Sir Colin Davis To Conduct NY Philharmonic; Violinist Nikolaj Znaider To Solo 12/9-11
In his second consecutive week with the New York Philharmonic this season, Sir Colin Davis will lead the Orchestra in two works by Elgar - the Introduction and Allegro, and the Violin Concerto, with Nikolaj Znaider as soloist - and Mozart's Symphony No. 36, Linz, Thursday, December 9, 2010, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, December 10, at 8:00 p.m., and Saturday, December 11, at 8:00 p.m.
Mr. Znaider, who has recorded the Elgar Violin Concerto with Sir Colin, is performing the work with the New York Philharmonic for the first time. "The thing I love about the concerto is that it always has an element of contrast and of parallel things running next to each other," he says. "You have grandeur and a sense of intimacy. Whenever you have passion you have a sense of restraint. That's sort of the duality that actually mirrors, one to one, the way society was in England - where it was premiered - at that time." Mr. Znaider is performing the work frequently this season on its 100th anniversary - using the same violin on which it was first performed, in 1910, by Fritz Kreisler, with the composer conducting.
• Musical Suppers
The concert on December 10 will be followed by the first of this season's Musical Suppers - five post-concert repasts featuring menus created by renowned chefs and hosted by food critic Mimi Sheraton. Kurt Gutenbrunner, chef/co-owner of Wallsé, Blaue Gans, and Café Sabarsky in the Neue Gallerie, will design a festive menu in the spirit of a Viennese Christmas. Upcoming Musical Suppers will take place January 7 (André Soltner), January 28 (Alain Ducasse), May 6 (Marcus Samuelsson), and
June 10 (Michael White). The tickets are $225 per person in addition to a concert ticket. Purchasers of two or more dinner dates will receive personally autographed copies of cookbooks by the chefs, as well as Mimi Sheraton's The German Cookbook. For information, call (212) 875-5656 or visit nyphil.org.
• Pre-Concert Talk
Conductor/composer Victoria Bond will introduce the program one hour before each performance in the Helen Hull Room, unless otherwise noted. 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 this podcast. 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
This concert will be broadcast the week of January 3, 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.
Sir Colin Davis is president of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) and honorary conductor of the Dresden Staatskapelle. He began this season in Dresden, conducting the Dresden Staatskapelle, followed by performances in London with the LSO. Other highlights of this season include appearances at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, for Mozart's The Magic Flute; with the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Beethoven's Mass in C major with the Orchestre National de France; a series of concerts with pianist Mitsuko Uchida and the LSO performing all the Beethoven piano concertos; LSO in Aix-en-Provence for Mozart's opera La clemenza di Tito; and two concerts at the BBC Proms - one with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra and the other with the LSO and Beethoven's Missa solemnis.
During his career Sir Colin has conducted the BBC Scottish Orchestra and Sadler's Wells Opera House, and he was chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (1967-71). He became music director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 1971, and principal guest conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1972. He spent 1983-92 with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, was principal guest conductor of the New York Philharmonic from 1998 to 2003, and has been honorary conductor of the Dresden Staatskapelle since 1990. He was principal conductor of the LSO from 1995 to 2006.
Sir Colin has recorded widely for the Phillips, BMG, and Erato labels. His recording of Verdi's Otello with the LSO has been released, and will be followed by Nielsen's Fourth and Fifth Symphonies. Beethoven's Mass in C major, Haydn's The Creation, and a boxed set of Sibelius Symphonies Nos. 1-7 and Kullervo Symphony - which received a BBC Music Magazine Award in April 2007 - were released last season. Sir Colin was named a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2001, and received the Yehudi Menuhin Prize by the Queen of Spain in 2003 for his work with young people. He received The Queen's Medal for Music in December 2009.
Sir Colin, who is scheduled to appear with the New York Philharmonic on December 2, 4, and 7, 2010, last conducted the New York Philharmonic in April 2008.
