Travis, a producer for the WFMT Radio Network since 1999 and the producer of the 52-week- per-year nationally syndicated radio series, The New York Philharmonic This Week. 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 The program of April 21-22 will be broadcast the week of May 3, 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.
• Archives Exhibit: Stravinsky at the New York Philharmonic Bruno Walter Gallery, April-May 2010. The New York Philharmonic Archives will have on view correspondence, scores, programs, and photographs focusing on Stravinsky's particular relationship with the Philharmonic as well as on the conductors who championed his works with the Orchestra over the years.
Artists Valery Gergiev is general director and artistic director of the Mariinsky Opera and Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia, home to the Kirov Opera and Ballet. He is also principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, the first principal guest conductor of The Metropolitan Opera, and artistic director of St. Petersburg's White Nights Festival. He has worked with all the world's major international orchestras and opera companies.
Born to Ossetian parents in Moscow, Mr. Gergiev studied conducting at the Leningrad Conservatory with Ilya Musin, and at the age of 23 he won Berlin's Herbert von Karajan Competition. He made his Kirov Opera debut in 1978 with Prokofiev's War and Peace, and later became assistant conductor to Yuri Temirkanov. Mr. Gergiev was elected artistic director of the Mariinsky opera company in 1988 at the age of 35, and in 1996 the Russian government gave him complete control over the orchestra, opera, and ballet. He has appeared with all the leading orchestras of the former Soviet Union and for four years was chief conductor of the Armenian State Orchestra.
Mr. Gergiev has guest conducted most of the world's major orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw, London's Royal Philharmonic, Rome's Santa Cecilia, and the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland, London Philharmonic, London Symphony, Tokyo's NHK Symphony, and Berlin Philharmonic orchestras. He is also the organizer of the Rotterdam Philharmonic/Gergiev Festival, and is director and founder of the Mikkeli International Festival in Finland, the Peace to the Caucasus Festival, and the Red Sea International Music Festival in Eilat, Israel. Among Mr. Gergiev's numerous international honors are Russia's Dmitri Shostakovich Award, the Golden Mask National Theatre Award, and being named Musical America's Conductor of the Year as well as the People's Artist of Russia. Mr. Gergiev made his New York Philharmonic debut in 1990 in the New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks, and has returned numerous times to lead the Orchestra. His most recent appearance was in March 2000, conducting works by Hindemith and Tchaikovsky.
Soprano Mlada Khudoley has toured with the Mariinsky Theatre Opera to The Metropolitan Opera; Carnegie Hall; London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Tokyo Bunka Kaikan; New Israeli Opera; Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Festspeilhaus Baden-Baden; Cardiff Millennium Center; Bolshoi Theatre; and Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw, among others. Her roles have included Lisa in Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame at Covent Garden; Senta in Wagner's Der fliegende Hollände with Los Angeles Opera and Teatro Massimo (Palermo, Sicily); and Elisabeth in Wagner's Tannhäuser at Tokyo Opera Nomori. She has performed the title role of R. Strauss's Salome with Dallas Opera, Gulbenkian Center (Lisbon, Portugal), Latvian National Opera, Lithuanian National Orchestra, and Vancouver Opera.
Dramatic mezzo-soprano Olga Savova has has toured with the Mariinsky Theatre Opera to London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Milan's Teatro all Scala; The Metropolitan Opera; and major houses in Germany, South Korea, and Japan. Her roles have included three Verdi characters - Amneris in Aida, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Eboli in Don Carlos - and the title role in Bizet's Carmen. In Europe Ms. Savova is regularly invited to sing leading roles from the Russian repertoire including Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov and Khovanshchina; Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, The Enchantress, and Pique Dame; Rimsky-Korsakov's The Snow Maiden; and Prokofiev's War and Peace and The Gambler. In 2004 Ms. Savova performed in the European premiere of the Mariinsky Theatre's production of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Festspielhaus, Baden-Baden, Germany. Future engagements include the Hostess in Boris Godunov at The Metropolitan Opera; a concert production of R. Strauss's Elektra with the Mariinsky Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland; and Khovanshchina in Berlin.
