Stephane Deneve To Conduct All-Prokofiev Program With James Ehnes Starting Tonight
Stéphane Denève will conduct the New York Philharmonic in an all-Prokofiev program featuring the Violin Concerto No. 1, with James Ehnes as soloist; selections from Romeo and Juliet; and The Love for Three Oranges Suite, Thursday, January 25, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, January 26 at 2:00 p.m.; and Saturday, January 27 at 8:00 p.m.
Stéphane Denève observes in Prokofiev's music the "natural flow, with confident, predictable rhythms ... fabulous surprises ... surrealistic but also emotionally devastating [music appealing to] what is mysterious or dreamed, suggestive of an idealized or sentimental expression." James Ehnes notes a "wonderful peculiarity to the melodies ... unexpected detours. ... an incredible sense of timing, which allows [Prokofiev] to balance lyricism with quite dissonant music, the piquant with traditional harmonic lushness."
Frequent collaborators, Stéphane Denève and James Ehnes gave acclaimed performances of the same all-Prokofiev program with The Cleveland Orchestra in October 2016. The Plain Dealer wrote that Stéphane Denève "demonstrated a clear fluency in Prokofiev, sifting out the essence of every passage and leading with a generally crisp, refined touch," and Mr. Ehnes gave "a thrilling account. ... Wielding virtuoso technique and exquisite lyricism, Ehnes ensured for the work a resounding triumph." In The Love for Three Oranges Suite, Mr. Denève "seized tightly on the score's absurdist spirit, prancing through its taxing pages with both pristine technique and over-the-top senses of wit and drama." The selections from Romeo and Juliet were "animated and vivid."
Gramophone writes of James Ehnes's acclaimed 2013 recording of Prokofiev's complete works for violin: "James Ehnes's particular combination of matchless virtuosity, sweet tone, flowing tempi, and interpretative restraint suits all this music down to the ground."
- Insights at the Atrium - "From Stage to Stage: Romeo and Juliet in Music and Dance"
Simon Morrison, speaker
Stéphane Denève, speaker
Silas Farley, speaker
Monday, January 22, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center (Broadway at 62nd Street)
Stéphane Denève is music director of the Brussels Philharmonic, principal guest conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, music director designate of the St. Louis Symphony, and director of the Centre for Future Orchestral Repertoire. He served as chief conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR), from 2011 to 2016, and music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, from 2005 to 2012. He has a special affinity for the music of his native France, is a passionate advocate for new music, and is committed to inspiring the next generation of musicians and listeners as a communicator and educator, having worked regularly with young people at the Tanglewood Music Center and New World Symphony. He is a frequent guest with orchestras such as Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra della Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, The Cleveland Orchestra, New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras, and the San Francisco, St. Louis, and Toronto symphony orchestras. Other recent appearances include the Vienna, Boston, and NHK symphony orchestras, Munich and Czech Philharmonic orchestras, and Orchestre National de France. In the field of opera, Stéphane Denève has led productions at the Glyndebourne Festival, Milan's Teatro alla Scala, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Saito Kinen Festival, Gran Teatro de Liceu, Netherlands Opera, La Monnaie, Deutsche Oper Am Rhein, Opéra National de Paris, and The Royal Opera, Covent Garden. As a recording artist, he has won critical acclaim for his recordings of the works of Poulenc, Debussy, Ravel, Roussel, Franck, and Honegger. He is a triple winner of the Diapason d'Or de l'année, has been shortlisted for Gramophone's Artist of the Year Award, and has won the prize for symphonic music at the International Classical Music Awards. His most recent releases are a disc of the works of Guillaume Connesson with the Brussels Philharmonic (awarded the Diapason d'Or de l'année, Caecilia Award, and Classica magazine's Choc of the Year), and a disc with Lucas and Arthur Jussen and Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, both for Deutsche Grammophon. Stéphane Denève made his New York Philharmonic debut in February 2015 leading works by Fauré and Tchaikovsky, as well as the New York Premiere of James MacMillan's Piano Concerto No. 3, The Mysteries of Light, with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
Violinist James Ehnes has performed in more than thirty-five countries on five continents. In addition to his solo work, he is the first violinist of the Ehnes Quartet and the artistic director of the Seattle Chamber Music Society. This season Mr. Ehnes joins composer James Newton Howard on his Three Decades of Music for Hollywood tour; appears in recital in London, San Francisco, and Melbourne; performs in concert in North America, Europe, Australia, Hong Kong, and Seoul; tours with the Ehnes Quartet; and performs at the Seattle Chamber Music festivals. He recently premiered Aaron Jay Kernis's Violin Concerto with the Toronto, Seattle, and Dallas symphony orchestras. Recent CD releases include Beethoven's complete works for violin and orchestra with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrew Manze, a recording of Beethoven's Sonatas Nos. 6 and 9 with pianist Andrew Armstrong, and Sibelius's