Sunday Concert

MTT in Chicago

Friday, April 8, 2011
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Michael Tilson Thomas (left) conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in concert:

Ruth Crawford Seeger - Andante for Strings

Alban Berg - Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6

Johannes Brahms - Piano Concerto No. 1, with soloist Yefim Bronfman

Also, John Eliot Gardiner conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 3, the "Rhenish"

Gwyneth Wentink and the Boston Philharmonic in Concert

Thursday, March 31, 2011
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The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Benjamin Zander welcome the Dutch harpist Gwyneth Wentink as soloist in Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera's Harp Concerto.  One reviewer wrote of this performance, "Gwyneth Wentink and Boston Philharmonic penetrated profoundly into the unusual space of this improbable concerto, both running away with its uncommon personal and mystical folkloric bent." 

Benjamin Zander talked with Brian Bell about Ginastera's concerto and Wentink.

Benjamin Zander on Ginastera's Harp Concerto and harpist Gwyneth Wentink

Also on the program, Zander and the orchestra perform Gershwin's An American in Paris:

Benjamin Zander on Gershwin's An American in Paris

Silvestre Revueltas's Sensemayá has been described by some as a Mexican equivalent of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring.  Zander and Bell offer a guided tour:

Benjamin Zander on Revueltas's Sensemayá

Finally, the orchestra also performs The Rite of Spring itself, a piece that Zander returns to for the third time:

Benjamin Zander on Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring

Peter Oundjian Conducts Chicago

Wednesday, March 23, 2011
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Sunday afternoon at 3pm, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Peter Oundjian combine forces for a concert featuring the blazing Capriccio Espagnol by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and the Symphony No. 5 by Ralph Vaughan Williams, composed during the throes of World War II.  Israeli pianist Shai Wosner joins the orchestra as the soloist in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20.

Peter Oundjian has been in the news recently for two reasons. The former violinist with the Tokyo String Quartet was named Music Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 2004, at a time when the very survival of the orchestra was in question.  As detailed last week in the New York Times, though, the orchestra is not just back from the brink, it's thriving under Oundjian's leadership.

In addition, Oundjian has just been named as the next Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, a position he'll hold concurrently with the directorship in Toronto.

Here is the trailer for a documentary produced just as Oundjian was beginning his position in Toronto:


Slatkin In Pittsburgh

Saturday, March 19, 2011
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Boulez Conducts a 20th Century Collage

Friday, March 11, 2011
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Pierre Boulez harnesses the power and precision of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a concert performance of music that offers a wide range of 20th Century compositional voice.

The concert begins with Maurice Ravel's tribute to an earlier time and to friends lost during World War I, Le Tombeau de Couperin.

Next, Boulez and the CSO are joined by pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich for Hungarian composer Béla Bartók's Concerto for Two Pianos, Percussion and Orchestra.

The Principal Flutist of the CSO, Mathieu Dufour (left), takes center stage for the next piece, the Flute Concerto written by 50-year-old French composer Marc-André Dalbavie in 2006.

Rounding out the program is Igor Stravinsky's revolutionary take on a Russian folk tale, The Firebird.

Simon Rattle Conducts Boston's Concert for the Cure

By Cathy Fuller   |   Thursday, March 3, 2011
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It was on Dec. 5, 2010, at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall in Boston, that, as the final, triumphant chord of Brahms’s Second Symphony rang out, the audience leapt from their seats with a fabulous, unanimous holler. Brahms had galvanized the people in an overwhelming way. It was sheer joy.

It was the Concert for the Cure, organized by flutist Julie Scolnik to benefit breast cancer research. Sir Simon Rattle, the Berlin Philharmonic’s Artistic Director, had given an immediate “yes” to Scolnik two years earlier, when she asked if he would volunteer his time for the cause.

His schedule, though, was only going to allow for this one evening in December, 2010. Having played under his baton, and having survived breast cancer, Julie knew how worth the wait this would be. She gathered together a brilliant orchestra of players in the meantime, all eager to offer their time for the cause.

Rattle works in otherworldly ways. He doesn’t ever beat time. “Why should I?” he asked me. Instead, he inspires his players with gestures that are loaded up with meaning and shape - it’s as if those gestures hold the DNA that every phrase needs to navigate its perfect path.

In rehearsal, this struck me as magical. He had harnessed everything that a conductor could need. Within the space of just a few hours, with an orchestra that had never before existed, he molded music of balance, clarity, intelligence and passion. His wisdom about the way that these pieces are constructed allowed him to pave the way to the climaxes with just the right pacing and atmosphere. I will never forget the quality of hushed love that he brought to the Adagietto from Mahler’s Fifth Symphony.

The concert began with Mozart’s joyous Piano Concerto in G, K. 453. It sparkled in the hands of Marc-André Hamelin, and it was astonishing to see how immediately Rattle caught on to Hamelin’s vision. After a rehearsal barely longer than the concerto itself, the spark was lit.

The Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure partnered with Julie on this event. I hope you'll visit them online to learn more about the race to end breast cancer, and the number of lives that can be saved by bringing education, testing and treatments to those who might otherwise never have learned to seek help.

Juile Scolnik and Sir Simon Rattle at the Concert for the Cure, Dec. 2010

Here is the complete concert, and below that, one part of the concert to enjoy in video form.

Boston's Concert for the Cure

(video produced by Cambridge Studios)

Concert for the Cure Orchestra:

Julliette Kang, concertmaster
Sheila Fiekowsky
Irina Muresanu
Peter Zazofsky
Tatiana Dimitriades
Eva Gruesser
Gabriela Diaz
Sharon Cohen
Jennifer Wey
Wanzhen Li
Keir Gogwilt
Liza Zurlinden
Sue Rabut

Catherine French
James Cooke
Miki-Sophie Cloud
Megumi Stohs
Ethan Wood
Tessa Frederick
Jesse Irons
Annie Rabbat
Paul Biss
Asuka Usui
Joshua Weilerstein
Jeff Dyrda
Hilary Ditmars

Roger Tapping
Edward Gazouleous
Beth Guterman
Emily Deans
Yura Lee
Mark Berger
Phillip Kramp
Susan Culpo
Jenny Stirling
Jason Fisher
Kathryn Sievers
Lucy Caplan

Owen Young
Alexandre Lecarme
Michael Katz
Blaise Dejardin
Joel Moerschel
Allison Eldredge
Jan Muller-Szeraws
Alexei Gonzales
Sasha Scolnik-Brower
Michael Unterman
Mark Simcox

Donald Palma
Todd Seeber
John Stovall
Thomas Van Dyck
Karl Doty
Charles Clements
David Goodchild
Nicholas Schwartz

Julie Scolnik
Sooyum Kim

John Ferillo
Robert Sheena
Amanda Harding

William Hudgins
Cathy Hudgins

Richard Svoboda
Suzanne Nelsen

James Somerville
Richard Sebring
Jason Snider
Eric Ruske

Michael Martin
Thomas Siders

Stephen Lange
Ross Holcombe
Gabriel Langfur

Kevin Bock

Robert Schulz

Jessica Zhou

(images:  Steven Isenberg)

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