Tenor Alexander Timchenko was born in Leningrad and holds degrees in conducting and voice from the Leningrad Choral College and the St. Petersburg State Rimsky- Korsakov Conservatory. He has toured with the Mariinsky Theatre Opera to Austria, Holland, Finland, Japan, and France, and his roles include God's Fool in Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Guidon in Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tale of Tsar Saltan, Lensky in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, Fisherman in Stravinsky's Le Rossignol, the title role in Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex, Beppe in Leoncavallo's I pagliacci, Ferrando in Mozart's Così fan tutti, Tamino in Mozart's The Magic Flute, Froh in Wagner's Das Rheingold, Quint in Britten's The Turn of the Screw, and Laca Kleme? in Janá?ek's Jen?fa.
Bass Gennady Bezzubenkov was born in Staraya Vitelevka, the Ulyanovsk Region. He has toured with the Mariinsky Theatre Opera to The Metropolitan Opera and to Germany, France, Scotland Israel, Finland, Italy, Spain, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Japan, Portugal, Luxembourg, and Turkey. He has appeared as a guest soloist at the London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Venice's Teatro La Fenice; Milan's Teatro alla Scala; The Metropolitan Opera; Rome Opera; and Los Angeles Opera. Mr. Bezzubenkov has worked with conductors such as Valery Gergiev, James Levine, Yuri Temirkanov, Yevgeny Svetlanov, Maris Janssons, and Gintaras Rinkevicius; and singers Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, Deborah Voigt, Olga Borodina, Sergey Larin, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. His audio and video recordings with the Mariinsky Theatre include Prokofiev's War and Peace and The Fiery Angel, Glinka's Ruslan und Ludmilla, and Rimsky-Korsakov's Sadko, The Tsar's Bride, and The Maid of Pskov.
Pianist Alexander Mogilevsky was born in 1977 in Odessa, Russia, and regularly appears at music festivals such as Martha Argerich's project in Lugano, Switzerland; Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival; Verbier in Switzerland; and the Roque d'Antheron Piano Festival in Mikkeli, Finland. He has performed in Gstaad, Switzerland, and at the Rheingau and Yehudi Menuhin Festivals. His international appearances have included performances of Stravinsky's Les Noces with Martha Argerich in Lugano; Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Orchestra of Swiss Italy; and collaborations with the Philharmonic Orchestra in St. Gallen, Switzerland, and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. He has toured the U.S. with Mikhail Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra, and made his debut with Valery Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on Valery Gergiev's Perspectives series. He also performed a New Year's concert in Moscow with Vladimir Spivakov and the Moscow Virtuosi; Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No.1 with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Donald Runnicles; Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and with the Philharmonia Orchestra led by Mikhail Pletnev at London's Royal FestivAl Hall; a concert tour to Japan; and recitals at London's Wigmore Hall, Zurich's Tonhalle, Paris's Théâtre du Châtelet, and in Istanbul, Turkey, and Zagreb, Croatia. Mr. Mogilevsky recorded Chopin's Piano Concerto No 2 with the Young Philharmonic Orchestra led by Justus Frantz, winning the international Davidoff Prize. He won the First Tchaikovsky International Competition for Young Pianists in 1992.
Pianist Youliya Zaichkina was born in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, in 1982, and studied at the Musical Academy and Musical College of Nizhny Novgorod under Natalia Fisch. She made her debut at the age of seven, performing with the State Philharmonic Orchestra of Nizhny Novgorod, at age nine gave a concert tour of Germany, and won the Regional Competition for Young Pianists, Grand Prize of the Nizhny Novgorod Piano Competition, and First Grand Prize in the Competition for Composers. She also participated in Music Festival in Memory of the Great Russian Scientist Andrei Sakharov. At age 11 she was the first-prize winner at the International Competition for Young Musicians, performing Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. Subsequently, she was invited for concert tours throughout Germany, France, Norway, and Great Britain. In 2002 Ms. Zaichkina won the International Yamaha Award, and in the same year performed at the opening concert of Valery Gergiev's festival in Rotterdam. In 2003 she won the International Piano Competition of the City of Huesca, Spain, and performed with the Mariinsky Orchestra at London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Youliya Zaichkina appeared at Martha Argerich's music festival in Lugano, Switzerland, in 2004, performing Stravinsky's Les Noces with Ms. Argerich, and has appeared with her subsequently in France. In December 2007 she performed at Carnegie Hall with Valery Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra.
