EVENTS

EVENTS 2017-11-05T19:47:45+00:00
Aug
22
Sat
SHOSTAKOVICH II
Aug 22 @ 8:00 pm
SHOSTAKOVICH II @ MCASD Sherwood Auditorium | San Diego | California | United States

Shostakovich II

Immerse yourself in the world of Dmitri Shostakovich.

For this three-concert mini-festival, SummerFest Music Director Cho-Liang Lin has assembled an ensemble of extraordinary instrumentalists, some of whom knew and worked with Shostakovich himself. Working together over the past year, these artists have selected works that represent the composer’s mastery in many forms: string quartets, sonatas for violin, viola, cello and piano as well as trios and octets, showcasing vividly contrasting moods, now whimsical and witty, now intensely emotional then self-questioning.

This evening begins with the Piano Trio No. 1 written when the composer was just seventeen years old. Dmitry Sitkovetsky plays the Sonata for Violin and the Borromeo String Quartet will perform perhaps the most loved of all Shostakovich’s quartets, the String Quartet in C Minor, Opus 8. The evening concludes with Seven Romances on poems by Alexander Blok for soprano, violin, cello and piano.

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SHOSTAKOVICHPiano Trio No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 8 (1923)David Chan, violin
Clive Greensmith, cello
Alan Woo, piano
Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 134 (1968)Dmitry Sitkovetsky, violin
John Novacek, piano
String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 110 (1960)Borromeo String Quartet
Seven Verses of Alexander Blok, Op. 127 (1967)Lyubov Petrova, soprano
Dmitry Sitkovetsky, violin
Clive Greensmith, cello
Vladimir Feltsman, piano

PRELUDE 7 PM
Man and Boy, and Master
Prof. Richard Taruskin continues his three-lecture exploration of Dmitri Shostakovich’s life and career.

Aug
23
Sun
SHOSTAKOVICH III
Aug 23 @ 3:00 pm
SHOSTAKOVICH III @ MCASD Sherwood Auditorium | San Diego | California | United States

Shostakovich III

Immerse yourself in the world of Dmitri Shostakovich.

For this three-concert mini-festival, SummerFest Music Director Cho-Liang Lin has assembled an ensemble of extraordinary instrumentalists, some of whom knew and worked with Shostakovich himself. Working together over the past year, these artists have selected works that represent the composer’s mastery in many forms: string quartets, sonatas for violin, viola, cello and piano as well as trios and octets, showcasing vividly contrasting moods, now whimsical and witty, now intensely emotional then self-questioning.

This third and final performance opens with one of the later quartets, the two-movement String Quartet No. 12 in D-flat Major. The lyrical yet dazzling Cello Sonata in D Minor follows and our mini-festival concludes with the Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor performed by three Shostakovich aficionados, Vladimir Feltsman, piano, Dimity Sitkovetsky, violin and John Sharp, cello.

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SHOSTAKOVICHString Quartet No. 12 in D-flat Major, Op. 133 (1968)Borromeo String Quartet
Sonata for Cello and Piano in D Minor, Op. 40 (1934)John Sharp, cello
Vladimir Feltsman, piano
Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 67 (1944)Vladimir Feltsman, piano
Dmitry Sitkovetsky, violin
John Sharp, cello

PRELUDE 7 PM
Man and Boy, and Master
Prof. Richard Taruskin concludes a three-concert lecture series examining the extraordinary life and remarkable musical achievement of Dmitri Shostakovich.

Aug
24
Mon
OPEN REHEARSAL: SF 2015
Aug 24 @ 1:20 pm – 2:30 pm
OPEN REHEARSAL: SF 2015 @ MCASD Sherwood Auditorium | San Diego | California | United States

OPEN REHEARSAL
Special Guest: Derek Bermel

1:10 PM DOORS OPEN
1:20 PM REHEARSAL STARTS

David Chan, Clive Greensmith and John Novacek rehearse Derek Bermel’s
new work Death with Interruptions.

Doors will open 10 minutes prior to the start time listed below for each rehearsal. These are working rehearsals and no entry is allowed once they have begun.


Aug
25
Tue
RESTAURANT NIGHT: Music of our Time
Aug 25 @ 5:45 pm

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Music of our Time
Restaurant Night

5:45 PM SPARKLING WINE
6:15 PM SEATED DINNER WITH WINE
$65 per person all inclusive
Tonight’s MENU
 
 
Prior to the performance, we invite you to join us at La Jolla’s award-winning restaurant and sushi bar, Roppongi. Relax and enjoy this fabulous pre-concert dinner with friends before tonight’s performance of Music of our Time at 8pm.

TO JOIN US FOR DINNER:
Please contact Carolyn Osorio
858.459.3724, ext. 206
COsorio@LJMS.org.


MUSIC OF OUR TIME
Aug 25 @ 8:00 pm
MUSIC OF OUR TIME @ MCASD Sherwood Auditorium | San Diego | California | United States

Music of our Time

La Jolla Music Society continues its impressive history of commissioning new chamber music repertoire with three special premières. Tonight’s program, showcasing the work of our three festival Composers-in-Residence and a fourth prolific composer, will beguile, entertain and expand your musical horizons.

Daughter of SummerFest artist Sergio Assad, Clarice Assad’s Synchonous receives its world première tonight. It was written for and will be played by New York Philharmonic’s Principal Oboe and returning SummerFest artist, Liang Wang.

Ning is a gripping and dramatic musical narration by eminent Chinese composer Chen Yi played on the Chinese lute pipa, violin and cello.

Award-winning American composer Derek Bermel’s attractive and contemplative piano trio Death with Interruptions makes its California première, as does Peter Schickele’s Clarinet Quintet, Spring Ahead. Possibly better known as his alter-ego P.D.Q. Bach, Peter Schickele is a leading composer of contemporary classical music in his own right.

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RESTAURANT NIGHT:
Prior to the performance please join us for dinner at Roppongi.


CLARICE ASSADSynchronous
WORLD PREMIÈRE
Liang Wang, oboe
Andrew Wan, violin
Fabiola Kim, violin
Robert Brophy, viola
JeongHyoun "Christine" Lee, cello
DEREK BERMELDeath with Interruptions
CALIFORNIA PREMIÈRE
David Chan, violin
Clive Greensmith, cello
John Novacek, piano
CHEN YINingWu Man, pipa
Cho-Liang Lin, violin
Ben Hong, cello
PETER SCHICKELEClarinet Quintet "Spring Ahead"
CALIFORNIA PREMIÈRE
Burt Hara, clarinetist
Huntington Quartet

PRELUDE 7 PM
Marcus Overton interviews composers Clarice Assad and Derek Bermel

Aug
26
Wed
AN EVENING WITH PETER SERKIN & JULIA HSU
Aug 26 @ 8:00 pm
AN EVENING WITH PETER SERKIN & JULIA HSU @ MCASD Sherwood Auditorium | San Diego | California | United States

An Evening with Peter Serkin and Julie Hsu

Legendary pianist Peter Serkin is joined by rising star Julia Hsu for the final
An Evening With… performance. Prepare for a dazzling evening of music for piano four-hands with pieces by Schumann, Mozart and Schubert.

Bizet’s set of twelve miniatures Jeux d’enfants is featured and the evening concludes with Brahms’ lively and popular Hungarian Dances.

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SCHUMANNSix Etudes in Canon Form, Op. 56
arr. piano, four-hands by Georges Bizet
BIZETThree Selections from Jeux d'enfants
MOZARTSonata in B-flat Major, K.358
SCHUBERTAllegro ma non troppo in A Minor "Lebensstürme", D.947
Rondo in A Major, D.951
BRAHMSFour Hungarian Dances

Julia Hsu, piano
Peter Serkin, piano

Aug
27
Thu
ENCOUNTER: SF 2015
Aug 27 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
ENCOUNTER: SF 2015 @ Athenaeum Music & Arts Library | San Diego | California | United States

ENCOUNTER:
Special Performance Encounter

Join us for this special performance Encounter, hosted by Eric Bromberger, SummerFest Scholar-in-Residence featuring SummerFest 2015 artists Peter Serkin and Julia Hsu in a program of music for Piano Four-Hands.

BEETHOVENAdelaide, Op. 46
Fugue in D Major, Op. 37
MASSENETSuite No, 1, Op. 11
BIZETJeux d'Enfants

Limited seating available, on a first-come first-served basis.
Artists and programs are subject to change.


Aug
28
Fri
SUMMERFEST FINALE: Strings, Glorious, Strings!
Aug 28 @ 8:00 pm
SUMMERFEST FINALE: Strings, Glorious, Strings! @ MCASD Sherwood Auditorium | San Diego | California | United States

SummerFest Finale: Strings, Glorious Strings!

End SummerFest on a Musical High!

Music Director Cho-Liang Lin has raised the bar yet again with a celebratory program that traverses all of Europe and spans all musical eras from the Baroque and J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C Minor to the great Romantic Piano Concerto in F Major by Edvard Grieg.

Concertmasters from the Metropolitan Opera and Montreal Symphony, David Chan and Andrew Wan, alternate with Cho-Liang Lin to lead the stellar SummerFest Chamber Orchestra through an evening of music that showcases wonderful writing for strings, J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe and concludes gloriously with Peter Serkin performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto in F Major, K.459.

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J.S. BACHConcerto in C Minor for Violin and Oboe, BWV 1060David Chan, violin
Liang Wang, oboe
TCHAIKOVSKYSerenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48
GRIEGTwo Elegiac Melodies, Op. 34
MOZARTPiano Concerto No. 19 in F Major, K.459Peter Serkin, piano

ALL WORKS FEATURE
the SummerFest Chamber Orchestra

Violins:
David Chan, Cho-Liang Lin, Andrew Wan, Erik Arvinder, Bridget Dolkas, Kathryn Hatmaker, Fabiola Kim, Daniel Koo, Jeanne Skrocki, Hojean Yoo
Viola:
Robert Brophy, Che-Yen Chen, Marthe Husum, Richard O’Neill
Cello:
Clive Greensmith, Stella Cho, Ben Hong, JeongHyoun “Christine” Lee
Bass:
Nico Abandolo, Samuel Hager
Harpsichord:
Patricia Mabee
Flute:
Pam Vliek Martchev
Oboe:
Liang Wang, Lelie Resnick
Bassoon:
Valentin Martchev, Leyla Zamora
Horn:
Keith Popejoy, Mike McCoy

PRELUDE 7 PM
Lecture by Scholar-in-Residence Eric Bromberger

Oct
30
Fri
RESTAURANT NIGHT: New York City Ballet MOVES
Oct 30 @ 5:45 pm

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New York City Ballet MOVES
Restaurant Night

5:45 PM CHAMPAGNE
6:15 PM SEATED 3-COURSE DINNER WITH WINE
$65 per person all inclusive
Tonight’s MENU
 
 
Prior to our opening night performance, we invite you to join us at The Westgate Hotel. Relax and enjoy this fabulous pre-concert dinner with friends before tonight’s performance with New York City Ballet MOVES at 8pm.

TO JOIN US FOR DINNER:
Please contact Carolyn Osorio
858.459.3724, ext. 206
COsorio@LJMS.org.


Nov
7
Sat
AN EVENING WITH CHRIS THILE
Nov 7 @ 8:00 pm
AN EVENING WITH CHRIS THILE @ MCASD Sherwood Auditorium | San Diego | California | United States

AN EVENING WITH CHRIS THILE, mandolin

Four-time Grammy® Award-winner and MacArthur Fellow Chris Thile, a member of Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek, is a mandolin virtuoso, composer, and vocalist. With his broad outlook that encompasses classical, jazz, rock, and bluegrass, Thile transcends the borders of conventionally circumscribed genres, creating a distinctly American canon and a new musical aesthetic for performers and audiences alike.

His La Jolla Music Society debut performance includes solo violin works by J.S. Bach played on the mandolin, drawn from his 2013 recording, Bach Sonatas & Partitas Vol. 1, alongside his own compositions and other contemporary music.

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Click here to view the complete October-December 2015 Program Book

An Evening with Chris Thile

Works to be announced from the stage
No Intermission

ChrisThileChris Thile, widely regarded as one of the most interesting and inventive musicians of his generation, has changed the mandolin forever. Thile is credited with elevating the mandolin from its origins as a relatively simple folk and bluegrass instrument to the sophistication and brilliance of the finest jazz improvisation and classical performance. In a review of his quintet Punch Brothers’ release Who’s Feeling Young Now?, London’s Independent called Chris Thile “the most remarkable mandolinist in the world.” The McArthur Foundation echoed that assessment when it named Thile one of its 23 MacArthur Fellows for 2012 and the recipient of its prestigious “Genius Grant.” In honoring Thile, the MacArthur Foundation noted that his “lyrical fusion of traditional bluegrass with elements from a range of other musical traditions is giving rise to a new genre of contemporary music.”

A child prodigy, Thile first rose to fame as a member of Grammy Award-winning trio Nickel Creek, with whom he released three albums and sold over two million records. As a soloist he has released five albums, as well as performed and recorded extensively as a duo with Edgar Meyer and with fellow eminent mandolinist Mike Marshall. Other stellar musicians with whom Thile has collaborated include Brad Mehldau, Béla Fleck, and Hilary Hahn.

Thile garnered a 2011 Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album for Sleep With One Eye Open, an album of tradition-upending interpretations of bluegrass classics with guitarist Michael Daves. Thile also recorded The Goat Rodeo Sessions with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Stuart Duncan, and Edgar Meyer, which won the 2012 Grammy for Best Folk Album. August 2013 saw the release of Thile’s debut solo mandolin recording, Bach: Partitas and Sonatas, Vol.1, produced by Edgar Meyer. Nonesuch Records released Bass & Mandolin in September 2014, the second duo recording from Thile and Meyer, which won the 2015 Grammy for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. In January 2015, Nonesuch Records released Punch Brothers' newest album, The Phosphorescent Blues, which was hailed by The Herald in Scotland as a piece of music that “...deserves to be filed next to the best work of The Beach Boys, Big Star, and Richard Thompson."

This performance marks Chris Thile's La Jolla Music Society debut.

Nov
12
Thu
RESTAURANT NIGHT: The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Nov 12 @ 5:45 pm

SF2015-Rappongi-200x200

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Restaurant Night

5:45 PM CHAMPAGNE
6:15 PM SEATED 3-COURSE DINNER WITH WINE
$65 per person all inclusive
Tonight’s MENU
 
 
Prior to the performance, we invite you to join us at The Westgate Hotel. Relax and enjoy this fabulous pre-concert dinner with friends before tonight’s performance with The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at 8pm.

TO JOIN US FOR DINNER:
Please contact Carolyn Osorio
858.459.3724, ext. 206
COsorio@LJMS.org.


THE ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Nov 12 @ 8:00 pm
THE ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA @ San Diego Civic Theatre | San Diego | California | United States

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

Zubin Mehta, conductor & music director

La Jolla Music Society opens the Celebrity Orchestra series with one of the world’s premier symphonic ensembles, The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra lead by their Music Director, Maestro Zubin Metha.

The evening will feature Journey to the End of the Millennium by the Georgian-born Israeli composer Josef Bardanashvili, Ravel’s La valse, poème chorégraphique and Beethoven’s grand and revolutionary Symphony No. 3, “Eroica.”

“… a brilliant virtuoso ensemble at the absolutely top international level.”
                                                                                          —The New York Times

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RESTAURANT NIGHT:
Prior to the performance please join us for dinner at The Westgate Hotel


JOSEF BARDANASHVILIJourney to the End of the Millennium
RAVELLa valse, poème chorégraphique
BEETHOVENSymphony No.3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55 “Eroica”

Click here to view the complete October-December 2015 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

by Eric Bromberger

Journey to the End of the Millennium,
symphonic poem

JOSEF BARDANASHVILI
Born November 23, 1948, Batumi, Georgia

Josef Bardanashvili’s fourth opera, A Journey to the End of the Millennium, was commissioned by the Israel Opera Tel Aviv-Yafo and composed in 2004-05 on a libretto by the Israeli novelist and playwright A.B. Yehoshua, based on his novel of the same name. The opera tells a thoughtful but dark tale. In the year 998, Ben Attar–a Jewish merchant from Tangiers–has taken a second wife. He makes a business trip to Paris, where he runs afoul of local laws that prohibit polygamy. The issue brings not just legal problems for Ben Attar but also tensions with his nephew Abulafia, who is his business partner. The case is heard by an arbitrator, and matters reach a climax when Ben Attar’s second wife suggests that women should be free to have two husbands. The shocked arbitrator rules that Ben Attar and his party should be excommunicated, the despairing second wife drowns herself, and the excommunication is annulled.

The opera demands a substantial production: Bardanashvili scores it for fifteen soloists, a mixed chorus, and various non-vocal roles, and the staging is elaborate. The première of A Journey to the End of the Millennium took place on May 21, 2005, under the direction of David Stern, and the opera was produced again in 2008.

The Israel Symphony Orchestra and Rishon LeZion commissioned Bardanashvili to draw an orchestral work from his music for the opera. This concert opens with that piece completed in 2005, lasting slightly more than twenty minutes, scored for a large orchestra that includes harp, piano, and synthesizer.

The composer has prepared a program note for this work:

The original idea behind this work was to create a symphonic poem from the music I composed for the opera A Journey to the End of the Millennium, based on A. B. Yehoshua’s book by the same name. As I was working on it, I came to feel that the new composition is closer to works based on impression from written texts or philosophical thoughts, which were common in the nineteenth century. Examples of this genre include Liszt’s symphonic poems, Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini and Schoenberg’s Pelleas und Melisande.

The symphonic poem Journey to the End of the Millennium is a new perspective “post reading” or “post watching” the opera. The symphonic medium presented me with entirely different challenges than the operatic medium. The clearest and most fundamental difference is that while the opera progresses through sung text, symphonic music has to be self-explanatory. This is the case with the works by Liszt and Tchaikovsky and also with this work. In order to let the symphonic music speak its own language, I borrowed mere fragments of ideas from the opera, at times two or three notes, to which I added series of new sounds. The symphonic poem is, therefore, a new composition, based on the opera but distinctly different from the customary suites fashioned from operas or ballets. The symphonic poem, which reveals a new viewpoint of one of the heroines in the opera (the second wife), consists of two parts. In the first part, the story goes back in time: the work opens with the last day of this heroine’s life and unfolds towards the climax of her life, her wedding day. When she is on the verge of death, the most important events of her life pass before her eyes as a series of brief cinematic shots. The second part, depicting a love story, is seemingly a longer, calmer retrospection, built as a single “shot”. The hurried cinematic pace is replaced by a clearer sense of form. The musical material is comprised of the love scenes in the opera.

The symphonic poem is built as a musical journey of the Jewish people from the very first (theoretical) days to the twentieth century. It ends with the music of the wedding prayer from Act I of the opera, to which the chorus intones a poem by Ibn Gabirol: “The gate which is closed, arise and open it / and the hind that fled, send unto me / For the day of your coming to lie between my breasts / where his fair fragrance rests upon me”, after which a viola is heard playing a single tone.
-Josef Bardanashvili

La valse, poème chorégraphique

MAURICE RAVEL
Born March 7, 1875, Ciboure, Basses-Pyrénées, France
Died December 28, 1937, Paris

Though Ravel, like many French composers, was profoundly wary of German music, there was one German form for which he felt undiluted affection–the waltz. As a young piano student in Paris, Ravel fell under the spell of Schubert’s waltzes for piano, and this led him in 1911 to compose his own Valses nobles et sentimentales, a set of charming waltzes modeled on the Schubert dances he loved so much. Somewhat earlier–in 1906–Ravel had planned a great waltz for orchestra. His working title for this orchestral waltz was Wien (Vienna), but the piece was delayed and Ravel did not return to it until the fall of 1919. This was the year after the conclusion of World War I (Ravel had served as an ambulance driver in the French army during the war), and the French vision of the Germanic world was quite different now than it had been when Ravel originally conceived the piece. Nevertheless, he still felt the appeal of the project, and by December he was madly at work. To a friend he wrote: “I’m working again on Wien. It’s going great guns. I was able to take off at last, and in high gear.” The orchestration was completed the following March, and the first performance took place in Paris on December 12, 1920. By this time, perhaps wary of wartime associations, Ravel had renamed the piece La valse.

If La valse is one of Ravel’s most opulent and exciting scores, it is also one of his most troubling. Certainly the original conception was clear enough, and the composer left an exact description of what he was getting at: “Whirling clouds give glimpses, through rifts, of couples waltzing. The clouds scatter little by little. One sees an immense hall peopled with a twirling crowd. The scene is gradually illuminated. The light of chandeliers bursts forth fortissimo. An Imperial Court, about 1855.” The music gives us this scene exactly: out of the murky, misty beginning, we hear bits of waltz rhythms; gradually these come together and plunge into an animated waltz in D major. La valse offers dazzling writing for orchestra. Some of this is the result of the music’s rhythmic energy, some the result of Ravel’s keen ear for instrumental color–the waltzes can glide along the most delicate writing for solo strings, then suddenly rocket ahead on important solo parts for such unlikely instruments as trumpet and tuba. If La valse concluded with all this elegant vitality, our sense of the music might be clear, but instead it drives to an ending full of frenzied violence, and we come away not so much exhilarated as shaken. Ravel made a telling comment about this conclusion: “I had intended this work to be a kind of apotheosis of the Viennese waltz, with which was associated in my imagination an impression of a fantastic and fatal sort of dervish’s dance.”

Is this music a celebration of the waltz–or is it an exploration of the darker spirit behind the culture that created it? Many have opted for the latter explanation, hearing in La valse not a Rosenkavalier-like evocation of a more graceful era, but the snarling menace behind that elegance. Ravel himself was evasive about the ending. He was aware of the implications of the violent close, but in a letter to a friend he explained them quite differently: “Some people have seen in this piece the expression of a tragic affair; some have said that it represented the end of the Second Empire, others that it was postwar Vienna. They are wrong. Certainly, La valse is tragic, but in the Greek sense: it is a fatal spinning around, the expression of vertigo and the voluptuousness of the dance to the point of paroxysm.”

Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Opus 55 “Eroica”

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Born December 16, 1770, Bonn
Died March 26, 1827, Vienna

In May 1803, Beethoven moved to the village of Oberdöbling, a few miles north of Vienna. At age 32, he had just come through a devastating experience–the realization that he was going deaf had driven him to the verge of suicide–but now he resumed work, and life. To his friend Wenzel Krumpholz, Beethoven confided: “I am only a little satisfied with my previous works. From today on I will take a new path.” At Oberdöbling over the next six months, Beethoven sketched a massive new symphony, his third.

Everyone knows the story of how Beethoven had intended to dedicate the symphony to Napoleon, whose reforms in France had seemed to signal a new age of egalitarian justice. But when the news reached Beethoven in May 1804 that Napoleon had proclaimed himself emperor, the composer ripped the title page off the score of the symphony and blotted out Napoleon’s name, angrily crying: “Is he then, too, nothing more than an ordinary human being? Now he, too, will trample on all the rights of man and indulge only his ambition. He will exalt himself above all others, become a tyrant!” (This sounds like one of those stories too good to be true, but it is quite true: that title page–with Napoleon’s name obliterated–has survived.) Countless historians have used this episode to demonstrate Beethoven’s democratic sympathies, though there is evidence that just a few months later Beethoven intended to restore the symphony’s dedication to Napoleon, and late in life he spoke of Napoleon with grudging admiration. When the symphony was published in 1806, though, the title page bore only the cryptic inscription: “Sinfonia eroica–dedicated to the memory of a great man.”

The new symphony was given several private performances before the public première on April 7, 1805. Early audiences were dumbfounded. Wrote one reviewer: “This long composition, extremely difficult of performance, is in reality a tremendously expanded, daring and wild fantasia. It lacks nothing in the way of startling and beautiful passages, in which the energetic and talented composer must be recognized; but often it loses itself in lawlessness . . . The reviewer belongs to Herr Beethoven’s sincerest admirers, but in this composition he must confess that he finds too much that is glaring and bizarre, which hinders greatly one’s grasp of the whole, and a sense of unity is almost completely lost.” Legend has it that at the end of the first movement, one outraged member of the audience screamed out: “I’ll give another kreutzer [a small coin] if the thing will but stop!” It is easy now to smile at such reactions, but those honest sentiments reflect the confusion of listeners in the presence of a genuinely revolutionary work of art.

There had never been a symphony like this, and Beethoven’s “new directions” are evident from the first instant. The music explodes to life with two whipcracks in E-flat major, followed immediately by the main idea in the cellos. This slightly-swung theme is simply built on the notes of an E-flat major chord, but the theme settles on a “wrong” note–C#–and the resulting harmonic complications will be resolved only after much violence. Another striking feature of this movement is Beethoven’s choice of 3/4 instead of the duple meter customary in symphonic first movements; 3/4, the minuet meter, had been thought essentially lightweight, unworthy of serious music. Beethoven destroys that notion instantly–this is not simply serious music, it is music of the greatest violence and uncertainty. In it, what Beethoven’s biographer Maynard Solomon has called “hostile energy” is admitted for the first time into what had been the polite world of the classical symphony. This huge movement (longer by itself than some complete Haydn and Mozart symphonies) introduces a variety of themes and develops them with a furious energy. It is no accident that the development is the longest section of this movement. The energy pent up in those themes is unleashed here, and the development–much of it fugal in structure–is full of grand gestures, stinging dissonances, and tremendous forward thrust. The lengthy recapitulation (in which the music continues to develop) drives to a powerful coda: the main theme repeats four times, growing more powerful on each appearance, and finally it is shouted out in triumph. This truly is a “heroic” movement–it raises serious issues, and in music of unparalleled drama and scope it resolves them.

The second movement brings another surprise–it is a funeral march, something else entirely new in symphonic music. Beethoven moves to dark C minor as violins announce the grieving main idea over growling basses, and the movement makes its somber way on the tread of this dark theme. The C-major central interlude sounds almost bright by comparison–the hero’s memory is ennobled here–but when the opening material and tonality return Beethoven ratchets up tensions by treating his material fugally. At the end, the march theme disintegrates in front of us, and the movement ends on muttering fragments of that theme.

Out of this silence, the propulsive scherzo springs to life, then explodes. For all its revolutionary features, the Eroica employs what was essentially the Mozart-Haydn orchestra: pairs of winds, plus timpani and strings. Beethoven makes only one change–he adds a third horn, which is now featured prominently in the trio section’s hunting-horn calls. But that one change, seemingly small by itself, is yet another signal of the originality of this symphony: the virtuosity of the writing for horns, the sweep of their brassy sonority–all these are new in music.

The finale is a theme-and-variation movement, a form originally intended to show off the imagination of the composer and the skill of the performer. Here Beethoven transforms this old form into a grand conclusion worthy of a heroic symphony. After an opening flourish, he presents not the theme but the bass line of that theme, played by pizzicato strings, and offers several variations on this line before the melodic theme itself is heard in the woodwinds, now accompanied by the same pizzicato line. This tune had special appeal for Beethoven, and he had already used it in three other works, including his ballet Prometheus. Was Beethoven thinking of Prometheus–stealer of fire and champion of mankind–when he used this theme for the climactic movement of this utterly original symphony? He puts the theme through a series of dazzling variations, including complex fugal treatment, before reaching a moment of poise on a stately slow variation for woodwinds. The music pauses expectantly, and then a powerful Presto coda hurls the Eroica to its close.

The Eroica may have stunned its first audiences, but audiences today run the greater risk of forgetting how revolutionary this music is. What seemed “lawlessness” to early audiences must now be seen as an extraordinary leap to an entirely new conception of what music might be. Freed from the restraint of courtly good manners, Beethoven found in the symphony the means to express the most serious and important of human emotions. It is no surprise the composers over the next century would make full use of this freedom. Nor is it a surprise to learn that late in life–at a time when he had written eight symphonies–Beethoven named the Eroica as his own favorite among his symphonies.            

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra gratefully acknowledges
Milton and Tamar Maltz for their generous underwriting
of the Orchestra’s United States touring program, and
American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
as the principal underwriter of this tour.

PRELUDE 7 PM
Tim Page will deliver a pre-concert presentation, Music in Times of Change.

IsrealPhilharmonicOrchestra1The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is one of Israel’s oldest and most influential cultural institutions. Since its founding in 1936, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra has dedicated itself to presenting the world’s greatest music to audiences in Israel and around the world. Founded by Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra represents the fulfillment of his dream "to unite the desire of the country for an orchestra with the desire of the Jewish musicians for a country." Huberman spent countless hours persuading first-chair musicians of Eastern European and German orchestras, who had lost their jobs as a result of Nazism, to immigrate to Palestine. In doing so, Huberman created an "orchestra of soloists" which, under the esteemed leadership of Zubin Mehta, continues to absorb new immigrants and act as a dynamic, global community for musicians from across the world.

Major soloists and conductors have always performed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Its inaugural concert was conducted by Arturo Toscanini who felt his participation was a means to demonstrate his opposition to Fascism. Its members traveled in armored cars to play in a besieged Jerusalem during the War of Independence, and, among Israelis, the memory of IPO Laureate Conductor Leonard Bernstein conducting the Orchestra in front of 5,000 soldiers on the Negev dunes after the battle for Beersheba, is an historic moment. Through it all, the Orchestra has enjoyed associations with such renowned artists as Emanuel Ax, Daniel Barenboim, Yefim Bronfman, Yoel Levi, Yo-Yo Ma, Lorin Maazel, Honorary Guest Conductor Kurt Masur, Itzhak Perlman, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Arthur Rubinstein,Gil Shaham, Isaac Stern and Pinchas Zukerman. Their time and talent have enriched the cultural life of Israel and have helped the Orchestra to maintain its high artistic standards. In celebration of the concurrent 75th anniversaries of both the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s and Music Director Zubin Mehta’s birth years, as well as the 50th anniversary of Maestro Mehta’s conducting debut with the same ensemble, the Orchestra performed eight concerts in seven cities throughout the United States in February 2011. As a 75-year old symbol of cultural diplomacy, the IPO’s tour brought its music and message of peace to concerts in Naples, West Palm Beach, New York City, Newark, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. In 2014, the IPO tours fourteen cities across the United States led by Music Director, Zubin Mehta, and Principal Guest Conductor, Gianandrea Noseda. The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is Israel’s premier cultural ambassador and travels extensively throughout the world, particularly to countries where there is little or no Israeli representation. The goodwill created by these tours, which have included historic visits to Japan, Argentina, Poland, Hungary, Russia, China, and India is of enormous value to the State of Israel. In 2005 the Orchestra traveled to Berlin, Germany to commemorate 40 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany; to London, Paris and Geneva on a tour co-sponsored by the Weizmann and Pasteur Institutes; and, to South America where the Orchestra visited eight cities in 20 days. In April 2013, Maestro Mehta led the IPO with violinist Julian Rachlin in a tribute concert at Poland’s National Opera, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The Orchestra also concluded a momentous South American tour last summer with a free concert for over 12,000 concertgoers and thousands more via international simulcast. Cities on the tour included Santiago (Chile), Bogotá (Colombia), Lima (Peru), and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), which featured a surprise musical appearance by Pinchas Zukerman.

Due to the efforts of American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the generous support of donors worldwide, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestrareturned to its home at Tel-Aviv's Heichal Hatarbut in March 2013 following extensive renovations. The Mann Auditorium (Heichal Hatarbut) was renamed theCharles R. Bronfman Auditorium and hosted its inaugural gala concert on May 25, 2013. Currently, the Orchestra gives more than 100 performances each year in Israel to their 26,000 subscribers, where 14 different concert series are presented in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa. The IPO KeyNote Education and Outreach Program brings classical music to the audience of the future through music.

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra last performed for La Jolla Music Society in the Celebrity Orchestra Series on November 22, 2008.


IsrealPhilharmonicOrchestra2Zubin Mehta was born in 1936 in Bombay and received his first musical education under his father’s Mehli Mehta’s guidance who was a noted concert violinist and the founder of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra. After a short period of pre-medical studies in Bombay, he left for Vienna in 1954 where he eventually entered the conducting programme under Hans Swarowsky at the Akademie für Musik. Zubin Mehta won the Liverpool International Conducting Competition in 1958 and was also a prize-winner of the summer academy at Tanglewood. By 1961 he had already conducted the Vienna, Berlin and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras and has recently celebrated 50 years of musical collaboration with all three ensembles.

Zubin Mehta was Music Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 1961 to 1967 and also assumed the Music Directorship of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in 1962, a post he retained until 1978. In 1969 he was appointed Music Adviser to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and was made Music Director of that orchestra in 1977. In 1981 the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra awarded him the title of Music Director for life. Zubin Mehta has conducted over three thousand concerts with this extraordinary ensemble including tours spanning five continents. In 1978 he took over the post as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic commencing a tenure lasting 13 years, the longest in the orchestra's history. Since 1985, he has been chief conductor of the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence.

Zubin Mehta made his debut as an opera conductor with Tosca in Montreal in 1963. Since then he has conducted at the Metropolitan Opera New York, the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, La Scala Milano, and the opera houses of Chicago and Florence as well as at the Salzburg Festival. Between 1998 and 2006 he was Music Director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. In October 2006 he opened the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia and was the President of the annual Festival del Mediterrani in Valencia until June 2014 where he conducted the celebrated Ring cycle with the Fura del Baus in coproduction with the Florence opera house. Other Ring cycles were completed at the Chicago Opera and the Bavarian State Opera.

Zubin Mehta's list of awards and honours is extensive and includes the "Nikisch-Ring" bequeathed to him by Karl Böhm. He is an honorary citizen of both Florence and Tel Aviv and was made an honorary member of the Vienna State Opera in 1997, of the Bavarian State Opera in 2006 and of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Wien in 2007. The title of “Honorary Conductor” was bestowed to him by the following orchestras: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (2001), Munich Philharmonic Orchestra (2004), Los Angeles Philharmonic (2006), Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (2006), Staatskapelle Berlin (2014) and Bavarian State Orchestra (2006), with whom he performed in Srinagar, Kashmir in September 2013.

In October 2008 Zubin Mehta was honoured by the Japanese Imperial Family with the “Praemium Imperiale”. In March 2011 Zubin Mehta received a special distinction, in getting a star on the Hollywood Boulevard. The Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany was bestowed to him in July 2012. The Indian Government honoured him in September 2013 with the “Tagore Award for cultural harmony” which a year earlier was awarded to Ravi Shankar.

Zubin Mehta continues to support the discovery and furtherance of musical talents all over the world. Together with his brother Zarin he is a co-chairman of the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation in Bombay where more than 200 children are educated in Western Classical Music. The Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv develops young talent in Israel and is closely related to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, as is a new project of teaching young Arab Israelis in the cities of Shwaram and Nazareth with local teachers and members of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Zubin Mehta last performed for La Jolla Music Society in the Celebrity Orchestra Series on January 8, 1998.

Dec
11
Fri
SDYS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Dec 11 @ 8:00 pm
SDYS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA @ MCASD Sherwood Auditorium | San Diego | California | United States

SDYS Chamber Orchestra

Jeff Edmons, music director & conductor
Jinjoo Cho, violin

La Jolla Music Society showcases the incredibly talented young musicians of SDYS’ Chamber Orchestra with featured soloist, Discovery Series artist,
Jinjoo Cho playing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor.

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BEETHOVENOverture to The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43
MENDELSSOHNViolin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
Jinjoo Cho, violin
MENDELSSOHNSymphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 11

Click here to view the complete October-December 2015 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: SDYS Chamber Orchestra with Jinjoo Cho, violin

by Eric Bromberger

Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus, Opus 43

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Born December 16, 1770, Bonn
Died March 26, 1827, Vienna

Beethoven had many reasons to accept, in 1800, a commission for a ballet score based on the Prometheus myth: he had long wanted to write a work for the stage, the ballet would be created by the distinguished ballet-master Salvatore Viganò, and frequent performances would mean increased income for the composer. Doubtless the Prometheus story itself, with its tale of a hero bringing enlightenment to mankind, appealed to the young composer. He began work on the score during the second half of 1800, shortly after the première of the First Symphony and at the same time he was writing the “Spring” Sonata.

Prometheus had its first performance at the Burgtheater on March 28, 1801, and–despite some critical carping about the suitability of Beethoven’s music for dancing–the ballet had a reasonable success: it was performed over twenty times during the next two seasons. Beethoven published the overture in 1804, and it quickly became one of his most frequently- performed works, but the score to the rest of the ballet, which consists of sixteen separate numbers, was not published until long after his death.

The Prometheus Overture is extremely concise (it lasts barely five minutes) and powerful–it is easy to understand why this music was performed so frequently. Massive chords open the slow introduction, which leads without pause into the Allegro molto con brio. As that marking suggests, this goes at a blistering pace, introduced quietly by a moto perpetuo theme in the first violins. Woodwinds in pairs announce the bubbling second subject, by turns staccato and syncopated. Part of the reason for the conciseness of this overture is the fact that it has no development section: Beethoven simply introduces his ideas, recapitulates them, and the Prometheus Overture hurtles to its close.

Violin Concerto in E Minor, Opus 64

FELIX MENDELSSOHN
Born February 3, 1809, Hamburg
Died November 4, 1847, Leipzig

“I would like to write you a violin concerto for next winter. One in E minor keeps running through my head, and the opening gives me no peace.” So wrote Mendelssohn to his lifelong friend, violinist Ferdinand David, in 1838, and that opening has given millions of music-lovers no peace ever since, for it is one of the most perfect violin melodies ever written. Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto seems so polished, so effortless in its easy flow that this music feels as if it must have appeared in one sustained stroke of Mendelssohn’s pen. Yet this concerto took seven years to write. Normally a fast worker, Mendelssohn worked very carefully on this music, revising, polishing, and consulting with David–his concertmaster at the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra–at every step of its composition. He completed the score while on vacation in Bad Soden, near Frankfurt, during the summer of 1844, and David gave the première in Leipzig on March 13, 1845. Mendelssohn was sick at that time and could not conduct, so his assistant, the Danish composer Niels Gade, led the first performance.

