Christoph von Dohnányi To Lead NY Philharmonic in Programs in January

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Christoph von Dohnányi will lead the New York Philharmonic in seven concerts in January that will feature works by Dvorák, Schumann, Jörg Widmann, and both Brahms piano concertos, with pianists Yefim Bronfman and Radu Lupu as soloists.

The first concerts, Thursday, January 13, 2011, at 7:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, January 14-15, at 8:00 p.m., will comprise Widmann's Con brio, Concert Overture for Orchestra, Schumann's Symphony No. 4, and Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 2, with Yefim Bronfman as soloist.

Mr. Dohnányi will conduct the Orchestra in the Rush Hour Concert on Wednesday, January 19, at 6:45 p.m., with a program comprising Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1, with Radu Lupu at the keyboard. The concert on Thursday, January 20, at 7:30 p.m., will feature Widmann's Con brio, Concert Overture for Orchestra, Schumann's Symphony No. 4, and Dvorák's Symphony No. 8.
Mr. Dohnányi will conclude his visit with the Philharmonic on Friday and Saturday, January 21-22, at 8:00 p.m., conducting Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Mr. Lupu, and Dvorák's Symphony No. 8.

Single tickets for these performances start at $32. 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 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 $12.50 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.] For press tickets, call Lanore Carr in the New York Philharmonic Communications Department at (212) 875-5714, or e-mail her at carrl@nyphil.org.

Related Events:

Pre-Concert Talk
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and university professor Paul Moravec will introduce the program on January 13-15 and 20 one hour before each performance inthe Helen Hull Room, unless otherwise noted. Composer Victoria Bond will introduce the program on January 21-22. Pre-Concert Talks are $7; discounts available for multiple concerts, students, and groups. Attendance is limited to 90
people. Information: nyphil.org or (212) 875-5656

On the Music: The New York Philharmonic Podcast
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, is the producer of the two podcasts related to Mr. Dohnányi's programs. 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 from January 13-15 will be broadcast the week of January 24, 2011,*on The New York Philharmonic This Week, a radio concert series syndicated nationally to more than 300 stations by the WFMT Radio Network. The 52-week series, hosted by 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 Classical 105.9 FM WQXR on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m.
*Check local listings for broadcast and program information.

Artists
Christoph von Dohnányi became honorary conductor for life of the Philharmonia Orchestra at the start of the 2008-09 season. He was appointed principal guest conductor in 1994, and from 1997 he held the position of its principal conductor. In his final season there, he and the orchestra performed at London's Southbank Centre, in venues around the United Kingdom, and in concerts in Vienna, Germany, and the United States. From September 2004 to July 2010 Mr. Dohnányi held the position of chief conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra. Born in Berlin, Christoph von Dohnányi studied law in Munich, and after two years he joined the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München to study composition, piano, and conducting. Upon graduating he was awarded the Richard Strauss Prize for Conducting by the City of Munich and continued to study with his grandfather, the composer Ernst von Dohnányi, at Florida State University. In 1953 he was hired by Sir Georg Solti as repetiteur and conductor at Oper Frankfurt. At the age of 27 he moved to Lübeck where he became Germany's youngest general music director, before becoming chief conductor
at first in Kassel and then of the WDR Sinfonieorchester in Cologne. From 1968 he served as general music director in Frankfurt and, from 1972, as director of the Oper Frankfurt. From 1977 to 1984 he was intendant and chief conductor of the Hamburg Staatsoper.

In December 1981 Mr. Dohnányi first conducted The Cleveland Orchestra, and was music director designate from 1982 to 1984. He served its sixth music director from September 1984 to August 2002, subsequently becoming the first music director laureate. During his tenure, he and The Cleveland Orchestra toured extensively around the U.S., Asia, and Europe, performing concerts for the Salzburg Festival, BBC Proms, and Edinburgh Festival, and were in residence at Carnegie Hall for a number of years. In 1998 they performed in China for the first time in the orchestra's history. His many recordings with The Cleveland Orchestra include the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann, as well as Wagner's Die Walküre and Das Rheingold. Mr. Dohnányi last appeared with the New York Philharmonic in December 2009.

