Conductor Otto Tausk To Lead New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
Following his inaugural, season-opening performances as the newly appointed Music Director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, now in its 100th year, Dutch conductor Otto Tausk makes his debut with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, conducting three performances of Dvo?ák's Symphony No. 7, Ligeti's Romanian Concerto, and Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2, featuring Seong-Jin Cho, winner of the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition. The concerts take place on Thursday, October 11 at 7:30 p.m. at bergenPAC in Englewood; Saturday, October 13 at 8:00 p.m. at NJPAC in Newark; and Sunday, October 14 at 3:00 p.m. at Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown.
Tickets start at $20 and are available for purchase at njsymphony.org or 1-800-ALLEGRO (255-3476).
On this program, Mr. Tausk conducts two central European works far removed in time and style. Dvo?ák's Symphony No. 7 is one of his favorite pieces by one of the most important composers in his musical development. He explains:
"My love for music was actually born listening to Dvo?ák. I was especially drawn to the scherzos influenced by Slavonic folk music, and though all of them are unique and special in their own way, the scherzo in Symphony No. 7 is perhaps my favorite. It is light, yet tragic, and this spirit of sadness tinged with flashes of lightness and hope pervades this entire D-minor symphony, which ends with three brilliant bars of N*E*R*D major."
In his Proms debut with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales over the summer, Mr. Tausk conducted Dvo?ák's Cello Concerto featuring Daniel Müller-Schott, and in his next Vancouver performances after the NJSO concerts, he conducts the composer's Stabat Mater.
Ligeti's Romanian Concerto, performed in its NJSO premiere, is also a work that Mr. Tausk knows well, having conducted it with both the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia and the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic.
"Ligeti lures us into a fantastic musical world of Romanian folk music with highly virtuosic string playing, evocations of village bands, and mesmerizing folk melodies," said Mr. Tausk. "He creates a totally unique sound world full of wonderful colors, for instance asking the French horn to imitate an alphorn by playing without valves, which results in slightly awkward tuning, often flatter than we are accustomed to."
While Mr. Tausk remains active as a guest conductor throughout the 2018-19 season, most of his time is devoted to building his relationship with the VSO and the Vancouver community as the Orchestra's new Music Director, while also celebrating the Orchestra's 100th anniversary throughout the season. After conducting the season opener, which features Renée Fleming, he leads the Orchestra in the first of several 2018-19 programs that introduce Vancouver to new Dutch artists and works, starting with the world premiere of a VSO commission from Vancouver-based Dutch composer Edward Top and performances with the young Dutch piano duo Lucas and Arthur Jussen.
A champion of new music, particularly from his home country, Mr. Tausk conducts the North American premiere of a concerto by Dutch composer Michel van der Aa, as well as world premieres from Canadian composers Emily Doolittle and Nicole Lizée. Throughout the season, these and other explorations of the new and unfamiliar are balanced with performances of core repertoire, through which he and the Orchestra can deepen their musical connection.
Dutch conductor Otto Tausk is the newly appointed Music Director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. He also serves as Artistic Advisor of the VSO School of Music. Until spring 2018, he was Music Director of the Opera Theatre and Tonhalle Orchestra St. Gallen, and he was previously Music Director of the Holland Symfonia. In addition to working with the major orchestras and composers in his native Holland, he appears as a guest conductor with such ensembles as the BBC Orchestras of Scotland and Wales, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony, Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and Rotterdam Philharmonic.
This season, Mr. Tausk returns to guest conduct the Dutch National Opera (world premiere of Micha Hamel's Caruso a Cuba), Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, and Orchestre National de Belgique, and makes his debut appearance with the Orquesta de Valencia, in addition to the NJSO. His discography includes recordings with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchestra St Gallen, and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. His Prokofiev disc with the Tonhalle Orchestra St. Gallen and Dutch violinist Rosanne Philippens was named BBC Music Magazine's Concerto Disc of the Month (January 2018). Born in Utrecht, he initially studied violin, then trained as a conductor with Jonas Aleksa. Between 2004 and 2006, he was assistant conductor to Valery Gergiev with the Rotterdam Philharmonic.
For more information, visit ottotausk.com.