We do not normally think of Mendelssohn as an innovator, but his Violin Concerto is as remarkable for its originality as for its endless beauty. So over-familiar has this music become that it is easy to miss its many innovations. These begin in the first instant: Mendelssohn does away with the standard orchestral exposition and has the violin enter in the second bar with its famous theme, marked Allegro molto appassionato and played entirely on the violin’s E-string; this soaring idea establishes the movement’s singing yet impassioned character from the very beginning. Other themes follow in turn–a transitional figure for the orchestra and the true second subject, a chorale-like tune first given out by the woodwinds. This concerto offers wonderful violin music: Mendelssohn played the violin himself, and he consulted with David at every point–the result is a concerto that sits gracefully under the violinist’s hand and sounds to its listeners as poised and idiomatic as it actually is. It is also easy to miss how deftly this concerto is scored: Mendelssohn writes for what is essentially the Mozart-Haydn orchestra (pairs of woodwinds, trumpets, and horns, plus timpani and strings), and he is able to keep textures transparent and the soloist audible throughout, but he can also make that orchestra ring out with a splendor that Mozart and Haydn never dreamed of. The quiet timpani strokes in the first few seconds, which subtly energize the orchestra’s swirling textures, are just one of many signs of the hand of a master. Another innovation: Mendelssohn sets the cadenza where we do not expect it, at the end of the development rather than just before the coda, and that cadenza–a terrific compilation of trills, harmonics, and arpeggios–appears to have been largely the creation of David, who fashioned it from Mendelssohn’s themes. The return of the orchestra is a masterstroke: it is the orchestra that brings back the movement’s main theme as the violinist accompanies the orchestra with dancing arpeggios.

Mendelssohn hated applause between movements, and he tried to guard against it here by tying the first two movements together with a single bassoon note (this has not always stopped audiences, however). The two themes of the Andante might by themselves define the term “romanticism.” There is a sweetness about this music that could–in other hands–turn cloying, but Mendelssohn skirts that danger gracefully. The soloist has the arching and falling opening melody, while the orchestra gives out the darker, more insistent second subject. The writing for violin in this movement, full of double-stopping and fingered octaves, is a great deal more difficult than it sounds.

Mendelssohn joins the second and third movements with an anticipatory bridge passage that subtly takes its shape from the concerto’s opening theme. Resounding fanfares from the orchestra lead directly to the soloist’s entrance on an effervescent, dancing melody so full of easy grace that we seem suddenly in the fairyland atmosphere of Mendelssohn’s own incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Several other themes appear along the way (Mendelssohn combines some of them in ingenious ways), but it is the sprightly opening melody that dominates as the music seems to fly through the sparkling coda to the violin’s exultant three-octave leap at the very end.

Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Opus 11

FELIX MENDELSSOHN

Felix Mendelssohn may have been the greatest prodigy in the history of music. His talents as a pianist, his sense of form, and his musical instincts rivaled–perhaps even surpassed–those of the young Mozart. Though his family was wary of a career in music, they recognized the boy’s talent very early and did all they could to encourage it: they arranged to have the finest professional musicians in Berlin perform his music as soon as it was written, and they hired one of the best musical pedagogues available, Karl Zelter, to teach the boy composition. Zelter put the boy through a rigorous apprenticeship, and Mendelssohn had written countless works before he was finally allowed to publish his official Opus 1, a piano quartet, when he was fourteen.

As part of the boy’s training, Zelter had made Mendelssohn write a series of symphonies for strings, and twelve of these survive (they are occasionally still performed). Late in 1823 Mendelssohn wrote a thirteenth symphony for strings, in C minor, and then pressed on to arrange it for full orchestra, which in this case meant Mozart’s classical orchestra. He completed what would be his first “official” symphony on March 31, 1824, a month after his fifteenth birthday. The young composer led the première at a private concert the following November 11. To help celebrate the nineteenth birthday of Mendelssohn’s sister Fanny, the family had hired a professional orchestra, and that première took place in the family home in Berlin. The first public performance, by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, had to wait until February 1, 1827.

Karl Zelter was an extremely conservative teacher (he loathed the music of Beethoven, then still active in Vienna) and insisted that Mendelssohn compose in strict classical forms. And so Mendelssohn’s First Symphony is very much in the manner of Haydn and Mozart. Unlike his teacher, young Mendelssohn admired Beethoven, and he chose Beethoven’s own favorite “dark” key of C minor for his first symphonic effort. The opening Allegro di molto gets off to a fierce and dramatic beginning, and this makes the flowing second subject all the more attractive. Young Mendelssohn takes this movement through some remote keys before closing firmly in C minor. The Andante, also in sonata form, is based largely on its chorale-like opening theme for strings, while young Mendelssohn sets the Menuetto in the unexpected meter 6/4. Its trio section, another chorale-like melody but this time in A-flat major, makes an extended return to the opening material. Mendelssohn marked the finale Allegro con fuoco, and certainly there is plenty of fire at its vigorous opening. Along the way comes a gentle song for solo clarinet over pizzicato strings, and the boy demonstrates his contrapuntal abilities with several extended fugato passages. At the very end, Mendelssohn suddenly (and unexpectedly) shifts to C major and drives his First Symphony to its powerful conclusion in that key.

A NOTE ON EDITIONS: When Mendelssohn led the London première of his First Symphony on May 25, 1829, he dropped the Menuetto movement and substituted his own orchestration of the Scherzo from his Octet for Strings. The symphony is today performed and recorded in both these versions. At this concert the San Diego Youth Symphony plays Mendelssohn’s original version, with the Menuetto as the third movement.

PRELUDE 7 PM
Marcus Overton will interview Jeff Edmons, Music Director for the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory

SDYSChamber3Under the leadership of President and CEO Dalouge Smith and Music Director Jeff Edmons, San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS) instills excellence in the musical and personal development of students ages 8 to 23 through rigorous and inspiring musical training experiences. Since 1945, SDYS has given thousands of musicians the opportunity to study and perform classical repertoire at a highly advanced level. SDYS attracts student musicians from throughout San Diego, Imperial and Riverside counties and serves over 600 students annually through its 12 ensembles.

The organization’s preeminent ensemble, the SDYS Chamber Orchestra is comprised of the principal and assistant principal musicians from the advanced level Ovation Program and rehearses at an extraordinarily proficient level for a youth program. Provided the finest training, the Chamber Orchestra is given the opportunity to perform professional level repertoire from multiple historic periods for both string orchestra and full chamber orchestra on a national and international stage. Most recently, select students of the San Diego Youth Symphony participated in SDYS’s 70th Anniversary tour to China and performed in Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall, San Diego’s sister city Yantai’s Poly Grand Theatre and the Oriental Arts Center in Shanghai in June 2015.

SDYS Chamber Orchestra last performed at La Jolla Music Society in the San Diego Youth Symphony Series on December, 11 2015 San Diego Youth Symphony enjoys a successful partnership with LJMS.

For more information visit www.sdys.org


Jeff-EdmondUnder Jeff Edmons' direction, the Youth Symphony has experienced tremendous growth, both in enrollment and in level of musical achievement. Performing the most difficult works in classical repertoire, SDYS achieves the highest standard attainable by a youth orchestra. SDYS' exemplary standards of skill and musicianship have afforded it the opportunity to participate in the most prestigious international festivals and perform with eminent guest artists and musicians from around the world.

Under Mr. Edmons direction, the Youth Symphony boasts a strong international presence as well as setting a benchmark for excellence in the United States. San Diego Magazine named Jeff Edmons as "50 People to Watch in 1997."

Mr. Edmons has dedicated himself to promoting youth music and youth education. He has led youth, collegiate and professional orchestras in critically acclaimed performances throughout the United States, as well as Mexico, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Finland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Switzerland. He has received numerous local and national invitations and awards for his achievements in music education. Mr. Edmons has also been featured in articles and journals honoring his work and has been the subject of documentaries on CNN, Fox Television, National Public Radio and many more.

He studied violin performance with Michael Davis, former Concertmaster of the Scottish National Orchestra, String Pedagogy with renown Pedagogue Dr. Robert Gillespie, and he studied Wind, Brass,Percussion Pedagogy and Wind Ensemble conducting with Craig Kirchoff, Principal Guest Conductor of the Tokyo Wind Orchestra and past President and Chair of the National College Band Director's Association.

Jeff Edmons and the San Diego Youth Symphony enjoy a successful partnership with LJMS.

For more information visit www.sdys.org


SDYSChamber3Critically acclaimed violinist Jinjoo Cho has established herself as one of the most vibrant, engaging and charismatic violinists of her generation. Gold Medalist of the 2014 Ninth Quadrennial International Violin Competition of the Indianapolis, Jinjoo made her first appearance on the international music scene when she garnered the First Grand Prize and Radio Canada’s People’s Choice Award at the 2006 Montreal International Musical Competition at age 17. Times Argus of Montreal proclaimed her performance of Shostakovich Violin Concerto as possessing “an undeniable charisma and depth...with an intense lyricism and heartfelt tenderness that sent shivers up the spine.”

Since then, she has won numerous international awards including the First Prize and Orchestra Award at the Buenos Aires International Violin Competition in 2010, 2nd Laureate at the 2011 Isang Yun International Music Competition, First Grand Prize at the Alice Schoenfeld International String Competition, and the Dorothy DeLay Award at Aspen Music Festival.

Jinjoo has concertized throughout North and South America, Asia, and Europe, performing as a soloist with such prestigious orchestras as The Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional (Argentina) among many others. She has been privileged to perform with renowned artists Kent Nagano, Peter Oundjian, Michael Stern, Yoel Levi, James Gaffigan, Robert McDuffie, Jaime Laredo, Sharon Robinson, Paul Neubauer, Roger Tapping and Anton Nel. She has appeared in international venues and festivals including Carnegie Hall, Severance Hall, the Herkulessaal of Munich, Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires, Seoul Arts Center, Aspen Music Festival, Schwetzingen SWR Festipiele, Festival de Lanaudière, Cleveland Chamberfest, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Seoul Spring Chamber Music Festival, and Tongyeong International Music Festival.

Recent and upcoming engagements include her Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium concerto debut with the New York String Orchestra in addition to appearances with the Greensboro, Grand Junction, North Carolina, Indianapolis, Vermont, Phoenix, KBS (Korea) and Orquestra Sinfônica de Minas Gerais (Brazil) symphonies. Jinjoo’s recitals at Bard College, Brattleboro Music Center, Dame Myra Hess, Indiana University, Mercyhurst University, La Jolla Music Society, Linton Chamber Music, Chamber Music International, Rockefeller University and the Mainly Mozart Festival in Miami will culminate in a Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium recital debut in June 2016.

Jinjoo’s biggest passion is arts education and audience engagement. As a result, she is the founder of a new chamber music program for high school and college students in Cleveland, Ohio named the Encore Chamber Music Institute. The institute will have its inaugural season in the summer of 2016. Starting with the 2015-16 school year, Jinjoo has also accepted a part-time appointment at Oberlin Conservatory teaching violin and coaching chamber music. Another project of hers on the opposite side of the globe is Classical Revolution Korea, where musicians travel all across Korea to give free concerts and meet audiences in cafés. The programs in 2015 include performances in Seoul and Jeju Island. Recently, she also started writing a column in the performing arts magazine, Auditorium, titled “The Art of Practice.”

Born in Seoul, Korea, Jinjoo moved to Cleveland, Ohio at the age of 14 to study at the Cleveland Institute of Music as a Young Artist Program student. Within a few years of arriving in the United States, she had won most of the local competitions for both high school and collegiate level students, including the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra’s concerto competition and the Cleveland Institute of Music’s collegiate level concerto competition. One of the jurors at the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra competition was the legendary oboist John Mack, who later became very closely tied to Jinjoo’s musical development. At age 16, she was awarded the Gold Medal at the Stulberg International String Competition. Additionally Jinjoo served as concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra and later, the New York String Orchestra Seminar. The New York Times described her concertmaster solos as “rich and open...finely polished, (and) focused.”

A passionate advocate for community outreach and education, Jinjoo has performed at over 100 venues, giving master classes, presenting showcases, and delivering lecture recitals. Her ties to the Cleveland community are especially apparent as she performs often for local organizations such as the Cleveland Women’s Orchestra, the Beachwood Arts Council, the Cleveland Clinic, the Women’s Committee at CIM, Arts Renaissance Tremont, the Tuesday Musical Association of Akron, CityMusic Cleveland, and more.

Jinjoo finished her Bachelor of Music degree both at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) with Joseph Silverstein, Pamela Frank, and Paul Kantor, who has been her mentor since 2001. She also received her Master of Music and Professional Studies from CIM, having studied with Jaime Laredo. She has coached with the Cavani String Quartet, Peter Salaff, Gilbert Kalish, Itzhak Perlman, Donald Weilerstein, David Finckel, Wu Han, and Mark Steinberg, and participated in masterclasses given by the Takács Quartet, Arnold Steinhardt, Peter Wiley, Samuel Rhodes and Zakhar Bron, with whom she worked at Kronberg Academy’s Masterclasses Program. Jinjoo has spent the summers at the Aspen Music Festival, Perlman Music Program Chamber Music Workshop, Music@Menlo and the Chamber Music Residency Program at The Banff Centre with her pianist Daniel H.S. Kim as Duo Istas. Duo Istas regularly tours in North America with intensely creative programs that feature seldom played works and contemporary repertoire.

For more information visit www.jinjoocho.net

This performance marks Jinjoo Cho's La Jolla Music Society debut.


HyunSooKimPianist Hyun Soo Kim has performed extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Italy, Switzerland and South Korea. In demand as a collaborative pianist with singers and instrumentalists, Hyun Soo is a member of the Collaborative Piano Staff at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) and Kent State University. He received a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from the University of Delaware and was recognized as a Delaware Representative in the Young Artist Category by the Music Teachers National Association. Hyun Soo completed his Master’s degree and Artist Diploma in collaborative piano at CIM, where he received the Rosa Lobe Collaborative Piano Award. He has served as a staff pianist at Rocky Ridge Music Center, Interlochen Arts Academy and regional opera companies in Cleveland, Philadelphia and Delaware.

This performance marks Hyun Soo Kim's La Jolla Music Society debut.

Dec
13
Sun
JINJOO CHO, VIOLIN
Dec 13 @ 3:00 pm
JINJOO CHO, VIOLIN @ The Auditorium at TSRI | San Diego | California | United States

Jinjoo Cho, violin

2014 First Prize Winner at the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis

La Jolla Music Society opens its 47th Season Discovery Series with violinist Jinjoo Cho, who garnered attention in 2014 for winning first prize at the International Indianapolis Violin Competition. Jinjoo’s program features works by both Clara and Robert Schumann, Joan Tower and John Corigliano.

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Jinjoo Cho, violin
Hyun Soo Kim, piano

JOAN TOWERString Force
CLARA SCHUMANN3 Romances for Violin and Piano, Op. 22
ROBERT SCHUMANNSonata for Violin and Piano in D Minor, No. 2, Op. 121
ELLEN TAAFFE ZWILICHFantasy for Solo Violin
JOHN CORIGLIANOSonata for Violin and Piano
MAURICE RAVELTzigane

Click here to view the complete October-December 2015 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: Jinjoo Cho, violin

by Eric Bromberger

String Force

JOAN TOWER
Born September 6, 1938, New Rochelle, New York

In 1982 the distinguished violinist Josef Gingold founded the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, and over the last three decades that competition has become one of the most important showcases for young violinists. Held every four years, the Competition attracts contestants from around the world, and some very distinguished violinists have launched their careers after winning it. Augustin Hadelich and Kyoko Takezawa have won the gold medal, and other medal winners include Sergey Khachatryan and Ida Kavafian, as well as the concertmasters of three major American orchestras: David Kim (Philadelphia), Andrés Cárdenes (Pittsburgh) and David Chan (Metropolitan Opera). The competitors are expected to perform the standard literature, but for each competition a leading composer is asked to write a test-piece for solo violin that every candidate will play. Among the composers who have written these test-pieces are Witold Lutosławski, Leon Kirchner, Bright Sheng, and Ned Rorem, and some of the pieces composed for Indianapolis, such as Lutosławski’s Subito of 1992, have gone on to become part of the violin repertory.

On this recital Jinjoo Cho will perform the two most recent test-pieces for the Indianapolis Competition. Joan Tower wrote String Force as the test-piece for the 2010 competition. One of America’s most-honored (and most prolific) composers, Joan Tower studied at Bennington College and at Columbia, where her teachers included Otto Luening, Jack Beeson, and Vladimir Ussachevsky. Tower was the pianist and co-founder of the Da Capo Players, and she performed with and composed for that ensemble for many years. The recipient of the 1990 Grawemeyer Award for her Silver Ladders, Tower has been composer-in-residence with the Saint Louis Symphony and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. She now teaches at Bard College.

The composer has prepared a program note for this work:

String Force (2010) was commissioned by the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis for the 2010 Competition and was underwritten by the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation in honor of the children and families of Christel House. It is dedicated with great affection to the violinist Jaime Laredo.

The 7-minute work was an attempt at writing a challenging piece for violin.

When I heard 16 very good semi-finalists from around the world play this piece (without any rehearsal of any kind with me), I was dumbstruck at what was working and what was not.

I changed several things after that and learned quite a bit about the extremes of tempo and register of the violin. (I want to thank Ida and Ani Kavafian and Maria Bachmann for their advice in writing this piece.)
- Joan Tower

Three Romances for Violin and Piano, Opus 22

CLARA SCHUMANN
Born September 13, 1819, Leipzig
Died May 20, 1896, Frankfurt

In 1853 Robert and Clara Schumann welcomed into their home in Düsseldorf two young men who would go on to become giants of nineteenth-century German music: Johannes Brahms and Joseph Joachim. Brahms and Joachim would develop a lengthy (and frequently stormy) relationship of their own, but they quickly became true friends of the Schumann family. Robert’s mental health was now in rapid deterioration, and they stood by during his decline and death in an asylum, visiting him frequently and helping Clara and the seven children. In turn, Clara remained close to both men over the remaining forty years of her life. Her long and intense friendship with Brahms is familiar, but she was also close to Joachim: she gave a number of duo-recitals with him after Robert’s death, and she was close enough to give the violinist financial and domestic advice as he approached his own marriage. Brahms and Joachim were among the most intense mourners at her death in 1896.

In 1853, during the first rush of the Schumanns’ friendship with Joachim, Clara wrote–specifically for him–the Three Romances for Violin and Piano. Clara did not compose a great deal. The demands of being wife, mother, and pianist left her little time, and in any case she was ambivalent about composing: in a diary entry at age 19 she wrote, “a woman must not desire to compose–not one has been able to do it, and why should I expect to?” In fact, these romances were virtually her final composition (her list of opus numbers runs only to 23): after Robert’s death, she stopped composing altogether.

A romance is a type of music without strict formal meaning: that title simply suggests music of an expressive character. All three of these romances are in ternary form plus coda, and all end quietly. Though they were composed during the stress that accompanied Robert’s decline, these pieces show absolutely no sign of that pain–they may be regarded as brief explorations of gentle moods. In the Andante molto, the violin soars easily over the piano accompaniment, though the music’s characteristic quintuplet turn appears in both parts. The Allegretto, in G minor, is more intense, though Clara’s instruction is “With tender performance.” Some have heard the influence of Mendelssohn in this music, which moves into G major for its center section, full of trills and grace notes; this romance winks out with quiet pizzicato strokes that return to G major in the last measure. The final romance, marked Passionately fast, is also the longest: the violin sings above a rippling piano accompaniment; when this section returns, the composer effectively varies the sound by making the piano accompaniment entirely staccato.

Joachim very much liked the Three Romances, and he and Clara performed them frequently. When she published the set in 1855, Clara had this inscription printed in the score: “Dedicated to Joseph Joachim with the greatest friendship.”

Violin Sonata No. 2 in D Minor, Opus 121

ROBERT SCHUMANN
Born June 8, 1810, Zwickau, Germany
Died July 29, 1856, Endenich, Germany

Schumann’s three violin sonatas come from very late in his career. He wrote the second in the space of only eight days (October 26-November 2, 1851), during a period of increasing stress. Then 41, Schumann was nearing the end of his turbulent tenure as music director in the city of Düsseldorf and believed himself surrounded by scheming rivals–he had written his Violin Sonata No. 1 only a month before, describing himself as “very angry with certain people” when he composed it. The Second Sonata appears to have come from a calmer interval, though it too has moments of turbulence. Schumann dedicated it to Ferdinand David, who had given the première of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in 1845 and had earned Schumann’s gratitude by giving the first readings of Schumann’s three string quartets nine years earlier.

Schumann’s Second Violin Sonata shows an unusual structure. It is in four movements rather than the customary three: two massive outer movements frame two much shorter inner movements, which are themselves linked in ingenious ways. The sonata opens with a declarative slow introduction, somewhat in the manner of a recitative. The music leaps ahead at the exposition (marked “Lively”), where the main theme is full of propulsive and twisting energy; by contrast, the second subject is melodic and quite long. The troubled development, full of accents and syncopations, focuses on the first theme; it drives to a massive chordal climax and a coda that Schumann marks “Faster.”

The second movement, a scherzo marked “Very lively,” features pounding chords in the outer sections and two trios. In the first trio Schumann keeps the 6/8 meter in the piano but sets the violin in duple rhythms above it; the second is full of dotted rhythms and springing themes. This movement too drives to a powerful climax on unison chords from both instruments. And then the surprises begin. Schumann marks the third movement “Gentle, simple,” and simple it certainly seems to be, as the violin picks out a tune and the movement turns into a set of variations on this melody. Only gradually does the identity of this tune become clear: it was the massive chordal climax at the end of the scherzo, presented there as a sort of premonition. That melody is itself a variation of the Bach chorale tune Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, and Schumann’s variations here are quite imaginative: in the fourth, for example, the pounding opening theme of the scherzo suddenly shows up, and over it Schumann offers the chorale tune, played ponticello (bowed on top of the bridge to produce a disembodied sound). The variations turn melodic again, but this movement concludes with a brief reminiscence of the scherzo.

After two such imaginative movements, the finale (marked “Animated”) can seem a little conventional. It features torrential washes of sixteenth-notes, some difficult string-crossings for the violinist, and once again much syncopated writing. The movement is in sonata form, and in its closing moments Schumann moves from the dark D-minor tonality to a sudden D-major cadence.

Fantasy for Solo Violin

ELLEN TAAFFE ZWILICH
Born April 30, 1939, Miami

On this recital Jinjoo Cho performs the two most recent test-pieces for the Indianapolis Competition. Ellen Taaffe Zwilich was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music–in 1983 for her Symphony No. 1–and over the last four decades she has become one of this country’s most successful and prolific composers. Her catalog of works lists five symphonies, numerous concertos (including many for unusual or unexpected combinations of instruments), orchestral works, chamber music, and vocal music. Trained as a violinist, Zwilich played for several years in the American Symphony Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski before deciding to devote herself full-time to composition. She studied with Elliott Carter and Roger Sessions and was the first woman to earn a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Juilliard. For some years Zwilich served as the Francis Eppes Distinguished Professor of Music at Florida State University.

Zwilich composed her Fantasy for Solo Violin for the 2014 Competition, at which Jinjoo Cho was the Gold Medal winner. The test-pieces for Indianapolis are designed specifically to challenge violinists to show their virtuosity through a range of techniques as well as the ability to project a sense of form and a singing line. In an interview Zwilich noted: “Any work for solo violin presents technical challenges, but it was my aim in writing Fantasy for Solo Violin to challenge the musical imagination and dramatic impulses of the violinist as well. For me, the best artist is not just a virtuoso but a creative spirit in communion with the music.” About six minutes long, Zwilich’s Fantasy bursts to life with an opening declaration marked Free, then plunges ahead firmly at the Tempo giusto. This section is full of such hurdles as extended high-position passages, multiple-stopping, rapid string-crossings, left-handed pizzicatos, and many more. Zwilich, herself a professional violinist, draws on that experience to devise a test-piece that will push all violinists to the outer limits of their technique. Zwilich dedicated the Fantasy to her long-time friend, the violinist Jaime Laredo, who was director of the 2014 Competition.

Sonata for Violin and Piano

JOHN CORIGLIANO
Born February 16, 1938, New York

It is hard to believe that John Corigliano–for many years a prominent “young” composer–is now 77 years old. Corigliano has built his distinguished reputation on large-scale works, particularly his four concertos and the score to the film Altered States, which won an Academy Award nomination. Recently, two other major works have earned international attention: his Symphony No. 1 (1990), written in reaction to the AIDS epidemic, and the opera The Ghost of Versailles (1991), commissioned, performed, and recorded by the Metropolitan Opera.

Chamber music has formed a relatively small part of Corigliano’s output, and his Violin Sonata dates from very early in his career: he composed this music in 1963, when he was only 25, and it was first performed at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto on July 10, 1964. One expects the music of a young composer to show influences, and there are moments in this sonata when one senses the spirit of Copland (in the wide-ranging melodies and “open” harmonies) and Stravinsky (in the motor rhythms and brisk energy). Yet Corigliano’s Violin Sonata survives on its own virtues: this is music of dramatic sweep, a nice sense of melody, and high spirits. It is also ferociously difficult. Corigliano wrote it for his father–John Corigliano, Sr.–who was for many years the concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic (the work is dedicated to the composer’s parents), and both the violin and piano parts demand a virtuoso performer: there are, in fact, cadenzas for both players along the way.

Corigliano’s Violin Sonata is in four movements: two massive fast movements frame two slower movements. The opening Allegro is built on changing meters, sweeping thematic material, rapid shifts between pizzicato and bowed passages, brilliant runs, and complex multiple-stops; the movement remains in character throughout, driving unremittingly to a violent close. By complete contrast, the Andantino sings gracefully. Corigliano marks the beginning with simplicity and dolce; the middle section grows more agitated before the movement almost floats to its quiet close. Piano alone makes the fierce opening statement of the Lento, and when the violin picks up this material the composer marks its part broodingly (some of the hidden fun of this piece lies in Corigliano’s instructions to the performers, who are at various times instructed to play “warmly,” “richly,” “cooly”). The violin has a long and difficult cadenza here, then rejoins the piano for the quiet close. The sonata concludes with a cheerful finale that combines elements of the rondo and perpetual motion. After a long and brilliant opening section, the music finally slows down; Corigliano marks this section dolce, a bit breathless (and at this point the performers may well be forgiven if they are). A piano cadenza leads to a return of the perpetual-motion material, and the sonata rushes to a blistering close on the fierce collision of C# and D. It is a resonant and exciting conclusion to a very energetic piece of music.

Tzigane

MAURICE RAVEL
Born March 7, 1875, Ciboure, Basses-Pyrénées, France
Died December 28, 1937, Paris

In the summer of 1922, just as he began his orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Ravel visited England for several concerts of his music, and in London he heard a performance of his brand-new Sonata for Violin and Cello by Jelly d’Arányi and Hans Kindler. Jelly d’Arányi must have been a very impressive violinist, for every composer who heard her was swept away by her playing–and by her personality (Bartók was one of the many who fell in love with her). Ravel was so impressed that he stayed after the concert and talked her into playing gypsy tunes from her native Hungary for him–and he kept her there until 5 A.M. the next morning, playing for him.

Tzigane probably got its start that night. Inspired by both d’Arányi’s playing and the fiery gypsy tunes, Ravel set out to write a virtuoso showpiece for the violin based on gypsy-like melodies (the title Tzigane means simply “gypsy”). Its composition was much delayed, however, and Ravel did not complete Tzigane for another two years. Trying to preserve a distinctly Hungarian flavor, he wrote Tzigane for violin with the accompaniment of lutheal, a device which–when attached to a piano–gave the piano a jangling sound typical of the Hungarian cimbalom. The first performance, by Jelly d’Arányi with piano accompaniment, took place in London on April 26, 1924, and later that year Ravel prepared an orchestral accompaniment. In whatever form it is heard, Tzigane remains an audience favorite.

It is unusual for a French composer to be so drawn to gypsy music. Usually it was the composer from central Europe–Liszt, Brahms, Joachim, Hubay–who felt the charm of this music, but Ravel enters fully into the spirit and creates a virtuoso showpiece redolent of gypsy campfires and smoldering dance tunes. Tzigane opens with a long cadenza (nearly half the length of the entire piece) that keeps the violinist solely on the G-string across the span of the entire first page. While Tzigane seems drenched in an authentic gypsy spirit, all of its themes are Ravel’s own, composed in the spirit of the tunes he heard d’Arányi play late that night. Gradually the accompaniment enters, and the piece takes off. Tzigane is quite episodic, and across its blazing second half Ravel demands such techniques from the violinist as artificial harmonics, left-hand pizzicatos, complex multiple-stops, and sustained octave passages. Over the final pages the tempo gradually accelerates until Tzigane rushes to its scorching close, marked Presto.

Musical Prelude 2 PM
Young artists from the San Diego Youth Symphony & Conservatory perform.

SAINT-SAËNS Cello Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 33
Paul Maxell, cello
Yulia Atoyan, piano

SDYSChamber3Critically acclaimed violinist Jinjoo Cho has established herself as one of the most vibrant, engaging and charismatic violinists of her generation. Gold Medalist of the 2014 Ninth Quadrennial International Violin Competition of the Indianapolis, Jinjoo made her first appearance on the international music scene when she garnered the First Grand Prize and Radio Canada’s People’s Choice Award at the 2006 Montreal International Musical Competition at age 17. Times Argus of Montreal proclaimed her performance of Shostakovich Violin Concerto as possessing “an undeniable charisma and depth...with an intense lyricism and heartfelt tenderness that sent shivers up the spine.”

Since then, she has won numerous international awards including the First Prize and Orchestra Award at the Buenos Aires International Violin Competition in 2010, 2nd Laureate at the 2011 Isang Yun International Music Competition, First Grand Prize at the Alice Schoenfeld International String Competition, and the Dorothy DeLay Award at Aspen Music Festival.

Jinjoo has concertized throughout North and South America, Asia, and Europe, performing as a soloist with such prestigious orchestras as The Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional (Argentina) among many others. She has been privileged to perform with renowned artists Kent Nagano, Peter Oundjian, Michael Stern, Yoel Levi, James Gaffigan, Robert McDuffie, Jaime Laredo, Sharon Robinson, Paul Neubauer, Roger Tapping and Anton Nel. She has appeared in international venues and festivals including Carnegie Hall, Severance Hall, the Herkulessaal of Munich, Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires, Seoul Arts Center, Aspen Music Festival, Schwetzingen SWR Festipiele, Festival de Lanaudière, Cleveland Chamberfest, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Seoul Spring Chamber Music Festival, and Tongyeong International Music Festival.

Recent and upcoming engagements include her Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium concerto debut with the New York String Orchestra in addition to appearances with the Greensboro, Grand Junction, North Carolina, Indianapolis, Vermont, Phoenix, KBS (Korea) and Orquestra Sinfônica de Minas Gerais (Brazil) symphonies. Jinjoo’s recitals at Bard College, Brattleboro Music Center, Dame Myra Hess, Indiana University, Mercyhurst University, La Jolla Music Society, Linton Chamber Music, Chamber Music International, Rockefeller University and the Mainly Mozart Festival in Miami will culminate in a Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium recital debut in June 2016.

Jinjoo’s biggest passion is arts education and audience engagement. As a result, she is the founder of a new chamber music program for high school and college students in Cleveland, Ohio named the Encore Chamber Music Institute. The institute will have its inaugural season in the summer of 2016. Starting with the 2015-16 school year, Jinjoo has also accepted a part-time appointment at Oberlin Conservatory teaching violin and coaching chamber music. Another project of hers on the opposite side of the globe is Classical Revolution Korea, where musicians travel all across Korea to give free concerts and meet audiences in cafés. The programs in 2015 include performances in Seoul and Jeju Island. Recently, she also started writing a column in the performing arts magazine, Auditorium, titled “The Art of Practice.”

Born in Seoul, Korea, Jinjoo moved to Cleveland, Ohio at the age of 14 to study at the Cleveland Institute of Music as a Young Artist Program student. Within a few years of arriving in the United States, she had won most of the local competitions for both high school and collegiate level students, including the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra’s concerto competition and the Cleveland Institute of Music’s collegiate level concerto competition. One of the jurors at the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra competition was the legendary oboist John Mack, who later became very closely tied to Jinjoo’s musical development. At age 16, she was awarded the Gold Medal at the Stulberg International String Competition. Additionally Jinjoo served as concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra and later, the New York String Orchestra Seminar. The New York Times described her concertmaster solos as “rich and open...finely polished, (and) focused.”

A passionate advocate for community outreach and education, Jinjoo has performed at over 100 venues, giving master classes, presenting showcases, and delivering lecture recitals. Her ties to the Cleveland community are especially apparent as she performs often for local organizations such as the Cleveland Women’s Orchestra, the Beachwood Arts Council, the Cleveland Clinic, the Women’s Committee at CIM, Arts Renaissance Tremont, the Tuesday Musical Association of Akron, CityMusic Cleveland, and more.

Jinjoo finished her Bachelor of Music degree both at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) with Joseph Silverstein, Pamela Frank, and Paul Kantor, who has been her mentor since 2001. She also received her Master of Music and Professional Studies from CIM, having studied with Jaime Laredo. She has coached with the Cavani String Quartet, Peter Salaff, Gilbert Kalish, Itzhak Perlman, Donald Weilerstein, David Finckel, Wu Han, and Mark Steinberg, and participated in masterclasses given by the Takács Quartet, Arnold Steinhardt, Peter Wiley, Samuel Rhodes and Zakhar Bron, with whom she worked at Kronberg Academy’s Masterclasses Program. Jinjoo has spent the summers at the Aspen Music Festival, Perlman Music Program Chamber Music Workshop, Music@Menlo and the Chamber Music Residency Program at The Banff Centre with her pianist Daniel H.S. Kim as Duo Istas. Duo Istas regularly tours in North America with intensely creative programs that feature seldom played works and contemporary repertoire.

For more information visit www.jinjoocho.net

This performance marks Jinjoo Cho's La Jolla Music Society debut.


HyunSooKimPianist Hyun Soo Kim has performed extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Italy, Switzerland and South Korea. In demand as a collaborative pianist with singers and instrumentalists, Hyun Soo is a member of the Collaborative Piano Staff at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) and Kent State University. He received a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from the University of Delaware and was recognized as a Delaware Representative in the Young Artist Category by the Music Teachers National Association. Hyun Soo completed his Master’s degree and Artist Diploma in collaborative piano at CIM, where he received the Rosa Lobe Collaborative Piano Award. He has served as a staff pianist at Rocky Ridge Music Center, Interlochen Arts Academy and regional opera companies in Cleveland, Philadelphia and Delaware.

This performance marks Hyun Soo Kim's La Jolla Music Society debut.

Dec
19
Sat
RESTAURANT NIGHT: The Blind Boys of Alabama
Dec 19 @ 5:45 pm

La Valencia

The Blind Boys of Alabama
Restaurant Night

5:45 PM CHAMPAGNE
6:15 PM SEATED 3-COURSE DINNER WITH WINE
$65 per person all inclusive
Tonight’s MENU
 
 
Prior to the performance, we invite you to join us at La Jolla’s famous La Valencia Hotel. Relax and enjoy this fabulous pre-concert dinner with friends before tonight’s performance with The Blind Boys of Alabama at 8pm.

TO JOIN US FOR DINNER:
Please contact Carolyn Osorio
858.459.3724, ext. 206
COsorio@LJMS.org.


THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA
Dec 19 @ 8:00 pm
THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA @ MCASD Sherwood Auditorium | San Diego | California | United States

The Blind Boys of Alabama

The Blind Boys of Alabama are an American treasure. This holiday season, the Blind Boys return to La Jolla Music Society with hits from their album, Talkin’ Christmas! (Sony Masterworks), their second-ever Christmas album.

This special concert will feature songs from Talkin’ Christmas! and the band’s previous Grammy®-winning Christmas recording, Go Tell It on the Mountain, along with other gems from their 70-plus-year career.

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RESTAURANT NIGHT:
Prior to the performance please join us for dinner at La Valencia


The Blind Boys of Alabama, December 19, 2015 from La Jolla Music Society on Vimeo.

Click here to view the complete October-December 2015 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: The Blind Boys of Alabama

Benjamin Moore, vocals
Eric “Ricky” McKinnie, vocals
Jimmy Carter, vocals
Joey Williams, guitar & vocals
Paul Beasley, vocals
Tracy Pierce, bass
Austin Moore, drums
Ray Ladson, keyboard

Works to be announced from stage
Songs will include:
Merry Christmas
What Can I Do?
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Merry Christmas To You
Silent Night
Last Month Of The Year
Go Tell It On The Mountain
White Christmas

NO INTERMISSION

BlindBoysofAlabamaSony Masterworks announces the release of the Blind Boys of Alabama's new album, I'll Find a Way, produced by Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver) and available on October 1st, 2013. A unique collaboration between one of popular music's longest-running acts and one of its fastest-rising stars, it is a powerful collection of gospel and spiritual songs new and old, featuring some of the Blind Boys' most fervent vocals as well as contributions by a new generation of Blind Boys fans - Sam Amidon, Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond, Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, Casey Dienel of White Hinterland, Patty Griffin, and Justin Vernon himself.

I'll Find a Way represents a strong new chapter for the Blind Boys of Alabama, whose career stretches back more than seventy years. Formed in the late 1930s at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in Talladega, the group has harmonized throughout the turbulent twentieth century and well into the twenty-first: from Jim Crow through Civil Rights and into the Obama era. They have, however, enjoyed some of their biggest and most rousing successes in the last ten years, during which they've won five Grammys, four Gospel Music Awards, and multiple invitations to sing at the White House.

For I'll Find a Way, their ninth studio album of the twenty-first century, the Blind Boys of Alabama - which includes Jimmy Carter, Eric 'Ricky' McKinnie, Joey Williams, Tracy Pierce, Ben Moore, and newest addition Paul Beasley - decamped to the wintry wild of rural Wisconsin to record at Vernon's April Base studio. Known primarily for his work in the indie and folk realms, the Bon Iver frontman proved a perfect fit to work with the Blind Boys, exhibiting a deep knowledge and appreciation of gospel music.

Vernon and old friend and band mate Phil Cook (Megafaun, The Shouting Matches) corralled a lively backing band for the album and hand-picked a range of songs for the Blind Boys to sing. Some numbers, such as "Take Your Burden to the Lord And Leave It There," have been sung for nearly a century now, while others, like "I Am Not Waiting Anymore," were penned only a year or two ago. The result of this unique collaboration is a collection of rousing tunes that address life's most desperate hours but also savor the triumphs and reassurances of faith.

