Boston Philharmonic Performs All-Beethoven Concert Continuing Maestro Zander's Legacy
The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO), led by founder and conductor Benjamin Zander, presents an all-Beethoven program with three performances on Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 7:00pm and Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 3:00pm at Sanders Theatre at Harvard University, and on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 8:00pm at Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory, as part of the orchestra's 40th anniversary season and in honor of Mr. Zander's 80th birthday year.
The BPO performs three contrasting works from the middle, "heroic" period of Beethoven's musical output, including the darkly dramatic Coriolan Overture, one of the composer's most unusual orchestral works and the only genuinely tragic piece of music that Beethoven ever composed; the jubilant Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor," featuring internationally acclaimed pianist Robert Levin; and the iconic Fifth Symphony, a piece Maestro Zander revolutionized in a memorable performance with the Civic Symphony in 1972.
The all-Beethoven program serves as a retrospective and celebration of Zander's 50+ years of interpreting Beethoven, beginning with the very first piece he ever conducted- the Coriolan Overture. Now the world's longest standing conductor of one orchestra (an honor held by Zubin Mehta until his recent retirement), Benjamin Zander became an international sensation in 1972 when he became the first modern conductor to lead the Fifth Symphony in Beethoven's original tempi. Since then, Zander's interpretations of Beethoven have been widely followed and praised, including by Andrew Porter, writer for The New Yorker from 1972 to 1992, who wrote, "If Mr. Zander is right, we have been listening to the music of the greatest composer only in misrepresentation." In 1973, Michael Steinberg, then Chief Critic of The Boston Globe, raved, "Zander... gave a performance almost totally divorced from tradition, but profoundly in touch with what is clearly to be read in Beethoven's score... It was an event that left me with very much to think about, concerning specifically the Beethoven Fifth but also more generally about how to think about music.'"
Classical Source recently wrote, "In tech terms, Zander would be considered a disruptor, uprooting and changing the conventional thinking about what is arguably the most influential piece of music ever written. It is a role Zander, now approaching 80, has heartily embraced his entire career... In large part, what makes Zander's interpretation so radical is his faithful adherence to Beethoven's indicated tempi. Like Beethoven, Zander believes tempo is 'absolutely the central part of a musical interpretation.' And, thanks to a bit of disruptive 19th century technology-the metronome-we know exactly the pace at which the composer wanted passages played."
Zander's recordings of Beethoven with London's Philharmonia Orchestra have been widely praised and the tempi replicated by conductors and orchestras around the world. To hear Zander speak about Beethoven interpretations, watch his interpretation class on Beethoven's Op. 95 String Quartet here.
The Thursday evening concert at Sanders Theatre is part of the orchestra's Discovery Series. Mr. Zander speaks from the stage prior to each piece, introducing and explaining each of the works that will be performed, often with musical examples played by the orchestra. The Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon concerts are preceded by Mr. Zander's Guide to the Music, an hour and fifteen minutes prior to concert start time. These talks offer an in-depth preview of the music on each program, which allows audience members to gain a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the pieces.
Boston Philharmonic Orchestra
Benjamin Zander, Conductor
Discovery Series: Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 7:00pm
Sanders Theatre at Harvard University | 45 Quincy Street | Boston, MA 02139
Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 8:00pm (Guide to the Music Pre-Concert Talk Begins at 6:45pm)
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | 30 Gainsborough Street | Boston, MA 02115
Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 3:00pm (Guide to the Music Pre-Concert Talk Begins at 1:45pm)
Sanders Theatre at Harvard University | 45 Quincy Street | Boston, MA 02139
Beethoven: Coriolan Overture
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 "Emperor"
Robert Levin, Piano
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5
Tickets are available by visiting www.bostonphil.org or by calling 617-236-0999.
About the Boston Philharmonic
The Boston Philharmonic, founded by Benjamin Zander in 1979, is comprised of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO), the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO), and its robust series of Crescendo Education and Community Engagement programs. The mission of the Boston Philharmonic is to share the vibrancy of classical music with new and existing audiences, aspiring to expand the limits of possibility to reinvigorate the classical music experience for audiences and players alike.
As one of Boston's premier orchestras and under the leadership of Maestro Zander, the BPO features student, professional, and amateur musicians who perform inspiring renditions of celebrated masterworks in Boston's most storied concert halls. The BPYO offers year-long orchestral and leadership training at the highest level for talented musicians between the ages of 12 and 21, completely tuition-free. The Crescendo Education and Community Engagement programs provide high quality music education for children who would otherwise not have access, often serving the most disadvantaged, at-risk, and under-resourced children in the city.
About Benjamin Zander
For the past 50 years, Benjamin Zander has occupied a unique place as a master teacher, deeply insightful and probing interpreter, and as a profound source of inspiration for audiences, students, professional musicians, corporate leaders, politicians and more. He has persistently engaged most well-informed musical and public intellectuals in a quest for insight and understanding into the western musical canon and the underlying religious social and political issues that inspired its creation.
Zander founded the Boston Philharmonic in 1978 and has appeared as guest conductor with orchestras around the world. His performances have inspired thousands of musicians, renewed their sense of idealism and shed fresh, insightful and sometimes provocative light on the interpretation of the central symphonic repertoire of the 19th and 20th centuries. Critics and the public have been united in their praise of Zander's interpretations of the central repertory.