String Quartet, Voces intimae, and Schubert's String Quartet No. 14, Death and the Maiden, with the Ehnes Quartet, all on the ONYX label. Mr. Ehnes's recordings have been honored with many international awards and prizes, including a Grammy, a Gramophone, and 11 Juno awards. He is a member of the Order of Canada, an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in London, and a fellow to the Royal Society of Canada; received honorary doctorates from Brandon University and the University of British Columbia; and was awarded the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Award in the Instrumentalist category. Born in Brandon, Manitoba, James Ehnes began violin studies at age four, and at nine became a protégé of Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin. He studied with Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School of Music, and from 1993 to 1997 at The Juilliard School. He plays the "Marsick" Stradivarius of 1715. James Ehnes made his New York Philharmonic debut in July 2003 performing Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto conducted by Roberto Minczuk during the Concerts in the Parks; he most recently joined the Orchestra and Juanjo Mena for Beethoven's Violin Concerto in January 2016.
Insights at the Atrium Speakers
Professor of Music at Princeton University, Simon Morrison specializes in 20th-century music, particularly Russian, Soviet, and French music, with special interests in dance, cinema, aesthetics, and historically informed performance based on primary sources. He is the author of Russian Opera and the Symbolist Movement (California, 2002) and The People's Artist: Prokofiev's Soviet Years (Oxford, 2009) as well as editor of Prokofiev and His World (Princeton, 2008) and, with Klara Moricz, Funeral Games: In Honor of Arthur Vincent Lourié (Oxford, 2014). His biography of Prokofiev's first wife, Lina and Serge: The Love and Wars of Lina Prokofiev (Houghton, 2013), garnered positive reviews in The New Yorker, The Guardian, The Boston Globe, The Daily Beast, and The Wall Street Journal. It was also dramatized as the "Book of the Week" on BBC radio and covered on BBC World News television. Professor Morrison maintains a profile as a public intellectual, having published feature articles and opinion pieces in The New York Times, New York Review of Books, Threepenny Review, London Review of Books, and Times Literary Supplement. He serves as president of the Prokofiev Foundation and edits the journal Three Oranges, produced under its auspices. Currently he is writing a history of the Bolshoi Ballet to be published by Liveright, an imprint of W.W. Norton. Future books include studies of Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky based on new archival sources. In 2005 he oversaw the recreation of Prokofiev's ballet Le Pas d'acier at Princeton, and in 2007 he co-produced a World Premiere staging of Pushkin's Boris Godunov, featuring Prokofiev's incidental music and Vsevolod Meyerhold's directorial concepts. (Both projects were covered in The New York Times.) In 2008 Simon Morrison restored the scenario and score of the original version of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet for the Mark Morris Dance Group. The project involved orchestrating the newly discovered, original happy ending plus adjusting the content throughout. He also oversaw stagings of John Alden Carpenter's jazz-ballet Krazy Kat and Debussy's La Boîte à joujoux at Princeton. Professor Morrison's distinctions include the Alfred Einstein Award from the American Musicological Society, an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, a Phi Beta Kappa Society Teaching Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Silas Farley is a member of New York City Ballet's (NYCB) corps de ballet. He began training at age seven at King David Christian Conservatory in Charlotte, North Carolina. At nine he was accepted on scholarship into Charlotte Ballet Academy (then North Carolina Dance Theatre), where his teachers were NYCB alumna Patricia McBride, Kathryn Moriarty, and Mark Diamond. At 14 Silas Farley attended the summer course at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of NYCB, and was then invited to enroll as a full-time student. A choreographer since age 11, he created ballets for SAB's 2010 and 2011 Student Choreography Workshops, for the 2013 and 2014 SAB Winter Balls, for three sessions of SAB's Summer Choreography Workshop, and for both the summer 2012 and spring 2015 sessions of the New York Choreographic Institute. In the summer of 2017 he served as the choreographer for the Practicing Silence workshop at Grace Farms Foundation in New Canaan, Connecticut. In 2012 he was one of two advanced SAB students selected by Peter Martins for a student teaching pilot program at SAB. Silas Farley has served as a Teaching Fellow on SAB's faculty since January 2016. He has guest taught for Charlotte Ballet, Ballet Austin, and Southern Methodist University, and he conducted a weeklong series of masterclasses in the fall of 2016 on the teaching and work of George Balanchine at The Academy of the Performing Arts in Bratislava, Slovakia. Mr. Farley was an inaugural Jerome Robbins Dance Division Fellow at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, which included his writing an essay that compared the lives and works of August Bournonville and George Balanchine. The recipient of SAB's 2012 Mae L. Wien Award and Lincoln Center's 2015 Martin E. Segal Award, he became an apprentice with NYCB in August 2012, and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in August 2013.