One of the band's own stories of trial and triumph involves Clarence Fountain, a founding member of the Blind Boys and the group's leader for many decades. Serious health problems requiring weekly kidney dialysis have prevented him from touring with the other members of the group. When he couldn't travel to the Wisconsin sessions, the Blind Boys found a way to include him on the album, recording his robust bass vocals in Birmingham and adding them to the mix.

"That's an important part, that bass under everything," explains Carter, the group's current leader and standout tenor. "He gave those songs a true Blind Boys bottom. We wouldn't want to do a Blind Boys project without including Clarence. He will always be a Blind Boy even if he's not out on the road with us."

A strikingly and confidently diverse album, I'll Find a Way features an array of guest vocalists representing a whole new generation of artists who find contemporary musical inspiration in America's gospel past. The daughter of two musicians who played in a Pentecostal church, Shara Worden of Detroit-based My Brightest Diamond lends her soaring voice to the title track (originally written and recorded by the Motown session musician Ted Lucas). Casey Dienel of White Hinterland sings lead on the Blind Boys' glorious cover of the Chi-Lites' "There Will Never Be Any Peace (Until God Is Seated at the Conference Table)," whose luxuriant string arrangement has been replaced with a stoical beat, quietly ascending keyboard theme, and stirring saxophone solo courtesy of Minneapolis musician Mike Lewis.

In addition, I'll Find a Way features cameos by Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs ("I've Been Searching," whose lilting reggae rhythms make it the album's most adventurous track), Patty Griffin (the barn-burning closer,"Jubilee"), and Sam Amidon (a spiritual version of the band Field Report's song, "I Am Not Waiting Anymore"). Another highlight is the cover of Bob Dylan's "Every Grain of Sand," which is recast as a soul-searching duet between Carter and Vernon. "Jimmy and I are coming from such different places," says Vernon, "and yet we're singing about the same thing. There are two perspectives in that song, and they're colliding."

Whether backing up a guest artist or tearing through an old gospel standard, the Blind Boys show their inimitable range throughout I'll Find a Way, starting with the very first track, a cover of "God Put a Rainbow in the Cloud." The song is a country music chestnut, best known as a hit for Kitty Wells, yet Carter, an avowed fan of country music, knows the song through legendary bluegrass picker Ralph Stanley. "I Shall Not Be Moved," an anthem during the Civil Rights movement and, in Cook's view, "the trunk of the gospel tree," stomps nimbly, thanks to the Blind Boys' spry vocals and the studio band's crackling country-gospel accompaniment. "Take Your Burden to the Lord And Leave It There," a tune penned by the African American minister and composer Charles A. Tindley, jogs by on a light shuffle, as though newly relieved of all woes and worries. It recounts not the arduous journey to salvation, but the ecstatic relief of finding it.

The centerpiece of I'll Find a Way, however, may just be "Take Me to the Water," featuring newest Blind Boy Paul Beasley. Based on a performance by Nina Simone (one of Vernon's favorite artists), this version features a steady pace and a rich bed of harmonies, as Beasley pleads and testifies gloriously in his stately falsetto. Just days before this recording, he had made his live debut with the Blind Boys, but initially had some trouble with this tune. After some encouraging words from Carter, Beasley not only nailed a heart-stopping performance, but reduced everyone in the control room to tears. What you can't hear on the final version is his small audience erupting into shouts and applause on the other side of the glass.

Just as "Take Me to the Water" moved the musicians to tears, so too will this album move the listener. This is the exuberant power of gospel music, which requires its performers to give themselves wholly to the songs. The Blind Boys have been doing that for nearly three-quarters of a century now, and even into their seventies and eighties - despite all obstacles - they don't plan to stop any time soon.

"It's not just singing," explains the 82-year-old Carter. "We're bringing the message to the people, and that message is the good news of God. We sing from the heart, and what comes from the heart reaches the heart. If you have any feeling in you, you will feel the Blind Boys."

The Blind Boys of Alabama last performed for La Jolla Music Society in the Jazz Series on October 13, 2012.

Jan
14
Thu
GARRICK OHLSSON, piano
Jan 14 @ 8:00 pm

Garrick Ohlsson, piano

Opening La Jolla Music Society’s 47th Season Frieman Family Piano Series, American pianist Garrick Ohlsson.

This evening’s performance features Beethoven’s Sonata in A-flat Major and Fantasy in C Major “Der Wanderer,” a piece considered to be Schubert’s most technically demanding composition for piano.

Mr. Ohlsson’s program also includes several works by Chopin, a composer for which he has long been regarded as one of the world’s leading exponents.


In association with the San Diego Symphony’s Upright & Grand Piano Festival
 
 

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BEETHOVENSonata in A-flat Major, Op. 110 (1821)
SCHUBERTFantasy in C Major, D.760 “Der Wanderer” (1822)
CHOPINScherzo No. 4 in E Major, Op. 54 (1842)
Étude, Op. 25, No. 5 in E Minor (1837, pub.)
Étude, Op. 25, No. 5 in G-sharp Minor (1837, pub.)
Nocturne in C Minor, Op. 48, No. 1 (1841)
Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23 (1831)

Click here to view the complete January-February 2016 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: Garrick Ohlsson, piano

by Eric Bromberger

Piano Sonata in A-flat Major, Opus 110 (1821)

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Born December 16, 1770, Bonn
Died March 26, 1827, Vienna

The years 1813 through 1820 were exceptionally difficult for Beethoven, who virtually stopped composing in these years. There were several reasons for this: his deafness was now nearly complete, he suffered periods of poor health, and much of his energy was consumed with his struggle for legal custody of his nephew Karl. And–perhaps most important–he had reached a creative impasse brought on by the exhaustion of his Heroic Style. Where the previous two decades had seen a great outpouring of music, now his creative powers flickered and were nearly extinguished. Not until 1820 was he able to put his troubles, both personal and creative, behind him and marshal his energy as a composer. At the end of May 1820 he committed himself to writing three piano sonatas for the Berlin publisher Adolph Martin Schlesinger; these would be Beethoven’s final sonatas. Although he claimed he wrote them “in one breath,” their composition was actually spread out over a longer period than he expected when he agreed to write them.

The Sonata in A-flat Major, completed in December 1821, shows some of the most original touches in a group of sonatas that are all distinguished for their originality. The first movement, Moderato cantabile molto espressivo, is remarkable for its lovely and continuous lyricism. Beethoven notes that the opening is to be played con amabilità, and that spirit hovers over the entire movement. The essentially lyric quality of this movement is underlined by the fact that the second theme grows immediately out of the first: the opening idea has barely been stated when the second seems to rise directly out of it. By contrast, the bluff Allegro molto is rough and ready: it is a scherzo with a brief trio section full of energy and rhythmic surprises.

The long final movement is of complex structure: it performs the function of both adagio and finale, yet even these elements are intermixed with great originality. The main theme of the Adagio, marked Arioso dolente, arches painfully over a steady chordal accompaniment before Beethoven introduces a fugue marked Allegro, ma non troppo. After a brief working-out, the fugue comes to a halt and the Arioso theme returns. This time, however, Beethoven has marked it Ermattet, klagend (exhausted, grieving), and here the music seems almost choked and struggling to move. Yet gradually the music gathers strength and the fugue returns, but this time Beethoven has inverted the theme and builds the fugue on this inversion. The sonata ends with a great rush upward across five octaves to the triumphant final chord.

Fantasy in C Major, D.760, “Wanderer Fantasy” (1822)

FRANZ SCHUBERT

Born January 31, 1797, Vienna
Died November 19, 1828, Vienna

In the fall of 1822, Schubert set to work on a new symphony. He completed the first two movements and began a scherzo, but then became interested in writing an extended work for solo piano and set the symphony aside. He completed the piano work in November 1822, and it was published the following February; he never returned to the symphony, and it is known to us today as the “Unfinished Symphony.”

The piano piece has taken the name Wanderer Fantasy, for it is based in part on Schubert’s song Der Wanderer, composed in 1819. The Wanderer Fantasy is in one long movement–about twenty minutes in length–that falls into four sections. While the title “fantasy” may imply a lack of attention to form, exactly the reverse is true here–there are unusual thematic and rhythmic connections between the four sections, so that this music is tightly disciplined throughout. It is also extremely difficult to perform. The Wanderer Fantasy has been called the first of Schubert’s mature compositions for the piano, and in fact it was too difficult even for its creator. Schubert is reported to have given up during a performance of this music and to have stormed away from the piano, exclaiming in frustration: “The devil may play this stuff! I can’t!” The brilliance and difficulty of this music have made it a great favorite of virtuoso pianists. Franz Liszt admired and frequently performed the Wanderer Fantasy, and its cyclic structure of interconnected movements had a strong influence on Liszt’s own music.

The opening provides the basic dactylic pulse that will recur throughout the Fantasy. This steady, pounding rhythm will return in many forms; in this opening section, it repeats frequently, and some of these repetitions are brilliant, generating a vast volume of sound. The second section (there are no pauses between the different sections) quotes a fragment of Schubert’s song Der Wanderer at a very slow tempo and then offers a series of variations on it. Again, these variations grow increasingly brilliant before this section subsides to end quietly. The third section, playful and fast, is built upon a dotted rhythm that now begins to dominate the music–this dancing rhythm will reappear in several other themes in this carefree interlude. The final section brings back the theme that opened the Fantasy, but now that rhythmic figure is treated fugally, and this impressive music powers its way to a dramatic conclusion.

Scherzo No. 4 in E Major, Opus 54 (1842)

FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN

Born February 22, 1810, Żelazowa Wola, Poland
Died October 17, 1849, Paris

Though the term had been used earlier, it was Haydn who conceived of the scherzo in its modern sense. In 1781, he called the third movement of some of his string quartets a “scherzo.” What had been the old minuet-and-trio movement now became a scherzo (and trio), and Haydn’s choice of that name indicated that he wanted more speed and liveliness. Beethoven took this evolution one step further: his scherzos, usually built on very short rhythmic units, explode with violent energy and with enough comic touches to remind us that scherzo is the Italian word for joke.

In his four scherzos, Chopin does not copy the forms of Haydn or Beethoven, but adapts the general shape of the classical-period scherzo for his own purposes. He keeps the quick tempo, the 3/4 meter, and (usually) the ABA form of the earlier scherzo, but makes no attempt at humor–the emphasis in this music is on brilliant, exciting music for the piano. The general form of the Chopin scherzo is an opening section based on contrasted themes, followed by a middle section (Chopin does not call this a trio) in a different key and character; the scherzo concludes with the return of the opening material, now slightly abridged.

Chopin’s Scherzo in E Major, his final work in this form, was composed in 1842 and is suffused with a spirit more relaxed than one generally associates with the scherzo–it is full of sunny, almost rhapsodic music. It is also his longest, and the entire scherzo is to some extent unified around its first five notes, which will reappear throughout in a variety of guises. Particularly striking is the central episode in C-sharp minor, in which a flowing melody moves along easily over a rocking accompaniment. The return of the opening material is extended, and the final pages are brilliant.

Étude, Opus 25, No. 5 in E Minor (1837)
Étude, Opus 25, No. 6 in G-sharp Minor (1837)

While still a teenager in Warsaw, Chopin heard a performance of Niccolò Paganini’s Caprices for Solo Violin and was astonished–as were so many other musicians of that era–by what the Italian composer had achieved in this music. Here were extraordinarily complex works for the violin that presented specific technical problems for the performer yet managed to be exciting and engaging music at the same time. Chopin resolved to write something similar for the piano, and over the next few years, a difficult time for the composer, he did just that.

The Twelve Études of Chopin’s Opus 25 date from 1839, when the composer was living in Paris. The Études should be understood first as teaching pieces. Written for Chopin’s students, this brief studies present different kinds of pianistic problems, ranging from the most finger-breaking virtuoso hurdles to the ability to sustain a long melodic line. Along the way, however, they offer breathtaking music that delights general audiences while it challenges pianists. The two études of Opus 25 on this program create specific technical problems for the pianist: No. 5 in E Minor is in Lombard rhythms (dotted rhythms with the short note coming first), while No. 6 in G-sharp Minor is in thirds.

Nocturne in C Minor, Opus 48, No. 1 (1841)

Chopin wrote the dramatic Nocturne in C Minor in 1841, when he was 31 years old and living in Paris. The title “nocturne,” with its suggestion of a restrained and subdued atmosphere, might seem inappropriate for the Nocturne in C Minor, which moves from a quiet beginning to an almost frenzied climax. The understated beginning (Chopin marks it mezza voce: “middle voice”) soon introduces widely-spaced chords in the left-hand accompaniment, and these in turn give way to rolled chords and then to thunderous octave runs; these runs–four octaves deep–require the utmost power from a performer, and the chordal theme emerges almost in passing. Chopin drives the music to a huge climax full of rhythmic complexity–the closing section consistently sets three against four–until suddenly the fury subsides and the music concludes on three quiet C-minor chords.

Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Opus 23 (1831)

Chopin himself was the first to use the term “ballade” to refer to a piano composition, appropriating the name from the literary ballad: he appears to have been most taken with the lyric and dramatic possibilities of the term, for his four ballades fuse melodic writing with intensely dramatic–almost explosive–gestures. After Chopin’s death, Liszt, Grieg, Fauré, and Brahms would compose works for solo piano that they too called ballades.

Formally, Chopin’s ballades most closely resemble the sonata-form movement (an opening idea contrasted with a second theme-group, and the two ideas developed and recapitulated), but the ballades are not strictly in sonata-form, nor was Chopin trying to write sonata-form movements. His ballades are quite free in form, and their thematic development and harmonic progression are sometimes wildly original. All four ballades employ a six-beat meter (either 6/4 or 6/8), and the flowing quality of such a meter is particularly well-suited to the sweeping drama of this music. All four demand a pianist of the greatest skill.

Because of the literary association and the dramatic character of the music, many have been quick to search for extra-musical inspiration for the ballades, believing that such music must represent the attempt to capture actual events in sound. Some have heard the Polish struggle for independence in this music, others the depiction of medieval heroism. Chopin himself discouraged this kind of speculation and asked the listener to take the music on its own terms rather than as a representation of something else.

Chopin began work on the Ballade in G Minor in 1831 in Vienna and completed it four years later in Paris. A portentous seven-bar introduction of uncertain tonality gives way to the opening episode, a waltz-like theme in G minor. The second theme is much more dramatic but–curiously–is related to the waltz theme. This second theme undergoes a brilliant development, though this ballade lacks the recapitulation that would be expected at this point in a sonata-form movement. Instead, Chopin brings back the waltz theme briefly before launching into the coda, appropriately marked Presto con fuoco.

PRELUDE 7 PM

Lecture by Steven Cassedy: Is it Just a Fantasy?
As its title suggests, Schubert’s “Wanderer Fantasy” (based on one of the composer’s songs) does not easily fit into any conventional formal category. Yet, despite being called a “fantasy,” it is held together by a few easily perceptible rhythmic and melodic features.

GarrickOhlssonSince his triumph as winner of the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition, pianist Garrick Ohlsson has established himself worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess. Although long regarded as one of the world’s leading exponents of the music of Frédéric Chopin, Mr. Ohlsson commands an enormous repertoire, which ranges over the entire piano literature. A student of the late Claudio Arrau, Mr. Ohlsson has come to be noted for his masterly performances of the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the Romantic repertoire. To date he has at his command more than 80 concertos, ranging from Haydn and Mozart to works of the 21st century, many commissioned for him.

The 2015-16 season includes recitals in Berkeley, New York, Indianapolis, Brisbane, Seattle, La Jolla, Evanston, Forth Worth, Lincoln and Costa Mesa. In return visits to Australia he will appear in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide and for the first time with the New Zealand Symphony in Wellington and Auckland. With concerti as diverse as Beethoven, Brahms, Barber and Busoni he can be heard with orchestras in Boston, Los Angeles, Ottawa, Nashville, Indianapolis, Oregon, Warsaw, St. Petersburg, Manchester (UK) and Lugano (Switzerland). In the fall he will serve as a judge at the 17th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, and in April he will join the Takács Quartet for a brief east coast tour culminating at Carnegie Hall.

Mr. Ohlsson brought Busoni's rarely programmed piano concerto to the National Symphony (Washington) and London's Barbican with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 2014. 2015 marked the centenary of the death of Alexander Scriabin whose piano music Mr. Ohlsson presented in a series of recitals in London, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. He also returned to the orchestras of San Francisco, Detroit, Dallas, Houston, Baltimore, Minnesota, BBC Scotland and Prague where he is a frequent guest.

An avid chamber musician, Mr. Ohlsson has collaborated with the Cleveland, Emerson, and Tokyo string quartets, among other ensembles. Together with violinist Jorja Fleezanis and cellist Michael Grebanier, he is a founding member of the San Francisco-based FOG Trio. Passionate about singing and singers, Mr. Ohlsson has appeared in recital with such legendary artists as Magda Olivero, Jessye Norman, and Ewa Podleś.

Mr. Ohlsson can be heard on the Arabesque, RCA Victor Red Seal, Angel, BMG, Delos, Hänssler, Nonesuch, Telarc, Hyperion and Virgin Classics labels. His ten-disc set of the complete Beethoven sonatas, for Bridge Records, has garnered critical acclaim, including a GRAMMY® for Vol. 3. His recording of Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 3, with the Atlanta Symphony and Robert Spano, was released in 2011. In the fall of 2008 the English label Hyperion re-released his 16-disc set of the complete works of Chopin followed in 2010 by all the Brahms piano variations, Goyescas by Enrique Granados, and music of Charles Tomlinson Griffes. Most recently on that label are Scriabin's Complete Poèmes and ètudes by Debussy, Bartok and Prokofiev. The latest CDs in his ongoing association with Bridge Records are Close Connections, a recital of 20th-Century pieces, and two CDs of works by Liszt. In recognition of the Chopin bicentenary in 2010, Mr. Ohlsson was featured in a documentary The Art of Chopin co-produced by Polish, French, British and Chinese television stations. Most recently, both Brahms concerti and Tchaikovsky's second piano concerto were released on "live" performance recordings with the Melbourne and Sydney Symphonies on their own recording labels, and Mr. Ohlsson was featured on Dvorak's piano concerto in the Czech Philharmonic's live recordings of the composer's complete symphonies & concertos, released July of 2014 on the Decca label.

A native of White Plains, N.Y., Garrick Ohlsson began his piano studies at the age of 8, at the Westchester Conservatory of Music; at 13 he entered The Juilliard School, in New York City. His musical development has been influenced in completely different ways by a succession of distinguished teachers, most notably Claudio Arrau, Olga Barabini, Tom Lishman, Sascha Gorodnitzki, Rosina Lhévinne and Irma Wolpe. Although he won First Prizes at the 1966 Busoni Competition in Italy and the 1968 Montréal Piano Competition, it was his 1970 triumph at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, where he won the Gold Medal (and remains the single American to have done so), that brought him worldwide recognition as one of the finest pianists of his generation. Since then he has made nearly a dozen tours of Poland, where he retains immense personal popularity. Mr. Ohlsson was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize in 1994 and received the 1998 University Musical Society Distinguished Artist Award in Ann Arbor, MI. He is also the 2014 recipient of the Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance from the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music. He makes his home in San Francisco.

Garrick Ohlsson last performed for La Jolla Music Society in the Frieman Family Piano Series on January 13, 2012.

Jan
16
Sat
MONTEREY JAZZ FESTIVAL ON TOUR
Jan 16 @ 8:00 pm
MONTEREY JAZZ FESTIVAL ON TOUR @ Balboa Theatre | San Diego | California | United States

MONTEREY JAZZ FESTIVAL ON TOUR

The longest continuously-running jazz festival in the world, under the musical direction of Gerald Clayton, presents a program that will embody the Monterey Jazz Festival’s joyful, fun and rich performances.

Nicholas Payton, trumpet – Grammy® Award Winner
Ravi Coltrane, saxophone – Grammy® Nominee
Joe Sanders, bass
Gregory Hutchinson, drums
Gerald Clayton, music director & piano – Grammy® Nominee
Raul Midon, guitar & vocals

Buy Tickets

Click here to view the complete January-February 2016 Program Book

Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour


Raul Midón, vocals & guitar
Ravi Coltrane, tenor & soprano saxophones
Nicholas Payton, trumpet
Gerald Clayton, musical director
Joe Sanders, bass
Gregory Hutchinson, drums

Works to be announced from stage

NO INTERMISSION

The Monterey Jazz Festival is the longest consecutively-running jazz festival in the world for a reason. Our exclusive presentation of MONTEREY JAZZ FESTIVAL ON TOUR 2016 celebrates the festival’s legacy of expanding the boundaries of live jazz presentation. Produced by Danny Melnick for Absolutely Live Entertainment and Tim Jackson, Artistic Director of Monterey Jazz Festival, this year’s lineup reflects Monterey’s “traditional-untraditionalist” attitude and jazz-with-a-purpose exuberance. Under the musical direction of Gerald Clayton, the program will embody the festival’s joyful, fun, and rich performances. A who's-who of critically-acclaimed and GRAMMY®-recognized top artists have signed on for this tour.

Raul Midón is one of music's most distinctive and searching voices. A "one-man band who turns a guitar into an orchestra and his voice into a chorus" according to The New York Times, some of Midón’s collaborators include Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, Richard Bona, and Dianne Reeves. He has released seven critically-acclaimed albums since 1999, including his most recent, 2014’s Don’t Hesitate.

Ravi Coltrane is a critically-acclaimed GRAMMY-nominated saxophonist, bandleader, and composer. At the forefront of the restless few who are carving up new paths in jazz, DownBeat called him “a modernist who has absorbed a wealth of jazz [and] those influences are couched so well, resulting in a unique sound, best described as ‘elusive beauty.’”

Nicholas Payton, the GRAMMY-winning virtuoso trumpeter, has earned praise and accolades before he was even out of high school. Described as “genre-defying” and “brashly original’ by the Chicago Tribune, the New Orleans native has appeared on over 120 recordings, and has performed at major concert halls and festivals worldwide in many settings, from solo concerts to his full orchestral work, 2012’s The Black American Symphony.

Anchoring the tour is a remarkable trio featuring Joe Sanders on bass, Gregory Hutchinson on drums, and MJF on Tour musical director and double GRAMMY-nominee Gerald Clayton on piano. Having met while playing at the GRAMMY Camp during their high school years, the trio has built a solid foundation of friendship and trust that is evident in their innovative and daring creative choices which are both rooted in tradition, yet expressive and fresh. Clayton, fluent in the range of styles that make up today´s jazz lexicon, has quickly established himself as a leading figure in the new generation of jazz artists and has recorded or performed with many artists, including Diana Krall, Ambrose Akinmusire, Charles Lloyd, Terell Stafford, and Terri Lyne Carrington.

Jan
20
Wed
ITZHAK PERLMAN, violin & EMANUEL AX, piano
Jan 20 @ 8:00 pm

Itzhak Perlman, violin & Emanuel Ax, piano

La Jolla Music Society presents two of the most celebrated and respected musical masters of our time, violinist Itzhak Perlman and pianist Emanuel Ax
in a spectacular performance featuring works by Mozart, Fauré and Richard Strauss.


In association with the San Diego Symphony’s Upright & Grand Piano Festival
 
 

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MOZARTSonata for Violin and Piano No. 17 in C Major, K. 296
FAURÉSonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 in A Major, Op. 13
STRAUSSSonata for Violin and Piano in E-flat Major, Op. 18
Additional works to be announced from the stage
ENCORES
DVOŘÁKSonatina 2nd mov. Larghetto, Op. 100
SCHUMANNFastasiestücke, No. 1 Zart und mit Ausdruck Op. 73
KREISLERSchön Rosmarin
KREISLERTambourin Chinois

Click here to view the complete January-February 2016 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: Itzhak Perlman, violin & Emanuel Ax, piano

by Eric Bromberger

Sonata in C Major for Piano and Violin, K.296 (1778)

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
Born January 27, 1756, Salzburg
Died December 5, 1791, Vienna

In the fall of 1777 Mozart and his mother set out on a long trip which the family hoped would finally land the 21-year-old composer a position worthy of his talents (father Leopold could not get free of his obligations in Salzburg and so remained behind). After a brief stopover in Munich, they arrived in Mannheim in October for a five-month stay. Here Mozart was impressed by the superb Mannheim orchestra, wrote several works for flute, and finally learned–to his dismay–that there was no possibility of a position for him in that city. Just before he left for Paris, Mozart became interested in writing sonatas for violin and keyboard and quickly wrote seven of them: the Sonata in C Major on this program was composed on March 11, 1778, three days before his departure. In Paris, Mozart had six of these sonatas published, but he held back the Sonata in C Major and did not publish it until three years later, shortly after his arrival in Vienna.

This sonata has always been a favorite. Audiences like it because Mozart frames a genuinely expressive slow movement with two outer movements full of fire. Violinists like it because it is so much fun to play. Scholars like it because it is so clearly a transitional work: where most of the Mannheim sonatas were in two-movement form, here Mozart writes in full three-movement form. Previous sonatas (including Mozart’s own) had essentially been keyboard sonatas with violin accompaniment: the violin can be eliminated from these sonatas with almost no loss of music content. But an acute reviewer in Vienna recognized the increasingly important role of the violin in this music, describing it as “Very brilliant and suited to the instrument. At the same time the accompaniment of the violin is so artfully combined with the clavier part that both instruments are kept constantly on the alert; so that these sonatas require just as skillful a player on the violin as on the clavier.”

The Sonata in C Major rings with the spirit and sweep which that key always seemed to evoke from Mozart. The very opening has been compared to a march, with the piano’s triplet turn snapping the music forward. Quickly the instruments are answering each other, and the music rides forward breathlessly on the piano’s sparkling runs. The piano has the delicate second subject as the violin vigorously accompanies, and Mozart offers a repeat of both exposition and development. Especially effective is the coda, where the jaunty spirit of the opening march propels the music to its energetic close.

Alfred Einstein has noted that Mozart took the main theme of the Andante sostenuto from the aria “Dolci aurette” by Johann Christian Bach. Again the piano leads, but at the center section the violin takes up the melody, and on a series of graceful turns leads it through unexpected keys full of the expressive harmonic shading that marks Mozart’s mature music. Rather than opting for a literal return of the opening section, Mozart offers a coda that gradually dissolves into silence. The finale returns to the spirit of the opening movement. It is the expected rondo, but Mozart ingeniously builds some of the contrasting episodes on variants of the main theme as the sonata drives to its spirited close.

Violin Sonata No. 1 in A Major, Opus 13 (1875)

GABRIEL FAURÉ
Born May 13, 1845, Pamiers, France
Died November 4, 1924, Paris

One of Fauré’s students, the composer Florent Schmitt, described his teacher as an “unintentional, unwitting revolutionary.” The term “revolutionary” hardly seems to apply to a composer best-known for his gentle Requiem, songs, and chamber works. But while Fauré was no heaven-storming radical bent on undoing the past, his seemingly-quiet music reveals enough rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic surprises to justify Schmitt’s claim. The Violin Sonata in A Major, written in the summer of 1876 while Fauré was vacationing in Normandy, is dedicated to his friend, the violinist Paul Viardot. Following its first performance, the sonata was praised by Fauré’s teacher Saint-Saëns for its “formal novelty, quest, refinement of modulation, curious sonorities, use of the most unexpected rhythms . . . charm [and] . . . the most unexpected touches of boldness.” This is strong praise, but close examination of the sonata shows that Saint-Saëns was right.

One of the most interesting features of the opening Allegro molto occurs in the accompaniment, which is awash in a constant flow of eighth-notes. The first theme appears immediately in the piano, and already that instrument is weaving the filigree of accompanying eighth-notes that will shimmer throughout this movement: one of the challenges for performers is to provide tonal variety within this continual rustle of sound. The movement is in sonata form, and the descending second theme, introduced by the violin, is accompanied by a murmur of triplets from the piano. The movement concludes on a fiery restatement of its opening theme.

Distinguishing the Andante is its rhythmic pulse: a 9/8 meter throbs throughout the movement, though Fauré varies its effect by syncopating the accents within the measure. The third movement, a scherzo marked Allegro vivo, goes like a rocket. Fauré chooses not the expected triple meter of the traditional scherzo but a time signature of 2/8, an extremely short rhythmic unit, particularly when his metronome marking asks for 152 quarter-notes per minute. He further complicates the rhythm by writing in quite short phrases, so that the effect is of short phrases rapidly spit out, then syncopated by sharp off-beats. A lovely, graceful trio gives way to the opening material, and the movement suddenly vanishes in a shower of pizzicato notes.

The tempo marking for the finale--Allegro quasi presto–seems to suggest a movement similar to the third, but despite its rapid tempo the last movement flows easily and majestically. Or at least it seems to, for here Fauré complicates matters harmonically. The piano opens in the home key–A major–but the violin seems always to prefer that key’s relative minor, F-sharp minor, and the resulting harmonic uncertainty continues throughout the movement until the sonata ends in unequivocal A major.

To emphasize this sonata’s originality may have the unhappy effect of making the music sound cerebral, interesting only for its technical novelty. That is hardly the case. Fauré’s Sonata in A Major is one of the loveliest violin sonatas of the late nineteenth century, full of melodic, graceful, and haunting music.

Violin Sonata in E-flat Major, Opus 18 (1887)

RICHARD STRAUSS
Born June 11, 1864, Munich
Died September 8, 1949, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

The Violin Sonata came at a pivotal point in Richard Strauss’ career. He wrote it in 1887-8, when he was only 24 and just beginning work on the symphonic poem Don Juan. The success of Don Juan would lead Strauss to concentrate on the symphonic poem and later on opera; the Violin Sonata, in fact, was his final piece of chamber music. Coming at so important an intersection in his career, the Violin Sonata shows features of both the world Strauss was leaving and the world he was about to enter. In its structure and harmonic language, the sonata looks back to the classical tradition of Brahms and Schumann, but in its dramatic scope and the sheer panache of the writing, it looks ahead to the symphonic poems.

Not all listeners have found this combination convincing, and some have questioned whether Strauss’ Violin Sonata, full of volcanic fury and dense textures, is chamber music at all. Strauss’ biographer Norman Del Mar notes that “the piano part resembles nothing so strongly as a Liszt Piano Concerto, while the violin line . . . rather suggests a full body of strings.” The fusion of styles in Strauss’ Violin Sonata can be jarring, but this is nevertheless brilliant, exciting music.

Strauss played both piano and violin, and the writing for the two instruments is virtuosic. The piano opens the Allegro, ma non troppo, and its first figure–immediately picked up by the violin–contains the rhythmic cell that will animate the entire movement: a sixteenth-note pickup leading into a triplet. This figure, full of the rhythmic snap so typical of Strauss’ tone poems, recurs throughout the movement. The second theme soars through a range of two-and-a-half octaves, while the third–marked appassionato–climbs into the violin’s highest register. This sonata-form movement, marked by an exceedingly active development, closes on a restatement of the first idea.

The Andante cantabile was written after the outer movements were completed and published separately under the title Improvisation. It is in ABA form, with an opening section that has reminded many of Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words. The interior sequence is impassioned, with the violin line riding high above shimmering arpeggios of 64th-notes in the piano; Strauss quotes Schubert’s song Erlkönig in the turbulent middle section and the slow movement of Beethoven’s “Pathétique” Sonata in the coda.

Nowhere does the transitional nature of this sonata appear more clearly than at the opening of the finale. After an Andante introduction that sounds as if it might have been written by Brahms, the first theme rockets upward at the Allegro, sounding very much like the great upward rush of orchestral sound at the beginning of Don Juan, written at almost the same time. The finale is much in the manner of the opening movement, with an espressivo second theme, a soaring third, and a superheated development. The coda is a graceful and imaginative extension of the opening theme.

ItzhakPerlman1Undeniably the reigning virtuoso of the violin, Itzhak Perlman enjoys superstar status rarely afforded a classical musician. Beloved for his charm and humanity as well as his talent, he is treasured by audiences throughout the world who respond not only to his remarkable artistry, but also to his irrepressible joy for making music.

Having performed with every major orchestra and at venerable concert halls around the globe, Itzhak Perlman was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2015 by President Obama for his meritorious contributions to cultural endeavors of the United States and for being a powerful advocate for people of disabilities. In 2013, he was granted a Kennedy Center Honor by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in celebration of his distinguished achievements and contributions to the cultural and educational life of the United States. He has performed multiple times at the White House, most recently in 2012 at the invitation of President Barack Obama and Mrs. Obama, for Israeli President and Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree Shimon Peres; and at a State Dinner in 2007, hosted by President George W. Bush and Mrs. Bush, for Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. In 2009, Mr. Perlman was honored to take part in the Inauguration of President Obama, premiering a piece written for the occasion by John Williams alongside cellist Yo-Yo Ma, clarinetist Anthony McGill and pianist Gabriela Montero, for an audience of nearly 40 million television viewers in the United States and millions more throughout the world.

Born in Israel in 1945, Mr. Perlman completed his initial training at the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. An early recipient of an America-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarship, he came to New York and soon was propelled to national recognition with an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958. Following his studies at the Juilliard School with Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay, he won the prestigious Leventritt Competition in 1964, which led to a burgeoning worldwide career. Since then, Itzhak Perlman has established himself as a cultural icon and household name in classical music.

Mr. Perlman has further delighted audiences through his frequent appearances on the conductor’s podium. He has performed as conductor with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, National Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the symphony orchestras of Dallas, Houston, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Montreal and Toronto, as well as at the Ravinia and Tanglewood festivals. He was Music Advisor of the St. Louis Symphony from 2002 to 2004 where he made regular conducting appearances, and he was Principal Guest Conductor of the Detroit Symphony from 2001 to 2005. Internationally, Mr. Perlman has conducted the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, and the Israel Philharmonic.

The 2015-16 season commemorates Itzhak Perlman’s 70th birthday with three album releases and worldwide concert tours. For the first time in many years, Mr. Perlman tours with pianist and longtime friend Emanuel Ax in special duo recitals that take them to eight cities across America including Los Angeles (Disney Hall), San Francisco (Davies Symphony Hall), Chicago (Ravinia) and Washington D.C. (Kennedy Center). In December 2015, he performs at Carnegie Hall in a rare trio collaboration with pianist Evgeny Kissin and cellist Mischa Maisky, marking the first time he and Mr. Kissin have performed together. In March 2016, he celebrates the 20th anniversary of his popular klezmer program, In the Fiddler’s House, in comeback concerts with klezmer greats Andy Statman, Hankus Netsky and special guests from the Klezmer Conservatory Band and Brave Old World in Boston (Symphony Hall), Miami (Arsht Center) and West Palm Beach (Kravis Center). On the orchestral front, Mr. Perlman performs season-opening gala concerts with the Toronto Symphony under Peter Oundjian and the Pittsburgh Symphony under Manfred Honeck, and makes conducting appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony. Throughout the season, he performs with his regular collaborator, pianist Rohan De Silva, in recitals that take them across North America, Asia and to Europe in their first appearances as a duo in London (Barbican Centre), Paris (Philharmonie de Paris) and Munich (Gasteig).

Further to his engagements as violinist and conductor, Mr. Perlman is increasingly making more speaking appearances. Upcoming engagements include Elon University’s Fall Convocation in North Carolina and the Association for Financial Professionals’ 35th Annual Conference in Denver.

Itzhak Perlman’s recordings have garnered 16 GRAMMY® Awards and regularly appear on the best-seller charts. In 2008, Mr. Perlman was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in the recording arts. This season in 2015, Mr. Perlman sees three record releases in celebration of his 70th birthday: A new Deutsche Grammophon album with pianist Emanuel Ax performing Fauré and Strauss Sonatas, a 25-disc box set of his complete Deutsche Grammophon and Decca discography, and a 77-disc box set of his complete EMI/Teldec discography titled Itzhak Perlman: The Complete Warner Recordings.

In 2012, Sony releasedEternal Echoes: Songs & Dances for the Soul, featuring a collaboration with acclaimed cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot in liturgical and traditional Jewish arrangements for chamber orchestra and klezmer musicians, and in 2010,Sony released a recording of Mendelssohn Piano Trios with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Emanuel Ax. Highlights of albumsover the last two decades have included a Deutsche Grammophonalbum with Mr. Perlman conducting the Israel Philharmonic,a live recording with pianist Martha Argerich performing Beethoven and Franck Sonatas (EMI); Cinema Serenade featuring popular hits from movies with John Williams conducting (Sony); A la Carte, a recording of short violin pieces with orchestra (EMI) and In the Fiddler’s House, a celebration of klezmer music (EMI) that formed the basis of the PBS television special. In 2004, EMI released The Perlman Edition, a limited-edition 15-CD box set featuring many of his finest EMI recordings as well as newly compiled material, and RCA Red Seal released a CD titled Perlman rediscovered, which includes material recorded in 1965 by a young Itzhak Perlman.Other recordings reveal Mr. Perlman’s devotion to education, including Concertos from my Childhood with the Juilliard Orchestra under Lawrence Foster (EMI) and Marita and her Heart’s Desire, composed and conducted by Bruce Adolphe (Telarc).

A major presence in the performing arts on television, Itzhak Perlman has been honored with four Emmy Awards, most recently for the PBS documentary Fiddling for the Future, a film about Mr. Perlman’s work as a teacher and conductor for the Perlman Music Program. In 2004, PBS aired a special entitled Perlman in Shanghai that chronicled a historic and unforgettable visit of the Perlman Music Program to China, featuring interaction between American and Chinese students and culminating in a concert at the Shanghai Grand Theater and a performance with one thousand young violinists, led by Mr. Perlman and broadcast throughout China. His third Emmy Award recognized his dedication to klezmer music, as profiled in the 1995 PBS television special In the Fiddler’s House, which was filmed in Poland and featured him performing with four of the world’s finest klezmer bands.

Mr. Perlman has entertained and enlightened millions of TV viewers of all ages on popular shows as diverse as The Late Show with David Letterman, Sesame Street, The Frugal Gourmet, The Tonight Show, and various Grammy Awards telecasts. His PBS appearances have included A Musical Toast and Mozart by the Masters, as well as numerous Live From Lincoln Center broadcasts such as The Juilliard School: Celebrating 100 Years. In 2008, he joined renowned chef Jacques Pépin on Artist’s Table to discuss the relationship between the culinary and musical arts, and lent his voice as the narrator of Visions of Israel for PBS’s acclaimed Visions series. Mr. Perlman hosted the 1994 U.S. broadcast of the Three Tenors, Encore! live from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. During the 78th Annual Academy Awards in 2006, he performed a live medley from the five film scores nominated in the category of Best Original Score for a worldwide audience in the hundreds of millions. One of Mr. Perlman’s proudest achievements is his collaboration with film composer John Williams in Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-winning film Schindler’s List, in which he performed the violin solos. He can also be heard as the violin soloist on the soundtrack of Zhang Yimou’s film Hero (music by Tan Dun) and Rob Marshall’s Memoirs of a Geisha (music by John Williams).