For 25 years, Zander has enjoyed a unique relationship with the Philharmonia Orchestra, recording a series of Beethoven and Mahler symphonies. High Fidelity named the recording of Mahler's 6th as 'the best classical recording,' of 2002; the 3rd was awarded 'Critic's Choice' by the German Record Critics'; The Mahler 9th, Mahler 2nd and Bruckner 5th recordings were nominated for Grammy Awards.
In 2012, Zander founded the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO), which draws young musicians from the entire northeastern US to its weekly rehearsals and high-profile performances in Boston. This tuition-free orchestra tours regularly, and has performed in Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw, and the Berlin Philharmonic among others. In the summer of 2017 the BPYO will tour South America and, in 2018, Europe.
From 1965-2012, Zander was on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC), where he taught Musical Interpretation, and conducted the Youth Philharmonic and Conservatory orchestras. He was the founding Artistic Director of the NEC's joint program with The Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts. Zander led the NEC Youth Philharmonic on fifteen international tours and made several documentaries for Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
Zander enjoys an international career as a leadership speaker, with several keynote speeches at the World Economic Forum in Davos and at TED. The best-selling book, The Art of Possibility, co-authored with leading psychotherapist Rosamund Zander, has been translated into eighteen languages.
About Robert Levin
Pianist Robert Levin has been heard throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia, in recital, as soloist, and in chamber concerts. He has performed with the orchestras of Berlin, Birmingham, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Montreal, Tokyo and Vienna with such conductors as Bernard Haitink, Sir Neville Marriner, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Joseph Silverstein. On fortepiano he has appeared with the Academy of Ancient Music, Handel and Haydn Society, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Orchestre Re?volutionnaire et Romantique, with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Christopher Hogwood, Sir Charles Mackerras, Nicholas McGegan and Sir Roger Norrington. He has performed frequently at such festivals as Sarasota, Tanglewood, Ravinia, Bremen, Lockenhaus, Verbier and the Mozartwoche in Salzburg. As a chamber musician, partners include Steven Isserlis, Kim Kashkashian, Ya-Fei Chuang and Hilary Hahn.
Robert Levin is renowned for his restoration of the Classical period practice of improvised embellishments and cadenzas; his Mozart and Beethoven performances have been hailed for their active mastery of the Classical musical language. He has made recordings for DG Archiv, CRI, Decca/Oiseau-Lyre, Deutsche Grammophon Yellow Label, ECM, New York Philomusica, Nonesuch, Philips, and Sony Classical. These include the complete Bach concertos with Helmuth Rilling as well as the English Suites and the Well-Tempered Clavier for Ha?nssler's 172-CD Edition Bach- Akademie. Other recordings include a Beethoven concerto cycle with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Re?volutionnaire et Romantique for DG Archiv, a Mozart concerto cycle with Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music for Decca Oiseau-Lyre as well as the complete Beethoven cello and piano works for Hyperion with Steven Isserlis, which was named Gramophone Magazine's 'Recording of the Month' in early 2014.
Robert Levin studied piano with Louis Martin and composition with Stefan Wolpe in New York. He worked with Nadia Boulanger in Fontainebleau and Paris while still in high school, afterwards attending Harvard. Upon graduation he was invited by Rudolf Serkin to head the theory department of the Curtis Institute of Music, a post he left after five years to take up a professorship at the School of the Arts, SUNY Purchase, outside of New York City. In 1979 he was Resident Director of the Conservatoire Ame?ricain in Fontainebleau, France, at the request of Nadia Boulanger, and taught there from 1979 to 1983. Between 1986 and 1993 he was professor of piano at the Staatliche Hochschule fu?r Musik in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. President of the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he has also been Dwight P. Robinson, Jr. Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. In 2016 he was inducted as Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is currently the inaugural Hogwood Fellow of the Academy of Ancient Music for 2017 and2018.
In addition to his performing activities, Robert Levin is a noted theorist and Mozart scholar, and is the author of a number of articles and essays on Mozart. His completions of Mozart fragments are published by Ba?renreiter, Breitkopf & Ha?rtel, Ha?nssler, and Peters, and have been recorded and performed throughout the world. Levin's cadenzas to the Mozart violin concertos have been recorded by Gidon Kremer with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Vienna Philharmonic for Deutsche Grammophon and published by Universal Edition. Henle has also issued his cadenzas to the flute, oboe and horn concertos and will publish his cadenzas to Beethoven's violin concerto. His reconstruction of the Symphonie Concertante in E- flat major for four winds and orchestra, K.297B, was premie?red by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the Mozartwoche in Salzburg, and has subsequently been performed worldwide. The first of four recordings of the work, by Philips, won the 1985 Grand Prix International du Disque. In August 1991 Robert Levin's completion of Mozart's Requiem was premie?red by Helmuth Rilling at the European Music Festival in Stuttgart to a standing ovation. Published by Ha?nssler-Verlag, it has been performed worldwide and recorded numerous times. A Carnegie Hall commission to complete Mozart's Mass in C minor, K. 427 was premiered in 2005.
Future highlights include concerts with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Handel & Haydn Society and New Jersey Symphony, as well as recitals at the Leipzig Bach Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, and his annual appearances at the Salzburg Mozartwoche. He continues his acclaimed collaboration with Steven Isserlis performing the complete Beethoven cello and piano music.