Pianist Maxim Mogilevsky was the last pupil of Anaida Sumbatian, Vladimir Ashkenazy's teacher. He made his debut at the age of 13 with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra led by Dimitry Kitaenko, and then studied at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory under Lev Naumov. He received a Tchaikovsky scholarship for studies at The Juilliard School with Bella Davidovich, and has also studied with Martha Argerich. He holds a master's degree from Indiana University at South Bend, where he studied with Alexander Toradze. He was a visiting assistant professor at Oberlin Conservatory from 1996 to 2001. Mr. Mogilevsky won the 1989 International Music Competition of Japan, 1992 Unisa Piano Competition in Pretoria, South Africa, and 1995 International Piano Competition of Opporto, Portugal. He has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras; has collaborated with conductors including Valery Gergiev, Alexander Dmitriev, and Seiji Ozawa; and has performed recitals at the Sydney, Ravinia, Stresa, Michelangeli, Easter, and White Nights festivals. He and his wife, Svetlana Smolina, as the Mogilevsky/Smolina Duo, won the Grand Prize, Audience Prize, and Casadesus Award at the 2001 International Murray Dranoff Duo Piano Competition. Mr. Mogilevsky is currently a visiting professor of piano at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
Pianist Svetlana Smolina was born in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, and has performed at festivals including Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and those of Salzburg, White Nights, Hollywood Bowl, Mikkeli, Edinburgh, and Settimane Musicali di Stresa. She has played with the St. Petersburg, Odessa, Florida, and Nizhny Novgorod philharmonic orchestras; Toledo, Corpus Christi, and Shreveport symphony orchestras; and the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, and New York Chamber Orchestra. In December 2007 Ms. Smolina made her Carnegie Hall debut performing in Stravinsky's Les Noces as part of Valery Gergiev's Perspectives series. Her recording of that work with Mr. Gergiev was released in 2005 by Decca/Philips. Ms. Smolina's recent performances have included a recital in Berlin with violinist Vadim Repin for Deutsche Grammophon, and a live radio performance on WQXR in New York City. In the 2009- 10 season she appears at the Red Sea Festival in Eilat, Israel, with the Mariinsky Orchestra and Mr. Gergiev; at the Mikkeli Festival; and at the Sakharov Festival in Nizhny Novgorod.
The Mariinsky Theatre Chorus is well known in Russia and abroad. In the mid-19th century, under the guidance of the opera conductor Eduard Napravnik, the Mariinsky Theatre staged the first performances of famous operas by Borodin, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Tchaikovsky. The large-scale choral scenes in these operas were performed by the Mariinsky Theatre Chorus, an integral part of the opera company. The chorus's success was founded on the careful preservation of old Russian choral traditions and the highly professional work of some outstanding chorus masters. Today, the Mariinsky Theatre Chorus not only participates regularly in operatic productions, but also gives its own concerts of sacred and secular music. The repertoire ranges from Russian and foreign classics to cantatas, oratorios, and a cappella songs. It has toured throughout Russia, Finland, Switzerland, Britain, France, Italy, and Israel.