Mr. Perlman has a long association with the Israel Philharmonic and has participated in many groundbreaking tours with this orchestra from his homeland. In 1987, he joined the IPO for history-making concerts in Warsaw and Budapest, representing the first performances by this orchestra and soloist in Eastern bloc countries. He again made history as he joined the orchestra for its first visit to the Soviet Union in 1990, and was cheered by audiences in Moscow and Leningrad who thronged to hear his recital and orchestral performances. This visit was captured on a PBS documentary entitled Perlman in Russia, which won an Emmy. In 1994, Mr. Perlman joined the Israel Philharmonic for their first visits to China and India.

Over the past two decades, Mr. Perlman has become more actively involved in music education, using this opportunity to encourage gifted young string players. Alongside his wife Toby, his close involvement in the Perlman Music Program has been a particularly rewarding experience, and he has taught full-time at the Program each summer since its founding in 1993. Mr. Perlman currently holds the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation Chair at the Juilliard School. Numerous publications and institutions have paid tribute to Itzhak Perlman for the unique place he occupies in the artistic and humanitarian fabric of our times. Harvard, Yale, Brandeis, Roosevelt, Yeshiva and Hebrew universities are among the institutions that have awarded him honorary degrees.He was awarded an honorary doctorate and a centennial medal on the occasion of Juilliard’s 100th commencement ceremony in 2005. President Reagan honored Mr. Perlman with a Medal of Liberty in 1986, President Clinton awarded Mr. Perlman the National Medal of Arts in 2000, and in November 2015, President Obama bestowed Mr. Perlman with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation’s highest civilian honor. Itzhak Perlman’s presence on stage, on camera, and in personal appearances of all kinds speaks eloquently on behalf of the disabled, and his devotion to their cause is an integral part of his life.

Itzhak Perlman last performed for La Jolla Music Society in a 40th Anniversary Special Event on February 21, 2009.


Emanual-AxBorn in Lvov, Poland, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. His studied at the Juilliard School were supported by the sponsorship of the Epstein Scholarship Program of the Boys Clubs of America, and he subsequently won the Young Concert Artists Award. Additionally, he attended Columbia University where he majored in French. Mr. Ax captured public attention in 1974 when he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists followed four years later by the coveted Avery Fisher Prize.

Two major projects are planned for the second half of the upcoming 2014-15 season, the first being a two week "Celebrate the Piano" festival with the Toronto Symphony curated by Mr. Ax that will present performances by multiple pianists, including Mr. Ax, exploring the many facets of the piano. The second will be a European tour with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin beginning with a joint appearance in Carnegie Hall. Throughout the season he will return to the orchestras of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Washington, Nashville, Atlanta, St. Louis, Montreal and Ottawa. Recitals will take him to Vancouver, San Francisco and the mid-west ending in Lincoln Center's Tully Hall where he will also appear in duo with baritone Simon Keenlyside. In Europe he will return to the Berlin Philharmonic followed by a tour to Vienna, Salzburg, Graz and London performing Winterreise with Simon Keenlyside as well as presenting both Brahms Concerti in Amsterdam and Paris with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Bernard Haitink. Other European orchestras this season feature the London Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, Tonhalle Zurich and the National Orchestras of Toulouse and Lyon.

The 2013/14 season began with appearances at the Barbican Centre followed by Lincoln Center with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitink as well as collaborations with the Concertgebouworkester and Mariss Jansons in Amsterdam, Bucharest, China and Japan during their world-wide centenary celebrations. The second half of the season saw the realization of a project inspired by Brahms which included new pieces from composers Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, and Brett Dean all producing works linked to Brahms commissioned jointly between the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cal Performances Berkeley, Chicago Symphony and Carnegie Hall with the participation of collaborators Anne-Sophie von Otter and Yo-Yo Ma. To conclude the season, he traveled to Hong Kong and Australia for a complete cycle of Beethoven concerti with Chief Conductor David Robertson in Sydney and with Sir Andrew Davis in Melbourne.

A Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987, recent releases include Mendelssohn Trios with Yo-Yo- Ma and Itzhak Perlman, Strauss's Enoch Arden narrated by Patrick Stewart, and discs of two-piano music by Brahms and Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman. Mr. Ax has received GRAMMY® Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas. He has also made a series of Grammy-winning recordings with cellist Yo-Yo Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano. His other recordings include the concertos of Liszt and Schoenberg, three solo Brahms albums, an album of tangos by Astor Piazzolla, and the premiere recording of John Adams's Century Rolls with the Cleveland Orchestra for Nonesuch. In the 2004/05 season Mr. Ax also contributed to an International EMMY® Award-Winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust that aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In 2013, Mr. Ax's recording Variations received the Echo Klassik Award for Solo Recording of the Year (19th century music)/Piano.

In recent years, Mr. Ax has turned his attention toward the music of 20th-century composers, premiering works by John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng, and Melinda Wagner. Mr. Ax is also devoted to chamber music, and has worked regularly with such artists as Young Uck Kim, Cho-Liang Lin, Mr. Ma, Edgar Meyer, Peter Serkin, Jaime Laredo, and the late Isaac Stern.

Mr. Ax resides in New York City with his wife, pianist Yoko Nozaki. They have two children together, Joseph and Sarah. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates of music from Yale and Columbia Universities. For more information about Mr. Ax’s career, please visit www.EmanuelAx.com.

Emanuel Ax last performed for La Jolla Music Society in a Special Event on January 20, 2016.

Jan
24
Sun
JI, piano
Jan 24 @ 3:00 pm
JI, piano @ The Auditorium at TSRI | San Diego | California | United States

Ji, piano

2012 Young Concert Artist Winner

La Jolla Music Society welcomes Ji, an international young pianist who
achieved worldwide recognition as the 2012 Young Concert Artist Winner.
He brings a varied program for solo piano featuring works by both
Mendelssohn and Messiaen as well as the Bach/Busoni Chorale Preludes and
movements from J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

“…a gifted young pianist who is clearly going places.” – The Chicago Tribune

Buy Tickets

DISCOVERY DINNER:
Following the performance please join us for dinner with the artist at the home of Maureen and Tom Shiftan.
Reservations Required


J.S. BACHThree Chorale Preludes (arr. by Ferruccio Busoni)
        Wachet auf, ruff uns die Stimme, BWV 645
        Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 599
        Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein, BWV 734
MATTHIAS PINTSCHERNow I for Solo Piano, Part I of the Cycle "Profiles of Light"
MENDELSSOHNVariations Sérieuses in D Minor, Op. 54
J.S. BACHAria with Thirty Variations, BWV 988 (Goldberg Variations)
ENCORE
SCHUMANNWidmung, Op. 25, No. 1 (arr. Liszt)

Click here to view the complete January-February 2016 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: Ji, piano

by Eric Bromberger

Three Chorale Preludes (arr. by Ferruccio Busoni)
Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645 (1748)
Nun komm’ der Heiden Heiland, BWV 599 (1723)
Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g’mein, BWV 734 (1751)

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Born March 21, 1685, Eisenach, Germany
Died July 28, 1750, Leipzig

As a devout Lutheran, Bach took very seriously Martin Luther’s call for a music (and a language) available to all members of the congregation. In the effort to reach the common man and make religion more immediate and meaningful, the music of the Lutheran service was built not on the Latin of the Roman Catholic Church–chanted by the priest–but on the simple and sturdy hymn-tunes of Germany (some of them by Martin Luther himself), which could be sung by all the members of a congregation. Bach was drawn to these old German chorale melodies throughout his career: he wrote cantatas based on chorale tunes, he included chorales in his passions, he composed about thirty new chorale tunes of his own, and he also made about 400 reharmonizations of existing chorale tunes, usually for solo organ. This program opens with three of Bach’s chorale preludes in piano arrangements by the German-Italian pianist Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924), who left seven volumes of Bach arrangements.

One of the best-known of Bach’s chorale preludes is Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (“Awake, the Voice Is Sounding”). The original melody appears to have been composed by Jakob Praetorius about 1604, and Bach used it twice: as an organ prelude and as the fourth movement of his Cantata No. 140, which was composed in November 1731 and which takes the title of the chorale for the entire cantata. Busoni made his transcription from the cantata version, which has the noble, flowing melody on top, the tenor line in the center (it tells of the approach of the bridegroom–Christ–and the excitement of the maidens who await him), and the continuo beneath them.

Bach set Nun komm’, der Heiden Heiland (“Come Thou, Redeemer of Our Race”) on several different occasions, and these in turn exist in a variety of forms: as the original choral setting as it might have been sung in Lutheran services, as one of Bach’s chorale preludes for organ, and (centuries later) in Leopold Stokowski’s sumptuous arrangement for full symphony orchestra.

The stately Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g’mein (“Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice”) is based on an anonymous hymn tune from the fifteenth century.

of frustration came two of Mendelssohn’s finest works: he completed the Variations sérieuses on June 4, 1841, then immediately pressed on to compose his “Scottish” Symphony. Some biographers have been quick to attribute these superb pieces to Mendelssohn’s unhappiness in Berlin, but that must remain conjecture. What is clear, though, is the quality of the music itself: the piano pedagogue Ernest Hutcheson has called the Variations sérieuses “certainly one of Mendelssohn’s best piano compositions, perhaps the best of all.”

It has been suggested that Mendelssohn chose the name Variations sérieuses to distinguish these variations from the sets of frivolous variations on popular tunes that were appearing by the middle of the nineteenth century. This is deeply serious music, and it is also quite concentrated: the theme and seventeen variations span only eleven minutes, and some of the variations pass by in only a matter of seconds. The theme–Mendelssohn’s own–is quite interesting. Of a chorale-like simplicity, it is stated quietly at the very beginning: Mendelssohn marks it both Andante sostenuto and piano on its first appearance. But even on its first statement, that (seemingly) simple little tune is full of harmonic tension–the music may nominally be in D minor, but there are so many accidentals here that the sense of a home key is shaken. Mendelssohn’s theme may seem wistful and gentle, but listeners should be particularly alert to the bass line that underpins that theme–that line will provide the foundation for many of the variations.

Over the first several variations Mendelssohn’s theme remains clearly discernible, but as the variations speed ahead and involve chordal, staccato, and syncopated writing that theme becomes harder to trace, and one becomes more aware of the theme’s bass line as the organizing principle in this music. The tempo relaxes at the tenth variation, a brief fugato, then races ahead brilliantly at the twelfth; this variation is marked Tempo di Tema but is written entirely in 32nd-notes, so the pulse is quite fast. The fourteenth variation is a lovely Adagio, and Mendelssohn brings the set to its conclusion with several fast variations. The last of these is extended, and within it Mendelssohn quotes his original theme and briefly recalls the shape of several of his variations. The music drives to what promises to be a grand conclusion, but at the last moment Mendelssohn reins in this energy, and the Variations sérieuses fade into silence on somber D-minor chords.

Now I for Solo Piano, Part I of the Cycle "Profiles of Light"

MATTHIAS PINTSCHER
Additional Information to be announced from the stage

Aria with Thirty Variations, BWV 988
(Goldberg Variations) (1741)

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH

In November 1741 Bach, then 56 years old, made the hundred-mile trip east from Leipzig to Dresden to visit an old friend, Count Hermann Keyserlingk, the Russian ambassador to the Saxon court. Keyserlingk’s court harpsichordist was the fourteen-year-old Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, who at age ten had been a student of Bach. There are several stories as to what happened next, all impossible to confirm. One is that Keyserlingk commissioned a work for his young harpsichordist and gave Bach a goblet full of gold coins in payment. Another is that Keyserlingk was an insomniac who specified that he wanted a piece that Goldberg could play to him as he went to sleep. What is certain is that the following year Bach published (as the fourth part of his edition of keyboard works, the Clavier-Übung) a work he called simply Aria with Thirty Variations, composed for two-manual harpsichord. The score bore no dedication, nor any mention at all of Keyserlingk or Goldberg. But Bach did give the count a copy of this music, and the conclusion is that this is the piece that had been requested in Dresden. By a process of (perhaps random) association, one of the greatest works ever written immortalizes a fourteen-year-old harpsichord player, and we know this music today simply as the Goldberg Variations.

For his theme–which he calls Aria–Bach uses a sarabande melody that he had written as part of Anna Magdalena Bach’s Notebook. It is 32 measures long and already ornately embellished on its first appearance, though it is not this melody that will furnish the basis for the variations that follow but the bassline beneath it. This lengthy harmonic progression will become the backbone of the Goldberg Variations, functioning much like the ground bass of a passacaglia. The thirty variations that follow are grouped in ten units of three, of which the third is always a canon, and each successive canon is built on an interval one larger than the previous. Such a description makes the Goldberg Variations sound like one of the more densely-argued works of the Second Viennese School, but in fact this is some of Bach’s most moving and exhilarating music, and it is a measure of his genius that such expressive music can grow out of such rigorous compositional procedures.

In fact, listeners to do not really need to understand the complexity of Bach’s techniques to feel the greatness of this music. One is certainly aware of the original bassline as a structuring element, but beyond that each successive variation can be taken as an individual pleasure. Some incidental observations: the keyboard writing here is unusually brilliant–this is virtuoso music, and that virtuosity appears not just in the dazzling runs across the range of the keyboard but in the complexity of the contrapuntal writing, where the pianist–limited to just two hands–must keep multiple strands clear. Bach changes meter at virtually every variation, with the music leaping from its original 3/4 meter through such permutations as 4/4, 3/8, 2/4, and on to 12/16 and 18/16. The tenth variation is written as a Fughetta, and of special importance to the work are the three minor-key variations (Nos. 15, 21, and 25): all of these are slow, all begin in G minor (but can go far afield harmonically), and all are darkly expressive. In particular, No. 25–which lasts well over six minutes by itself–forms the emotional climax of the work before the spirited conclusion.

That close is unusual all by itself. The thirtieth and final variation is marked Quodlibet, which means simply a gathering of tunes. Here Bach incorporates into the harmonic frame of his variations some of the popular tunes that he had heard sung around him on the streets of Leipzig. Donald Francis Tovey has identified two of these, and their first lines translate “It is so long since I have been at your house” and “Cabbage and turnips have driven me away. If my mother’d cooked some meat, I might have stopped longer.” To a listener of Bach’s day, the joke would have been obvious, though it has to be explained to us–we feel only that the work is approaching its close in an unusually relaxed and tuneful manner. And then, a masterstroke: rather than rounding off the Goldberg Variations with a rousing display of contrapuntal brilliance, Bach instead concludes with a simple repetition of the opening Aria.

Musical Prelude 2 PM
San Diego Youth Symphony bassist Adrian Holtz will perform works by Bottesini and J.S. Bach
Piano accompaniment: Paul Holtz

JiHailed by the Chicago Tribune as “a gifted young pianist who is clearly going places,” Ji has been lauded from a young age for his compelling musical presence and impressive technical command. Ji’s 2014-2015 season includes recital appearances at the Summer Stars Chamber Music Festival, Honest Brook Music Festival, Tannery Pond Concerts, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the South Windsor Cultural Arts Commission, the West Side Concert Series, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. He returns to his native Korea to give a six-city recital tour alongside violinist Stefan Jackiw. He appears with the Rockford Symphony, and makes his Alice Tully Hall debut with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, performing Ravel’s Concerto in G Major.

Ji has appeared as soloist with orchestras including, the Toronto Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Bangor Symphony, Fairfax Symphony, Charlotte Philharmonic, Victoria Symphony, New Haven Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, and Santa Rosa Symphony. He has given recitals and educational outreach programs throughout the U.S. at Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, the Harriman-Jewell Series, Philadelphia’s Morning Musicales, the Buffalo Chamber Music Society, Mary Baldwin College, St. Vincent College, the Evergreen Museum and Library, the Port Washington Library, the Waveny Chamber Music Festival and the Brevard Music Festival. He has also performed in four-hand recitals with Marika Bournaki at the Seoul Art Center and with Charles Wadsworth in a chamber music program of Charles Wadsworth and Friends. Ji has recorded two CDs: Bach Exhibition on the Credia label, and Lisztomania with Credia/Universal Music.

Well-known in Korea, Ji performed the country’s first outdoor classical concert as soloist with the BBC Symphony under Jirí Belohlávek; and performed in Seoul with world-renowned ballerina, Sue Jin Kang and dancers from the Stuttgart Ballet. Ji’s creative vision to make classical music accessible to young people led to his “Stop & Listen” outdoor “guerrilla” performances in 2010, during which he worked with renowned Korean pop-artist Tae Jung Kim to design the “Ji-T” piano, bringing classical music to the public on the busy streets of Seoul. He also collaborated with the Japanese electronic/house music singer FreeTEMPO. From 2008 to 2013, Ji performed as a member of the Ensemble DITTO in Korea and Japan with violinist Stefan Jackiw, violist Richard O’Neill, and cellist Michael Nicolas.

Winner of the 2012 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Ji made recital debuts at Merkin Concert Hall and the Kennedy Center on the Young Concert Artists Series to rave reviews. He was also honored with eight YCA prizes: the John Browning Memorial Award, the Sander Buchman Award, the Slomovic Concerto Prize, the Korean Concert Society Prize, and four concert prizes: the Harriman-Jewell Series Prize, the Bronder Prize for Piano from Saint Vincent College, the Tannery Pond Concerts Prize and the Usedom Festival Prize in Germany.

Ji began playing the piano at the age of five. At nine, his family relocated to New York, where he studied at the Music Preparatory Division of the Mannes College with Yuri Kim, and later at The Juilliard School’s Pre-College with Yoheved Kaplinsky. At the age of ten, he was the youngest pianist to win the New York Philharmonic’s Young Artists Competition, resulting in a performance at Avery Fisher Hall under Maestro Kurt Masur. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from the Juilliard School, with Choong-Mo Kang.

This performance marks Ji's La Jolla Music Society debut.

DISCOVERY DINNER: with Ji
Jan 24 @ 5:00 pm

La Valencia

Discovery Dinner with Ji

Sunday, January 24, 2016
5:30 PM
$75 per person
 
 
 
 
Reminisce on the performance over an evening meal with the Discovery Series pianist, Ji, himself as well as your fellow concertgoers. This unique dinner experience at the La Jolla home of Maureen and Tom Shiftan has limited seating, so early reservations are strongly encouraged!

TO JOIN THE ARTIST FOR DINNER:
Please contact Benjamin Guercio
858.459.3724, ext. 216
BGuercio@LJMS.org.


Feb
6
Sat
THE MONTROSE TRIO
Feb 6 @ 8:00 pm
THE MONTROSE TRIO @ MCASD Sherwood Auditorium | San Diego | California | United States

The Montrose Trio

Jon Kimura Parker, piano, Martin Beaver, violin & Clive Greensmith, cello

Former Tokyo String Quartet violinist Martin Beaver and cellist Clive Greensmith have joined forces with renowned pianist Jon Kimura Parker to become the Montrose Trio. This program will showcase their impeccable playing and captivating performance style. The Montrose Trio will perform three magnificent piano trios by Turina, Haydn and Tchaikovsky.

“Mr. Parker performed the often virtuosic piece with commitment, finishing with a bang.” – New York Times

“Few ensembles exceed the high standards of the Tokyo Quartet. Its members here ¬produce sumptuous, beautifully blended sonority…and perform with outstanding musical insight, unanimity and polish.” – The Strad

Buy Tickets

TURINAPiano Trio No. 2 in B Minor, Op. 76
HAYDNPiano Trio in E Major, Hob. XV:28
TCHAIKOVSKYPiano Trio in A Minor, Op. 50

Click here to view the complete January-February 2016 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: The Montrose Trio

by Eric Bromberger

Piano Trio No. 2 in B Minor, Opus 76 (1933)
Lento; Allegro molto moderato
Molto vivace
Lento; Andante mosso; Allegretto

JOAQUÍN TURINA
Born December 9, 1882, Seville
Died January 14, 1949, Madrid

Trained at first in Seville and Madrid, Turina moved to Paris in 1905, when he was 23, to study with Vincent d’Indy at the Schola Cantorum. Like so many young Spanish composers of his generation, Turina loved Paris, its richness, and the training it offered. He remained there for nine years, returning to Spain just as World War I began. Many young Spanish composers of this era devoted themselves to Spanish subjects and to creating a specifically Spanish music. Turina was very much part of this nationalist movement, as compositions such as Sinfonia sevillana, La oración del torero, and Sanlúcar de Barrameda make clear. But among his generation of Spanish composers, it was Turina who remained most strongly attracted to the classical forms developed by German composers: sonatas, trios, and quartets.

In Madrid, Turina conducted and composed, and in 1930 he was named Professor of Composition at the Madrid Conservatory. His Piano Trio No. 2 in B Minor, Opus 76 dates from 1931, shortly after his appointment to the faculty of the Madrid Conservatory. Though Turina uses no actual folktunes in this music, it nevertheless has a particularly “Spanish” atmosphere: the Trio is full of the rhythms and melodic shapes characteristic of Spanish music. The first movement opens with a quiet–and very brief–Lento introduction before the Allegro molto moderato surges to life with the exciting main theme. Turina writes a playful second subject for the violin, and this dynamic opening section gives way to a reflective central episode introduced by the cello; the opening material returns to drive the movement to the piano’s powerful concluding chord. The Molto vivace is in ABA form. The piano has the musical interest at the beginning while muted strings race along quietly as accompaniment; at the center of this movement, the strings have a lyric duet before the opening material returns. The finale is episodic in structure: it is essentially a series of dances, and along the way there are many changes of speed and mood. The most lively and colorful of the movements, it provides a fitting conclusion to the Trio.

Piano Trio in E Major, Hob.XV:28 (1797*)
Allegro moderato
Allegretto
Rondo: Allegro


* Composition Published

FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN
Born April 1, 1732, Rohrau, Austria
Died May 31, 1809, Vienna

Haydn’s two extended visits to England in the 1790s came as a revelation to the sixty-year-old composer. More accurately, they came as a shock. For thirty years Haydn had been Kapellmeister to the Esterházy family at their remote palace forty miles east of Vienna. There, as a staff musician, Haydn had worn a uniform, conducted and composed, and put on concerts for his prince and invited guests. But when Prince Nikolaus died in 1790 and the impresario J.P. Salomon invited him to England, Haydn discovered–to his astonishment–that he was famous. Salomon’s concerts were open to the enthusiastic English public, which bought tickets, crowded the halls, and cheered Haydn’s music. Haydn was introduced to George III, had an extremely active social life (at the end of his first week in England, he observed that he had “had to dine out six times up to now, and if I wanted, I could have an invitation every day”), and made a huge amount of money. He called his years in England the “happiest” of his life and observed pointedly that he “became famous in Germany through England.”

One of the most invigorating aspects of Haydn’s years in England was his contact with a middle-class audience, which not only came to hear music but also played it. This may help explain why he composed a number of piano trios while in England–it was music that could be purchased and performed by the growing number of amateur musicians in England. The present Trio in E Major is one of a set of three that Haydn appears to have begun in London and finished in Vienna; it was published in London in 1797.

This music may be progressive in the sense that it was composed with an emerging middle class in mind, but its roots lie in a form that was in the process of disappearing, the accompanied sonata. We may think of this piece as a piano trio, but Haydn did not: he published this set of trios under the title “Sonatas for the pianoforte with an accompaniment for the violin and violoncello.” Where later composers would balance the musical duties more evenly, Haydn felt that the piano is the dominant instrument here, with the two stringed instruments playing a subordinate role: the cello often doubles the pianist’s left hand, though the violin is offered somewhat more independence. The Trio in E Major is marked by the lyric spirit that was a part of Haydn’s chamber music in these years. The Allegro moderato is based on the piano’s singing opening phrase, in which every single note is decorated by a gracenote; the Allegretto features the piano prominently, and the trio concludes with a brisk rondo marked Allegro.

Piano Trio in A Minor, Opus 50 (1882)
Pezzo élégiaco
Tema con variazioni
Variazione finale e coda: Allegro risoluto e con fuoco

PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY
Born May 7, 1840, Votkinsk, Russia
Died November 6, 1893, St. Petersburg

Nikolai Rubinstein, brother of the pianist Anton Rubinstein, had hired Tchaikovsky to teach composition at the Moscow Conservatory and later encouraged him as a composer, conducting and championing his music. When Nikolai died on March 23, 1881, at the age of 46, Tchaikovsky resolved to write a work in his memory, but it was difficult for him to choose the form for such a piece. Nikolai had been a pianist, but a piano concerto did not seem a proper memorial piece. Tchaikovsky disliked the combination of piano and strings in chamber music but eventually overcame this aversion to write the Trio in A Minor as the memorial to Rubinstein; it was the only time Tchaikovsky used a piano in his chamber music. He began work on the trio in December 1881 while living in Rome and completed the score on February 9, 1882. The manuscript is inscribed: “In memory of a Great Artist.”

A particular memory came back to Tchaikovsky as he worked on this music: in 1873, after the première of Tchaikovsky’s The Snow Maiden (which had been conducted by Rubinstein), faculty members from the Moscow Conservatory had gone on a picnic in the sunny, blossom-covered countryside. Here they were surrounded by curious peasants, and the gregarious Rubinstein quickly made friends and had the peasants singing and dancing. As he set to work on the trio, Tchaikovsky remembered how much Rubinstein had liked one of these songs.

The trio as completed has a very unusual form: it is in two massive movements that last a total of almost 50 minutes. The first movement in particular has proven baffling to critics, who have been unable to decide whether it is in sonata or rondo form. It is built on two sharply contrasted themes: the cello’s somber opening melody–which Tchaikovsky marks molto espressivo–and a vigorous falling theme for solo piano, marked Allegro giusto. Tchaikovsky alternates these themes through this dramatic movement, which closes with a quiet restatement of the cello’s opening theme, now played in octaves by the piano.

The second movement is a huge set of variations. The theme of these variations is the peasant melody Rubinstein had liked so much on the picnic in 1873, and Tchaikovsky puts this simple tune through eleven quite different variations. Particularly striking are the fifth, in which the piano’s high notes seem to echo the sound of sleigh bells; the sixth, a waltz introduced by the cello; the eighth, a powerful fugue; and the tenth, a mazurka introduced by the piano. So individual and dramatic are these variations that several critics instantly assumed that each must depict an incident from Rubinstein’s life and set about guessing what each variation was “about.” Tchaikovsky was dumbfounded when this was reported to him; to a friend he wrote: “How amusing! To compose music without the slightest desire to represent something and suddenly to discover that it represents this or that, it is what Molière’s Bourgeois Gentilhomme must have felt when he learnt that he had been speaking in prose all his life.”

The trio concludes with a final variation so huge that many have considered it a separate movement. It comes to a somber end: Tchaikovsky marks the final page Lugubre (“lugubrious”), and over a funeral march in the piano come fragments of the cello’s theme from the very beginning of the first movement, now marked piangendo: “weeping.” This theme gradually dissolves, and the piano marches into silence.

PRELUDE 7 PM
A conversation with Jon Kimura Parker hosted by Marcus Overton

MontroseTrioAccomplished soloists and chamber musicians Jon Kimura Parker, Martin Beaver and Clive Greensmith join forces to offer an exciting new piano trio that will showcase their impeccable playing and captivating performance style.

A veteran of the international concert stage, Jon Kimura Parker has performed as guest soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, toured Europe with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Andre Previn, and shared the stage with Jessye Norman at Berlin’s Philharmonie. A true Canadian ambassador of music, Mr. Parker has given command performances for Queen Elizabeth II, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Prime Ministers of Canada and Japan. In commemoration of his special performances in war-torn Sarajevo in 1995, he was a featured speaker alongside humanitarians Elie Wiesel and Paul Rusesabagina at the 50th Anniversary of the relief organization AmeriCares. He is an Officer of The Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian honor.

As a chamber musician, he performs as duo partner regularly with James Ehnes, Lynn Harrell, Orli Shaham, and Cho-Liang Lin. He had the honor of being the last guest pianist to work with the Tokyo String Quartet in its final season last year. During 2013-14, in addition to performing with Martin Beaver and Clive Greensmith, he appears at the Hong Kong Festival with Gary Hoffman, Vadim Repin and Joyce Yang, and on tour with the Miró Quartet.

Jon Kimura Parker has recorded for Telarc, the CBC and under his own label. His newest recording, Fantasy, featuring the Schubert Wanderer Fantasy, the Schumann Fantasy and William Hirtz’s brilliant fantasy on themes from The Wizard of Oz, is scheduled for release in early 2014. His recent CD, Rite, includes world premiere recordings of his solo piano transcriptions of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Petrouchka. Mr. Parker is Professor of Piano at The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. His students have won international piano competitions and performed with major orchestras across the U.S..

Martin Beaver and Clive Greensmith were both members of the Tokyo String Quartet, long regarded as one of the supreme ensembles of the world. During its 43-year history, the Tokyo collaborated with a remarkable array of artists and composers, built a comprehensive catalogue of critically acclaimed recordings and had served on the faculty of the Yale University School of Music as Quartet-in-Residence since 1976.

Martin Beaver joined the Tokyo Quartet as first violinist in 2002. An eminent chamber musician, he was also a founding member of two Canadian ensembles: the Toronto String Quartet and Triskelion. He has appeared with the Boston Chamber Music Society and Bargemusic, as well as at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival and the Ravinia Festival. As a soloist, Mr. Beaver has appeared with the San Francisco Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony, National Orchestra of Belgium and the Portuguese Radio Orchestra, among others, and has given recitals in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Tokyo, Brussels and London. He was a top prize-winner at the international violin competitions in Indianapolis and Montreal, and won a silver medal at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium. Mr. Beaver is currently on the violin faculty of the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles.

Cellist Clive Greensmith was a member of the Tokyo Quartet for 14 seasons. A graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music and the Musikhochschule in Cologne, his principal teachers were Donald McCall and Boris Pergamenschikow. He has held the position of principal cellist of London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. As a soloist, he has appeared with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Mostly Mozart Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic, and the RAI Orchestra of Rome. He has collaborated with distinguished musicians such as András Schiff, Midori, Claude Frank and Steven Isserlis, and has won several prizes including second place in the inaugural "Premio Stradivari" held in Cremona, Italy. Mr. Greensmith has served on the faculties of the Royal Northern College of Music, Yehudi Menuhin School and San Francisco Conservatory of Music and is currently on the faculty of the Colburn Conservatory.

The Montrose Trio last performed for La Jolla Music Society on the Revelle Chamber Music Series on February 6, 2016.

Feb
11
Thu
AARON NEVILLE QUINTET
Feb 11 @ 8:00 pm
AARON NEVILLE QUINTET @ Balboa Theatre | San Diego | California | United States

Four-time Grammy® Award Winner

Aaron Neville Quintet
featuring Charles Neville, saxophone

Aaron Neville has lead a remarkable career as both a soloist and a member of the legendary Neville Brothers. This performance will feature his new album of New Orleans R&B/funk, along with some of his favorites from his five decade career.

Aaron Neville, vocals
Charles Neville, saxophone
Michael Goods, keyboard
David Johnson, bass
Eric Struthers, guitar
Earl Smith Jr., drums & vocals

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Please be aware there is no intermission in this performance.


Click here to view the complete January-February 2016 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: Aaron Neville Quintet

Aaron Neville, vocals
Charles Neville, saxophone
Michael Goods, keyboard
David Johnson, bass & vocals
Eric Struthers, guitar
Earl Smith Jr., drums & vocals

Works to be announced from stage

NO INTERMISSION

Aaron-Neville"These songs helped to mold me into who I am," says Aaron Neville. "They're all dear to my heart, and they rode with me, in my bones, through all these years."

With MY TRUE STORY, one of the world's finest singers is revisiting the music he grew up with, and adding a few new spins along the way. Neville's first release for Blue Note Records is a collection of twelve classic doo-wop numbers, performed in his utterly inimitable vocal style, and co-produced by Blue Note President Don Was and Keith Richards.

The selections on the album include classics by such vocal-group giants as Little Anthony and the Imperials ("Tears on My Pillow"), Hank Ballard and the Midnighters ("Work With Me, Annie"), and the Drifters ("Money Honey," "Under the Boardwalk," "This Magic Moment"). To Neville, though, these songs weren't just the soundtrack to his youth; they became the underpinning for all of the remarkable music he has created across five decades.

"I attended the university of doo-wop-ology," he says. "Anything I do has got some doo-wop in it. It’s just part of me—it’s the texture that I’m singing in, it’s the endings, it's the harmonies. At 3 o’clock in the morning, I wake up with a doo-wop song going in my head and I can’t go back to sleep because I’m singing it over and over."

Yet the recordings on MY TRUE STORY aren't simply imitations of the original sessions. For one thing, some of the songs included—like the Ronettes' "Be My Baby" or "Gypsy Woman" by the Impressions—come from a slightly later time period than the classic doo-wop era, and aren't usually classified as part of the genre. But Neville explains that for him, it's not the calendar that matters, it's the vocal approach.

"Doo-wop started with five guys, like the Clovers—or five girls, like the Chantels or the Shirelles —singing harmony together on a bench or a stoop,” he says. “My own favorite place was the boys’ bathroom at school, because it had such great acoustics. So I always thought 'Be My Baby' was a doo-wop song, because it’s a lead singer with harmony singers.

“I came up in the doo-wop era, and if I heard something and thought it was doo-wop, then it was. So if it didn’t fall in that category before, then it does now!"

The other twist given to this material is that while doo-wop tended to keep the emphasis squarely on the vocalists, MY TRUE STORY sees Neville backed by a top-flight rock & roll band, led by the distinctive, propulsive guitar work of Richards himself. The other musicians include Greg Leisz on guitar (Beck, Sheryl Crow), Benmont Tench on organ (founding member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), George G. Receli on drums (Bob Dylan), and Tony Scherr on bass (Bill Frisell, Norah Jones).

"Doo-wop songs centered around the vocals,” says Neville. “But with these great musicians, we could highlight the musical side of it too-this record is a combination of all of it, to bring it up to date."

Richards—who Was approached when he remembered that the guitarist kept the Jive Five song "My True Story" playing on a loop in his room during the making of the Rolling Stones' Voodoo Lounge album—describes work on the album as "the perfect session." Twenty-three songs were cut in five days, all of them live and many in the first take.”

"Opportunities like this don't come 'round very often," says Richards. "I grew up with these songs, like Aaron did. It's such a pleasure to play with a voice like that, and the band all fell straight in together—I never saw such a bunch of hardened musicians act like a bunch of kids."

Neville explains that having internalized this music so deeply, he was able to show the musicians the genuine old-school feel that these songs require. "On songs like 'Ting a Ling' and 'Work with Me, Annie,' I had to kind of dance the groove I wanted," he says with a broad smile. "I had to move around and bob and weave and show them that strut like when you’re walking in New Orleans. But this band was ready for anything, they were jumping on it, and everything came out so easy."

As if all of these ingredients weren't enough, several singers from the glory days of doo-wop joined the sessions to provide backing vocals on a number of the songs, including Eugene Pitt of the Jive Five (who co-wrote the album's title song), Bobby Jay of the Teenagers, and Dickie Harmon from the Del-Vikings. Neville’s touring bass player, David Johnson, drummer, Earl Smith, Jr. and Joel Katz also lend their voices to some of the arrangements.

MY TRUE STORY represents a culmination of Aaron Neville’s incredible career, which has seen him move seamlessly back and forth between solo work and his role in the first family of New Orleans music, the Neville Brothers. His first hit single was the landmark "Tell It Like It Is," which held the Number One spot on the R&B charts for five weeks in 1967. He went on to win Grammy Awards for his triple-platinum 1989 collaboration with Linda Ronstadt Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind, and reached the Country charts with the title track of 1993’s The Grand Tour. A member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, his most recent project was the gospel album I Know I’ve Been Changed in 2010.

Don Was says that it was an easy decision to bring the legendary Neville to Blue Note. "Nobody sings like him," he says. "He's a great artist, a guy with integrity and excellence and authenticity—and that’s what the label is really about."

When Was and Neville discussed possible projects, the singer indicated that recording an album of doo-wop songs had long been a dream of his. He adds, though, that his recent relocation to New York City after losing his home to Hurricane Katrina, and his recent marriage, gives MY TRUE STORY additional significance.

"It’s definitely extra-meaningful," he says. "I have a new life, I’m singing to my wife Sarah. I think God knew I wanted to do it and he waited for the right moment. He made the stars align, and he said, 'Aaron, it’s time for you to do some doo-wop.'"

This performance marks Aaron Neville's La Jolla Music Society debut.

Feb
21
Sun
NING FENG, violin
Feb 21 @ 3:00 pm
NING FENG, violin @ The Auditorium at TSRI | San Diego | California | United States

Ning Feng, violin

2006 First Prize Winner at International Paganini Competition

La Jolla Music Society presents Ning Feng, a multi-competition winning Chinese violinist with a program that includes Mozart, Beethoven, Falla, Korngold and Waxman’s Carmen Fantasie.

“The young Chinese violinist wowed the bravo-spouting audience with his effortless virtuosity, clarity and command… it was Ning that stole the show.” – Time Out

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NING FENG, violin:
Ning Feng returns to La Jolla Music Society as the featured soloist as part of the San Diego Youth Symphony Series on Friday, February 26 at 8:00 PM, MCASD Sherwood Auditorium


Ning Feng, violin
Jeeyoon Kim, piano

MOZARTSonata in B-flat Major, K.378 (1779)
BEETHOVENSonata No.2 in C Minor, Op. 30 (1803)
FALLASuite Populaire Espagnole, (1926)
KORNGOLDMuch Ado About Nothing Suite, Op. 11 (1919)
WAXMANCarmen Fantasie (1947)
Encore
MASSENETMeditation from Thaïs

Click here to view the complete January-February 2016 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: Ning Feng, violin

by Eric Bromberger

Sonata for Piano and Violin in B-flat Major, K.378 (1779)
Allegro moderato
Andantino sostenuto e cantabile
Rondeau: Allegro

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
Born January 27, 1756, Salzburg
Died December 5, 1791, Vienna

This sonata dates from the period of Mozart’s move from his native Salzburg to Vienna–the evidence is unclear whether he wrote it in Salzburg or just after his arrival in Vienna in 1781. In any event, it was published as part of a group of six violin sonatas in Vienna on December 8, 1781, almost ten years to the day before the composer’s death.

