Alan Gilbert to Conduct NY Phil in Reprise of Lindberg's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Yefim Bronfman, 1/2-7
Music Director Alan Gilbert will lead the New York Philharmonic in a program that, for the first time, unites the Philharmonic's Artist-in-Residence and former and current Composers-in- Residence, two posts Alan Gilbert introduced at the beginning of his tenure. The program features The Marie-Jose Kravis Composer-in-Residence Christopher Rouse's Rapture; former Composer-in-Residence Magnus Lindberg's Piano Concerto No. 2, with The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence Yefim Bronfman as soloist; and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5, Thursday, January 2, 2014, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, January 3 at 8:00 p.m.; and Tuesday, January 7 at 7:30 p.m.
The Philharmonic performed Rapture once before, in October-November 2008, conducted by David Robertson. "It is meant to be a joyous, very life-affirming work," Christopher Rouse said. "I decided that the music would move gradually from incredible calm, tranquility, serenity, and a sense of enormous peace to extreme, wild, orgiastic ecstasy."
Yefim Bronfman and the Orchestra, led by Alan Gilbert, gave the World Premiere of Magnus Lindberg's Piano Concerto No. 2, which the Philharmonic co-commissioned and was composed for Mr. Bronfman, in May 2012; this performance is featured on a recent release on Dacapo Records. The New York Times wrote of the premiere: "
Mr. Bronfman is a pianist with comprehensive skills who can seemingly play anything.... He mastered every challenge: thick chords that leap across the keyboard; spiraling bursts of runs and sputtering arpeggios; cascades of double thirds; finger-twisting counterpoint ..."
"It was such a strong piece, a wonderful concerto, that everybody felt it should be repeated and should become part of the repertoire - and I'm convinced that it will. It needs and deserves a second hearing in the same city," Yefim Bronfman said. "I see a lot of things in this music that I have not seen before, which is a good sign. That's how music lives within a performer: every time you pick it up, it's fresh and you see other things in it.... I believe in it."
"I'm really glad that we're bringing back the Lindberg Piano Concerto No. 2 so soon after we first played it," Alan Gilbert said. "When we have a masterpiece, it's our responsibility to give it life, and this piece absolutely deserves to be in the repertoire."
Alan Gilbert and the Philharmonic will return to Long Island University's Tilles Center for the Performing Arts in Brookville, New York, on January 4, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., performing Christopher Rouse's Rapture; Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1, featuring Yefim Bronfman as soloist; and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5.
Mr. Rouse's role as Composer-in-Residence began this season with performances of his Oboe Concerto, featuring Liang Wang and conducted by Alan Gilbert, November 14-16 and 19, 2013. Following the performances of Rapture, Alan Gilbert will lead Mr. Rouse's Requiem on May 5, 2014, to open the Spring For Music festival at Carnegie Hall, and the World Premiere of Mr. Rouse's New York Philharmonic-commissioned Symphony No. 4 on June 5-7, 2014, one of the highlights of the inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL.
Mr. Bronfman's residency will continue January 13, 2014, during CONTACT!, the Philharmonic's new-music series, with Yefim Bronfman and Friends when he will perform works by Marc Neikrug and Marc-Andre? Dalbavie with Philharmonic musicians at SubCulture.
Related Events - Pre-Concert Talks:
Composer Daniel Felsenfeld will introduce the program January 2-3 and 7. Christopher Rouse will participate in the Pre-Concert Talks January 2 and 3 to discuss his work Rapture. Pre-Concert Talks are $7; discounts available for multiple concerts, students, and groups. They take place one hour before each performance in the Helen Hull Room, unless otherwise noted. Attendance is limited to 90 people. Information: nyphil.org or (212) 875-5656.
National and International Radio Broadcast: The program will be broadcast the week of January 26, 2014,* on The New York Philharmonic This Week, a radio concert series syndicated weekly to more than 300 stations nationally, and to 122 outlets internationally, by the WFMT Radio Network.
The 52-week series, hosted by actor Alec Baldwin, is generously underwritten by The Kaplen Brothers Fund, 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 8:00 p.m.
*Check local listings for broadcast and program information.
Music Director Alan Gilbert began his New York Philharmonic tenure in September 2009, the first native New Yorker in the post. He and the Philharmonic have introduced the positions of The Marie-Jose?e Kravis Composer-in-Residence and The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in- Residence; CONTACT!, the new-music series; and, beginning in the spring of 2014, the NY PHIL BIENNIAL. "H
In addition to inaugurating the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, in the 2013-14 season Alan Gilbert conducts Mozart's three final symphonies; the U.S. Premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Frieze coupled with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony; four world premieres; an all-Britten program celebrating the composer's centennial; the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey as the film is screened; and a staged production of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson. He continues The Nielsen Project - the multi-year initiative to perform and record the Danish composer's symphonies and concertos, the first release of which was named by The New York Times as among the Best Classical Music Recordings of 2012 - and presides over the ASIA / WINTER 2014 tour. Last season's highlights included Bach's B-minor Mass; Ives's Fourth Symphony; the EUROPE / SPRING 2013 tour; and the season-concluding A Dancer's Dream, a multidisciplinary reimagining of Stravinsky's The Fairy's Kiss and Petrushka, created by Giants Are Small and starring New York City Ballet principal dancer Sara Mearns.