In 1913, while still working on The Rite of Spring, Stravinsky conceived of the project that would become Les Noces (The Wedding): a ballet with singers, portraying a traditional Russian peasant wedding. His original intention was to score it for a large and elaborate symphony orchestra, but over the course of several years of composition his conception of the instrumentation shifted, and Stravinsky experimented with several highly unusual and increasingly percussive orchestrations, including one involving player-pianos. The version finally premiered in 1923 by the Ballets Russes is scored for four pianos and percussion. Combined with the hearty voices of the bride, the groom, and their community, the work creates a completely unique sound-world, at once completely fresh and modern and at the same time deeply evocative of Russian tradition. The New York Philharmonic has programmed Les Noces only twice before, the first time in October 1970, led by Leonard Bernstein, and then in May 1982, led by John Lanchbery.
In his Symphonies of Wind Instruments, by relying on clarity and precision in combining a few potent melodic fragments, Stravinsky hoped to create what he described as "an austere ritual." The work's title invokes the original sense of the word "symphony," meaning "a sounding together" - hence the use of the plural form for this single one-movement work. Symphonies of Wind Instruments is dedicated to the memory of Claude Debussy, who died in 1918. Stravinsky completed the composition in France in the fall of 1920; Serge Koussevitzky led its premiere in June 1921 at Queens Hall, London. The composer returned to the work in 1947, editing and re-orchestrating it, and it is this version that has been most often heard. The New York Philharmonic first performed the piece at a Young People's Concert in March 1958, led by Leonard Bernstein. The most recent performance was led by Leonard Slatkin in May 2000.
The score that first awakened the world to a young Russian composer named Igor Stravinsky was The Firebird, music composed for a two-scene ballet for a 1910 Paris production by the Ballets Russes. Russian folklore lent the work its plot and vivid characters: the young Tsarevich Ivan, the mystical Firebird, the ogre Kashchei, and 13 imprisoned princesses (one destined to marry Ivan). In this score, Stravinsky, at age 28, had already composed what would endure as his most popular work. Over time, he developed three concert suites from the original ballet: the first suite emerged in 1911; a second version, from 1919, is the most widely performed; a final version dates from 1946. The New York Symphony and the New York Philharmonic (which merged in 1928 to become today's New York Philharmonic) first performed suites from The Firebird in 1916 and 1923, respectively. The New York Philharmonic first presented the complete Firebird score in January 1975, led by Pierre Boulez. The most recent performance was in April 2008, conducted by Leonard Slatkin.
Jeu de cartes, completed in 1936, is the score for what Stravinsky called a "Ballet in Three Deals" on a story by the composer all about one of his favorite games - poker - and originally performed by the American Ballet, choreographed by George Balanchine. The cunning Joker attempts to dominate the other cards through deceit, to varying degrees of success over the course of the three hands portrayed. As one might imagine, the score is playful and witty, and features a number of allusions to works by Stravinsky and other composers, including a prominent use of the famous "fate" motive from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. The New York Philharmonic first performed Jeu de cartes in January 1940 with the composer conducting; it was performed most recently in March 1989, led by Erich Leinsdorf.
Stravinsky wrote his Symphony of Psalms in 1930 on a commission from Serge Koussevitzky in honor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra's 50th anniversary, but the unusual conception of the work - three settings from the book of Psalms for chorus and ensemble - was entirely his own, and defied his publisher's request that the piece be purely orchestral. Stravinsky had only recently rejoined the Eastern Orthodox church, having lapsed since leaving Russia before World War I, and the Symphony is one of his most affecting expressions of religious faith. He later said that in this work he was eager "to counter the many composers who had abused these magisterial verses as pegs for their own lyrico-sentimental ‘feelings.' The psalms are poems of exaltation, but also of anger and judgment, and even of curses." The work was first performed by the New York Philharmonic in October 1934, led by Otto Klemperer; the most recent performance was given in June 1982, led by Robert Craft.
