After the Prague concert, the Czech Philharmonic orchestra will perform with the prominent conductor Valery Gergiev and pianist Yeol Eum Son at the Ravenna festival in Italy.
<p><strong><span style="font-size: 1.17em;">15. 6. 2014 / RAVENNA</span></strong></p> <ul> <li>P. I. TCHAIKOVSKY: <em>Swan Lake (selection from the ballet)</em></li> <li>S. RACHMANINOV: <em>Piano Concerto no. 2 in C minor op. 18</em></li> <li>M. P. MUSSORGSKY (arr. Maurice Ravel): <em>Pictures at an Exhibition</em></li> </ul>
Valery Gergiev has been Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra since 2007 with performances at the Barbican, BBC Proms, and Edinburgh International Festival, as well as leading the LSO on extensive tours of Europe, North America and Asia. as Artistic and General Director of St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre since 1988, he has taken the Mariinsky ballet, opera, and orchestra ensembles to more than 45 countries. He is Principal Conductor of the World Orchestra for Peace and assumes the role of Principal Conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra in the fall of 2015. His other roles include Founder and Artistic Director of the “Stars of the White Nights”, “New Horizons” and “Mariinsky Piano” festivals in St Petersburg, the Moscow Easter Festival, Rotterdam Philharmonic’s Gergiev Festival, and the Mikkeli Music Festival.
Maestro Gergiev has led numerous composer-centered concert cycles in New York, London and other international cities, featuring works by Berlioz, Brahms, Dutilleux, Mahler, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner, as well as introducing audiences around the world to several rarely performed Russian operas. He also serves as Chair of the Organisational Committee of the International Tchaikovsky Competition, Honorary President of the Edinburgh International Festival and Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the St Petersburg State University.
Gergiev’s recordings on LSO Live and the Mariinsky Label continually win awards in Europe, Asia, and the United States. His recent releases on LSO Live include Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 3; Berlioz Harold en Italie, La Mort de Cléopâtre, Symphonie Fantastique & Overture: Waverley; Brahm’s Symphonies No. 3 & No. 4; Szymanowski’s Stabat mater and the composers entire symphonic works; Brahms’s German Requiem and Symphonies No. 1–4, Brahm’s Tragic Overture and Variations on a Theme of Haydn. Earlier releases include the symphonies of Tchaikovsky and Mahler.
Recent releases on the Mariinsky Label include Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Stravinsky’s Capriccio, and Shchedrin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (with Denis Matsuev); Shchedrin’s The Left Hander; Shostakovich Symphony No. 9 & Violin Concerto No. 1 featuring Leonidas Kavakos; Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition, Dances of Death, Night on Bare Mountain. Earlier releases include Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet & The Gambler on DVD, Shostakovich Symphonies Nos. 4, 5, 6,& 8, Tchaikovsky Piano Concertos No. 1 & 2 and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Denis Matsuev and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5.
Valery Gergiev’s many awards include the People’s Artist of Russia, the Dmitri Shostakovich Award, the Polar Music Prize, Netherland’s Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion, Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun and the French Order of the Legion of Honour.
Known for her historical achievement as a Korean pianist at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in 2011, Pianist Yeol Eum Son’s graceful interpretations, crystalline touch, and versatile, thrilling performances have caught the attention of audiences worldwide.
A native of South Korea’s Gangwon Province, Ms. Son first drew international attention when she appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Lorin Maazel on its 2004 tour of Asia. She was re-engaged to perform with the Philharmonic and Maestro Maazel on its historic tour to Seoul in 2008. Ms. Son solidified her reputation in 2009, when she claimed both the silver medal and the Steven De Groote Memorial Award for the Best Performance of Chamber Music in the XIII Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. This was followed two years later by a second-prize win at the XIV Tchaikovsky International Music Competition in Moscow, where she also received awards for the Best Chamber Concerto Performances and Best Performance of the Commissioned Work.