Mr. Gilbert is Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies and holds the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies at The Juilliard School. Conductor laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of Hamburg's NDR Symphony Orchestra, he regularly conducts leading orchestras around the world. He made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut conducting John Adams's Doctor Atomic in 2008, the DVD of which received a Grammy Award. Rene?e Fleming's recent Decca recording Poe?mes, on which he conducted, received a 2013 Grammy Award. His recordings have received top honors from the Chicago Tribune and Gramophone magazine. In May 2010 Mr. Gilbert received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music and in December 2011, Columbia University's Ditson Conductor's Award for his "exceptional commitment to the performance of works by American composers and to contemporary music."
As the 2013-14 Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic, Yefim Bronfman plays concertos by composers ranging from Tchaikovsky to Magnus Lindberg; appears in chamber concerts featuring works by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Marc-Andre? Dalbavie, Marc Neikrug, Schubert, Barto?k, and others; travels on the ASIA / WINTER 2014, performing Magnus Lindberg's Piano Concerto No. 2; and concludes the season with The Beethoven Piano Concertos: A Philharmonic Festival. Other season highlights include a tour with Pinchas Zukerman to Ottawa, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Berkeley, and Vancouver; performing Beethoven with conductor Zubin Mehta at the Berlin Philharmonic's new spring residency in Baden-Baden; and returns to the orchestras of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Boston, as well as Paris, Munich, Berlin, and Amsterdam. He tours Australia with Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra as part of its worldwide centenary celebrations.
Mr. Bronfman was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2009 for his recording of Esa-Pekka Salonen's Piano Concerto, with Mr. Salonen conducting (released on Deutsche Grammophon), having received a Grammy in 1997 for his recording of the three Barto?k piano concertos with Mr. Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His performance of Beethoven's Fifth Piano Concerto with Andris Nelsons and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra from the 2011 Lucerne Festival is now available on DVD. His most recent CD release is Lindberg's Piano Concerto No. 2, commissioned for him and performed by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Alan Gilbert, on the Dacapo label.
Born in Tashkent, in the Soviet Union, in 1958, Yefim Bronfman immigrated to Israel with his family in 1973. There he studied with pianist Arie Vardi, head of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. He later studied in the United States, at The Juilliard School, Marlboro, and The Curtis Institute of Music, and with Rudolf Firkusny, Leon Fleisher, and Rudolf Serkin. He became an American citizen in July 1989. Yefim Bronfman last appeared with the Philharmonic in September 2013 performing Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, led by Alan Gilbert.
The Marie-Jose?e Kravis Artist-in-Residence Christopher Rouse composed Rapture, completed in 2000, for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Rouse writes: "The title of this score is not 'The Rapture;' the piece is not connected to any specific religious source. Rather, I used the word 'rapture' to convey a sense of spiritual bliss, religious or otherwise. With the exception of my Christmas work, Karolju, this is the most unabashedly tonal music I have composed. I wished to depict a progression to an ever more blinding ecstasy, but the entire work inhabits a world devoid of darkness - hence the almost complete lack of sustained dissonance. Rapture also is an exercise in gradually increasing tempi; it begins quite slowly but throughout its eleven-minute duration proceeds to speed up incrementally until the breakneck tempo of the final moments is reached. Although much of my music is associated with grief and despair, Rapture is one of a series of more recent scores ... to look 'towards the light.'" David Robertson led the Philharmonic's only prior performances of Rapture in October 2008.
During Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg's tenure as The Marie-Jose?e Kravis Composer-in- Residence (2009-12), audiences had the opportunity to hear a substantial portion of his work, including Kraft, Feria, Al Largo, EXPO, and the May 2012 World Premiere of this work, the Piano Concerto No. 2, co-commissioned by the New York Philharmonic. Mr. Bronfman calls it a "complex and fascinating piece.... I love the second movement; I think it has some of the most beautiful moments of lyricism and power and drama ... a nice, quiet, introspective beginning of the solo piano, interrupted by jolts of explosions; then comes the most difficult passage in the whole piece for piano and percussion playing together... Some of the [Concerto is] almost unplayable ... but my job is to be able to play what's written, not to complain." Mr. Lindberg said: "The concerto runs continuously; there are three clear sections, which evolved naturally during composition. The first presents everything in expository fashion; the second is a contrasting slow movement with cadenza, and the third is a more direct, straightforward finale."
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote to his patroness Nadezhda von Meck about his Symphony No. 5: "Now I shall work my hardest. I am exceedingly anxious to prove to myself, as to others, that I am not played out as a composer.... Have I told you that I intend to write a symphony?" Ever the fragile, self-doubting composer, Tchaikovsky saw himself as a plaything of fate, struggling for happiness. After the Fifth Symphony's successful St. Petersburg premiere in 1888, and the orchestra's triple fanfare in his honor, Tchaikovsky wrote: "I have come to the conclusion that [the Fifth Symphony] is a failure. The applause and ovations referred not to this but to other works of mine, and the Symphony itself will never please the public." He couldn't have been more wrong: the work has become much-loved by audiences and performers. The Philharmonic's first presentation of the Fifth Symphony was in February 1890, conducted by Theodore Thomas; Alan Gilbert led the Orchestra's most recent performances of the symphony in the summer of 2013 during the Concerts in the Parks and the annual Bravo! Vail residency.
Tickets for these concerts start at $30. Tickets for Open Rehearsals are $18. Pre-Concert Talks are $7; discounts are available for multiple concerts, students, and groups (visit nyphil.org/preconcert for more information). All other 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 Saturday, and 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets may also be purchased at the Avery Fisher 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 $13.50 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: Magnus Lindberg, Alan Gilbert, Yefim Bronfman, and the New York Philharmonic. Photo by Chris Lee.