Grammy Award-winning pianist Yefim Bronfman has received critical acclaim worldwide for his solo recitals orchestral engagements, and expanding catalogue of recordings, especially for his performances of modern Russian repertory. Highlights of his 2010-11 U.S. season include performances of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the orchestras of Houston, Cincinnati, and St. Louis, and Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the orchestras of Atlanta, New York, and Los Angeles. He will also perform with Europe's most celebrated orchestras, including Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw, the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras, and Berlin Staatskapelle.

In the 2009-10 season Mr. Bronfman's recording of Esa-Pekka Salonen's Piano Concerto - a work that had been premiered and co-commissioned by the New York Philharmonic - with the composer conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic, was nominated for a Grammy Award and named one of the best recordings of 2009 by The Washington Post. Mr. Bronfman's commitment to chamber music has led to collaborations with the Emerson and Guarneri Quartsts, among others, and artists including the late Isaac Stern, Yo-Yo Ma, and Pinchas Zukerman. His wide-ranging discography includes Bartók's three piano concertos with Mr. Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which won a Grammy in 1997. Recent releases include Beethoven concertos with violinist Gil Shaham, cellist Truls Mørk, and the Tonhalle Orchestra; Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; and Perspectives, a recital disc complementing Mr. Bronfman's 2007-08 Carnegie Hall -Perspectives? series.

Mr. Bronfman trained at The Juilliard School, Marlboro Music Center, and The Curtis Institute, with Rudolf Firkus?y, Leon Fleisher, and Rudolf Serkin, and was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize in 1991. He has performed numerous times with the New York Philharmonic, most recently on the Orchestra's EUROPE / WINTER 2010 tour. Pianist Radu Lupu is widely acknowledged as a leading interpreter of the works of Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and Schubert. Since winning the prestigious Van Cliburn (1966) and Leeds Piano Competitions (1969), Mr. Lupu has regularly performed as soloist and recitalist in the musical capitals and major festivals of Europe and the U.S. He has appeared many times with the Berlin Philharmonic since his debut with that orchestra at the l978 Salzburg Festival under Herbert von Karajan, and with the Vienna Philharmonic, including the opening concert of the 1986 Salzburg Festival led by Riccardo Muti. He is also a frequent visitor to Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw and all of the major London orchestras. Mr. Lupu's first major American appearances were in 1972 with The Cleveland Orchestra led by Daniel Barenboim in New York and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Carlo Maria Giulini. Concerts with the New York Philharmonic soon followed and Mr. Lupu has since appeared with all of the foremost American orchestras. This season, his annual winter tour will include concerts with the orchestras of Cleveland, Boston, National Arts Centre (Ottawa), and the National Symphony Orchestra, in addition to recitals for Friends of Chamber Music in Kansas City and Gilmore Keyboard Festival in Michigan. At the request of Sir Colin Davis, who celebrated his 80th birthday with the New York Philharmonic in 2007, Mr. Lupu appeared with him in a special series of concerts devoted to concertos of Mozart.

Mr. Lupu has made more than 20 recordings for the London/Decca label, including the complete Beethoven concertos with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Zubin Mehta, the complete Mozart violin and piano sonatas with Szymon Goldberg, and numerous solo recordings of works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Schubert. Born in Romania in l945 Radu Lupu began studying the piano at the age of six. He made his public debut with a complete program of his own music at age l2. In l961 he won a scholarship to the Moscow State Conservatory where he studied with Heinrich Neuhaus and his son, Stanislav Neuhaus. During his seven years at the Moscow Conservatory Mr. Lupu won first prize in the l967 Enescu International Competition in addition to the Van Cliburn and Leeds International Competitions. In 1989 and again in 2006, he was awarded the prestigious -Abbiati? Prize, given by the Italian Critics' Association. He is also the recipient of the 2006 Premio Internazionale Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli award. Radu Lupu last appeared with the New York Philharmonic in January 2009, performing Beethoven's Piano No. 3, led by Riccardo Muti.