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) began work on the libretto for his satirical opera The Love for Three Oranges while crossing the Pacific - from Japan to San Francisco - on the way to his 1918 U.S. tour, the year after Russia's Bolshevik revolution. After some successful concerts in Chicago, he was commissioned by the Chicago Opera Association to write an opera. Prokofiev based The Love for Three Oranges on Carlo Gozzi's 18th-century commedia dell'arte play L'amore delle tre melarance, which follows a prince, cursed by a witch, who must search for three large oranges, each containing a beautiful princess. Prokofiev conducted the opera's premiere in Chicago in December 1921. In 1924 he arranged The Love for Three Oranges Suite, comprising six movements: The Ridicules, The Magician Tchelio and Fata Morgana Play Cards (Infernal Scene), March, Scherzo, The Prince and the Princess, and Flight. The New York Philharmonic first presented selected movements in a 1928 Stadium Concert, and first performed the complete orchestral suite, conducted by Pierre Boulez, as part of the Mini-Festival Around Ives in October 1974. Valery Gergiev led the Orchestra's most recent performance of the complete suite in February 1999.
Prokofiev began composing his Violin Concerto No. 1 in 1915, but interrupted his work to compose the opera The Gambler. He returned to the concerto in 1917, on the eve of the Russian Revolution, and it was premiered in 1922 in Paris, conducted by Serge Koussevitzky. Unlike a traditional concerto, in which the movements are typically arranged fast-slow-fast, Prokofiev's concerto inverts that arrangement: the outer movements are in moderate tempi - the composer described the opening as "pensive," and the concerto comes to an ethereal end with the Moderato - while the central Scherzo is a non-stop motoric display of left-hand pizzicato and glissandi. The New York Symphony (which merged with the New York Philharmonic in 1928 to form today's New York Philharmonic) first performed the concerto on November 29, 1925, led by Walter Damrosch, with Paul Kochanski as soloist. The most recent Philharmonic performances took place during the Orchestra's EUROPE / SPRING 2017 tour, with Frank Peter Zimmermann as soloist and Alan Gilbert conducting.
Prokofiev wrote one of the most ravishing ballet adaptations of Shakespeare's timeless tragedy Romeo and Juliet in 1935, based on a synopsis by Adrian Piotrovsky, but the genesis of the work was as star-crossed as the story's protagonists. Prokofiev had been visiting, composing, and performing with mixed success in the United States and Europe, and in the year before his official return to his native Russia (in 1936) he had discussed writing a lyrical ballet for the Kirov in Leningrad. When they withdrew their offer, he signed a contract with the Bolshoi, but production was halted when Soviet cultural officials interfered. Prokofiev salvaged what he'd written for an orchestral suite premiered in 1936, and the ballet in its entirety would be premiered in Czechoslovakia in 1938, and finally produced at the Kirov in 1940. The Philharmonic first performed selections from the ballet in 1943, led by Efrem Kurtz; most recently, Andrew Davis conducted selections in April 2014.
Programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Single tickets for this performance start at $32. 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 Friday; 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5:00 p.m. Sunday. Tickets may also be purchased at the David Geffen 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 $18 tickets for select concerts may be available for students within 10 days of the performance at nyphil.org, 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.)
Insights at the Atrium events are free and open to the public. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Subscribers, Friends at the Fellow level and above, and Patrons may secure guaranteed admission by emailing AdultEd@nyphil.org. Space is limited.