This group of six sonatas represents a sudden advance in Mozart’s writing for violin and keyboard. His early violin sonatas had been largely piano sonatas with violin accompaniment, but here the violin becomes a more equal partner in the enterprise. The Sonata in B-flat Major is especially impressive for the richness of its ideas, for the music seems continually alive with new themes, new moods, new ideas, and these often stand in dramatic contrast to each other. It is also extremely vital, almost scintillating music–energy seems to boil out of every measure.

The Allegro moderato opens simply. The graceful main idea is heard immediately in the piano, with the violin accompanying it, but the roles quickly reverse as the violin takes up the melody. The exposition is full of striking features–key shifts, romantic turns of phrase, rapid runs–with an extended development that begins in the unexpected key of C minor.

Mozart’s marking for the second movement– Andantino sostenuto e cantabile–is important. He rarely marked a movement cantabile–he assumed that all music should sing–so that when he specifies cantabile, it should be taken seriously. This truly is lyric music, an extended aria for violin rather than voice. It is built on contrasting episodes–the first melodic, the second dramatic–and these alternate before the quiet close.

The concluding rondo-finale is brief but brilliant. The piano announces the rondo theme, which then goes through several varied episodes including sixteenth-note runs, flying triplets, dotted dance rhythms, and hunting horn calls before the final return of the rondo theme and the dash to the concluding cadence.

The six sonatas–offered by Artaria, Mozart’s new publishers in Vienna–were enthusiastically received by the critics there. Listening to this supremely accomplished music two centuries later, it is easy to understand why.

Sonata in C Minor for Violin and Piano, Opus 30, No. 2 (1803)
Allegro con brio
Adagio cantabile
Scherzo: Allegro
Finale: Allegro

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
Born December 16, 1770, Bonn
Died March 26, 1827, Vienna

Beethoven’s Violin Sonata in C Minor is one of the set of three that he wrote in the small village of Heiligenstadt outside Vienna during the summer and fall of 1802. This was a period of extraordinary distress for the composer, for it was during the months at Heiligenstadt that Beethoven was finally forced to accept the inevitability of his deafness. The choice of key for this sonata is important, for C minor was the key Beethoven employed for works of unusual intensity. The recently-completed “Pathétique” Sonata, Fourth String Quartet, and Third Piano Concerto were in C minor, and in the next several years Beethoven would use that key for the Funeral March of the Eroica, the Fifth Symphony, and the Coriolan Overture. The musical conflict that fires those works is also evident in this sonata, which is–with the Kreutzer Sonata–the most dramatic of Beethoven’s ten violin sonatas.

The opening movement is marked Allegro con brio, the same indication Beethoven would later use for the opening movements of the Third and Fifth Symphonies, and the sonata’s first movement has a dramatic scope similar to those symphonies. It opens quietly with a recurrent brooding figure that ends with a sudden turn, like the quick flick of a dragon’s tail. The violin soon picks this up and also has the second subject, which marches along clipped dotted rhythms. There is no exposition repeat, and Beethoven slips into the development quietly, but soon the energy pent up in these simple figures is unleashed–this dramatic music features massive chording by both instruments and drives to a huge climax.

By contrast, the Adagio cantabile opens with a melody of disarming gentleness, once again announced by the piano, and much of this movement sings gracefully. As it develops, however, the accompaniment grows more complex, and soon these murmuring runs begin to take over the music; Beethoven makes sharp dynamic contrasts before bringing the movement to a quiet close. The brief Scherzo: Allegro is full of stinging accents and rhythmic surprises; its trio section is a subtle variation of the movement’s opening theme, here treated in canon.

The Finale: Allegro returns to the mood of the opening movement–again there is a quiet but ominous opening full of suppressed energy that will later explode to life. This finale is in modified sonata-rondo form, and despite an occasional air of play and some appealing lyric moments, the movement partakes of the same atmosphere of suppressed tension that has marked the entire sonata. Beethoven brings it to a suitably dramatic close with a blazing coda marked Presto that remains resolutely in C minor.

Suite Populaire Espagnole (1926)
El paño moruno (Allegretto vivace)
Nana (Calmo e sostenuto)
Canción (Allegretto)
Polo (Vivo)
Asturiana (Andante tranquillo)
Jota (Allegro vivo)

MANUEL DE FALLA
Born November 23, 1876, Cádiz
Died November 14, 1946, Alta Grazia, Argentina

Falla had moved from Madrid to Paris in 1907, but returned to Spain at the beginning of World War I. The Seven Popular Spanish Songs, completed in Paris in 1914, was his final work before his departure. It comes from a period of unusual creativity: El Amor Brujo would follow in 1915 and Nights in the Gardens of Spain in 1916. In arranging that collection of songs, Falla took the unaccompanied melodic line of seven Spanish popular or folk songs and harmonized them himself, occasionally rewriting or expanding the original melodic line to suit his own purposes. Several years later the Polish violinist Paul Kochanski arranged six of the songs–with the approval of the composer–for violin and piano and published them as Suite Populaire Espagnole (Kochanski also rearranged the order of the movements in his arrangement).

  1. El paño moruno or “The Moorish Cloth” (Allegretto vivace) is based exactly on the famous song, and Kochanski’s arrangement makes imaginative use of harmonics and pizzicato.
  2. Nana (Calmo e sostenuto) is an arrangement of an old Andalusian cradle song, and Falla said that hearing this melody sung to him by his mother was his earliest memory. The violin is muted throughout, and the piano accompaniment is quietly syncopated.
  3. Canción (Allegretto) repeats a dance theme continuously: the entire middle section is performed on artificial harmonics.
  4. Polo (Vivo) The polo is a specific form: an Andalusian folksong or dance in 3/8 time, sometimes with coloratura outbursts. This particular polo, while based on Andalusian elements, is largely Falla’s own composition.
  5. Asturiana (Andante tranquillo) is a tune from Asturias, a province in the northwest part of Spain. Here the violin, muted throughout, plays the melodic line above a quiet sixteenth-note accompaniment.
  6. Jota (Allegro vivo) is the best-known part of the suite. A jota is a dance in triple time from northern Spain, sometimes accompanied by castanets. Slow sections alternate with fast here, and the extensive use of chorded pizzicatos may be intended to imitate the sound of castanets.

Much Ado About Nothing Suite, Opus 11 (1919)
The Maiden in the Bridal Chamber
Dogberry and Verges: March of the Watch
Scene in the Garden
Masquerade: Hornpipe

ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD
Born May 29, 1897, Brno, Czech Republic
Died November 29, 1957, Hollywood

It is easy for American audiences to think of the man who won Oscars for the scores to The Adventures of Robin Hood and Anthony Adverse as a film composer, but Erich Korngold wrote for the movies for only about a decade (1934-1946). The rest of his career was dedicated to “serious” music (which somehow implies that film music is not serious): Korngold wrote five operas, a great deal of symphonic and instrumental music, and a number of songs. Some of his works, including the opera Die tote Stadt and the wonderful Violin Concerto (composed for Heifetz and based on themes from Korngold’s film scores), have achieved a measure of popularity. Much good music by Korngold remains–and deserves–to be heard.

Korngold wrote incidental music for a production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing in Vienna in 1919, the year before the première of Die tote Stadt. The original version was scored for chamber orchestra, and Korngold then drew two suites from this music, one for orchestra and one for violin and piano. Shakespeare’s comedy, with its sharp-tongued lovers Beatrice and Benedick and the evil plot against the innocent Hero, has always been a favorite, and Korngold’s music captures some of the magic of the play. Particularly memorable are the bumbling constables of the night watch, Dogberry and Verges, and Korngold depicts the stumbling antics of the night watch in the sturdy and comic little march that comprises the second movement of these excerpts. The Garden Scene is soaring and melodic, and Korngold rounds the suite off with a Hornpipe (appropriately, a dance of English origin) that zips briskly along its 2/4 meter.

Carmen Fantasie (1947)

FRANZ WAXMAN
Born December 24, 1906, Chorzów, Poland
Died February 24, 1967, Los Angeles

Franz Waxman began his career as a pianist in Berlin cafés but soon gravitated to what was then a new path for music–film scores. He arranged the music for Friederich Holländer’s Der blaue Engel in 1930 but fled Germany three years later when Hitler came to power. Waxman arrived in the United States in 1934 and quickly established himself as one of Hollywood’s leading composers–among his many films were Magnificent Obsession, Captains Courageous, Rebecca, Suspicion, Sunset Boulevard, and A Place in the Sun. Waxman also wrote “concert” music, and these works were often based on material from his film scores. A first-rate conductor, he founded the Los Angeles Music Festival in 1947 and directed it for the final twenty years of his life; with that festival, he presented the West Coast première of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem.

Georges Bizet’s Carmen offers such intoxicating music that it has haunted musicians ever since its 1875 première, and Bizet’s music has re-appeared in many forms, from a Busoni sonatina to Shchedrin’s arrangement for strings and percussion to countless virtuoso paraphrases. The most famous of these are the many arrangements for violin and orchestra by Sarasate, Hubay, Zimbalist, and others. Waxman wrote his Carmen Fantasie in 1947 for Jascha Heifetz, who was one of his neighbors in Hollywood. This ten-minute virtuoso showpiece does not need to be analyzed or “explained” to listeners, who may simply sit back and enjoy one more evocation of Bizet’s memorable tunes, all stitched together with some very fancy fiddling (the imprint of Heifetz’s virtuosity is evident throughout). Along the way, we hear such favorites as the Habanera, Seguidilla, and Intermezzo, as well as a few tunes that do not usually appear in Carmen paraphrases, including the Card Song from Act III.

Musical Prelude 2 PM
Young artists from the San Diego Youth Symphony & Conservatory perform.

PAGANINI Caprice No. 20 in D Major from 24 Caprices for Solo Violin, Op. 1 Sofia Hashemi-Asasi, violin
J.S. BACHPreludio from Violin Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006Sofia Hashemi-Asasi, violin
TCHAIKOVSKYViolin Concerto in D Major, Opus 35
II. Canzonetta (Andante)
III. Finale (Allegro vivacissimo)
Sofia Hashemi-Asasi, violin
Bora Kim, piano
Sofia Hashemi-Asasi, violin
Bora Kim, piano

NingFengPrize-winning violinist Ning Feng’s technical brilliance and poetic, expressive interpretations of the great masterworks of the violin repertoire have made him one of the most exciting of the younger generation of top-level players. Feng was born in China, studied in London and now lives in Berlin, a base for his career performing concertos and recitals all around the world. He plays a 1721 Stradivari violin, known as the “MacMillan”, on private loan, kindly arranged by Premiere Performances of Hong Kong.

A recipient of prizes at the Hanover International, Queen Elisabeth and Yehudi Menuhin International violin competitions, Ning Feng was First Prize winner of the 2005 Michael Hill International Violin Competition (New Zealand), and in 2006 won first prize in the International Paganini Competition. He previously studied at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music and London’s Royal Academy of Music where he was the first student ever to be awarded 100% for his final recital.

Ning Feng records for Channel Classics in the Netherlands. His latest recording is of the Bruch Scottish Fantasy and Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, released in February 2014. Previously for the label, he recorded two albums of entirely solo works: the solo sonatas by Bartók, Prokofiev and Hindemith were released as Solo 2 in August 2013 and the first Solo album featured pieces by Paganini, Kreisler, Berio, Schnittke and others. “You will be blown away by the artistry of this album, and blown away in great sound to boot,” commented Audiophile Audition about that album.

On the concert stage, Feng has performed in recent seasons with orchestras such as the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra (conducted by Iván Fischer), Russian State Symphony (conducted by Vladimir Jurowski), Orchestre National de Lyon and in halls such as Sydney Opera House, Moscow’s Great Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Konzerthaus, Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre and Beijing’s NCPA. In recital he has played in prestigious series and festivals such as the Vancouver Recital Series and Hong Kong International Chamber, Prague Spring and Schleswig-Holstein festivals. With Igor Levit he has performed across Germany, including at the Ludwigsburg and Mecklenburg Vorpommern Festivals, and also at the Kissinger Sommer Festival where he plays every year and where he was an Artist-in-Residence in 2014.

Highlights of Ning’s 2014/15 season include debuts with the LA Philharmonic, Munich Symphony Orchestra, the Liszt and Berlin Konzerthaus Chamber orchestras, returns to the Auckland Philharmonia, Orchestra Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias, Macao Symphony and recitals and chamber performances in Seoul, Hong Kong and Brussels. He will also be soloist on two major tours, performing the Glazunov Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/Petrenko in Dublin and across China, and later in the season the Beethoven Concerto with the Hong Kong Philharmonic/Van Zweden across some of the major centres of Europe, including London, Zurich, Berlin and Vienna.

Alongside his performing career, Feng holds teaching positions at the Musikhochschule Lübeck and Hochschule für Musik Hans Eisler Berlin.

This performance marks Ning Feng's La Jolla Music Society debut.


Jeeyoon KimClassical pianist Dr. Jeeyoon Kim delights audiences with her sensitive artistry, colorful musical expression and insightful commentary from the stage. In her recent performance, Chiesa Nuova, a performing arts foundation in Chicago, describes her artistry as "impeccable, brilliant and heart-rending." A native of South Korea, Jeeyoon has made her way across the globe with performances at venues including FortePiano Salon Live Series, live broadcasting on classical music channel in Chicago, WFMT, 98.7, Nichols Hall in Evanston, Graves Recital Hall in Columbus, Ohio, Hilbert Circle Theatre in Indianapolis, Wheeler Concert Hall at the University of Evansville, GloVil Art Hall in Korea, Judson Park Auditorium in Cleveland, and at the Mozarteum Festival in Salzburg, Austria. Other recent performances include "Arts in August" concert series in Evansville, Indiana, Stradivari Society in Chicago, the Chamber Music Series at the Glema Mahr Fine Arts Center in Madisonville, Kentucky, Parisian Salon Concert Series in Chicago and San Diego Symphony Chamber Music Series, collaborating soloists such as a violinist, Philippe Quint, and a cellist, Johannes Moser. Last season, she performed Schumann A minor piano concerto with the conductor, Susan Kitterman, at the historical music hall of Indianapolis, the Hilbert Circle Theater.

Kim received the first prize in the Korean Music Teachers' Association Competition at age 18. She made her debut as a concert artist the same year, performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto no. 2 with the Camerata Orchestra in Busan, Korea. She was awarded a full scholarship to study at Busan National University, where she graduated in 2002 with top honors. Afterwards, Dr. Kim came to the United States for further musical studies, receiving a Master of Music degree in 2005 and a Doctor of Music in piano performance in 2009, both from Indiana University with a full scholarship and a graduation with distinction. Also after her doctorate degree, she received a Master of Music in piano pedagogy from Butler University with a full scholarship. She studied with masters of Andrzej Jasinski, Cluade Frank, Menheim Pressler, Reiko Neriki and Shigeo Neriki through master classes, chamber music coaching, and her music study at Indiana University. As a recording artist, she released her debut CD in 2007, an album of works by Mozart, Debussy, and Liszt. Now she is in the process of producing the second album with a projected title as "10 More Minutes", a collection of her encores. An accomplished piano pedagogue, she is in frequent demand as a master class clinician and a judicator. The most recent workshops include at the IMTA conference at Indiana University in Bloomington in 2011, Butler University in 2013, and national MTNA conference in New York City in 2012, and Wisconsin in 2011. Kim maintains an active national and International performing schedule both as a soloist and a chamber musician.

For more information visit www.jeeyoonkim.com

This performance marks Jeeyoon Kim's La Jolla Music Society debut.

Feb
26
Fri
SDYS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Feb 26 @ 8:00 pm
SDYS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA @ MCASD Sherwood Auditorium | San Diego | California | United States

SDYS Chamber Orchestra

Jeff Edmons, music director & conductor
Ning Feng, violin

La Jolla Music Society showcases the incredibly talented young musicians of SDYS’ Chamber Orchestra with featured soloist, Discovery Series artist, Ning Feng playing the Vieuxtemps Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Minor.

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NING FENG, violin:
Ning Feng also performs a solo recital as part of the Discovery Series on Sunday, February 21 at 3:00 PM, The Auditorium at TSRI..


MOZARTOverture to The Marriage of Figaro, K.492 (1986)
VIEUXTEMPSViolin Concerto No.5 in A Minor, Op. 37 (1961, published)
Ning Feng, violin
MOZARTSymphony No. 35 in D Major, K.385 (1782)
KABALEVSKYThe Comedians, Op. 26 (1938)

 

Click here to view the complete January-February 2016 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: SDYS Chamber Orchestra with Ning Feng, violin

by Eric Bromberger

Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, K.492 (1786)

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
Born January 27, 1756, Salzburg
Died December 5, 1791, Vienna

The Marriage of Figaro, based on the Beaumarchais play that had been banned for its theme of social injustice and its portrayal of servants outsmarting their masters, had its première in Vienna on May 1, 1786, and promptly began a successful run. In many respects, Figaro marked the high point of Mozart’s success during his lifetime. On a visit to Prague the following year to conduct the opera, Mozart reported that “here nothing is talked of but Figaro, nothing played but Figaro, nothing whistled or sung but Figaro, no opera so crowded as Figaro, nothing but Figaro.”

Mozart customarily composed the overtures to his operas last, and that was probably the case with The Marriage of Figaro, though there is no evidence that he had to stay up all night before the final rehearsal to get it done, as was the case with Don Giovanni. Mozart’s overtures were usually in sonata form, but he abandoned that form here, and for good reason. The Marriage of Figaro is witty, brilliant, and wise, and it needs an overture that will quickly set its audience in such a frame of mind. This overture is very brief (barely four minutes), and Mozart drops the development section altogether. He simply presents his sparkling themes (there are six of them, even in so short a space!), recapitulates them, and plunges into the opera. Evidence suggests that he had originally begun to compose a D-minor Andante as an interlude at the center of the overture, but saw that it would be out of place and crossed it out.

From the first instant, when this music stirs to life, to its sudden explosions of energy, the overture has delighted all who hear it and is the perfect lead-in to the comic escapades (and human insight) that will follow. Faced with having to choose a performance marking for his players, Mozart dispensed with any description of the emotional character he wanted from a performance. He simply chose one word, and it is perfect: Presto.

Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Minor, Opus 37 (1861)
Allegro non troppo; Moderato
Adagio
Allegro con fuoco

Ning Feng, violin

HENRI VIEUXTEMPS
Born February 17, 1820, Verviers, Belgium
Died June 6, 1881, Mustapha-lez-Alger, Algeria

The Belgian violinist-composer Henri Vieuxtemps had a career quite similar to that of his contemporary, the Polish violinist-composer Henryk Wieniawski. Both were child prodigies, both studied in Paris, both spent extended periods in Russia, both toured America, and both taught at the Brussels Conservatory in the final years of their lives. Vieuxtemps loved to travel, and so embarked on concert tours that took him throughout Europe and brought him to America for three extended visits; one of the results of his time in America was his encore piece Souvenir d’Amérique, a set of comic variations on “Yankee Doodle.” Ironically, Vieuxtemps’ love of travel led to his death. Riding in an open carriage while on vacation in Algeria, he was struck on the head by a rock thrown by a drunk and died of complications from that injury.

Vieuxtemps is part of the tradition of great Belgian violinist-composers that includes his teacher Charles de Beriot and his student Eugene Ysaÿe. As might be expected, Vieuxtemps wrote primarily for the violin–his compositions include seven violin concertos (of which the Fourth and Fifth are the best-known), a violin sonata, string quartets, and a number of short works for violin. He composed his Fifth Violin Concerto shortly after returning to Paris from his second American tour in 1857. The concerto–which is quite compact–has an unusual form. Its movements are performed without pause, and the first movement is substantial, lasting about eleven minutes, but the cadenza and second and third movements combine to span only about eight minutes. The Allegro non troppo begins with the customary orchestral introduction, and the solo violin makes an unexpectedly subdued entrance. Vieuxtemps writes beautifully for his own instrument here, combining an elegant lyricism with passages of extraordinary virtuosity. The long first movement leads directly into the cadenza (Vieuxtemps composed two different cadenzas for this concerto), which in turns flows without pause into the Adagio. Vieuxtemps borrowed the main theme of this movement from the opera Lucile, composed in 1769 by his countryman André Grétry. Early in that opera, four characters join to sing “Ou peut-on être mieux,” a quartet in praise of domestic happiness, and some of that happy spirit infuses this lyric movement. Vieuxtemps originally intended to conclude the Fifth Concerto at the end of this movement but eventually decided to add fast movement. This blazing finale, marked Allegro con fuoco, whips past in barely a minute.

Symphony No. 35 in D Major, K.385 “Haffner” (1782)
Allegro non troppo; Moderato
Adagio
Allegro con fuoco

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART

For Mozart, July 1782 brought some of the best of times, and some of the worst. On the 16th of that month, his opera The Abduction from the Seraglio was produced in Vienna after nearly a year of intense work. The Abduction–Mozart’s first opera in German–was a huge success: it was at that première that Emperor Joseph II complained that the opera had “too many notes,” only to be met with Mozart’s famous reply: “Exactly as many as are necessary, Your Majesty.” Mozart was quite busy with other matters as well, arranging the opera for wind ensemble, revising an earlier wind serenade, and preparing for his own marriage to Constanze Weber on August 4. But back in Salzburg, that marriage had been frostily opposed by Mozart’s father Leopold, who had cut off all communication with his son for a time.

And now, in the midst of this frantically busy month, came a letter from Leopold, and it brought a request. In Salzburg, Sigmund Haffner, the son of a prominent family, was being elevated to the nobility. Six years earlier, in 1776, when one of the Haffner daughters was married, the family had asked Wolfgang to compose music for that occasion, and he had responded with the Serenade in D Major, K.250, nicknamed the “Haffner” Serenade. Now, the family wondered, could Wolfgang supply music for the ennoblement ceremony?

The composer nearly exploded. Some sense of his thorny relation with his father burns through his reply: And now I’m supposed to produce a new symphony? How is such a thing possible?

You have no idea how hard it is to arrange something like that for winds so that it really suits them and yet loses none of its effect. Oh well, I must just spend the night over it, otherwise it can’t be done–and for you, dearest father, I’ll make the sacrifice. You’ll definitely get something from me in every mail–I’ll work as fast as possible–and so far as haste permits, I’ll write well.


Desperate for his father’s approval of his marriage, Mozart set to work on the music for the Haffners in what little spare time he had (his father’s approval would arrive–grudgingly–on August 5, the day after he and Constanze were married). While he missed sending something “in every mail,” he did manage over the next couple of weeks to turn out a six-movement serenade consisting of an Allegro, a march, a slow movement, two minuets, and a rondo-finale. He finished and dispatched the last of these movements on August 7, three days after his marriage, and then–with other things on his mind–completely forgot about this music.

He remembered it the following winter. Mozart had scheduled an academy of his own music at the Burgtheater in Vienna on March 23, 1783. It would be a long concert indeed: Mozart played one of his piano concertos, there were arias and other orchestral movements, and Mozart played some solo piano music. He needed a festive orchestral work to open this program, and now he remembered the serenade he had written the previous summer for the Haffners. He wrote to his father, asking to have the manuscript sent from Salzburg. Mozart’s music could impress even its creator, and he wrote back to his father: “My new Haffner symphony has positively amazed, for I had forgotten every single note of it. It must surely produce a good effect.”

It should be noted, though, that what Mozart received from Salzburg was not a symphony, but a serenade. To convert it to a symphony, he made a number of changes, eliminating the opening march (this survives as his March in D Major, K. 408) and one of the two minuets (this has been lost). He also added flutes and oboes to what was now a four-movement symphony. What we know as the “Haffner” Symphony had its first performance at the Burgtheater concert, an evening that was by all accounts a huge success. Mozart described it to his father: “The theater could not possibly have been fuller and all the boxes were taken. What pleased me most, however, was that his Majesty the Emperor was present, was delighted and applauded me loudly.”

The “Haffner” Symphony explodes to life, then seems to overflow with festive energy across its compact (twenty-minute) span. Something of Mozart’s performance before the emperor may be evident from the performance instructions he sent his father the previous summer: “The first Allegro must be played with great fire, the last–as fast as possible.” We feel that “great fire” from the first instant, when the violins make their two-octave leaps and the music races ahead on trills, a firm little march-rhythm, and blazing runs. This symphony is in the “violinist’s key” of D major, a key that sits comfortably under the hand and has a particularly resonant sound, and the writing for violins in the outer movements of this symphony is particularly brilliant. In the course of the movement Mozart three times gives the violin part the unusual marking sciolte: “in a free and easy manner.” This music is hardly “easy,” but that marking does suggest some of the festive quality Mozart wanted in a performance. He builds this Allegro on only one theme–the powerful opening–and this undergoes some impressive contrapuntal extension before the movement races to its ringing close on great D-major chords.

Mozart left no marking for the second movement, and later editors have marked it Andante. It too is in sonata form, contrasting the elegant opening with an active second idea from the second violins and violas. The development is quite brief, and Mozart rounds the movement off with a recapitulation that continues to develop the material. The Minuet returns to the manner (and the key) of the opening Allegro–its powerful beginning makes the same two-octave leap that brought the symphony to life–but the graceful trio draws us into a world of polished elegance.

We should remember Mozart’s instruction that the finale should be “as fast as possible.” He marks it Presto, and it often feels like a perpetual-motion for the combined violin sections, which are given passages of virtuoso brilliance. This movement is just plain fun, with its racing violins, great explosions, surprising little adventures along the way, and the final rush to the sizzling close.

No wonder Joseph II was delighted and applauded so loudly. Over two centuries later, this symphony still has that effect on audiences.

The Comedians, Opus 26 (1938)
Prologue
Comedians’ Galop
March
Waltz
Pantomime
Intermezzo
Little Lyrical Scene
Gavotte
Scherzo
Epilogue

DMITRY KABALEVSKY

Born December 30, 1904, St. Petersburg
Died February 16, 1987, Moscow

In 1938, the year he completed the first version of his opera Colas Breugnon, Dmitry Kabalevsky was asked to provide music for a production at the Central Children’s Theater in Moscow of Daniel’s play The Inventor and the Comedians. Long interested in music for children, Kabalevsky was happy to write music for this play, which tells the story of a band of traveling comedians. Two years after the play was produced, he took ten numbers from his score, changed their order slightly, and arranged them as an orchestral suite called The Comedians. Daniel’s play appears to have disappeared, but nearly eighty years later Kabalevsky’s colorful suite remains one of his most popular works.

Kabalevsky’s finest music is marked by exhilarating energy, a nice sense of irony, and a genuine melodic gift–some of the best music in this suite, in fact, comes in its slow movements. Despite the furious energy of much of this music, textures remain transparent throughout, and the quiet movements offer sensitive writing for solo winds. The ten pieces in The Comedians are admirably concise: the entire suite lasts barely a quarter of an hour.

The Prologue, appropriately marked Allegro vivace, races along on dotted rhythms and the bright color of the xylophone. Comedians’ Galop has become the most famous part of the suite: with its evocation of pratfalls and tumbling clowns, this movement has joined Julius Fucik’s Entry of the Gladiators as some of the greatest circus music ever written.

A leisurely March leads to a somber little Waltz in which the dance tune is passed easily between different instruments. The mock-serious Pantomime, with its ponderous chordal accompaniment, is all the more effective for keeping its tongue in cheek, while the Intermezzo–colored by the sound of varied instrumental duets–comes to a surprising close with a dark string resolution.

The winsome Little Lyrical Scene leads to two movements that show the influence of other composers. Some have heard echoes of Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony in the Gavotte, but this graceful music, with its haunting clarinet duet and ironic turns of phrase, bears more fully the imprint of the composer who influenced so much Soviet music–Gustav Mahler. The Scherzo, full of graceful string passages punctuated by wind solos, evokes the atmosphere of Tchaikovsky’s ballet scores.

Kabalevsky rounds off his suite with a blazing Epilogue. This brings back the theme of the Prologue, now in a grand restatement, and the music rushes to a knock-out conclusion.

PRELUDE 7 PM
An interview with Ning Feng hosted by Marcus Overton

SDYSChamber3Under the leadership of President and CEO Dalouge Smith and Music Director Jeff Edmons, San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS) instills excellence in the musical and personal development of students ages 8 to 23 through rigorous and inspiring musical training experiences. Since 1945, SDYS has given thousands of musicians the opportunity to study and perform classical repertoire at a highly advanced level. SDYS attracts student musicians from throughout San Diego, Imperial and Riverside counties and serves over 600 students annually through its 12 ensembles.

The organization’s preeminent ensemble, the SDYS Chamber Orchestra is comprised of the principal and assistant principal musicians from the advanced level Ovation Program and rehearses at an extraordinarily proficient level for a youth program. Provided the finest training, the Chamber Orchestra is given the opportunity to perform professional level repertoire from multiple historic periods for both string orchestra and full chamber orchestra on a national and international stage. Most recently, select students of the San Diego Youth Symphony participated in SDYS’s 70th Anniversary tour to China and performed in Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall, San Diego’s sister city Yantai’s Poly Grand Theatre and the Oriental Arts Center in Shanghai in June 2015.

SDYS Chamber Orchestra last performed at La Jolla Music Society in the San Diego Youth Symphony Series on December, 11 2015 San Diego Youth Symphony enjoys a successful partnership with LJMS.

For more information visit www.sdys.org


Jeff-EdmondUnder Jeff Edmons' direction, the Youth Symphony has experienced tremendous growth, both in enrollment and in level of musical achievement. Performing the most difficult works in classical repertoire, SDYS achieves the highest standard attainable by a youth orchestra. SDYS' exemplary standards of skill and musicianship have afforded it the opportunity to participate in the most prestigious international festivals and perform with eminent guest artists and musicians from around the world.

Under Mr. Edmons direction, the Youth Symphony boasts a strong international presence as well as setting a benchmark for excellence in the United States. San Diego Magazine named Jeff Edmons as "50 People to Watch in 1997."

Mr. Edmons has dedicated himself to promoting youth music and youth education. He has led youth, collegiate and professional orchestras in critically acclaimed performances throughout the United States, as well as Mexico, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Finland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Switzerland. He has received numerous local and national invitations and awards for his achievements in music education. Mr. Edmons has also been featured in articles and journals honoring his work and has been the subject of documentaries on CNN, Fox Television, National Public Radio and many more.

He studied violin performance with Michael Davis, former Concertmaster of the Scottish National Orchestra, String Pedagogy with renown Pedagogue Dr. Robert Gillespie, and he studied Wind, Brass,Percussion Pedagogy and Wind Ensemble conducting with Craig Kirchoff, Principal Guest Conductor of the Tokyo Wind Orchestra and past President and Chair of the National College Band Director's Association.

Jeff Edmons and the San Diego Youth Symphony enjoy a successful partnership with LJMS.

For more information visit www.sdys.org


NingFengPrize-winning violinist Ning Feng’s technical brilliance and poetic, expressive interpretations of the great masterworks of the violin repertoire have made him one of the most exciting of the younger generation of top-level players. Feng was born in China, studied in London and now lives in Berlin, a base for his career performing concertos and recitals all around the world. He plays a 1721 Stradivari violin, known as the “MacMillan”, on private loan, kindly arranged by Premiere Performances of Hong Kong.

A recipient of prizes at the Hanover International, Queen Elisabeth and Yehudi Menuhin International violin competitions, Ning Feng was First Prize winner of the 2005 Michael Hill International Violin Competition (New Zealand), and in 2006 won first prize in the International Paganini Competition. He previously studied at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music and London’s Royal Academy of Music where he was the first student ever to be awarded 100% for his final recital.

Ning Feng records for Channel Classics in the Netherlands. His latest recording is of the Bruch Scottish Fantasy and Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, released in February 2014. Previously for the label, he recorded two albums of entirely solo works: the solo sonatas by Bartók, Prokofiev and Hindemith were released as Solo 2 in August 2013 and the first Solo album featured pieces by Paganini, Kreisler, Berio, Schnittke and others. “You will be blown away by the artistry of this album, and blown away in great sound to boot,” commented Audiophile Audition about that album.

On the concert stage, Feng has performed in recent seasons with orchestras such as the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra (conducted by Iván Fischer), Russian State Symphony (conducted by Vladimir Jurowski), Orchestre National de Lyon and in halls such as Sydney Opera House, Moscow’s Great Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Konzerthaus, Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre and Beijing’s NCPA. In recital he has played in prestigious series and festivals such as the Vancouver Recital Series and Hong Kong International Chamber, Prague Spring and Schleswig-Holstein festivals. With Igor Levit he has performed across Germany, including at the Ludwigsburg and Mecklenburg Vorpommern Festivals, and also at the Kissinger Sommer Festival where he plays every year and where he was an Artist-in-Residence in 2014.

Highlights of Ning’s 2014/15 season include debuts with the LA Philharmonic, Munich Symphony Orchestra, the Liszt and Berlin Konzerthaus Chamber orchestras, returns to the Auckland Philharmonia, Orchestra Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias, Macao Symphony and recitals and chamber performances in Seoul, Hong Kong and Brussels. He will also be soloist on two major tours, performing the Glazunov Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/Petrenko in Dublin and across China, and later in the season the Beethoven Concerto with the Hong Kong Philharmonic/Van Zweden across some of the major centres of Europe, including London, Zurich, Berlin and Vienna.

Alongside his performing career, Feng holds teaching positions at the Musikhochschule Lübeck and Hochschule für Musik Hans Eisler Berlin.

This performance marks Ning Feng's La Jolla Music Society debut.

Feb
28
Sun
RESTAURANT NIGHT: Daniil Trifonov
Feb 28 @ 5:45 pm

La Valencia

Daniil Trifonov
Restaurant Night

5:45 PM CHAMPAGNE
6:15 PM SEATED 3-COURSE DINNER WITH WINE
$65 per person all inclusive
Tonight’s MENU
 
 
Prior to the performance, we invite you to join us at La Jolla’s famous La Valencia Hotel. Relax and enjoy this fabulous pre-concert dinner at La Valencia’s THE MED restaurant with friends before tonight’s performance with pianist Daniil Trifonov at 8pm.

TO JOIN US FOR DINNER:
Please contact Benjamin Guercio
858.459.3724, ext. 216
BGuercio@LJMS.org.


DANIIL TRIFONOV, piano
Feb 28 @ 8:00 pm
DANIIL TRIFONOV, piano @ MCASD Sherwood Auditorium | San Diego | California | United States

Daniil Trifonov, piano

Described by San Diego music critic Ken Herman as “…a Paragon of Technical Prowess and Poetic Exposition,” the irrepressible young Russian pianist, Daniil Trifonov, returns to La Jolla Music Society by popular demand with a program of virtuosic works from the piano repertoire.

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RESTAURANT NIGHT:
Prior to the performance please join us for dinner at La Valencia

DANIIL TRIFONOV, piano:
Daniil Trifonov also performs Montreal Symphony Orchestra as part of the Celebrity Orchestra Series on Wednesday, March 23 at 8:00 PM, Jacobs Music Center-Copley Symphony Hall.

REVIEW: SanDiegoStory.com by Ken Herman, April 11, 2014
Trifonov a Paragon of Technical Prowess and Poetic Exposition


J.S. BACHChaconne from the Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004
(arr. for piano by Ferruccio Busoni)
SCHUBERTPiano Sonata in G Major, D.894
BRAHMSVariations on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 35, Book I
RACHMANINOFFPiano Sonata No.1 in D Minor, Op. 28
ENCORES
TCHAIKOVSKY-PLETNEV Silver Fairy from The Sleeping Beauty
SCRIABINPrelude for left hand in C-Sharp Minor Op. 9, No. 1
LISZTGrandes etudes de Paganini, S. 141 No. 6

 

Click here to view the complete January-February 2016 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: Daniil Trifonov, piano

by Eric Bromberger

Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004 (1720)
(arr. for piano by Ferruccio Busoni)

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH

Born March 21, 1685, Eisenach, Germany
Died July 28, 1750, Leipzig

The magnificent Chaconne that concludes the Partita No. 2 for Unaccompanied Violin is among the most intense music Bach ever wrote, and it has worked its spell on musicians everywhere over the last two and a half centuries. The violin is a linear instrument, and the full harmonic textures implied in the original seem to cry out for performances that can project these more satisfactorily than can the violin. The Chaconne has been transcribed for many other instruments and combinations of instruments, including several versions for keyboard: first by Joachim Raff and in 1877 by Brahms, who arranged it for left hand only. Brahms was almost beside himself with admiration for this music; to Clara Schumann he wrote: “If I could picture myself writing, or even conceiving such a piece, I am certain that the extreme excitement and emotional tension would have driven me mad.”

Ferruccio Busoni, who felt a similar excitement about the Chaconne, made his transcription some years after Brahms’ and first performed it at a concert in Boston in 1893. This was a period when Busoni was making piano transcriptions of Bach’s organ music, and at least one scholar has suggested that Busoni conceived of the Chaconne as organ music (rather than violin music) and then–with that sonority in mind–proceeded to make a transcription for piano that would project an organ-like richness of sound. Busoni’s transcription is a fairly exact reproduction of Bach’s music: he makes only minor changes in the original, including the repetition of one brief phrase not repeated by Bach.

A chaconne is one of the most disciplined forms in music: it is built on a ground bass in triple meter over which a melodic line is repeated and varied. Here the four-bar ground bass repeats 64 times during the quarter-hour span of the Chaconne, and over it Bach spins out gloriously varied music, all the while keeping these variations firmly anchored on the ground bass. At the center section Bach moves into D major, and here the music relaxes a little, content to sing happily for a while; after the calm nobility of this interlude, the quiet return of D minor sounds almost disconsolate. Bach drives the Chaconne to a great climax and a restatement of the ground melody at the close.

Piano Sonata in G Major, D.894 (1826)
Molto moderato e cantabile
Andante
Menuetto: Allegro moderato
Allegretto

FRANZ SCHUBERT

Born January 31, 1797, Vienna
Died November 19, 1828, Vienna

Schubert composed this music in October 1826, and it was published six months later in Vienna by Tobias Haslinger as Schubert’s Opus 78. But when he brought out this score, Haslinger gave it a title that has caused a great deal of confusion: he published the work not as a unified whole but under the names of its four movements, and so it first appeared in April 1827 as Fantaisie, Andante, Menuetto, and Allegretto. This awkward name was in turn abbreviated to Fantasy in G Major, and the music was known for some time under that title, even though Schubert’s manuscript clearly calls the work a sonata on its title page. Haslinger’s substitution of so unwieldy a title of his own has been explained by at least one observer as an effort to attract the developing market of amateur pianists in Vienna with a title that might not seem so forbidding to casual players as a sonata.