Repertoire
German composer Jörg Widmann wrote his Con brio, Concert Overture for Orchestra, for the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich, which gave its world premiere in September 2008 on a program that included Beethoven's Symphonies Nos. 7 and 8. Although the concerto does not quote literally from those works, nonetheless it refers directly to the sound world of Beethoven. Using Beethoven's instrumentation and alluding to his characteristic rhythmic energy, Widmann creates an homage to the iconic 19th-century master's musical personality, filtered through his own vigorous, witty, contemporary style. These will be the New York Philharmonic's first performances of Con brio.

In order of composition, what is now recognized as the Symphony No. 4 of Robert Schumann actually fell second, after his Symphony No. 1, Spring, and before his Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3 - its designation as the fourth resulting from the publication order. Working between May and September 1841, the composer completed the work to give to his wife Clara, an eminent pianist, as a gift for her 22nd birthday, as well as for the christening of their first-born daughter, Marie. The symphony, imbued with the emotions of internal turmoil, was premiered in Leipzig that December. However, Schumann was dissatisfied with it, and in 1851, he revised the work, conducting a second -premiere? in 1852 in Düsseldorf. In February 1859 the New York Philharmonic gave its first performance of the Symphony No. 4, under the direction of Carl Bergmann. The most recent performance took place on tour in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in March 2009, led by Lorin Maazel.
Johannes Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 2, begun in the spring of 1878 and finished in 1881, is considered one of the greatest works of its genre. Its composition was likely influenced by the composer's vacations to sunny Italy, but the concerto offers an array of ever-changing moods. The work presents many technical challenges for the soloist, requiring a powerful technique and the highest level of musicianship. Brahms dedicated the concerto to one of his most influential teachers, Eduard Marxsen, also a pianist, and the work was premiered in 1881 in Budapest, with the composer at the keyboard. The New York Philharmonic gave the concerto's U.S. premiere in 1882 with pianist Rafael Joseffy as soloist and Theodore Thomas conducting the New York Philharmonic. Riccardo Muti led the Orchestra's most recent performances in January 2008, with Leif Ove Andsnes as soloist.

In 1857 Brahms, at the urging of his close friends Clara Schumann and violinist Joseph Joachim, began composing a concerto for piano, taking the first two movements from an incomplete sonata for two pianos that he had started in 1854, at age 21. The resulting Piano Concerto No. 1 was first heard publicly in 1859, with the composer at the keyboard. Grandly dramatic and symphonic in scope, the work is one of Brahms's major early achievements. The New York Philharmonic first performed the concerto in 1875 under the direction of Carl Bergmann, with Nannetta Falk-Auerbach - a pupil of Clara Schumann's - as soloist. Most recently, it was performed in March 2010, with András Schiff as soloist, conducted by Riccardo Muti.

Antonín Dvorák began composing his folk-inspired Symphony No. 8 in a sudden burst of inspiration at his country home in Vysoká, Bohemia, in 1889. The largely upbeat work is replete with dance-like melodies reminiscent of the composer's Slavonic Dances. The symphony was premiered in Prague in 1890, with Dvorák conducting; Anton Seidl led its New York premiere with the New York Philharmonic in March 1892. The Orchestra most recently performed the work during the 2006 Concerts in the Parks, conducted by Xian Zhang.

Credit Suisse is the Global Sponsor of the New York Philharmonic.

Christoph von Dohnányi's appearance is made possible through the Charles A. Dana Distinguished Conductors Endowment Fund.

Christoph von Dohnányi's appearances on the January 13-15 performances are made possible through the Daisy and Paul Soros Endowment Fund.

Major support provided by the Francis Goelet Fund.

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. 

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