<h3>7 / 9 / 2013 STRESA</h3> <ul> <li>B. SMETANA: Šárka, symphonic poem from “My Country”</li> <li>S. RACHMANINOV: Piano Concerto no. 2 in C minor op. 18</li> <li>L. V. BEETHOVEN: Symphony no. 7 in A major op. 92</li> </ul>
The multifaceted pianist Kirill Gerstein has rapidly ascended into classical music’s highest ranks. His early training and experience in jazz has contributed an important element to his interpretive style.
Mr. Gerstein is the sixth recipient of the prestigious Gilmore Artist Award. Since receiving the award in 2010, Mr. Gerstein has shared his prize through the commissioning of boundary-crossing works by Timo Andres, Chick Corea, Alexander Goehr, Oliver Knussen, and Brad Mehldau. Mr. Gerstein was awarded First Prize at the 2001 Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition in Tel Aviv, received a 2002 Gilmore Young Artist Award, and a 2010 Avery Fisher Grant.
A significant highlight of Mr. Gerstein’s 2016/17 season is the New York premiere of a new Urtext edition of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the New York Philharmonic led by Semyon Bychkov. He will also perform this version of the concerto with the Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Grant Park Orchestra (in its U.S. premiere), and Naples Philharmonic. Mr. Gerstein’s ECHO Klassik Award-winning world premiere recording of this version of the work, paired with Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin led by James Gaffigan was released by Myrios Classics in 2015 and marked Mr. Gerstein’s first orchestral recording. Internationally, this version of the score was performed with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms in London, as well as with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and the Gewandhaus Orchestra.
Additionally this season, Mr. Gerstein performs Busoni’s epic Piano Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra led by Sakari Oramo (and returns in the 2018/19 season to play the world premiere of a BSO-commissioned piano concerto by the orchestra’s first-ever artistic partner, Thomas Adès), Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue in the original jazz band version and Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra led by James Gaffigan, and both Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F and Rhapsody in Blue with the St. Louis Symphony conducted by David Robertson to be recorded for future release. He also returns to the New Jersey, San Diego, and Vancouver Symphonies, performs recitals in Washington DC at the Kennedy Center, Chicago presented by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Seattle, and joins the Hagen Quartet for chamber music concerts at Zankel Hall in New York and at Duke University. In Europe, Mr. Gerstein performs Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3 as part of Semyon Bychkov’s Tchaikovsky festival with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and plays with the Brno Philharmonic, Deutches-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Göttinger Symphonie Orchester, Hamburger Symphoniker, Helsinki Philharmonic, and Luzerner Sinfonieorchester.
He has appeared at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony, and at the Aspen Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chicago’s Grant Park, Blossom with the Cleveland Orchestra, and with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Bravo! Vail Valley Festival, Mann Music Center and Saratoga. He has performed recitals in Paris, Prague, Hamburg, London’s Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, and at the Liszt Academy in Budapest. He made his Salzburg Festival debut playing solo and two piano works with Andras Schiff and has also appeared at the Lucerne and Jerusalem Chamber Music Festivals as well as at the Proms in London.
Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, Czech Philharmonic
Principal Guest Conductor, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor Laureate, BBC Symphony (London)
Renowned Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek was appointed Music Director and Artistic Director of the Czech Philharmonic in 2012, following on from his successful tenure as Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, of which he is now a Conductor Laureate. He was Chief Conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra (1977–89), Music Director of the Prague Philharmonia (1994–2004), was appointed President of the Prague Spring Festival in 2006. From 2013 to 2017, he was Principal Guest Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
In opera, he has collaborated with the Vienna State Opera, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, the Teatro Real Madrid, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Zurich Opera, and the National Theatre in Prague. He has also conducted and recorded several opera-in-concert presentations with the BBC Symphony, to great acclaim. Confirming his preeminence as the conductor of Janacek, this past season he conducted the Czech Phil in a concert presentation of Jenůfa at the London Royal Festival Hall, as well as in full production the San Francisco Opera. This was followed by a performance of Janacek The Makropulos Case with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms.
Under his leadership the Czech Philharmonic is enjoying unprecedented success both at home in Prague, and on extensive tours. Together they have toured in the past three seasons on three continents, including Europe, Asia and North America. Their recent residency in Vienna at the Musikverein was a great success, and has lead to similar events being planned in other world capitals. The Czech Philharmonic announced in January 2017 that their partnership with Maestro Bělohlávek is now officially extended to 2022!
In addition to his ongoing Prague seasons and touring engagements with the Czech, he continues to perform as a guest conductor with the world’s major orchestras, including recent appearances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (including at the London Proms), New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Washington National Symphony, and Deutsches Symphony Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Vienna Symphony Orchestra. In the coming season, in addition to major projects with Czech Phil, he looks forward to engagements with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra Munich, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, St Petersburg Philharmonic, and more.
With the Czech Philharmonic, he will conduct a major Asian tour in Autumn 2017 with concerts in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, in addition to appearances on tour in Europe, the highlight of which will be a performance of Janáček Glagolitic Mass at the Salzburg Festival in August 2018.
Jiří Bělohlávek has recorded extensively, with recent projects with the Czech Philharmonic including the complete symphonies and concertos of Dvořák. The series with Decca continues in the coming season, when a major disc of Suk will be recorded.
In 2012 he was awarded an honorary CBE for his services to British music.
One of the finest composer-pianists of all time, Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff (1873–1943) did not have a carefree childhood – an unfavorable family situation had a negative effect on his mental health. After the poor reception of his First Symphony in D minor in October 1897 young Rachmaninoff fell into a period of deep depression and had to undergo medical treatment for several years. When at the turn of the century Rachmaninoff completed Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in C minor Op. 18, he dedicated it with gratitude to his doctor Nikolai Dahl, thanks to whom he recovered his confidence and was eventually able to compose again.
The first performance of the concerto, at which only the second and third movements were heard, took place in Moscow in December 1900 with Rachmaninoff at the piano and Alexander Siloti as the conductor. The full piece was enthusiastically received a year later at its premiere given by the same musicians and this piano concerto in three movements has since become one of the most popular and frequently played concertos by Rachmaninoff.
Symphony No. 7 in A major Op. 92, completed in 1812, represents atonement and a levelling of the different poles reflected in the dramatic Symphony No. 5 and the joyous Symphony No. 6. Beethoven’s contemporaries sought a “programme” back in the Third, Fifth and Sixth,and the Seventh too was subject to additional interpretations. Wagner branded it an “apotheosis of dance”, Beethoven’s biographer Herriot saw in it the composer’s retreat to intoxicating pleasure, while the philosopher Nietzsche sought in the music the secret of the origin of art.
The first sketches of Op. 92 date from 1806, yet Beethoven only began intensively dedicating to its composition in October 1811. In April of the next year, he drew up the definitive version of the score. Even though this period was a far from easy one, Beethoven imbued Symphony No. 7 with music teeming with joy and vital energy. The Allegretto of the second movement, however, seems to be from a different world, with the three-part form of the theme with variations in marching rhythm comprising something grievous and thus within the context of the other movements becoming the ideational centre of the entire piece. In its time, the gradated finale came across as the greatest surprise. The Symphony in A major was first performed in public on 8 December 1813.
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