Actually, Haslinger’s motives were more complex–and understandable–than such an explanation seems to make them. There were good reasons why he might not want to call this music a sonata, and those reasons center primarily on its first movement. That movement is of extraordinary length (if the indicated repeat is taken, it can stretch out to nearly twenty-five minutes), it is at a moderate tempo, and it has none of the dramatic character one associates with a sonata-form first movement. The other movements are of comparably generous proportions, so much so, in fact, that the entire work can approach fifty minutes in some performances, making it significantly longer than Beethoven’s mighty “Hammerklavier” Sonata. It is no surprise that Haslinger, faced with such unusual music, might choose to identify it to potential buyers as a collection of individual pieces rather than a unified sonata.

But Schubert knew what he was about, and this clearly is a Piano Sonata in G Major, as we have come to know it today. Schubert’s conception of the piano sonata was different from Beethoven’s, and those differences are most evident in that first movement. Schubert’s marking Molto moderato e cantabile suggests that he wants a broad, relaxed, and singing performance, and that is certainly consistent with the music itself, which rocks gently along its 12/8 meter and moves from a pianissimo dynamic in the opening measure to triple piano in the tenth. If this is going to be non-dramatic music, it is also nicely unified: most of the thematic material seems to spin out of that quiet opening subject, and the music by turn dances, surges, and flows across the long span of the movement. The development seems to begin more powerfully in firm G minor, but those tensions relax almost immediately, and the music resumes the character it established in its opening moments. In the closing measures, the rhythmic pattern of the very beginning seems to break down and dissolve as the music marches to a barely-audible close.

The second movement is a slow rondo (the marking is Andante) in 3/8 meter. The opening melody–simplicity itself–will be the basis for the rondo, and it grows more ornate as it reappears across the broad span of this movement. Schubert separates these episodes with violent interruptions, great hammered chords that intrude upon the sweet atmosphere of the beginning and then melt away as the rondo theme reasserts itself. By far the shortest of the movements, the Menuetto dances with a sort of rustic simplicity, once again built on insistent chords; in sharp contrast, Schubert specifies that he wants the delicate trio section molto legato after the staccato chords of the minuet.

The last movement is another rondo, but this one too is at an unexpected tempo: rather than opting for a brilliant finale, Schubert writes a comfortable one. The marking here is Allegretto, and the agreeable central theme makes clear that–like the first movement–this music will be essentially non-dramatic. Schubert takes that rondo theme through a series of varied permutations: sometimes it dances in the piano’s ringing high register, sometimes it appears deep in the pianist’s left hand, and it undergoes some nice thematic evolution as it proceeds. A gorgeous C-minor episode marked espressivo passes by so quickly that it is over almost before the ear has begun to adjust; Schubert then brings it back in sunny C major, and just as quickly this vanishes too. So this movement goes: it is long, but it offers a constantly-evolving musical landscape, and finally this music dances its way to an ending all the more wonderful for being so understated.

Variations on a Theme of Paganini, Opus 35, Book I (1863)

JOANNES BRAHMS

Born May 7, 1833, Hamburg
Died April 3, 1897, Vienna

Niccolò Paganini–rumored by some to be in league with the devil–published his Twenty-Four Caprices for Solo Violin in 1820, and the theme of the final caprice, full of angular leaps and coiled energy, has haunted composers ever since. Among those who have written extended works based on this sprightly theme are Paganini himself (twelve variations), Liszt (Transcendental Études), Schumann (Paganini Variations), Rachmaninoff (Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini), and–more recently–Witold Lutosławski and Boris Blacher (both of whom have composed a set of Variations on a Theme of Paganini) and George Rochberg (Fifty Caprice Variations). Further sets of variations may still come, for the possibilities of this theme appear inexhaustible.

Brahms composed his Variations on a Theme of Paganini in 1863, shortly after moving from Hamburg to Vienna, and published them as two books of fourteen variations each. These variations are extremely compact: each set–consisting of the theme, fourteen variations, and a blazing finale–lasts only about eleven minutes. Brahms himself described them as exercises (“Studies for Pianoforte”) and gave the two sets the slightly dry and academic title of “Books,” but listeners should not be put off by the composer’s usual self-deprecation: this is ingenious and exciting music, pleasing for the verve of the writing for piano and for the sheer exhilaration of hearing Paganini’s theme put through so many transformations.

It is also fiendishly difficult for the performer, and Brahms’ Paganini Variations are regarded as one of the supreme tests for pianists. Brahms’ close friend Clara Schumann, one of the finest pianists of the nineteenth century, found them so difficult that she called them Hexenvariationen (“Witches’ Variations”), implying that it would take supernatural powers to solve all the technical problems they present. Brahms himself gave the first performance of the two Books in Vienna on March 17, 1867.

The Paganini Variations may succeed brilliantly as concert music, but there is at least an element of truth in Brahms’ description of them as exercises. Each variation presents the pianist with a particular technical problem: some are written in thirds, some in sixths, some in octaves; some present several rhythms simultaneously, while others require difficult trills or staccato or legato passages; still others require awkward hand-crossings. The music itself is quite varied, ranging from gentle passages that Brahms marks molto dolce to an explosive variation marked Feroce, energico.

On this recital Mr. Trifonov performs Book I. A generalization sometimes made is that Book I is distinguished by the difficulty of its technical hurtles, while Book II is more satisfying from a purely musical point of view, though such a distinction may not matter much: it should be noted that a century ago pianists sometimes assembled their own sets of Paganini Variations by drawing variations from the two Books. Brahms’ music at its best fuses technically complex writing with engaging musical ideas, and the Paganini Variations can be enjoyed on many levels: for the virtuosity of the playing, the ingenuity of the variations, and the beauty of the music, as Paganini’s theme is made to sing in ways its creator never dreamed of.

Piano Sonata No. 1 in D Minor, Opus 28 (1907)
Allegro moderato; Allegro
Lento
Allegro molto

SERGEI RACHMANINOFF

Born April 1, 1873, Semyonovo, Russia
Died March 28, 1943, Beverly Hills

In February 1906 Rachmaninoff resigned his position as conductor at the Bolshoi and moved his family to Dresden. He had won critical praise as a conductor, but the demands of that position prevented him from composing, which was what he really wanted to do. He loved the quiet house he rented in Dresden–it was surrounded by a garden–and he set to work immediately. The next few years were some of his most productive, for they included the composition of his Second Symphony, Isle of the Dead, and Third Piano Concerto. Also from these years came a work that has proven much less familiar, the First Piano Sonata. Rachmaninoff sketched the sonata in January and February 1907 and had it complete on May 14 of that year.

But he was by no means comfortable with his latest creation. To a friend he described his problems with it: “The sonata is certainly wild and interminable. I think it takes about 45 minutes. I was lured into this length by its guiding idea. This is–three contrasting types from a literary work. Of course no program will be indicated, though I begin to think that the sonata would be clearer if the program were revealed. Nobody will ever play this composition, it’s too difficult and long . . . At one time I wanted to make a symphony of this sonata, but this seemed impossible because of the purely pianistic style in which it is written.” The première, given in Moscow on October 17, 1908, by Konstantin Igumnov, got a respectful but mystified reaction, and the composer had scarcely any more success when he played the sonata on his recitals during the next several seasons.

Perhaps it may help audiences to know that the “literary work” that inspired this sonata was Goethe’s Faust and that its three movements were apparently inspired in turn by Faust, Gretchen, and Mephistopheles. Small wonder that the work struck Rachmaninoff as symphonic in character: these are the titles and sequence of the three movements of Franz Liszt’s Faust Symphony, composed in 1857. Rachmaninoff chose not to reveal the inspiration, and this sonata is in no sense programmatic: its three movements should be understood more as character pieces than as pieces that depict specific events.

This is an extremely difficult sonata for the performer, and it generates textures so full and dramatic that Rachmaninoff was right to wonder if it might really be symphonic music. The Allegro moderato alternates tentative figures with fierce outbursts before rushing ahead at the Allegro; its second subject, marked Moderato, is built on repeated notes that emerge from murmuring figurations. This movement, long and technically demanding, drives to a sonorous climax that rides along great waves of sound before the music subsides to recall the second subject and to close quietly, even peacefully. The main idea of the Lento is introduced above rocking triplet accompaniment, and that rhythm will eventually drive this movement to an agitated climax; a striking sequence of descending trills brings the movement to its restrained close. The finale has seemed to some who know of the sonata’s original inspiration to have been inspired by the Flight to Brocken in Goethe’s Faust. It opens with hammered octaves that are marked both fortissimo and marcato and then races ahead; the second subject is a quiet, march-like idea that Rachmaninoff marks “very resolute.” These two ideas alternate throughout the movement, which also features some lyric and haunting melodies. The music accelerates to the close, where Rachmaninoff rounds matters off with a great chordal climax full of the sound of pealing bells and a suitably furious cadence.

PRELUDE 7 PM

Lecture by Steven Cassedy: What does an intermezzo come between?

DaniilTrifonovRussian pianist Daniil Trifonov (dan-EEL TREE-fon-ov) has made a spectacular ascent to classical music stardom since winning First Prize at both the Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein competitions in 2011 at the age of 20. Combining consummate technique with rare sensitivity and depth, his performances are a perpetual source of awe. “He has everything and more, ... tenderness and also the demonic element. I never heard anything like that,” stated Martha Argerich, while the New York Times has observed, “Mr. Trifonov has scintillating technique and a virtuosic flair. He is also a thoughtful artist. … He can play with soft-spoken delicacy, not what you associate with competition conquerors.”

The 2013-14 season promises to be a banner one for the young pianist. Deutsche Grammophon signed him as an exclusive recording artist, and his first album for the label, Trifonov: The Carnegie Recital, was captured live at his recent sold-out Carnegie recital debut and is due for U.S. release this winter, to coincide with his return to the New York venue. The New York Times noted that Trifonov’s “soulful artistry and virtuoso chops were in full evidence” at his 2012 Carnegie debut. Further recital engagements take the pianist from Chicago to London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rio de Janeiro, and a host of other international musical hotspots. He looks forward to a similarly extensive lineup of orchestral collaborations, playing concertos by Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Scriabin, Shostakovich, Chopin, and Mozart in dates with 19 of the world’s foremost orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Washington’s National Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, and Rome’s Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Upcoming chamber music highlights include a duo recital tour with his teacher and fellow pianist, Sergei Babayan, that kicks off with a gala concert at the Dallas Chamber Music Society.

The 2012-13 season saw Trifonov make debuts with all the “Big Five” orchestras – the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and Philadelphia Orchestra – and with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and London’s Royal Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras, besides returning to the London Symphony and the Mariinsky Orchestra led by Valery Gergiev, the Russian National Orchestra under Mikhail Pletnev, and the Warsaw Philharmonic with Antoni Wit. He made solo recital debuts at Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Musikverein, Japan’s Suntory Hall, and the Salle Pleyel in Paris, and the summer brought further triumphs at the Verbier and Edinburgh Festivals and in the pianist’s BBC Proms debut at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Recent recitals have also taken Trifonov to the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Boston’s Celebrity Series, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw (Master Piano Series), Berlin’s Philharmonie (the Kammermusiksaal), Munich’s Herkulessaal, Bavaria’s Schloss Elmau, Zurich’s Tonhalle, the Lucerne Piano Festival, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, and the Seoul Arts Center.

As an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, Trifonov’s future plans with the label include recording Rachmaninoff’s complete piano concertos. His existing discography features a Chopin album for Decca and a recording of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra on the ensemble’s own label.

It was during the 2010-11 season that Trifonov won medals at three of the music world’s most prestigious competitions, taking Third Prize in Warsaw’s Chopin Competition, First Prize in Tel Aviv’s Rubinstein Competition, and both First Prize and Grand Prix in Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Competition. Jury members and observers at these events included Martha Argerich, Krystian Zimerman, Van Cliburn, Emanuel Ax, Nelson Freire, Yefim Bronfman, and Gergiev, who personally awarded Trifonov the Moscow Grand Prix, an additional honor bestowed on the best overall competitor in any category.

Born in Nizhny Novgorod in 1991, and having begun his musical training at the age of five, Trifonov went on to attend Moscow’s Gnessin School of Music as a student of Tatiana Zelikman, before pursuing his piano studies with Sergei Babayan at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has also studied composition, and continues to write music for piano, chamber, and orchestra.

Daniil Trifonov last performed for La Jolla Music Society in the Freeman Family Piano Series on April 10, 2015.

For more information visit daniiltrifonov.com

Mar
4
Fri
RESTAURANT NIGHT: Keb’ Mo’
Mar 4 @ 5:45 pm

SF2015-Rappongi-200x200

Keb’ Mo’
Restaurant Night

5:45 PM CHAMPAGNE
6:15 PM SEATED 3-COURSE DINNER WITH WINE
$65 per person all inclusive
Tonight’s MENU
 
 
Prior to the performance, we invite you to join us at The Westgate Hotel. Relax and enjoy this fabulous pre-concert dinner with friends before tonight’s performance with visionary roots-music story teller Keb’ Mo’ at 8pm.

TO JOIN US FOR DINNER:
Please contact Benjamin Guercio
858.459.3724, ext. 216
BGuercio@LJMS.org.


KEB’ MO’ – BLUESAmericana
Mar 4 @ 8:00 pm
KEB' MO' - BLUESAmericana @ Balboa Theatre | San Diego | California | United States

Three-time Grammy® Award Winner

Keb’ Mo’
BLUESAmericana

Twenty years since the release of his debut album, visionary roots-music story teller Keb’ Mo’ embarks on a new chapter of artistic and personal growth with the release of the Grammy&#174-nominated BLUESAmericana, his 12th full-length recording.

Buy Tickets

RESTAURANT NIGHT:
Prior to the performance please join us for dinner in the beautiful Fontainebleau Room
at The Westgate Hotel


Click here to view the complete March-April 2016 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: Keb' Mo'

Keb' Mo', vocals & guitar
Stanley Sargeant, bass
Casey Wasner, drums
Michael Hicks, keyboard

Works to be announced from stage

NO INTERMISSION

KEBMOThree-time Grammy® winner and visionary roots-music storyteller Keb’ Mo’ embarks on a new chapter in his career with the April 22 release of BLUESAmericana on Kind of Blue Music. His twelfth full-length album marks the 20th anniversary of his debut ‘Keb’ Mo’,’ but, more important, the disc is a signpost of artistic and personal growth. “I only make albums when I’m inspired to, and these 10 songs come from a very honest place,” Keb’ relates. “BLUESAmericana is the beginning of the next phase of who I am.” The disc will be accompanied by Keb’s most extensive tour in years.

Achieving this wasn’t easy. In the period since the unveiling of 2011’s ‘The Reflection’ — which paired Keb’ with India.Arie, Vince Gill, Dave Koz and Marcus Miller while spotlighting eclectic, virtuoso performances — Keb’ and his wife, Robbie, persevered through a challenging patch in their marriage. “I had to learn more about myself,” Keb’ says, “and in doing that I felt a personal shift.”

That learning process and its happy resolution yielded many of BLUESAmericana’s songs. At its core, the album is about love and understanding. Those qualities are expressed in some of the most poignant and joyfully melodic numbers Keb’ has ever recorded. Many of them, including the pledge of commitment “Do It Right” and the reflective “For Better Or Worse,” assay devotion and marriage. The thorny, comic “The Worst is Yet To Come” is about hope, despite the hilarious laundry list of pitfalls its protagonist endures as he searches for a silver lining. And “Somebody Hurt You” is, in Keb’s words, “where the blues meets the church.” That number features Rip Patton, a longtime friend and Civil Rights era Freedom Rider, on beatific bass vocals.

“My first intention was to make a stripped-down acoustic album — just me and my guitar playing some songs. But” — Keb’ laughs — “I couldn’t do it! I love ensembles so much.” Acoustic guitars do feature prominently in these arrangements, which boast plenty of textural flesh via electric and resonator slide guitars, mandolin, percussion, keyboards, reeds and horns, but still reveal the gorgeously chiseled architecture of their bare bones origins. The album was co-produced by Keb’ Mo’ and Casey Wasner. Recording started with Keb’ and Casey setting up in Keb’s home studio just outside of Nashville. Then Keb’ and drummer Keio Stroud laid down the basic tracks.

“Keio and I set the tone for the album,” explains Keb’, who played most of the guitars on BLUESAmericana, several of the bass guitar parts, keyboards and percussion. “I wanted everything on the album to be as pure a statement from me as possible. Even when I called another musician to play a part, I had already recorded a template of what that part should be, to guide them.”

Keb’s favorite number is the ebullient “I’m Gonna Be Your Man,” a dynamo of a song that starts with a steel resonator guitar and powers through its blues foundation to more free-ranging sonic terrain. “It’s about chasing what you want,” he explains. “I used to be the kind of guy who lived in fear of the ‘smack-down,’ but I’ve realized it is very romantic to pursue a woman and be willing to accept rejection.”

Another highlight is “The Old Me Better,” recorded with a New Orleans Second Line feel and co-penned with his longtime friend and writing partner John Lewis Parker. “As one delves into the life of holy matrimony and the wife being the ‘boss,’ one longs for the old days of being footloose and fancy free,” Keb’ relates. “This song is a humorous way of looking at the fact that maybe it wasn’t better than it is now, but it sure seems like it was at certain times.” The song gets its Crescent City sound from guest artists the California Feetwarmers, a band Keb’ discovered playing a birthday party he attended at a home in L.A.’s Topanga canyon. “When I heard them play, I knew that was the sound I wanted for the song,” he notes.

The album closes with the lovely, poetic “So Long Goodbye.” Keb’ wrote the lyrics during a flight while on tour. “Every word is true and honest,” he reflects. “I think this song is so personal that I was emotionally paralyzed by it. I didn’t know what to do with it musically.” He shared the lyrics with fellow songwriter Rebecca Correia, who crafted the melody. Robbie Brooks Moore sings on the recording, “so that brings it around full circle for me,” Keb’ says.

BLUESAmericana represents the second time Keb’ has undergone a personal transformation. The first began in 1984 in his native Los Angeles, where he’d worked hard to get record and publishing deals and establish himself as a studio musician under his given name Kevin Moore, and then saw all of that dissipate.

“I was convinced my career was over, and that if I was lucky I’d be able to play blues gigs for $40 or $50 a night… if I was lucky,” he recounts. He was very lucky. Kevin got a gig in a blues combo with saxist Monk Higgins and guitarist Charles “Charlie Tuna” Dennis, who today plays rhythm six-string behind B.B. King.

“Until then I thought there was just two kinds of blues — fast and slow,” says Keb’. “Charlie taught me that there are all kinds of blues: Delta blues, Texas blues, Chicago blues, soul-blues… I started opening my mind and learning how deep the blues was.” His discovery of historic blues artists Robert Johnson and “Big” Bill Broonzy also resonated profoundly, and over the next decade Kevin developed a sound that blended their acoustic framework with the pop, R&B, rock, jazz and soul that had previously stoked his compositions. “I never set out to be a ‘blues guy’, ” he explains, “but the blues is very powerful and fuels what I do. The blues puts the ‘realness’ in it for me.”

By 1994 Moore was signed to a major label again. He determined to celebrate his creative rebirth by adopting the new moniker Keb’ Mo’. His first album under that name, ‘Keb’ Mo’,’ earned gold-record status. The second Keb’ Mo’ album, ‘Just Like You,’ won the Grammy Award for Contemporary Blues Album — a feat he’s repeated twice since then, with 1999’s ‘Slow Down’ and 2005’s ‘Keep It Simple.’

Over the past two decades Keb’ has cultivated a reputation as a modern master of American roots music through the understated excellence of his live and studio performances. His songs have been recorded by B.B. King, Buddy Guy, the Dixie Chicks, Joe Cocker and Robert Palmer, and his playing inspired leading instrument maker Gibson Brands to issue the Keb’ Mo’ Signature Bluesmaster acoustic guitar. He’s collaborated with a host of other artists including Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown, Cassandra Wilson, Buddy Guy, Amy Grant, Solomon Burke and Little Milton. Keb’ also performs the theme song for the smash sit-com ‘Mike & Molly’ and was music composer for TV’s ‘Memphis Beat.’

He’s no stranger to the stage and screen himself. Keb’s acting career began with an early ’90s Los Angeles production of Leslie Lee’s ‘The Rabbit Foot.’ He portrayed Robert Johnson in the 1998 documentary ‘Can’t You Hear the Wind Howl’ and appeared three times on the TV series ‘Touched By An Angel.’ He also played the ghostly bluesman Possum in John Sayles’ 2007 movie ‘Honeydripper.’ But Keb’ stresses that his focus will always be on making music and being a communicator, a songwriter.

“My job is to look for something that’s truthful,” he vows. “Lies are the hardest things in the world to remember, but the truth digs right inside me and it reaches other people, too. If a song is truthful, the way the songs on BLUESAmericana are, I have a piece of that song inside of me so I can always deliver it from my heart.”

This performance marks Keb' Mo's La Jolla Music Society debut.

For more information visit www.kebmo.com

Mar
11
Fri
PAUL LEWIS, piano
Mar 11 @ 8:00 pm
PAUL LEWIS, piano @  MCASD Sherwood Auditorium | San Diego | California | United States

Paul Lewis, piano

British pianist Paul Lewis makes his La Jolla Music Society debut in this season’s Frieman Family Piano Series. A protégé of Alfred Brendel, Mr. Lewis brings his signature vigor and authoritative command to solo piano works by Brahms, Schubert and Liszt.

“Mr. Lewis played with incisive rhythmic bite and, when called for, real abandon, which was fun to hear from such a tasteful musician.”                   —The New York Times

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BRAHMSFour Ballades, Op. 10
SCHUBERTSonata for Piano No. 9 in B Major, D.575
BRAHMSThree Intermezzi, Op. 117
LISZTAprès une lecture du Dante, fantasia quasi Sonata, S.161/7

Click here to view the complete March-April 2016 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: Paul Lewis, piano

by Eric Bromberger

Four Ballades, Opus 10 (1854)
No. 1 in D Minor
No. 2 in D Major
No. 3 in B Minor
No. 4 B Major

JOHANNES BRAHMS
Born May 7, 1833, Hamburg
Died April 3, 1897, Vienna

Originally, a ballad was a literary rather than a musical form, and while ballades were often sung to a dramatic narrative text, that term has no precise musical meaning. But a number of composers have been drawn to that title, perhaps because of the ballad’s association with dramatic events and poetic tale-telling. Chopin was the first to adopt the title (and his four Ballades include some of his greatest music), but other composers have used it as well: Liszt, Franck, Grieg, Fauré, Barber, and others have written short pieces they titled ballade.

In the summer of 1854 Johannes Brahms wrote four short piano pieces that he called ballades. This was a very intense time for Brahms. He was very young–21–and only a few months earlier had come a catastrophe: his friend and mentor Robert Schumann had attempted suicide and was now committed to an asylum. Brahms was steadfast in his aid to the Schumann family, helping to support and organize the shattered household, visiting Robert in the asylum, and consoling Clara. And at a deeper level, Brahms was wrestling with a private demon: the collision between his own youthful love for Clara and his unwavering support for her husband.

It was under these conditions that Brahms wrote the Four Ballades. Brahms would never wear his heart on his sleeve, so we should not look for autobiographical meaning in this music, but there is no question that these are four very intense pieces. The first–and most famous–of them blurs the meaning of the title even further because this ballade is in fact based on a literary ballad. Brahms had been intrigued by the old Scottish ballad Edward, which he had first encountered in Herder’s translation, and on the first page of the music he made the connection clear: “After the Scottish ballad Edward.” That ballad tells a dark tale: young Edward comes home from the hunt with bloody hands and laments that he has killed his falcon, but it soon becomes clear that he has killed his father (and in some versions had done so at the instigation of his mother). There is evidence Brahms originally planned this music as a song (the rhythm of Brahms’ opening section matches the language of the ballad in both the Scottish and in Herder’s German translation), but he eventually completed it as a piano piece. This music has been much admired, and Brahms’ biographer Karl Geiringer hears a “tragic power” in it. The opening section alternates two somber chordal themes. These explode in the violent middle section, marked Allegro, and the return of the quiet opening material is unsettled by the triplets that now murmur deep in the pianist’s left hand.

The second ballade, marked Andante, is inevitably referred to as a “lullaby,” and its gentle song is softly blurred by the syncopated accompaniment–Brahms’ marking is espressivo e dolce. But this piece is not in simple ternary form, and suddenly pounding chords push the music in entirely new directions, which include a section encrusted with grace notes. Finally the opening material does return, but it has grown more complex as its winds its way into silence.

Brahms marked the third ballade Intermezzo, but it is in fact a scherzo, marked Allegro and flashing unevenly along a 6/8 meter. The chordal trio section bears some relation to the scherzo theme itself, and the actual return of that theme is quite impressive: Brahms insists on a dynamic of triple piano, and this mercurial movement almost whispers its way to the close.

Critics hear the influence of Schumann in the long final ballade, marked Andante con moto. Again, Brahms’ structure is original. The flowing opening section gives way to a murmuring episode that the composer marks Col intimissimo sentimento, but over the final pages Brahms begins to fuse elements of these two different kinds of music. These alternate, dovetail, and finally blur together.

Piano Sonata in B Major, D.575 (1817)
Allegro ma non troppo
Andante
Scherzo: Allegretto
Allegro giusto

FRANZ SCHUBERT
Born January 30, 1797, Vienna
Died November 19, 1828, Vienna

In the fall of 1816, nineteen-year-old Franz Schubert moved out of the family home, where he was irksomely employed helping his schoolteacher father, and took a private apartment. This was part of his effort to declare independence and to try to support himself as a freelance composer. Over the course of the following year, Schubert completed six piano sonatas and began several others. It was perfectly logical that a young composer wishing to support himself should turn to piano music, for there was a growing market for such music among the growing middle class in Vienna. But these efforts at independence came to nothing: none of these sonatas was published during Schubert’s lifetime (some of this music did not appear until the twentieth century), and the composer’s youthful attempt to achieve financial independence ended in failure. In the fall of 1817 Schubert had to move back in with his family and resume his chores as an elementary teacher.

The Sonata in B Major, composed in August 1817, was the last of this group of sonatas, and it was not published until 1846, eighteen years after Schubert’s death. The sonatas of 1817 are seldom heard today, but the Sonata in B Major is regarded as the most successful of the set–Schubert’s biographer John Reed hears in it a “characteristic vein of dynamic and optimistic lyricism.”

The sonata is in four fairly compact movements. The opening Allegro ma non troppo depends heavily on dotted rhythms in both its themes. Already evident in this movement is Schubert’s fluid sense of harmonic freedom: though the movement is set in the unusual key of B major, soon he is in the remote key of G major, and even here he is flirting with G minor. This all makes for a great range of expression within the generally amiable spirit of this sonata-form movement. Schubert moves to E major for the Andante, based on a noble chordal melody that continues to make use of dotted rhythms. Along the way come such unexpected features as rolled chords, hammered left-hand octaves, and sharp dynamic contrasts. Schubert calls the third movement a Scherzo but marks it Allegretto; this is very attractive music indeed, with its graceful outer sections and flowing trio. By contrast, the concluding Allegro giusto, in sonata form, powers along a vigorous 3/8 meter. Schubert either hammers out this meter or allows it to flow easily, as he does in the second subject, marked dolce, and the movement sails along gracefully to its (rather sudden) close.

Three Intermezzi, Opus 117 (1892)
No. 1 in E-flat Major: Andante moderato
No. 2 in B-flat Minor: Andante non troppo e con molto espressione
No. 3 in C-sharp Minor: Andante con moto

JOHANNES BRAHMS

Brahms’ piano music figures curiously in his career. He burst to prominence as a young pianist-composer (hailed by Robert Schumann as a “young eagle”), and most of his early music was for piano, including huge-scaled sonatas and complex sets of variations. But at age 30 he seemed to forget about the piano, turning instead to chamber and vocal works and later to symphonic music. He waited fifteen years and wrote eight short piano pieces, then waited another thirteen years before he returned to the piano one final time, composing late in life four collections of piano pieces: Opp. 116, 117, 118, and 119.

The twenty pieces that make up these four final sets are all very brief (they may accurately be described as miniatures) and are in ABA form: a first theme, a countermelody–usually in a contrasting tempo and key, and a return of the opening material, now slightly varied. This is intensely personal music, as if Brahms were distilling a lifetime of experience and technical refinement into these brief pieces as he returned one last time to his own instrument.

He wrote the Three Intermezzi of his Opus 117 during the summer of 1892, spent at his favorite summer retreat, Bad Ischl, in the Alps near Salzburg. Brahms’ titles for his piano pieces were sometimes a little loose, but for him the term “intermezzo” seemed to imply music of a quiet, almost introspective nature. It is a cliché to call Brahms’ late music “autumnal,” but there is something darker still about these three intermezzi: they are spare, haunting, moving–almost bleak. Brahms himself called them “lullabies of my pain.”

The first intermezzo in fact is a lullaby. At the top of the music Brahms wrote two lines of a German translation of the old Scottish ballad Lady Anne Bothwell’s Lament:

            Balou, my boy, lye still and sleep,
            it grieves me sore to hear thee weep.

The calm outer section (Brahms marks it “sweet, simple”) gives way to a more agitated middle episode in E-flat minor before the return of the opening material and the quiet close. The second intermezzo (Brahms stresses that he wants it played con molta espressione) hides its theme inside a quiet cascade of arpeggios–only gradually does the ear make out the long line of melody within this flow. The outer section offers some of the most wistful music Brahms ever wrote, and the mood changes little in the middle section: Brahms’ biographer Karl Geiringer suggests that this music portrays a “man as he stands with the bleak, gusty autumn wind eddying round him.” The final intermezzo opens with the ominous tread of the quiet main theme in C-sharp minor octaves. It has been compared to a funeral march, and the more animated middle section lightens the mood only briefly before the return of opening theme, now skillfully set as a middle voice within a complex harmony.

Verbal description does these three pieces no justice. This quiet and somber music may well be dark. It is also endlessly beautiful.

Après une lecture du Dante, fantasia quasi sonata, S.161/7 (1839)

FRANZ LISZT
Born October 22, 1811, Raiding
Died July 31, 1886, Bayreuth

Après une lecture du Dante was published as the seventh (and final) piece of the second book of Années de pèlerinage. Liszt borrowed that elaborate title from a poem by Victor Hugo and appended his own description fantasia quasi sonata; the work is sometimes known as the Dante Sonata. Written in 1839, it was apparently very difficult for Liszt: Marie d’Agoult wrote to a friend to say that its composition “was sending him to the very devil.” Certainly the topic gripped Liszt, for it here inspires some of his most vivid tone-painting.

The Dante Sonata opens with powerful descending octaves meant to depict the entry into hell and doubtless inspired by the line “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.” Liszt underlines this association by having the octaves descend on the interval of a tritone. This unsettling interval (a diminished fifth) has been associated for centuries with the devil: its unresolved dissonance was referred to as the diabolus in musica, and its use was forbidden in some circles. Here that ominous sound makes an ideal accompaniment for our descent into hell, and soon we are plunged into the torment of the damned on music that Liszt marks lamentoso. Liszt biographer Alan Walker notes that one of Liszt’s students–on information provided by the composer–copied the following lines from Inferno into his own score at this point:

            Here sighs, with lamentations and loud moans,
            Resounded through the air pierced by no star,
            That e’en I wept at entering. Strange tongues,
            Horrible cries, words of pain,
            Tones of anger, voices deep and hoarse,
            With hands together smote that swelled the sounds,
            Made up a tumult, that for ever whirls
            Round through that air with solid darkness stained,
            Like to the sand that in the whirlwind flies.

Consolation comes with the singing and serene second subject (perhaps a vision of heaven from out of the pit of hell), though Walker points out that this is ingeniously derived from the horrifying lamentation theme. Liszt then extends both these ideas through some furious development–the work is not so much in the sonata form that its title implies as a sort of free expansion of the fundamental themes. There are moments of radiant calm along the way, but finally Liszt drives the Dante Sonata to a dramatic and sonorous close.

PRELUDE 7 PM
Lecture by Steven Cassedy
What Does an Intermezzo Come Between?

An intermezzo by definition is a composition that comes between two others. Brahms’s Three Intermezzi, Op. 117, written toward the end of his life, are among the most hauntingly beautiful pieces he wrote. Each could certainly stand on its own. So why did Brahms call them “Intermezzi?”

PaulLewis1Paul Lewis is internationally regarded as one of the leading musicians of his generation. His recent cycles of core piano works by Beethoven and Schubert have received unanimous critical and public acclaim worldwide, and consolidated his reputation as one of the world’s foremost interpreters of the central European classical repertoire. His numerous awards have included the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist of the Year, two Edison awards, three Gramophone awards, the Diapason D'or de l'Annee, the Preis Der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the Premio Internazionale Accademia Musicale Chigiana, and the South Bank Show Classical Music award. In 2009 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Southampton.

He performs regularly as soloist with the world's great orchestras, including the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, London Symphony, Bavarian Radio Symphony, NHK Symphony, New York Philharmonic, LA Philharmonic, and the Royal Concertgebouw, Tonhalle Zurich, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Philharmonia, and Mahler Chamber Orchestras, in collaboration with such conductors as Sir Colin Davis, Stephane Deneve, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Bernard Haitink, Pablo Heras-Casado, Daniel Harding, Paavo Järvi, Sir Charles Mackerras, Andris Nelsons, Wolfgang Sawallisch and Robin Ticciati. He is also a frequent guest at the world's most prestigious festivals, including Lucerne, Mostly Mozart (New York), Tanglewood, Schubertiade, Salzburg, Edinburgh, La Roque d’Antheron, Rheingau, Klavier Festival Ruhr, and London’s BBC Proms where in 2010 he became the first pianist to perform a complete Beethoven piano concerto cycle in one season.

Paul Lewis’ recital career takes him to venues such as London's Royal Festival Hall, Alice Tully and Carnegie Hall in New York, the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Berlin Philharmonie and Konzerthaus, Tonhalle Zurich, Palau de Musica Barcelona, Oji Hall in Tokyo, and Melbourne’s Recital Centre.

His multi-award winning discography for Harmonia Mundi includes the complete Beethoven piano sonatas, concertos, and the Diabelli Variations, Liszt’s B Minor Sonata and other late works, and all of Schubert’s major piano works from the last six years of his life, including the 3 song cycles with tenor Mark Padmore. Future recording plans include the Brahms D Minor Piano Concerto with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Daniel Harding, and solo works by Mussorgsky and Schumann.

Paul Lewis studied with Joan Havill at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London before going on to study privately with Alfred Brendel. Along with his wife the Norwegian cellist Bjørg Lewis, he is artistic director of Midsummer Music, an annual chamber music festival held in Buckinghamshire, UK

This performance marks Paul Lewis' La Jolla Music Society debut.

Mar
23
Wed
MONTREAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Mar 23 @ 8:00 pm
MONTREAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA @ Jacobs Music Center - Copley Symphony Hall | San Diego | California | United States

Montreal Symphony Orchestra

Kent Nagano, music director
Daniil Trifonov, piano

Kent Nagano, Music Director of Montreal Symphony Orchestra conducts an evening with orchestral works by Debussy and Stravinsky and featuring La Jolla Music Society favorite, the internationally renowned Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

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DANIIL TRIFONOV, piano:
Daniil Trifonov returns to La Jolla Music Society for a solo recital as part of the Frieman Family Piano Series on Sunday, February 28 at 8:00 PM, MCASD Sherwood Auditorium


DEBUSSYJeux; poème dansé
PROKOFIEVPiano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26
STRAVINSKYThe Rite of Spring

Click here to view the complete March-April 2016 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

by Eric Bromberger

Jeux: poème dansé (1912)

CLAUDE DEBUSSY
Born August 22, 1862, Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Died March 25, 1918, Paris

A garden, at night: Bushes and brambles ducking in and out of the harsh light and deep shadows cast by an outdoor electric floodlight. A stray tennis ball bounces onto stage, chased by a frolicking young boy and two girls. As they search for the ball, they tease, laugh and play with each other, eventually falling into a furtive embrace. Such was the choreographic scenario to which Debussy composed Jeux for the Ballets Russes in 1912, though Sergei Diaghilev had originally imagined three boys in the main roles. With Vaslav Nijinsky in the principal role, the work premièred at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in May 1913, only two weeks before the same dancer would set the gossiping classes atwitter with his controversial choreography to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Nijinsky’s choreography for Jeux, which drew more heavily on postures from golf, tennis and jazz dance than it did from classical ballet, was not a great success. Even Debussy was non-committal, commenting only a couple of weeks later, “Among recent pointless goings-on I must include the staging of Jeux, which gave Nijinsky’s perverse genius a chance of indulging in a peculiar kind of mathematics.” But the music lived on independent of the dance, and is now universally praised as an important 20th century work in line with Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune. As in that earlier piece, tone colour and orchestral texture take centre-stage. Inconclusive harmonies suggest atonality, while never fully taking the plunge. The musical themes are short, following quickly one upon the other, and the liberal use of woodwinds in various combinations makes for a character-driven and playful atmosphere.