STRAVINSKY'S RUSSIAN ROOTS
As a youth, Igor Stravinsky absorbed many of the ever-present folk traditions of his native land: although he left Russia in 1910 and lived in Switzerland, France, and finally the United States, his Russian heritage remained a vital part of his life and creative vision. While his compositional career spanned three stylistic periods - the "Russian" Period (ca. 1908-19), the Neoclassical Period (ca. 1920-54), and the Serial Period (ca. 1954-68) - his Russian influences were always present, sometimes in the foreground other times in the background. "At the end of his life," says Mr. Gergiev, "Igor Stravinsky was saying, ‘I think in Russian, I hear in Russian, my worth is Russian, my tongue is Russian.'" For Mr. Gergiev, this "Russian voice" is a key to understanding Stravinsky's entire output.
Igor Stravinsky was born in Oranienbaum (now Lomonosov), a Baltic resort near St. Petersburg, in 1882. The third son of Feodor Stravinsky, one of the principal basses at the Mariinsky (for a time, known as the Kirov) Theatre in St. Petersburg, the younger Stravinsky's musical education began with piano lessons at home when he was ten. He studied law at St. Petersburg University and music theory with Fyodor Akimenko and Vasily Kalafati, but his most important teacher was Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, with whom he studied informally from the age of 20, taking regular lessons from 1905 until 1908.
Although Stravinsky's first substantial composition was a Symphony in E-flat major, Op. 1, written under the tutelage of Rimsky-Korsakov, it was The Firebird - a ballet commissioned by Serge Diaghilev and premiered by his Ballets Russes in Paris in 1910 - that brought Stravinsky into sudden international prominence. The next year he consolidated his reputation with Petrushka. The composer's next major score - a third ballet commission from Diaghilev - is one of the landmarks in the history of music: The Rite of Spring. The work marked the coming of modernism in music and was met with a mixture of astonishment and hostility, and Stravinsky became known as one of the most radical composers of the age.
Also active as a performer of his own music, initially as a pianist and later as a conductor, Stravinsky was the first composer to leave a nearly complete legacy of recordings of his own music, initially released on Columbia Records, now Sony Classical. His conducting career continued until 1967, when advancing age and illness forced him to retire. He died on April 6, 1971, in New York, and his body was flown to Venice for burial on the island of San Michele, near Diaghilev's grave.
STRAVINSKY AND THE New York Philharmonic
Igor Stravinsky's long history with the New York Philharmonic began on January 8, 1925, when the composer conducted the Orchestra in an all-Stravinsky program; he was 42 years old. Forty-one years later, on July 23, 1966, he conducted his Symphony of Psalms at age 84, at the Philharmonic's Festival of Stravinsky: His Heritage and His Legacy. In the intervening years, Stravinsky conducted the Philharmonic 32 times - including the world premiere of his Symphony in Three Movements in 1946, a New York Philharmonic Commission - and also performed three times as pianist. His works have appeared on Orchestra or Ensembles programs almost 1,100 times.
The Philharmonic has released 37 recordings of Stravinsky's works, led by various conductors. Stravinsky recorded nine of them as conductor: Circus Polka (1945); The Firebird 1945 Suite (1946); Fireworks (1946); Four Norwegian Moods (1945); Ode (1945); Persephone (1957); Petrushka Suite (1940); The Rite of Spring (1940); Scènes de Ballet (1945); and Symphony in Three Movements (1946). Stravinsky also recorded the works of two other Russian composers with the Philharmonic: Glinka's Overture to Russlan and Ludmilla (1945), and Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto (1940) and Symphony No. 2, Little Russian (1940).
** * Credit Suisse is the Global Sponsor of the New York Philharmonic.
** * The Russian Stravinsky is generously sponsored by Yoko Nagae Ceschina and The
Kaplen Foundation. Programs of the New York Philharmonic are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
** * Single tickets for the April 21-22 performances are $39-$119; for April 23-24, $34-
$124. Tickets for Pre-Concert Talks are $5. All tickets may be purchased online at nyphil.org or by calling (212) 875-5656, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets may also be purchased at the Avery Fisher Hall Box Office or the Alice Tully Hall Box Office at Lincoln Center, Broadway at 65th Street. 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 $12 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.]