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James Gaffigan to Lead LA Phil and Andre Watts in Three Performances, 3/31-4/2

James Gaffigan comes to Walt Disney Concert Hall for the first time to lead the Los Angeles Philharmonic in three performances of music by Ottorino Respighi, Béla Bartók and Edvard Grieg, Friday, March 30, at 8 pm, as well as Saturday and Sunday, March 31 and April 1, at 2 pm. André Watts plays Grieg's Piano Concerto, a piece he put into his active repertoire in the 2007/08 season and has played several times a season since.

The concert opens with Respighi's Trittico botticelliano, inspired by three famous Botticelli paintings: Spring, Adoration of the Magi, and The Birth of Venus. Following is Bartók's Miraculous Mandarin Suite, which preserves about two-thirds of the composer's one-act ballet The Miraculous Mandarin. The original work was banned after causing a scandal at its 1926 premiere. Grieg's Piano Concerto closes the program.

New York City native James Gaffigan is praised for the precision and natural ease of his conducting and the illuminating insight of his musicianship. His passionate and energetic performances and ability to connect deeply with audiences and musicians have attracted international attention, both for his work with orchestras on the concert stage, as well as in the pit at the most prestigious opera houses. Gaffigan was recently appointed Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, assuming both positions in the summer of 2011. Gaffigan's international career was launched when he was named a first prize winner at the 2004 Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition in Frankfurt, Germany. Since then he has worked with many of the major orchestras throughout the world and this season, in addition to his engagements with the Lucerne Symphony and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Gaffigan makes his debuts with the Czech, Dresden and London Philharmonics. In 2009, Gaffigan completed his three-year tenure as Associate Conductor with the San Francisco Symphony, where he assisted Michael Tilson Thomas, led subscription concerts and was Artistic Director of the orchestra's 'Summer in the City' festival. Gaffigan is also an enthusiastic gourmand and his blogs, which can be found on his website, www.jamesgaffigan.com, frequently contain restaurant and wine recommendations along with his experiences as he travels the world as a conductor.

A perennial favorite with orchestras throughout the U.S., André Watts is also a regular guest at the major summer music festivals, including Ravinia, the Hollywood Bowl, Saratoga, Tanglewood and the Mann Music Center. Recent and upcoming engagements include appearances with the Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras, New York Philharmonic, and the St. Louis, Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas, Cincinnati, Houston, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Seattle and National symphonies among others. In celebration of the Liszt anniversary in 2011, Watts played all-Liszt recitals throughout the U.S., while recent and upcoming international engagements include concerto and recital appearances in Japan, Hong Kong, Germany and Spain. A much-honored artist who has played before royalty in Europe and heads of government in nations all over the world, Watts received a 2011 National Medal of Arts, given by the President of the United States to individuals who are deserving of special recognition for their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States. In June 2006, he was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl of Fame to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his debut (with the Philadelphia Orchestra) and he is also the recipient of the 1988 Avery Fisher Prize. At age 26, Watts was the youngest person ever to receive an Honorary Doctorate from Yale University and he has since received numerous honors from highly respected schools including the University of Pennsylvania, Brandeis University, The Juilliard School of Music and his Alma Mater, the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University.

Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place in BP Hall one hour prior to the concerts, and are free to all ticket holders. Veronika Krausas, composer and Professor at the USC Thornton School of Music, hosts.

Complete program:

RESPIGHI Trittico botticelliano
BARTÓK Miraculous Mandarin Suite
GRIEG Piano Concerto

For more information and complete artist biographies, please visit: www.laphil.com.

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