Piano Concerto, No. 3 in C Major, Opus 26 (1921)
Andante - Allegro
Tema con variazioni
Allegro, ma non troppo

SERGEI PROKOFIEV
Born April 23, 1891, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine
Died March 5, 1953, Moscow

As a child growing up in the Ukrainian countryside, Sergei Prokofiev was naturally experimental when it came to piano playing. His juvenile compositions were often written in a different key for each hand, creating a jarringly novel effect. This rogue instinct would follow the young composer to the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, where he began his sketches for his Piano Concerto No. 3 while still a student. Completing the work in 1921, Prokofiev performed the solo part himself in the première that same year in Chicago. He also performed in the first recording of the work in 1932, proving for all posterity that the herculean technical challenges in the score grew at least partly out of his own aptitude as an exceptionally talented pianist. Prokofiev’s five essays in the piano concerto genre are significant for their total integration of soloist and orchestra, where each part is an active contributor to the essential character of the work. The lyrical opening clarinet theme of the first movement floats somewhere between tentative and serene, as it is joined by meandering harmonies in the strings. When the orchestra suddenly takes off with the locomotive rhythm of a speeding train, and the piano bursts into the texture with a joyful yelp, the first three notes of the clarinet melody are reversed in substance and effect, becoming motivic material for the ensuing figurations. A second theme is more sarcastic in nature, but the movement ultimately builds toward a romantic climax, recalling the opening melody in a grandiose tutti near the end. The second movement is a theme and variations, allowing for a full exploration of Prokofiev’s unique ability to bring out opposing characters in the same musical material – from lush and lyrical to grotesquely terrifying and exuberantly joyful. The final movement begins with a humorous topic in the orchestra, taken up and expanded by the piano, soon building to a great romantic climax. The hair-raising coda increases in energy, as piano and orchestra join in a janissary-like clamouring in the upper registers, insistent rhythms and hand-over-hand flourishes bringing the work to a powerful close in C major.

The Rite of Spring (1913)
Part I: The Adoration of the Earth
Part II: The Sacrifice

by © Marc Wieser

IGOR STRAVINSKY
Born June 17, 1882, Oranienbaum
Died April 6, 1971, New York

Paris, May 29, 1913: a date that lives on in musical notoriety. That night, the capacity audience at the newly built Théâtre des Champs-Élysées collectively participated in the birth of a new era – or the violent death of an old one, depending on whom you asked. The trio of enfants terribles at the centre of the scandal were Sergei Diaghilev, the daring founder of Les Ballets Russes, Vaslav Nijinsky, his unruly choreographer, and Igor Stravinsky, Russian darling of the Parisian avant-garde; the work, The Rite of Spring.

A week after the première, a headline from The New York Times trumpeted “Parisians Hiss New Ballet,” going on to report that the house lights had to be turned up to quell “hostile demonstrations” in the audience, while at one point the ruckus was so loud that the dancers on stage could no longer hear the orchestra, Nijinsky himself shouting out the choreography from the wings. Popular myth remembers Stravinsky’s shocking new music as the cause of the riots, while the American scholar Richard Taruskin places the blame squarely on the “ugly earthbound lurching and stomping devised by Vaslav Nijinsky.” But principal dancer Lydia Sokolova recalled, “they had prepared in Paris for a riot… they had got themselves all ready.” On the eve of a great war, in a continent still grappling with class disparity, the people seemed primed to manifest: a row was inevitable.

Stravinsky’s frenetically propulsive score unfolds as a series of tableaux depicting imagined scenes of ancient Pagan rituals around the coming of spring. A young girl is chosen by elders and forced to dance herself to death in an act of sacrifice to the land. Fragments of Russian folk tunes are evidence of the composer’s efforts to express the elemental character of his homeland, while incessant motor-rhythms and terrifyingly unpredictable accented off-beats lend an aspect of mechanization to the essentially folkloric subject matter – an ominous contradiction at the heart of the work. In fact, this revolutionary ballet score, with its violent juxtapositions of rival tonalities, may be one of the most apt and profound expressions of the clash of the old world with an impending mechanical age.

The Rite of Spring holds a special place in the OSM repertoire. First performed in Montréal in 1957 under the direction of Igor Markevitch, Rite would go on to become a signature work for the Orchestra during the directorship of Charles Dutoit, representing the confluence of Russian and French influences at the heart of the OSM’s traditional programming. In 1984 it featured prominently on a tour of Canada, USA and Europe, and a recording made that same year was honoured with a Félix award in Quebec. Most recently, Kent Nagano led the OSM in Stravinsky’s masterpiece in 2012 and 2016 in performances at Maison symphonique de Montréal.

PRELUDE 7 PM
Lecture by Michael Gerdes:
Music in Times of Change</b>
In May of 1913, Paris was the scene of two momentous musical occasions, the premières of Debussy’s Jeux and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. The former was virtually ignored and the latter triggered a riot. Why such different reactions to sounds that would change music forever?

MontrealSymphonyOrchestraSince its founding in 1934, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal has distinguished itself as a leader in the orchestral life of Canada and Québec. A cultural ambassador of the highest order, the Orchestra has earned an enviable reputation internationally through the quality of its recordings and tours. The OSM carries on that rich tradition under the leadership of its Music Director, Kent Nagano, while featuring innovative programming aimed at underlining the relevance of orchestral repertoire in our lives and strengthening the Orchestra’s connection with the community.

The excellence and vision of the OSM have been shaped over the years by its music directors: Wilfrid Pelletier, a Montrealer by birth and first Artistic Director of the Orchestra, Désiré Defauw, Igor Markevitch, Zubin Mehta, with whom the Orchestra toured in Europe for the first time, Franz-Paul Decker, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Charles Dutoit, who collaborated with the Orchestra for close to 25 years, and, since 2006, Kent Nagano.

Over the years, the Orchestra has undertaken some 40 excursions and tours. The OSM has carried out ten tours in Asia, eleven tours in Europe and three in South America. In 2008, Kent Nagano and the OSM performed twice in Carnegie Hall (2008 and 2011), where the Orchestra played almost every year between 1982 and 2004 to sold out halls. In August 2011, they took part in the Edinburgh International Festival. After a critically acclaimed tour in South America in spring 2013, Kent Nagano and the OSM went on an extensive European tour in March 2014, which was a resounding success. The last OSM tour took place in Japan and in China in October 2014.

The OSM has made over 100 recordings for Decca, EMI, Philips, CBC Records, Analekta, ECM and Sony as well as on its own label, which have earned it a total of 50 national and international awards.

On September 7, 2011, the OSM under Kent Nagano inaugurated its new home, the Maison symphonique de Montréal. The construction of this concert hall was made possible thanks to the Government of Québec. The hall's acoustics and theatre design bear the signature of the firm Artec Consultants Inc. Its architecture was entrusted to a consortium consisting of Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc. and Ædifica Architects.

Inaugurated on May 28, 2014, at Maison symphonique, the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique was generously offered to the OSM by Mrs. Jacqueline Desmarais. It was manufactured by the house of Casavant on behalf of the OSM (and is the Orchestra’s property), with the collaboration of architects Diamond Schmitt + Ædifica for its visual design.

For more information visit www.osm.ca


Kent-NaganoKent Nagano is renowned for interpretations of clarity, elegance and intelligence. He is equally at home in music of the classical, romantic and contemporary eras, introducing concert and opera audiences throughout the world to new and rediscovered music and offering fresh insights into established repertoire. Since September 2006, he is Music Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, a contract extended until 2020. He also became Artistic Advisor and Principal Guest Conductor of Gothenburg Symphony in September 2013. Since September 2015, he is the General Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera and the Chief Conductor of the Philharmonic State Orchestra. At the Hamburg State Opera, he will start his first season with the premiere of Berlioz' Les Troyens, the world premiere of Toshio Hosokawas Stilles Meer, and also Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie choreographed by John Neumeier.

A milestone at the helm of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal was the inauguration of the orchestra’s new concert hall la Maison symphonique de Montréal in September 2011. With the orchestra he performed the complete cycles of Beethoven and Mahler symphonies, Schoenberg's Gurrelieder, concert versions of Wagner's Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde, Das Rheingold, Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher, Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise, L’Aiglon by Honneger and Ibert as well as a concert series featuring the works of Dutilleux (2010-2011) and Boulez (2011-2012). Nagano has taken the orchestra on a coast-to-coast tour of Canada and also to Japan, China, South Korea, Europe and South America. In March 2014 embarked on an extensive European tour with concerts in Zurich, Bern, Geneva, Vienna, Madrid, Oviedo, Cologne, Essen and Munich. Their recordings together include the Juno award winning album Ideals of the French Revolution Mahler’s Orchestral Songs with Christian Gerhaher, and Beethoven’s Piano Concertos nos. 4 and 5. Kent Nagano and the OSM also completed the recording of all the Beethoven symphonies released under Sony Classical/Analekta.

At the Bayerische Staatsoper, where he was General Music Director from 2006 to 2013, Kent Nagano commissioned new operas such as Babylon by Jörg Widmann, Das Gehege by Wolfgang Rihm and Alice in Wonderland by Unsuk Chin. New productions have included Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov and Khovanshchina, Idomeneo, Eugene Onegin, Ariadne auf Naxos and Die Schweigsame Frau, Dialogues des Carmélites, Saint François d’Assise, Wozzeck, George Benjamin’s Written on Skin and Der Ring des Nibelungen. With the Bayerisches Staatsorchester Kent Nagano has toured throughout Europe and in Japan and together they have recorded Bruckner Symphonies nos. 4, 7 and 8. In January 2014, Kent Nagano returned to the Bayerische Staatsoper to conduct a revival of Widmann’s Babylon.

As a much sought after guest conductor, he has worked with most of the world’s finest orchestras including the Vienna, Berlin and New York Philharmonics, Chicago Symphony, Dresden Staatskapelle and Leipzig Gewandhaus. He has an ongoing relationship with Sony Classical and has also recorded for Erato, Teldec, Pentatone and Deutsche Grammophon as well as Harmonia Mundi, winning Grammy awards for his recordings of Busoni’s Doktor Faust with Opéra National de Lyon, Peter and the Wolf with the Russian National Orchestra and Saariaho’s L’amour de loin with the Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin.

A very important period in Kent Nagano’s career was his time as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, from 2000-2006. He performed Schönberg’s Moses und Aron with the orchestra (in collaboration with Los Angeles Opera), and took them to the Salzburg Festival to perform both Zemlinsky’s Der König Kandaules and Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten, as well as to the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden with Parsifal and Lohengrin in productions by Nikolaus Lehnhoff. Recordings with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin for Harmonia Mundi include repertoire as diverse as Bernstein’s Mass, Bruckner’s Symphonies nos. 3 and 6, Beethoven’s Christus am Ölberge, Wolf Lieder, Mahler’s Symphony no. 8 and Schönberg’s Die Jakobsleiter and Friede auf Erden, as well as Brahms’s Symphony no. 4 and Schoenberg’s Variationen für Orchester op. 31. In June 2006, at the end of his tenure with the orchestra, Kent Nagano was given the title Honorary Conductor by members of the orchestra, only the second recipient of this honour in their 60-year history.

Kent Nagano became the first Music Director of Los Angeles Opera in 2003 having already held the position of Principal Conductor for two years. His work in other opera houses has included Shostakovich’s The Nose (Staatsoper Berlin), Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel (Châtelet, Paris), Hindemith’s Cardillac (Opéra national de Paris), Dialogues des Carmélites (Metropolitan Opera) and at the Salzburg Festival Les contes d’Hoffmann, Zemlinsky’s Der Koenig Kandaules, Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten and the world premiere of Saariaho’s L’amour de loin. Other world premieres include Bernstein’s A White House Cantata and operas by Peter Eötvös (Three Sisters), and John Adams (The Death of Klinghoffer and El Niño).

Born in California, Kent Nagano maintains close connections with his home state and was Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra from 1978-2008. His early professional years were spent in Boston, working in the opera house and as assistant conductor to Seiji Ozawa at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He played a key role in the world premiere of Messiaen’s opera Saint François d’Assise at the request of the composer, who became a mentor and bequeathed his piano to the conductor. Kent Nagano’s success in America led to European appointments: Music Director of Opéra National de Lyon (1988-1998) and Music Director of the Hallé Orchestra (1991-2000).

Kent Nagano last performed for La Jolla Music Society in SummerFest 2012.


DaniilTrifonovRussian pianist Daniil Trifonov (dan-EEL TREE-fon-ov) has made a spectacular ascent to classical music stardom since winning First Prize at both the Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein competitions in 2011 at the age of 20. Combining consummate technique with rare sensitivity and depth, his performances are a perpetual source of awe. “He has everything and more, ... tenderness and also the demonic element. I never heard anything like that,” stated Martha Argerich, while the New York Times has observed, “Mr. Trifonov has scintillating technique and a virtuosic flair. He is also a thoughtful artist. … He can play with soft-spoken delicacy, not what you associate with competition conquerors.”

The 2013-14 season promises to be a banner one for the young pianist. Deutsche Grammophon signed him as an exclusive recording artist, and his first album for the label, Trifonov: The Carnegie Recital, was captured live at his recent sold-out Carnegie recital debut and is due for U.S. release this winter, to coincide with his return to the New York venue. The New York Times noted that Trifonov’s “soulful artistry and virtuoso chops were in full evidence” at his 2012 Carnegie debut. Further recital engagements take the pianist from Chicago to London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rio de Janeiro, and a host of other international musical hotspots. He looks forward to a similarly extensive lineup of orchestral collaborations, playing concertos by Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Scriabin, Shostakovich, Chopin, and Mozart in dates with 19 of the world’s foremost orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Washington’s National Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, and Rome’s Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Upcoming chamber music highlights include a duo recital tour with his teacher and fellow pianist, Sergei Babayan, that kicks off with a gala concert at the Dallas Chamber Music Society.

The 2012-13 season saw Trifonov make debuts with all the “Big Five” orchestras – the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and Philadelphia Orchestra – and with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and London’s Royal Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras, besides returning to the London Symphony and the Mariinsky Orchestra led by Valery Gergiev, the Russian National Orchestra under Mikhail Pletnev, and the Warsaw Philharmonic with Antoni Wit. He made solo recital debuts at Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Musikverein, Japan’s Suntory Hall, and the Salle Pleyel in Paris, and the summer brought further triumphs at the Verbier and Edinburgh Festivals and in the pianist’s BBC Proms debut at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Recent recitals have also taken Trifonov to the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Boston’s Celebrity Series, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw (Master Piano Series), Berlin’s Philharmonie (the Kammermusiksaal), Munich’s Herkulessaal, Bavaria’s Schloss Elmau, Zurich’s Tonhalle, the Lucerne Piano Festival, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, and the Seoul Arts Center.

As an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, Trifonov’s future plans with the label include recording Rachmaninoff’s complete piano concertos. His existing discography features a Chopin album for Decca and a recording of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra on the ensemble’s own label.

It was during the 2010-11 season that Trifonov won medals at three of the music world’s most prestigious competitions, taking Third Prize in Warsaw’s Chopin Competition, First Prize in Tel Aviv’s Rubinstein Competition, and both First Prize and Grand Prix in Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Competition. Jury members and observers at these events included Martha Argerich, Krystian Zimerman, Van Cliburn, Emanuel Ax, Nelson Freire, Yefim Bronfman, and Gergiev, who personally awarded Trifonov the Moscow Grand Prix, an additional honor bestowed on the best overall competitor in any category.

Born in Nizhny Novgorod in 1991, and having begun his musical training at the age of five, Trifonov went on to attend Moscow’s Gnessin School of Music as a student of Tatiana Zelikman, before pursuing his piano studies with Sergei Babayan at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has also studied composition, and continues to write music for piano, chamber, and orchestra.

Daniil Trifonov last performed for La Jolla Music Society in the Freeman Family Piano Series on April 10, 2015.

For more information visit daniiltrifonov.com

Apr
2
Sat
SPRING GALA 2016 STORM LARGE
Apr 2 @ 6:00 pm
SPRING GALA 2016 STORM LARGE @ Coasterra | San Diego | California | United States

Storm Large

Saturday, April 2, 2016
6:00 PM at Coasterra

Gala Co-Chairs: Elaine Darwin and Silvija Devine
TICKETS: Honorary Committee $1,500

For more information contact:
Ferdinand Gasang
858.459.3724, ext. 204
FGasang@LJMS.org.

 

Join sensational chanteuse Storm Large deliver an exquisite evening of Great American Songbook classics, including songs by legendary composers Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Richard Rodgers. Enjoy this sensational performance with hand-crafted specialty cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a sumptuous dinner, while overlooking the shimmering downtown skyline.

Proceeds benefit the education, outreach and artistic programs of La Jolla Music Society.


Apr
15
Fri
TANGO, SONG AND DANCE
Apr 15 @ 8:00 pm
TANGO, SONG AND DANCE @ MCASD Sherwood Auditorium | San Diego | California | United States

Tango, Song and Dance

Augustin Hadelich, violin, Joyce Yang, piano & Pablo Villegas, guitar

Acclaimed violinist Augustin Hadelich is joined by dazzling pianist Joyce Yang and dynamic guitarist Pablo Villegas perform an evening of Spanish-themed music built around André Previn’s three-part piece of the same name and include works by Rodrigo, Falla, Piazzolla, Ginastera, Ysaÿe, and Villa-Lobos.

Experience passion, fire and romance!

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ANDRÉ PREVINTango from Tango, Song and Dance
RODRIGOInvocación y Danza (Homage to Manuel de Falla)
FALLACanciones Populares Espaňolas
GINASTERADanzas Argentinas
ANDRÉ PREVINSong from Tango, Song and Dance
ROLAND DYENSTango en Skaï
PIAZZOLLAHistoire du Tango
YSAŸESonata for Solo Violin No. 6 in E Major, Op. 27/6
ANDRÉ PREVINDance from Tango, Song and Dance
VILLA-LOBOSAria from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5

Click here to view the complete March-April 2016 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: Tango Song and Dance

by Augustin Hadelich

Introduction:

Over the years, Augustin and I have had a great time putting together recital programs that we thought were both coherent and intriguing. We recently decided it was time for something new and bold!

Among the many works for violin and piano that we were considering, André Previn’s three-movement work Tango Song and Dance (written in 1997 for Anne-Sophie Mutter) jumped out at us. It’s a break from the usual: it’s not a sonata; it’s American; it swings —we loved it immediately! Augustin started to program it in some recitals with pianist Joyce Yang, and audiences love it too!

An interesting factor is that every movement is approximately five minutes long — three balanced movements, each of which stands quite well on its own. Having been drawn to the concept that classical music must, in order to survive, introduce visual elements into its presentation, I began to SEE these three movements as separated pillars of a recital program. We would use lighting and a non-verbal narrative that would thread through various pieces and make the concert a coherent entity.

Since the music is the most important element of Tango Song and Dance, we spent many hours finding the right music for Previn’s pillars to frame. When they finally fell into place, I called the director Ed Berkeley, asking him to create the narrative and find an excellent lighting director.
- Patricia Handy, Artistic Advisor

About Tango Song and Dance:

As with any conceptually solid program, various connections and resonances between the pieces continued to arise as Patricia and I worked on putting this program together, and several possibilities for the narrative emerged. In Ed Berkeley’s words, “The first step is to study the emotional connections between and among the instrumental lines in each work. Where do the instruments argue? Where do they agree? Where do they flirt? Where seduce? Where do they celebrate, where despair?” It all starts with Previn’s Tango. Ed elaborates: “The violin and piano in Previn’s Tango seem to be having an emotional problem connecting with each other. There is a struggle. This is the core of the evening, the starting point that cries for resolution.”

It is then that guitarist Pablo Villegas appears playing Rodrigo’s Invocation and Dance, drawing me into his own mysterious world. I join him in five Falla songs, after which the piano explodes jealously in Ginastera’s Danzas Argentinas. Ed feels that “private thoughts are explored in the solo works until a synthesis is found among the violin, piano and guitar”. At the end, in Villa-Lobos’s gorgeous Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, we finally all play together. It’s a truly beautiful way to end both the narrative and the musical program!

To reinforce the non-verbal narrative, Ed asked lighting designer Kate Ashton to create lighting that would further communicate the story. Ed asked that “spaces become smaller and larger to connect and separate the musicians; color and image change to imply the passage of time and further explore the emotional voice of each instrument.” The lighting is atmospheric, reinforcing the character and emotional message of each work. In order that the musical content of the recital remain dominant, we decided not to use motion graphics. We want the audience to reflect upon where the pieces take them, and to make their own connections. We hope that you will have as much fun with this music as we do!

About the Music:

André Previn (born 1929) wrote Tango Song and Dance for violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. This three-movement work will frame tonight’s program, with the first movement, Tango, played at the start of the concert; the second, Song, at the beginning of the second half; and the third, Dance, at the end. Tango is full of theatrical flair. In Previn’s own words: “At the time, the tango revival craze had not yet been born, and so the first movement with its purposeful and exaggerated tango clichés was still possible. The clustered harmonies are not terribly far removed from the sound the traditional accordion makes, and the whole movement should be full of self-conscious poses”. Below the surface, however, there is a troubled and uneasy feeling. Song is poignant and extremely sentimental. The piano accompaniment’s textures and harmonies evoke sad piano bar music, over which the violinist sings wistfully. The finale, Dance, is a wild ride. It is here that the jazz influence is felt most strongly. That said, it would be rather hard to dance to since Previn likes to make the bars trip over themselves by leaving out the final eighth note. Much of the piano playing sounds like boogie woogie patterns played on a broken piano: lots of “wrong” and “missed” notes and general mayhem! Above all this, the violin plays jazz riffs intermingled with more percussive, atonal passages. Overall, the mood of the movement is frenzied and jubilant.

Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) is one of Spain’s most celebrated composers, particularly famous for his works for guitar. His rhapsodic solo guitar work Invocación y danza is an homage to the great Spanish composer Manuel de Falla, and it contains subtle quotes of Falla works such as the Three-Cornered Hat, and El amor brujo, although the quotes are disguised in such a way as to be barely recognizable.

Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) wrote his Siete canciones populares españolas originally for voice and piano. The work was first transcribed for violin and piano by Paul Kochanski in the early 20th century. The guitar is a very prominent instrument in Spanish music, and many of the folk forms, for example the jota, would originally have been sung with guitar accompaniment. In his piano accompaniments, Falla is often trying to imitate the sounds of the guitar. We have chosen five of Falla’s original seven songs. El paño moruno is a lament about a piece of Moorish cloth that has been stained and will now fetch only a low price at the market. The overly dramatic tone (with many cries of Ay! Ay!) is enigmatic. Could the stained cloth be a symbol of lost innocence? Asturiana is an extremely mournful song. The weeping protagonist seeks consolation near a green pine. Instead of giving comfort, the pine tree starts weeping as well. Jota is a passionate song about two lovers. Since they are not seen talking to one another, people around them don’t think they love each other—but anyone who looks into their hearts knows the truth. The next song, Nana, is a tranquil lullaby. The Moorish influence is most clearly heard in this song. Occupying Spain from 711 until 1492, the Moors left a strong mark on Spanish music and architecture, in addition to many other areas of their culture. The cycle ends with Polo, a type of flamenco. The singer, in great despair, is cursing love and fate.

Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) wrote his Danzas Argentinas Op. 2 in 1937. The first of the three dances, Danza del viejo boyero (Dance of the Old Herdsman) is a quirky piece full of sudden dissonances which are caused by the left hand playing only black keys and the right hand playing only white ones. Danza de la moza donosa (Dance of the Beautiful Maiden) is a melancholic, sensual piece full of sighing, chromatic gestures. The final movement, Danza del gaucho matrero (Dance of the Arrogant Cowboy) is highly virtuosic and at turns wild, savage, angry and jubilant.

Roland Dyens (born 1955) is a French guitarist, composer, arranger and improviser, and Tango en Skaï is his most famous original composition. The work is a light-hearted homage to Argentinian tango. “Skaï” is a French slang term for imitation leather, and is a reference to the distinctive leather outfits of the Gauchos (cowboys) of Argentina.

Originally written for flute and guitar (the earliest tango instrumentation), the four movements of Histoire du Tango by Ástor Piazzolla (1921-1992) retrace the history of Argentine tango throughout the 20th century: The first movement, titled Bordel 1900, is written in the fast and lively style of the first tangos - played and danced in the bordellos of Buenos Aires starting around 1882. Café 1930 strikes a very different note. Tango has evolved to become slower, more melancholic, and no longer just for dancing. People are now listening to tango orchestras, and violins are featured for the first time. By the time we reach Nightclub 1960, the tango has been enriched by the influence of bossa nova from Brazil. This is the passionate, rambunctious style of the tango that made Piazzolla world-famous. Finally, in Concert d’aujourd’hui, the tango has arrived in the concert hall. This movement showcases Piazzolla’s unique compositional style, with influences from great 20th century composers such as Bartók and Stravinsky. Having started out in seedy red-light districts and survived eras when it was outlawed in Argentina, the tango is now being celebrated in the most illustrious concert halls throughout the world.

In 1923 the Belgian virtuoso Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931) was nearing the end of his career. Inspired by Bach’s six sonatas and partitas (which form the core of the solo violin repertoire) he set out to write six of his own solo sonatas, each dedicated to another great violinist of his time. After dedicating the first five to Joseph Szigeti, Jacques Thibaud, George Enescu, Fritz Kreisler and Mathieu Crickboom, he dedicated the sixth and final sonata to Manuel Quiroga, one of the greatest Spanish violinists of the 20th century. Perhaps Ysaÿe’s most technically challenging sonata, it is cast in one single rhapsodic movement and is very much an homage to Spanish music and to Quiroga’s passionate and dramatic playing style. After many displays of virtuosity and improvisatory detours, the music comes to a stop, and a charming and seductive habanera dance emerges from the silence. After the dramatic opening returns, the fireworks quickly build towards a heroic ending.

When Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) wrote his nine Bachianas Brasileiras, he intended them primarily as homages to Bach. His music often shows the strong influence of Brazilian folk music, and in these pieces, the Brazilian rhythms and idioms are combined with counterpoint and harmony directly inspired by Bach’s music. To conclude tonight’s program, we will perform the first movement, Aria, from the Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, undoubtedly the most famous of this cycle. The arrangement for violin, guitar and piano has been composed by Stefan Malzew.

PRELUDE 7 PM
A conversation with Augustin Hadelich hosted by Marcus Overton

Augustin-HadelichContinuing to astonish audiences with his phenomenal technique, poetic sensitivity and gorgeous tone, Augustin Hadelich has established himself as one of the most sought-after violinists of his generation. His remarkable consistency throughout the repertoire, from Paganini to Adès, is seldom encountered in a single artist.

Worldwide appearances include multiple engagements with the Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and internationally, with the BBC Philharmonic/Manchester, BBC Symphony/London, NHK Symphony/Tokyo, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, to name a few.

Highlights of Mr. Hadelich’s 2014/2015 season include debuts with the Minnesota Orchestra, Danish National Symphony, and the London Philharmonic, as well as return engagements with the New York Philharmonic and the symphonies of Baltimore, Houston, Indianapolis, Liverpool, Saint Louis, and Seattle. Other recent and upcoming projects include debuts with the Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, as well as his recital debut at the Wigmore Hall in London, an Artist-in- Residency with the Netherlands Philharmonic, and tours with both the Toronto and San Diego symphonies.

In addition to several recital CDs, Mr. Hadelich’s first major orchestral recording, featuring the violin concertos of Jean Sibelius and Thomas Adès (Concentric Paths) with Hannu Lintu conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, was released to great acclaim in March 2014 on the AVIE label. The disc has been nominated for a Gramophone Award, and was listed by NPR on their Top 10 Classical CDs of 2014. A recent recording of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto and Bartók’s Concerto No. 2 with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra under Miguel Harth-Bedoya is scheduled for release on AVIE in the spring of 2015.

The 2006 Gold Medalist of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, Mr. Hadelich is the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant (2009), a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship in the UK (2001), and Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award (2012). He received an artist diploma from The Juilliard School, where he was a student of Joel Smirnoff. Mr. Hadelich plays on the 1723 “Ex-Kiesewetter” Stradivari

Augustin Hadelich last performed for La Jolla Music Society in SummerFest 2015.

For more information visit augustin-hadelich.com


Joyce-Yang Blessed with “poetic and sensitive pianism” (Washington Post) and a “wondrous sense of color” (San Francisco Classical Voice), pianist Joyce Yang captivates audiences with her virtuosity, lyricism, and interpretive sensitivity. As a Van Cliburn International Piano Competition silver medalist and Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, Yang showcases her colorful musical personality in solo recitals and collaborations with the world’s top orchestras and chamber musicians.

Yang came to international attention in 2005 when she won the silver medal at the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The youngest contestant at 19 years old, she took home two additional awards: the Steven De Groote Memorial Award for Best Performance of Chamber Music (with the Takàcs Quartet) and the Beverley Taylor Smith Award for Best Performance of a New Work.

Since her spectacular debut, she has blossomed into an “astonishing artist” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung). She has performed as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, the Baltimore, Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Sydney, and Toronto symphony orchestras, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and the BBC Philharmonic (among many others), working with such distinguished conductors as Edo de Waart, Lorin Maazel, James Conlon, Leonard Slatkin, David Robertson, Bramwell Tovey, Peter Oundjian, and Jaap van Zweden. In recital, Yang has taken the stage at New York’s Lincoln Center and Metropolitan Museum; the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC; Chicago’s Symphony Hall; and Zurich’s Tonhalle.

During the 2014-15 season Yang returns to the New York Philharmonic to play Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1 under Bramwell Tovey at Lincoln Center and the Bravo! Vail Festival, and enjoys a full schedule of North American concerto engagements. She joins the Takács Quartet for Dvorak in Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series, tours and records with violinist Augustin Hadelich, plays chamber music and solo recitals with Musica Viva Australia, as well as gives performances in Aspen, Montreal, and for the Van Cliburn Foundation in Fort Worth. In her return to the Aspen Music Festival this summer she plays the Grieg Concerto under Osmo Vänskä and reunites with Hadelich and guitarist Pablo Villegas for a reprise of their acclaimed “Tango, Song, and Dance” program in which “Yang shone” (Washington Post) at its Kennedy Center premiere.

Additional highlights of recent seasons include Yang’s Royal Flemish Philharmonic and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin debuts, the conclusion of a four-year Rachmaninoff cycle with de Waart and the Milwaukee Symphony, to which she brought “an enormous palette of colors, and tremendous emotional depth” (Milwaukee Sentinel Journal), collaborations with the Alexander, Modigliani and Takács Quartets, and “ravishing performances” (Dallas Morning News) with Hadelich in Dallas and Los Angeles. Yang also made her UK debut in the Cambridge International Piano Series, and impressed the New York Times with “vivid and beautiful playing” of Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet with members of the Emerson String Quartet at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center.

In spring 2014, Yang “demonstrated impressive gifts” (New York Times) with a trio of album releases: her second solo disc for Avie Records, Wild Dreams, on which she plays Schumann, Bartók, Hindemith, Rachmaninoff, and arrangements by Earl Wild; a pairing of the Brahms and Schumann Piano Quintets with the Alexander Quartet; and a recording of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Denmark’s Odense Symphony Orchestra that International Record Review called “hugely enjoyable, beautifully shaped … a performance that marks her out as an enormous talent.” Of her 2011 debut album for Avie Records, Collage, featuring works by Scarlatti, Liebermann, Debussy, Currier, and Schumann, Gramophone praised her “imaginative programming” and “beautifully atmospheric playing.” Yang made her celebrated New York Philharmonic debut with Maazel at Avery Fisher Hall in November 2006 and performed on the orchestra’s tour of Asia, making a triumphant return to her hometown of Seoul, South Korea. Subsequent appearances with the Philharmonic included the opening night of the Leonard Bernstein Festival in September 2008, at the special request of Maazel in his final season as music director. The New York Times pronounced her performance in Bernstein’s The Age of Anxiety a “knockout.”

Born in 1986 in Seoul, South Korea, Yang received her first piano lesson at the age of four. She quickly took to the instrument, which she received as a birthday present, and over the next few years won several national piano competitions in her native country. By the age of ten, she had entered the School of Music at the Korea National University of Arts, and went on to make a number of concerto and recital appearances in Seoul and Daejeon. In 1997, Yang moved to the United States to begin studies at the pre-college division of the Juilliard School with Dr. Yoheved Kaplinsky. During her first year at Juilliard, Yang won the pre-college division Concerto Competition, resulting in a performance of Haydn’s Keyboard Concerto in D with the Juilliard Pre-College Chamber Orchestra. After winning the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Greenfield Student Competition, she performed Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with that orchestra at just twelve years old. She graduated from Juilliard with special honor as the recipient of the school’s 2010 Arthur Rubinstein Prize, and in 2011 she won its 30th Annual William A. Petschek Piano Recital Award.

Yang appears in the film In the Heart of Music, a documentary about the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. A Steinway artist, she currently lives in New York City.

Yoyce Yang last performed for La Jolla Music Society in SummerFest 2015.


PabloVillegas“virtuosic playing characterized by its vividly shaded colors and irresistible exuberance…” – The New York Times

The soul of the Spanish guitar runs in Pablo Villegas’s blood. Born and raised in La Rioja, Spain – the country with unique and deep ties to his chosen instrument – Villegas is distinguished by performances as charismatic as they are intimate. With his singing tone and consummate technique, his interpretations conjure the passion, playfulness, and drama of his homeland’s rich musical heritage, routinely drawing comparisons with such legendary exponents of his instrument as Andrés Segovia. Indeed, at just 15 he won the Andrés Segovia Award, launching a succession of international wins that include Gold Medal at the inaugural Christopher Parkening International Guitar Competition. The first guitarist to win El Ojo Crítico, Spain’s top classical music honor, Villegas also became the youngest of his generation to appear with the New York Philharmonic, in an auspicious debut under the late Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos at Avery Fisher Hall. He has since performed for both the Dalai Lama and the Spanish royal family, and it was he who gave the world premiere of Rounds, the first composition for guitar by five-time Academy Award-winner John Williams. A born communicator, the guitarist explains: “Music is a social tool, and opening people’s hearts, and helping them connect to the inner life of the emotions, is my mission.”

Villegas launches the 2015-16 season with the international release of his solo album, Americano, which marks his debut on the Harmonia Mundi label. Exploring the multiple guitar traditions of the New World from tango to bluegrass, this colorfully eclectic selection features the world premiere recording of Williams’s Rounds; music from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story; preludes by Brazilian master Heitor Villa-Lobos; and the popular standard Granada by Mexico’s Agustin Lara. In concert, Villegas makes no fewer than seven orchestral debuts in the coming season, with ensembles including the Pacific, Cincinnati and Santa Barbara Symphonies, Norway’s Bergen Philharmonic, and Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra, where he reunites with Alondra de la Parra. Following his triumphant debuts with the two orchestras last season, the guitarist also makes welcome returns to the Pittsburgh and Oregon Symphonies.

Known for a sound so rich and full that it does not need amplification, Villegas’s concerto collaborations regularly inspire immediate reengagements. Since his international breakthrough after his triumphs at the 2003 Tárrega Competition and 2006 Parkening Competition, he has appeared with orchestras in more than 30 countries, including the New York, Los Angeles, and Israel Philharmonics, and the Boston, San Francisco, Houston, and Toronto Symphonies. He made a series of important debuts under the baton of Frühbeck de Burgos, and has enjoyed fruitful collaborations with conductors including Giancarlo Guerrero, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Carlos Kalmar, Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Helmut Lachenmann, Juanjo Mena, Alondra de la Parra, and composer George Crumb. Last season, Villegas enjoyed an increased American presence, making debuts with seven U.S. orchestras. For his first appearances with ensembles including the Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Oregon Symphonies, he played Rodrigo’s soul-stirring Concierto de Aranjuez, a signature work that also served as the vehicle for his collaboration with Spain’s National Radio & Television Orchestra (RTVE). In recital, he appeared at Carnegie Hall, the New York City Classical Guitar Society, the Guitar Foundation of America Convention, the Grand Teton Music Festival, Puerto Rico’s Festival Casals, and Italy’s Merano Festival, as well as in duet with violinist Augustin Hadelich at Ohio’s Linton Music Series and Germany’s Rheingau Music Festival.

Dedicated to expanding the guitar’s repertory and audience, Villegas is an ardent champion of new music. Besides John Williams, whose Rounds he premiered at the 2012 Parkening Competition in Malibu, he has worked closely with contemporary composers including Sérgio Assad, of whose Concerto of Rio de Janeiro, written for and dedicated to Villegas, he gave the world and European premieres at the Guitar Foundation of America Convention and Cordoba Guitar Festival. He has also given first performances of works by Maria Dolores, and looks forward to premiering a new concerto by Lorenzo Palomo in the 2016-17 season.

An active recording artist, in addition to making his Harmonia Mundi debut with Americano Villegas recently recorded a trio of Rodrigo concertos with the National Orchestra of Spain, thereby becoming the first in more than 20 years to capture the Concierto de Aranjuez with the ensemble. His previous releases include Histoire du Tango, a collection of violin-guitar works with Augustin Hadelich for the AVIE label, and Manuel Ponce’s Concierto del sur, a platinum title that he recorded with Alondra de la Parra for Sony Classical. Besides inspiring rapturous reviews on both sides of the Atlantic, Villegas has been featured on Spain’s national television and radio, and in such leading Spanish outlets as El Mundo. His U.S. coverage includes interviews on Fox 5, WQXR, and other local stations, and a cover story in Classical Guitar magazine.

In 2007 Villegas founded the Music Without Borders Legacy (MWBL), a non-profit organization that seeks to bridge cultural, social, and political boundaries through classical music. Since its inception, the foundation has reached more than 15,000 at-risk children and youth around the world, through music programs in the U.S.A., Mexico, and Spain, and is now supported by La Caixa Bank. Villegas also serves as cultural ambassador for La Rioja’s Vivanco Foundation and its Museum of Wine Culture, considered the most prestigious wine museum in the world.

Born in 1977 in La Rioja in Northern Spain, Villegas was inspired to take guitar lessons after seeing Segovia on television. He gave his first public performance at just seven years old, and went on to graduate at the top of his class at the Royal Conservatoire in Madrid. After several years in Germany, in 2001 he relocated to New York City, where he studied for his Masters and Doctorate with David Starobin at the Manhattan School of Music, and where he lives to this day.

For more information please visit pablosainzvillegas.com

Pablo Villegas last performed for La Jolla Music Society in the Discovery Series on April 10, 2011.

Apr
17
Sun
ISTVÁN VÁRDAI, cello
Apr 17 @ 3:00 pm
ISTVÁN VÁRDAI, cello @ The Auditorium at TSRI | San Diego | California | United States

István Várdai, cello & Julien Quentin, piano

2014 First Prize Winner at the 63rd ARD International Music Competition

La Jolla Music Society welcomes Hungarian cellist István Várdai to the
Discovery Series. Winner of several prestigious international prizes, Mr. Várdai will perform a program of favorites from the cello repertoire including works by Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff, Dvořák and Brahms’ Sonata for Cello in F Major.