Nikolaj Znaider, violinist, conductor, and chamber musician, was appointed principal guest conductor of the Mariinsky Orchestra in St. Petersburg this season by Valery Gergiev. He will also appear as guest conductor with orchestras such as the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and WDR Symphony Orchestra, Cologne. As a soloist, Mr. Znaider is regularly invited to work with the world's leading orchestras and conductors, including Daniel Barenboim, Sir Colin Davis, Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Christian Thielemann, Mariss Jansons, Charles Dutoit, Christoph von Dohnányi, Ivan Fischer, and Gustavo Dudamel. In recital and chamber music he appears at all the major concert halls. In the 2008-09 season the London Symphony Orchestra presented an "Artist Portrait of Znaider," and in the 2012-13 season he will present a "Carte Blanche" at the Musikverein in Vienna.
An exclusive RCA Red Seal recording artist, Mr. Znaider's most recent addition to his discography is the Elgar Violin Concerto with Sir Colin Davis and the Dresden Staatskapelle. His award-winning recordings include the Brahms and Korngold violin concertos with the Vienna Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev; Beethoven and Mendelssohn violin concertos with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic; and Prokofiev's Second Violin Concerto and Glazunov concertos with Mariss Jansons and the Bayerische Rundfunk. He also released Brahms's complete works for violin and piano with Yefim Bronfman. For EMI Classics he has recorded the Mozart piano trios with Daniel Barenboim, and the Nielsen and Bruch concertos with the London Philharmonic.
A native of Copenhagen, Denmark, Nikolaj Znaider is passionate about the education of musical talent, and for 10 years was founder and artistic director of the Nordic Music Academy, an annual summer school created to foster conscious and focused musical development based on quality and commitment.
Nikolaj Znaider plays the Kreisler Guarnerius del Gesu 1741 on extended loan to him by The Royal Danish Theater through the generosity of the Velux Foundations and the Knud Højgaard Foundation.
Edward Elgar's Introduction and Allegro was composed quickly at the start of 1905 for the recently-formed London Symphony Orchestra, which premiered it under the composer's baton that March. During composition, Elgar wrote to a friend that the work was to incorporate "a devil of a fugue," and so it does, alongside a stirring melody inspired by a Welsh folksong. The New York Philharmonic gave the work its U.S. Premiere later that same year, in November 1905, when Walter Damrosch led the New York Symphony (which merged with the New York Philharmonic in 1928 to form today's New York Philharmonic). The Philharmonic's last performance of the work was in January 1959, led by Sir John Barbirolli.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his bride, Constanze, finally visited the
composer's father, Leopold, nearly a year after their marriage. Upon returning home to Vienna, they were invited to spend a few days in Linz as the guest of Count Thun. Expected to perform new music for his host, Mozart wrote to his father, "On Thursday, November 4, I am giving a concert in the theater here, and, as I have not a single symphony with me, I am writing a new one at a head-over-heels pace." The resulting Symphony No. 36, Linz, was completed three days later and premiered by Mozart on November 4, 1783. The Philharmonic gave its first performance of the symphony in 1928, with Sir Thomas Beecham conducting. David Robertson led the Orchestra's most recent performance of the work, in October 2006.
Edward Elgar began writing his Violin Concerto in 1909, premiering it the following year at Queen's Hall in London with violinist Fritz Kreisler (to whom the work was dedicated). The work remained one of Elgar's most personal pieces, the violin being his own instrument, and the music inspired by a close female friend. The identity of that friend, whose name the composer deliberately left out of the epigraph he affixed to the score beneath its dedication, has been a source of conjecture over the years. As for the music, it is a high-water mark of English Romanticism - a large-scale, expansive score that never lets virtuosity get in the way of introspective lyrical gestures. The concerto was first performed by the New York Symphony (which merged with the New York Philharmonic in 1928 to become today's New York Philharmonic) in January 1922, conducted by Alfred Coates, with Jascha Heifetz as soloist. The most recent Philharmonic performances were in March 2008, with Pinchas Zukerman as soloist and Michael Christie conducting.