A favorite among international orchestras, Ms. Son has appeared with the Czech Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic and Academy of St. Martin in the Fields as well as the NHK Symphony, St. Petersburg Academic Symphony, Svetlanov Symphony (former USSR State Symphony), Seattle Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony and the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra among others. In her home country of South Korea, she has performed with the Seoul Philharmonic, KBS Symphony, and other major orchestras. Ms. Son is also invited frequently to participate in international music festivals, including Beethoven Easter Festival, Reingau Festival, Baltic Sea Festival, Ljubljana Festival, Portland Piano International and Bad-Kissingen Summer Music Festival where she became the winner of “Klavierolympiade 2008” to be chosen by Germanyʼs best music critics.
Her prize-winning Cliburn Competition live performance recording released in 2009 by Harmonia Mundi joins her debut CD of the complete Chopinʼs Etudes released in 2004 and of Chopinʼs Nocturnes for Piano and Strings in 2008, both on the Universal Music label. In July 2012, she has released a multi-channel SACD on an independent Korean label “O’ New World Music”.
Highlights of her 2013/2014 season include appearances with major orchestras such as the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra led by Valery Gergiev, and makes her Chinese debut with NDR Radio Philharmonie in their China tour under Lawrence Foster. In addition, she plays with Taipei National Symphony under Joe Hisaishi, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony under Clemens Schuld and Zagreb Philharmonic under Dmitri Kitajenko and others.
Yeol Eum Son currently studies with Arie Vardi at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover in Germany, where she now makes her home. She holds a degree from the Korean National University of the Arts, under the guidance of Dae Jin Kim. She has also previously studied with Cheng-Zong Yin, one of China’s most prominent pianists. Named “Kumho Musician of the Year” for 2005, Ms. Son is now supported by SK Chemicals as its first “G.rium Artist.” She also is an honorary ambassador both of the Seoul Arts Center and of her home city of Wonju, Korea. In addition to her busy performance schedule, she writes regularly for the Joong-Ang Ilbo, one of Korea’s most widely read newspaper.
The first major ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893), Swan Lake, was created in 1876 upon commission of the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre. It is a composition in four acts which tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse.
The original libretto came into being from the collaboration of Vladimir Petrovich Begichev, director of the Moscow Imperial Theatres during the time that the ballet was originally produced, and Vasily Geltser, a dancer of the Bolshoi Theatre. The libretto seems to be based on a German folk story Der geraubte Schleier (The Stolen Veil) in terms of the characters, while the plot has been taken from the Russian folktale The White Duck.
Tchaikovsky set the libretto to music within one year, instrumented it for large orchestra typical of the end of the 19th century and in the score drew on his previous compositions – a little ballet called The Lake of the Swans and his abandoned opera The Voyevoda (The Duke).
The premiere of Swan Lake took place in March 1877 in Moscow and according to contemporary reviews it was not very successful, but nevertheless it remained in the repertoire until 1883. Two years after the death of Pyotr Tchaikovsky a new production of Swan Lake was staged in St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre, for which the libretto was edited by Tchaikovsky’s brother Modest and the score was revised by the conductor Riccardo Drigo. Most of today’s performances are based on this modified version of the ballet. After Tchaikovsky’s death, two versions of the orchestral suite containing some of the ballet numbers from the Swan Lake came into being.
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.
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (1839–1881) wrote his most famous piano work in 1874 in commemoration of his suddenly deceased friend, the Russian artist and architect Viktor Hartmann. They met through the music critic Vladimir Stasov, who a few months after the unfortunate event helped to organize in St Petersburg an exhibition of over 400 Hartmann’s book illustrations, travel sketches and architectural and costume designs. Under the impression of his visit to this exhibition and under the influence of emotions from the loss of a loved friend, Mussorgsky composed the piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition.
The music depicts an imaginary tour of an art collection, while the titles of individual movements allude to works by Hartmann, whose musical form features truly colorful themes. The suite Pictures at an Exhibition belongs to the basic piano literature; it is better known to the general public through an orchestral arrangement by the French composer Maurice Ravel.
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