“His playing was commendable for its fluidity and virtuosity, distinguished by both a fleet-fingered lightness and a rich timbre.” – New York Times

Buy Tickets

István Várdai, cello
Julien Quentin, piano

BRAHMSSonata for Cello and Piano in F Major, Op. 99
MENDELSSOHNSong Without Words, in D Major Op. 109
Albumblatt (1835)
DVOŘÁK Rondo in G Minor, Op. 94
RACHMANINOFFVocalise, Op. 34, No. 14
STRAVINSKYSuite Italienne for Cello and Piano (arr. Piatigorsky)
ROSTROPOVICHHumoresque, Op. 5

Click here to view the complete March-April 2016 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: István Várdai, cello & Julien Quentin, piano

by Eric Bromberger

Sonata for Cello and Piano in F Major, Opus 99 (1886)
Allegro vivace
Adagio affettuoso
Allegro passionato
Allegro molto

JOHANNES BRAHMS
Born May 7, 1833, Hamburg
Died April 3, 1897, Vienna

Brahms was frequently inspired to write for a particular instrument by a particular virtuoso player. He wrote much of his violin music with Joseph Joachim in mind, and late in life he wrote a series of works for clarinet after being impressed with the playing of Richard Mühlfeld. It was his association with the Austrian cellist Robert Hausmann (1852-1909) that led to the composition of Brahms’ second and final cello sonata. Brahms heard Hausmann perform his Cello Sonata in E Minor in Vienna in March 1885 and was so taken with Hausmann’s playing that he wanted to write a new work specifically for him. But Brahms, then in the process of composing his Fourth Symphony, could not begin such a work immediately. It was not until the summer of 1886, which Brahms spent at Hofstetten on Lake Thun in Switzerland, that he could finally set to work on the sonata.

When he returned to Vienna in the fall, he brought the manuscript with him, and he and Hausmann gave the work several private hearings before it had its first public performance in Vienna on November 24, 1886. Brahms himself was a virtuoso pianist, but he had the unfortunate habit of grunting and snorting as he played. His friend Elizabeth von Herzogenberg referred gently to this when she wrote of her enthusiasm for the sonata: So far I have been most thrilled by the first movement. It is so masterly in its compression, so torrentlike in its progress, so terse in the development, while the extension of the first subject on its return comes as the greatest surprise. I don’t need to tell you how we enjoyed the soft, melodious Adagio, particularly the exquisite return to F sharp major, which sounds so beautiful. I should like to hear you play the essentially vigorous Scherzo. Indeed, I always hear you snorting and puffing away at it–for no one else will ever play it just to my mind. It must be agitated without being hurried, legato in spite of its unrest and impetus.

Those who claim that Brahms never wrote true chamber music have some of their most convincing evidence in this cello sonata, for this is music conceived on a grand scale–muscular, passionate, striving. The first movement is marked Allegro vivace, and from its first moments one senses music straining to break through the limits imposed by just two instruments. If the tremolandi beginning suggests the scope of symphonic music, the rising-and-falling shape of the cello’s opening theme recalls the rising-and-falling shape of the opening movement of the composer’s just-completed Fourth Symphony. The first movement is in sonata form, and the vigorous opening theme is heard in various guises throughout the movement. Its quiet and stately reappearance in the piano just before the coda is a masterstroke.

Brahms specifies that the Adagio be played affettuoso–“with affection”–yet for all its melting songfulness, this is a serious movement, full of surprises. Brahms moves to the distant key of F-sharp major for this movement and then to the equally unexpected F minor for the second subject. He uses pizzicato, a sound not typical of his string writing, for extended periods and sometimes has the piano mirror that sound with its accompaniment. And he builds his themes on something close to echo effects, with one instrument seeming to trail the other’s statement. It is imaginative writing–and often very beautiful. With the third movement, Allegro passionato, the music returns to the mood of the first, for it begins and ends with a great rush of energy. Between the scherzo sections comes a haunting trio featuring some of Brahms’ most sensitive writing for the cello. In the felicitous words of American composer Daniel Gregory Mason, “throughout this movement there are few of those places, unhappily frequent in most music for the cello, that sound so difficult that you wish, with Dr. Johnson, they were impossible.”

The Allegro molto is by far the shortest movement of the sonata, and after the driving power of the first and third movements, the finale seems almost lightweight, an afterthought to the sound and fury that have preceded it. Its main theme, possibly of folk origin, rocks along happily throughout and–in another of Brahms’ many successful small touches in this sonata–is played pizzicato just before the final cadence.

Song without Words in D Major, Opus 109 (1829/1845)

FELIX MENDELSSOHN
Born February 3, 1809, Hamburg
Died November 4, 1847, Leipzig

Between 1830 and 1845 Mendelssohn composed a number of short pieces for piano that he called Lieder ohne Worte: “Songs without Words.” That title makes clear that the impulse in this music is fundamentally lyric: a singing melody, usually in the right hand, is supported by a relatively straightforward accompaniment in the left, and many of these pieces are easy enough to suggest that Mendelssohn intended them for the growing number of amateur pianists in the first part of the nineteenth century. But many of them are frankly virtuosic, so difficult that they remain beyond the reach of all but the most talented amateur pianists. All these pieces, though, show Mendelssohn’s virtues–appealing melodies, a nice sense of form, rhythmic vitality, and polished writing for the piano–and they became vastly popular in the nineteenth century.

The Lieder ohne Worte have appeared in arrangements for many instruments, but the Song without Words in D Major, Opus 109 was conceived by Mendelssohn himself for cello and piano. He appears to have composed it in the fall of 1845, shortly after the première of his Violin Concerto, but he had not published it at the time of his death sixteen months later–it was published after his death and assigned the opus number 109 at that time. This brief piece is in the three-part form that Mendelssohn favored in his Lieder: the opening section is indeed song-like in its appealing lyricism, while the middle section is impetuous. Mendelssohn makes a particularly beautiful return to the opening material, and the music draws to a quiet close.

Albumblatt (1836)

FELIX MENDELSSOHN

Albumblatt means “album-leaf,” and in music it denotes a short work, usually of intimate character and often conceived as a composition so brief that it might be written on a single page of someone’s album (Beethoven’s Für Elise is sometimes considered an albumblatt). The form was popular during the nineteenth century (a time when some people actually had personal albums), but it has pretty much vanished over the last hundred years. Mendelssohn wrote several works he titled Albumblatt, and listeners will find this gentle music much in the manner of the Song without Words just performed on this program. Mendelssohn marks it Assai tranquillo (“very tranquil”), though the minor tonality gives this music a dark and wistful expressive range.

Rondo in G Minor, Opus 94 (1893)

ANTONIN DVOŔÁK
Born September 8, 1841, Muhlhausen, Bohemia
Died May 1, 1904, Prague

The year 1891 brought momentous changes for Dvoŕák. He turned 50 that September and found himself much honored: he received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Cambridge that year, but more importantly he concluded negotiations with Jeannette Thurber to go to America and take on the directorship of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City the following year. Dvoŕák knew that his life was about to be transformed and that he would have to be gone from his homeland for years, and so–during the winter and spring of 1892–he embarked on a lengthy farewell tour of concerts through Bohemia and Moravia. The centerpiece of this tour was Dvoŕák’s recently-completed “Dumky” Trio: with violinist Ferdinand Lachner and cellist Hanus Wihan, he performed it more than forty times.

But Dvoŕák realized that he needed music to play with each of those two string players individually, and so he quickly composed some new music (and arranged some old) for them. One of the new pieces was the Rondo in G Minor for cello and piano, which Dvoŕák began on Christmas Day 1891 and finished the following day; the composer and Wihan gave the first performance (almost before the ink had dried) on January 6, 1892, while on tour in Kladno. Two years later, Dvoŕák arranged the piano part for orchestra, and the Rondo has actually become better-known today in its orchestral version.

Wihan appears to have been an extraordinary cellist. Dvoŕák wrote the “Dumky” Trio for him, and in 1895 would write his Cello Concerto–easily the greatest ever composed for that instrument–with Wihan’s skills particularly in mind. The Rondo in G Minor is a much more modest work, but pleasing in its own way. It moves from a fairly straightforward treatment of the rondo tune at the opening through some unexpected and imaginative extensions as the work proceeds.

Vocalise, Opus 34, No. 14 (1912)

SERGEI RACHMANINOFF
Born April 1, 1873, Novgorod
Died March 28, 1943, Beverly Hills

Rachmaninoff wrote so much bravura piano music and so many dramatic orchestral works that one tends to overlook his greatest strength as a composer–an incredible lyric gift best evident in his more than seventy songs and numerous choral works. Vocalise dates from the summer of 1912, which Rachmaninoff spent at Ivanovka, his family’s country estate. There he completed a cycle of fourteen songs, tailoring each to the talents of an individual Russian singer he knew. The last of the fourteen–dedicated to soprano Antonina Nezhdanova, a member of the Moscow Grand Opera–was wordless: the soprano was simply to sing the melodic line over piano accompaniment. The song proved popular, and a few years later–at the suggestion of conductor Serge Koussevitzky–Rachmaninoff arranged Vocalise for string orchestra. Vocalise has haunted performers as well as listeners: in addition to the original versions for voice and for orchestra, the current catalog lists transcriptions for cello, piano, and saxophone.

It is easy to understand this music’s appeal. Vocalise offers Rachmaninoff’s most bittersweet lyricism, suffused with a dark, elegiac quality–this music was, in fact, performed at the memorial service following Rachmaninoff’s own death.

Suite Italienne for Cello and Piano (arr. Piatigorsky) (1932)
Introduzione
Serenata
Aria
Tarantella
Minuetto
Finale

IGOR STRAVINSKY
Born June 17, 1882, Oranienbaum, Russia
Died April 6, 1971, New York City

In the years after World War I, Stravinsky found himself at an impasse as a composer, unwilling to return to the grand manner of the “Russian” ballets that had made him famous, but unsure how to proceed. Serge Diaghilev, impresario of the Ballets Russes, suggested a ballet based on themes by the Italian composer Giovanni Pergolesi (1710-1736) and showed him some of Pergolesi’s music. Stravinsky was entranced. Over the next year he composed a ballet with song in eighteen parts, based on themes from Pergolesi’s operas and instrumental music (though subsequent research has shown that not all these themes were written by Pergolesi). Stravinsky kept Pergolesi’s melodic and bass lines, but supplied his own harmony and brought to this music his incredible rhythmic vitality. First produced in Paris on May 15, 1920, with sets by Picasso and choreography by Massine, Pulcinella was a great success.

Over the next few years Stravinsky made several arrangements for instrumental duos of excerpts from Pulcinella. First was a Suite for Violin and Piano based on themes from the ballet, which he made in 1925. Next came an arrangement of different excerpts for cello and piano, made in 1932 by the composer and Gregor Piatigorsky; this version was the first be called Suite Italienne. The following year, Stravinsky and violinist Samuel Dushkin made an arrangement of excerpts for violin and piano and called it Suite Italienne as well. (Somewhat later, Jascha Heifetz and Piatigorsky made an arrangement for violin and cello, which they also called Suite Italienne.)

The cello and piano version of Suite Italienne is in six movements. It opens with a jaunty Introduzione (the ballet’s Overture), followed by a lyric Serenata, based on an aria from Pergolesi’s opera Il Flaminio. The Aria is a transcription of the bass aria “Con questo parolina” from Pulcinella, while the blistering Tarantella rushes to a surprising and sudden ending. The concluding section is in two parts: a slow Minuetto full of complex double-stops leads without pause to the exciting Finale.

Humoresque, Opus 5 (1967)

MSTISLAV ROSTROPOVICH
Born March 27, 1927, Baku, Azerbaijan
Died April 27, 2007, Moscow

We remember Mstislav Rostropovich as one of the greatest of cellists, but he was also a gifted conductor and–like many virtuosos from years past–a composer. Though not a prolific composer, he did write for his own instrument, and his best-known work is the brief Humoresque, which has been recorded many times. A humoresque is a musical term without precise meaning–that title refers to a piece with a playful character rather than denoting a specific musical form.

Rostropovich’s Humoresque is a brilliant composition, a showpiece for virtuoso cellist. Only two minutes long, it is essentially a blistering perpetual motion that puts a cellist through a range of techniques: much of the Humoresque is set in the cello’s high positions (sometimes at the very top of the instrument’s range), and it requires rapid arpeggios, double-stops, glissandos, and quick leaps across the fingerboard. The Humoresque is an exhilarating piece for cellists (and for audiences), and after a cadenza-like flourish it concludes with a pair of resounding pizzicato strokes.

Musical Prelude 2 PM
Young artists from the San Diego Youth Symphony perform.

DEBUSSYPremière Rhapsodie
MOZARTAdagio from Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K.622
BASSIConcert Fantasia on motives from Verdi’s opera Rigoletto

Ray Shenker, clarinet
Sidney Yin, piano

Istvan-VardaiIstván Várdai, the 29 year old Hungarian cellist was honoured with several prestigious international prizes: in 2008 he won the 63th Geneva International Music Competition, and additional special prizes as well: Audience Prize, “Pierre Fournier” Prize, “Coup de Coeur Breguet” Prize. He took the third prize of the International Tchaikovsky Music Competition, Moscow in 2007. In 2006 he was awarded with the special prize of the Emanuel Feuermann Cello Competition at the Kronberg Academy and received first prize at the 13th International Brahms Competition in Austria. He was winner of the David Popper International Music Competition three times, (2000, 2003, 2004) In 2014 he won the ARD Cello Competition in Munich.

Since his debut concert in 1997 in The Hague, he has performed in New York, London, Paris, Prague, Vienna, Frankfurt, Munich, Geneva, Dublin, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Florence, Tokyo, Kobe, Beijing with great success. Along his starting career, he played with world-famous musicians and orchestras: Mikhail Pletnov, Ádám Fischer, Zoltán Kocsis, Howard Griffiths, Gilbert Varga, St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Geneva Chamber Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Suisse Romande Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. He has been invited to Santander Festival, the Gergiev Festival in St. Petersburg, the Pablo Casals Festival (Spain), Festival of Radio France (Montpellier), Bellerive Festival (Switzerland), Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Verbier Festival, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Schwetzingen Festival and the Budapest Spring Festival. In 2010 he made his debut, among others, in Carnegie Hall and the Wiener Konzerthaus and performed with Gidon Kremer, András Schiff and Yuri Bashmet in the frame of „Chamber Music Connects the World” at Kronberg Academy.

From 2004 István studied in the Class of Special Talents at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, from 2005 at the Music Academy of Vienna. Between 2010 and 2013 he continued his studies at Kronberg Academy. From 2013 he is on the staff of the Academy. He attended masterclasses of Natalia Gutman, Natalia Shakhovskaya, András Schiff and János Starker. In 2009 he was awarded the Junior Prima Prize as best young artist of the year, in 2012 he received the prestigious Prix Montblanc awarded to the world's most promising young musician. His first CD containing pieces of Janáček, Prokofiev and the Elgar cello concerto was released in October 2009 by Ysaye Records. In 2010 he recorded the cello concerto of Johann Baptist Vanhal. On his CD released by the Hännsler label in 2013 he plays works by Mendelssohn, Martinu, Paganini, Beethoven and Popper. His recent CD with both versions of Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations was released in November 2014.

Mr. Várdai is, together with Kristóf Baráti, artistic director of „Kaposfest”, Hungary's leading chamber music festival. He plays a Montagnana cello from 1720.

This performance marks István Várdai's La Jolla Music Society debut.


Julien-QuentinFrench pianist Julien Quentin has established himself as a versatile and sensitive musician, exhibiting great maturity and poise. His remarkable depth of musicianship and distinct clarity of sound coupled with flawless technique, make him an artist in demand as both soloist and chamber musician.

He has made successful recital debuts in Paris (Salle Cortot), Geneva Conservatoire Hall and Bargemusic in New York. He has appeared as soloist with the Wroclaw, Qatar and Córdoba Philharmonic Orchestras under such conductors as Tommaso Placidi, Paul Biss, Jens Troester & Han-Na Chang. Regularly invited to numerous international Festivals, Quentin’s appearances in Europe include Verbier, Lucerne, Gstaad, Montreux, Zermatt, Dresden, Braunschweig, Schwetzingen, Ludwigsburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Beethovenfest Bonn, Radio France Montpellier, Saint Denis and Harrogate. A regular performer in North America, he has appeared at the La Jolla, Ventura, Shandelee, Virginia Arts and Mostly Mozart Festivals in the United States. He has broadcast in Canada, United States, Japan and in countries across Europe.

Julien Quentin is a keen chamber musician and has collaborated with artists such Nicolas Altstaedt, Emanuel Ax, Lisa Batiashvili, Measha Brueggergosman, Corey Cerovsek, Martin Fröst, Sol Gabetta, David Garrett, Nelson Goerner, Ilya Gringolts, Gary Hoffman, Angelika Kirchschlager, Lawrence Power, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Sayaka Shoji, Kirill Troussov and Tatjana Vassiljeva.

Touring internationally in America, Australia, Japan, the Middle East and throughout Europe, he has appeared at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Wigmore Hall in London, the Louvre in Paris, the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, the Berlin Philharmonie, the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, in Avery Fisher, Alice Tully and Carnegie Halls in New York. He has recorded for EMI Classics and Sony RCA. He also performed on the harpsichord, appearing in concert with Sarah Chang and the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, as well as with Thomas Quasthoff and under the baton of Leonidas Kavakos. During the 2013/14 season, solo and chamber music engagements will bring him to Austria, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and through the United States.

Born in Paris, Julien Quentin started his studies at the Geneva Conservatory with Alexis Golovine. In 2002, he completed his Artist Diploma under the tutelage of Emile Naoumoff at Indiana University, where he held a one-year teaching position as Assistant Instructor and was a recipient of the Presser Award. In 2003, he received his Graduate Diploma from the Juilliard School, where he studied with György Sándor. He has also worked with Paul Badura-Skoda, Nikita Magaloff, György Sebök, and Earl Wild.

Julien Quentin now lives in Berlin. With visual artists Emanuela Lucaci, Kevork Mourad or Norman Perryman, he explores new artistic visions bringing various art forms together. He also pursues his interest in other genres of music through his collaboration with composer Justin Messina, pianists Francesco Tristano and Rami Khalifé, or producer Martin Wheeler in projects ranging from improvisation to producing electronic music.

For more information visit www.julienquentin.com

This performance marks Julien Quentin's La Jolla Music Society debut.

Apr
24
Sun
MURRAY PERAHIA, piano
Apr 24 @ 8:00 pm
MURRAY PERAHIA, piano @ MCASD Sherwood Auditorium | San Diego | California | United States

Murray Perahia, piano

After almost thirty years, legendary pianist Murray Perahia returns to La Jolla Music Society to give a solo piano recital with works by Haydn, Mozart, Brahms and featuring Beethoven’s mighty Hammerklavier Sonata.

“Mr. Perahia invariably strikes an ideal balance, playing with a beautiful sound, crystalline articulation, judicious use of pedal and an essential buoyant pulse.” – The New York Times

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HAYDNAndante and Variations in F Minor, Hob.VII:6
MOZARTPiano Sonata in A Minor, K.310
BRAHMSLate Piano Music
        Ballade in G Minor, Op. 118, No. 3
        Intermezzo in C Major, Op. 119, No. 3
        Intermezzo in E Minor, Op. 119, No. 2
        Intermezzo in A Major, Op. 118, No. 2
        Capriccio in D Minor, Op. 116, No. 1
BEETHOVENPiano Sonata in B-flat Major, Op. 106 “Hammerklavier”

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Click here to view the complete March-April 2016 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: Murray Perahia, piano

by Eric Bromberger

Andante and Variations in F Minor, Hob.VII:6

FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN
Born March 31, 1732, Rohrau, Austria
Died May 31, 1809, Vienna

This extraordinary music is one of Haydn’s final compositions for piano. He wrote it in Vienna in 1793 between his two visits to London, and evidence suggests that Haydn himself was unsure just what form this music would take. The manuscript is headed “Sonata,” and it is possible Haydn intended it as the first movement of a sonata, giving up that plan when it became clear to the composer that this music should stand alone. He revised the score carefully, and its final form is unusual: it is a set of double variations–the first theme in F minor, the second in F major–which is then completed by a powerful coda 83 measures long.

The somber opening theme, marked Andante, is heard immediately and passes between both hands, extending through two strains. Haydn then switches to F major for the second theme, but this florid melody, full of swirls and arabesques, shows subtle harmonic relations to the subdued opening subject, so that there is already a unifying bond between these two themes before the variations begin. Haydn then offers two variations on these two themes. The variations on the F minor theme remain restrained, chromatic, and expressive, while the variations on the F major theme are more florid, full of trills and flowing triplets. Haydn begins the coda with a literal reprise of the opening theme, and suddenly this music takes off: over rising harmonic tension, the coda grows more powerful, more expressive, and more dynamic as it drives to a fortissimo climax. And then–in an equally original stroke–Haydn has the music fall back, shatter, and fade into silence on bits of the original theme.

Haydn dedicated the Andante and Variations to Babette (or Barbara) von Ployer, who had been one of Mozart’s students. Scholars, though, have been nearly unanimous in sensing another woman as the real inspiration behind this music. In 1789, Haydn had become good friends with Marianne von Genzinger, the wife of a Viennese physician, and their friendship took the form of a lengthy series of letters in which the older composer was able to pour out–after his own long and unhappy marriage–a depth of feeling and observation; these letters in fact remain one of the clearest records of Haydn’s character and thinking in these years. In January 1793, Marianne von Genzinger died suddenly at age 38, and many music historians regard the Andante and Variations, written shortly after her death, as Haydn’s response to that devastating event. Until more evidence is available, such a connection must remain conjectural, but this somber and expressive music–composed and very carefully revised in the months after Marianne’s death–has seemed to many to be Haydn’s homage to a friend he held very dear.

Piano Sonata in A Minor, K.310
Allegro maestoso, common time
Andante cantabile con espressione
Presto

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
Born January 27, 1756, Salzburg
Died December 5, 1791, Vienna

In September 1777, the 21-year-old Mozart set out on a trip that would turn into a disaster. Accompanied by his mother, he was to seek a position worthy of his talents in two of the musical capitals of Europe, Mannheim and Paris, while father Leopold remained behind in Salzburg. Suspicions of Mozart’s immaturity were instantly confirmed. From Mannheim, he proposed abandoning the trip to take a 16-year-old soprano on a tour of Italy (Leopold’s response was nearly apoplectic), and everywhere he went Mozart was considered too young for the role of kapellmeister. The disaster came in Paris–Mozart’s mother died suddenly during the summer of 1778. When Mozart returned to Salzburg in January 1779, both he and his father knew that the trip had been in every way a failure.

The Piano Sonata in A Minor, composed in Paris, shows a depth, tension, and expressivity new in the young composer’s music. Alfred Einstein has called it “a tragic sonata,” and it has been easy for some to conclude that Mozart wrote the sonata in response to his mother’s death. The evidence seems clear, however, that it had been completed before Maria Anna Mozart died on July 3, 1778.

We feel a level of tension from the first instant of this sonata, where the A-minor tonality is violated by a D-sharp grace note, but this dissonance only serves to establish the mood of what will follow. Mozart’s marking Allegro maestoso for this movement is curious, for there is nothing heroic or regal here. Instead, there is something darker, something powerful and insistent, and the music keeps pressing ahead–even the quietly-rippling second subject maintains this mood.

Mozart seldom marked a movement cantabile (he felt that all music should sing), but he goes even farther here, specifying that the second movement should be Andante cantabile con espressione. It is in ternary form, with calm outer sections framing an agitated central episode. In his biography of Mozart, Maynard Solomon argues that in this movement Mozart invents what would become an archetype of the romantic imagination: the music begins in Edenic innocence, but the middle section plunges that primal world into a darkness that threatens to overpower it; Mozart recovers as he returns to the opening section, but now this has been changed by the experience. Solomon argues that in this movement Mozart creates the pattern of “the Romantic mood-piece” that Schubert, Chopin, Brahms, and many others would employ over the following century.

The concluding Presto returns to the tonality–and manner–of the opening movement. Though quiet, the music partakes of that same restless spirit, much of it energized around the rhythm of a dotted eighth. A brief A-major episode at the center of the movement brings a brush of sunlight across the dusky landscape of this music, but Mozart quickly returns to A minor and drives the music implacably to its close.

Late Piano Music

JOHANNES BRAHMS
Born May 7, 1833, Hamburg
Died April 3, 1897, Vienna

As he approached his sixtieth birthday, Brahms returned to the instrument of his youth, the piano. The young Brahms–the “heaven-storming Johannes,” as one of his friends described him–had established his early reputation as the composer of dramatic piano works: of his first five published works, three were big-boned piano sonatas, and he next produced a series of extraordinarily difficult sets of virtuoso variations. And then suddenly, at age 32, Brahms walked away from solo piano music, and–except for some brief pieces in the late 1870s–that separation would last nearly three decades.

When the aging Brahms returned to the instrument of his youth, he was a very different man and a very different composer from the “heaven-storming Johannes” of years before. During the summers of 1892-93, Brahms wrote twenty brief piano pieces and published them in four sets as his Opp. 116-119. The twenty pieces that make up these four final sets are all very brief (they may accurately be described as miniatures) and are in ABA form: a first theme, a countermelody–usually in a contrasting tempo and key, and a return of the opening material, now slightly varied. While perhaps technically not as demanding as his early piano works, these twenty pieces nevertheless distill a lifetime of experience and technical refinement into very brief spans, and in their focused, inward, and sometimes bleak way they offer some of Brahms’ most personal and moving music. Someone once astutely noted that a cold wind blows through these late piano pieces; Brahms himself described them as “lullabies of my pain.”

This recital offers five of those twenty pieces. The thunderous beginning of the Ballade in G Minor seems to bring back the world of “the young, heaven-storming Johannes.” Now, at age 60, Brahms fuses that powerful earlier manner with a greatly refined technique. The Allegro energico opening moves easily into the gorgeous middle section in B major; Brahms constantly reminds the pianist here to play dolce and espressivo. The return of the opening plunges briefly into a “wrong” key, but matters quickly recover, and the music pounds ahead with all its original strength.

The Intermezzo in C Major, marked Grazioso e giocoso (“Graceful and happy”), dances easily on its 6/8 meter. This piece has no true contrasting theme in its center–Brahms simply slows down his opening idea and uses that as the central episode before the return of the theme at its original tempo. In the Intermezzo in E Minor, which Brahms marks Andantino un poco agitato, the pianist’s two hands seem to be chasing each other through the murmuring, rhythmically-fluid opening section. The central episode dances gently (Brahms’ marking is teneramente: “tenderly”); the music gradually makes its way back to the opening material, now varied, and Brahms concludes with a faint whiff of the waltz-melody. The Intermezzo in A Major is like a lullaby (Brahms’ marking is Andante teneramente), and that gentle mood prevails throughout, though the center section is elaborate and varied before the subtle reintroduction of the opening material. The Capriccio in D Minor, marked Presto energico, flies restlessly along its 3/8 meter; much of the writing is sharply syncopated, with the accent falling on the final beat.

Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, Opus 106 “Hammerklavier” (1817/1818)
Allegro
Scherzo: Assai vivace
Adagio sostenuto
Largo; Allegro; Allegro risoluto

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Born December 16, 1770, Bonn
Died March 26, 1827, Vienna

Beethoven spent the summer of 1817 in the small village of Mödling, about twelve miles south of Vienna. These were miserable times for the composer (he himself referred to this as a period of “oppressive circumstances”): he was in poor health, locked in a bitter legal struggle for custody of his nephew Karl, and sinking deeper into deafness. Worse, he found himself at a creative standstill. Since the dissolution of the Heroic Style five years earlier, he had fallen into a long silence as–from the depths of his illness and deafness–he searched for a new musical language. Yet Beethoven took pleasure in the village in the lovely valley of Brühl, where he would go for long walks. He was joined on one of these by the pianist Carl Czerny, who reported that Beethoven told him “I am writing a new sonata that will become my greatest.” But progress was slow. Beethoven began the sonata in the fall of 1817 and had only the first two movements complete by the following April. He returned to Mödling for the summer of 1818 and had the sonata done by the end of that summer. It had taken a year of work.

Many would agree with Beethoven that this sonata is his greatest, and–at 45 minutes–it is certainly his longest. When it was published in September 1819, it acquired the nickname “Hammerklavier,” a nickname that originated–obliquely–with the composer himself. Beethoven in these years had become convinced that the piano was a German invention, and he did not want to use the Italian title pianoforte for the instrument (during this period he was also coming to prefer German performance markings to Italian). When this sonata and the Sonata in A-flat Major, Opus 101 were published, Beethoven specified that they were “für das Hammerklavier,” which was simply the German word for piano (a piano with the strings struck by hammers). The title Hammerklavier has stuck only to the second of those sonatas, but that nickname–with its latent subtextual implication of vast power–is inextricably linked to our sense of this music. We never think of it as the Sonata in B-flat Major. We think of it only with one powerful word: Hammerklavier.

Coming as it does between the collapse of the Heroic Style and the arrival of the Late Style, the Hammerklavier is inevitably a transitional work, though that hardly need imply an inferior one. It is traditional in the sense that it retains the four-movement structure of the sonata: a sonata-form first movement, a scherzo, a lyric slow movement, and a powerful fast finale, yet in every other sense this music looks ahead, and Maynard Solomon is quite right when he describes the Hammerklavier “the crystallization of the late style.” Those old forms may be present, but Beethoven is transforming them beyond recognition even as he holds onto them.

The Allegro opens with a powerful, almost defiant chordal gesture, yet Beethoven quickly follows this with a flowing, lyric idea and then brings the music to a brief pause--in those opening eight bars, he has provided enough material to fuel virtually the entire movement. There is a second theme, a quiet chorale set high in the pianist’s right hand while the left accompanies this with swirling sextuplets; Beethoven marks this cantabile dolce ed espressivo, but it is really the sonata’s opening that will dominate this movement–the chorale theme does not re-appear until almost the end of the exposition, and Beethoven treats it thereafter more as refrain than as an active thematic participant. The drama comes from that sharply-contrasted opening idea, and Beethoven builds much of his development on a fugal treatment of the opening gesture before the movement drives to a powerful close on a coda derived from that opening.

After that mighty first movement, which lasts a full dozen minutes, the Scherzo whips pasts in barely two. It is in standard ternary form, but Beethoven experiments with the whole notion of theme here: the outer section is built virtually on one rhythmic pattern, the dotted figure heard at the very beginning. The brief central episode, in D-flat major and written in octaves, leads to a dazzling return to the opening: a Prestissimo run across the range of the keyboard and great flourish set up the beautifully-understated reappearance of the opening. The ending is just as brilliant: Beethoven writes a very brief Presto that begins in colossal power and–almost before we know it–has vanished like smoke.

The Adagio sostenuto is not just the longest movement in this sonata but one of the longest slow movements Beethoven ever wrote. He specifies that it should be Appassionata e con molto sentimento, and the simple, moving chordal melody at the beginning gradually expands across the long span of this movement, taking us through a range of experience, intense and heartfelt. The final movement opens with a long introduction marked Largo; some of this is unbarred and gives the impression of existing outside time, yet in the middle of this slow introduction the music suddenly rushes ahead on a five-measure Allegro that sounds as if it had come directly from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. The Largo resumes, gathers power on a series of trills, and suddenly the main section–Allegro risoluto–bursts to life. This massive finale is one long fugue in three voices, which Beethoven then develops with great power, originality, and complexity; perhaps he saw in the fugue, with its combination of intellectual and emotional power, an ideal conclusion to so powerful a sonata. This finale makes fiendish demands on the pianist (it is scarcely easier for the listener), and it has produced some stunned reactions: Barry Cooper notes that “There is in this finale . . . an element of excessiveness . . . An instinct to push every component part of the music . . . not just to its logical conclusion but beyond.” And in fact the sonata is so overwhelming–technically, musically, emotionally–that it has left all who write about it gasping for language that might measure its stride. Paul Bekker calls the slow movement “the apotheosis of pain, of the deep sorrow for which there is no remedy . . . the immeasurable stillness of utter woe.” The pianist and pedagogue Ernest Hutcheson virtually concedes defeat: “The immensity of this composition cannot fail to strike us with awe. We gaze at its vast dome like pygmies from below, never feeling on an intellectual or moral level with it.”

Perhaps it is best to leave the last word to Beethoven himself, who mailed this music off to his publisher with a wry observation: “Now there you have a sonata that will keep the pianists busy fifty years hence.”

PRELUDE 7 PM
Lecture by Steven Cassedy: Redefining Sonata Form
Beethoven’s Opus 106, popularly but somewhat misleadingly called the “Hammerklavier,” is the longest and probably most technically difficult of the composer’s thirty-two sonatas for piano. It’s also, from a formal standpoint, one of the most radical, bursting the bounds of sonata form just as it seems to want to burst the bounds of the instrument on which it is performed.

MurrayPerahia1In the more than 40 years he has been performing on the concert stage, American pianist Murray Perahia has become one of the most sought-after and cherished pianists of our time, performing in all of the major international music centers and with every leading orchestra. He is the Principal Guest Conductor of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, with whom he has toured as conductor and pianist throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and South East Asia.

Born in New York, Mr. Perahia started playing piano at the age of four, and later attended Mannes College where he majored in conducting and composition. His summers were spent at the Marlboro Festival, where he collaborated with such musicians as Rudolf Serkin, Pablo Casals, and the members of the Budapest String Quartet. He also studied at the time with Mieczyslaw Horszowski. In subsequent years, he developed a close friendship with Vladimir Horowitz, whose perspective and personality were an abiding inspiration. In 1972 Mr. Perahia won the Leeds International Piano Competition, and in 1973 he gave his first concert at the Aldeburgh Festival, where he worked closely with Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears, accompanying the latter in many lieder recitals. Mr. Perahia was co-artistic director of the Festival from 1981 to 1989.

In the 2014-15 season, apart from touring Europe and the Middle East, Mr. Perahia embarks on a ten-city tour of Asia with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, conducting and performing works by Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Stravinsky. His Spring 2015 recital tour of the United States includes performances in New York's Carnegie Hall, Los Angeles's Disney Hall, and Chicago’s Symphony Hall, with further appearances scheduled in Rohnert Park, Tucson, Scottsdale, Kalamazoo, Sarasota, and Savannah. Mr. Perahia’s past season included a much awaited recital debut in Australia as well as a residency with the Berlin Philharmonic.

Mr. Perahia has a wide and varied discography. Sony Classical has issued a special boxed set edition of all his recordings including several DVDs entitled The First 40 Years. His recording of Brahms Händel Variations, which won the Gramophone Award in 2011, was described as “one of the most rewarding Brahms recitals currently available.” Some of his previous solo recordings feature a 5-CD boxed set of his Chopin recordings, Bach’s Partitas Nos. 1, 5, and 6 and Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, opp 14, 26, and 28. He is the recipient of two Grammy awards for his recordings of Chopin’s complete Etudes and Bach’s English Suites Nos. 1, 3, and 6, and several Gramophone Awards including the first ever granted Piano Award in 2012.

Recently, Mr. Perahia embarked on an ambitious project to edit the complete Beethoven Sonatas for the Henle Urtext Edition. He also produced and edited numerous hours of recordings of recently discovered master classes by the legendary pianist, Alfred Cortot, which resulted in the highly acclaimed Sony CD release, “Alfred Cortot: The Master Classes.”

Mr. Perahia is an honorary fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, and he holds honorary doctorates from Oxford University, the Royal College of Music, Leeds University, and Duke University. In 2004, he was awarded an honorary KBE by Her Majesty The Queen, in recognition of his outstanding service to music.

Murray Perahia last performed for La Jolla Music Society at the Sherwood Auditorium on March 9, 1987.

May
4
Wed
NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC
May 4 @ 8:00 pm
NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC @ Jacobs Music Center - Copley Symphony Hall | San Diego | California | United States

New York Philharmonic

Alan Gilbert, music director

La Jolla Music Society ends it’s Celebrity Orchestra Series with America’s oldest orchestra, the internationally acclaimed New York Philharmonic. Conducted by Alan Gilbert, the orchestra’s Music Director since 2009, the evening features quintessential orchestral classics by Beethoven and Sibelius.

“A galvanizing force at the Philharmonic. … He is building a legacy that matters and is helping to change the template for what an American orchestra can be.”
                                                                                          — The New York Times

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BEETHOVENEgmont Overture, Op. 84 (1809-10)
Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92 (1811-12)
SIBELIUSSymphony No. 7 in C Major, Op. 105 (1924)
Finlandia, Op. 26 (1899-1900)

Click here to view the complete May 2016 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: New York Philharmonic

by Eric Bromberger

Egmont Overture, Opus 84 (1809-10)

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Born December 16, 1770, Bonn
Died March 26, 1827, Vienna

In 1809 Beethoven was invited to contribute incidental music to a revival of Goethe’s tragedy Egmont at the Vienna Burgtheater. The motives of the theater’s managers were clear: the French occupation of Vienna had just ended, and they wanted to celebrate their own freedom with a production of a play that told of resistance to political oppression. Beethoven had found the French occupation very difficult (he had hidden in the basement of his brother’s house with a pillow wrapped around his head during the French bombardment), and he was delighted to write the incidental music, which consists of an overture and nine other movements, including songs, entr’actes, a melodrama, and a concluding victory symphony.

But Egmont appealed to Beethoven for reasons deeper than its relevance to the French occupation of his adopted city. Goethe’s tragedy tells of the heroic resistance to the Spanish occupation of the Netherlands by Count Egmont, who is imprisoned by the evil Duke Alva. When a rescue attempt by Egmont’s lover Clärchen fails, she poisons herself, but Egmont goes to the gallows confident of the ultimate triumph of his cause. The themes of an imprisoned hero, a faithful woman willing to make sacrifices for love and political ideals, and the resistance to tyranny are of course those of Beethoven’s opera Fidelio, and while the endings of Egmont and Fidelio are quite different, Beethoven must have found Goethe’s play close to his own heart.

The complete incidental music is seldom heard today, but the overture has become one of Beethoven’s most famous. It does not, however, attempt to tell the story of the play, and listeners should not search for a musical depiction of events. A powerful slow introduction gives way to a tentative, falling string figure–gradually the strength coiled up in this simple theme-shape is unleashed, and the dramatic overture rushes ahead at the Allegro. This music is full of energy, and at moments Beethoven subtly shifts the pulse of his 3/4 meter to make it feel like 6/8. The ominous chords of the opening return to usher in the brilliant close, where music that will reappear in the Symphony of Victory (the tenth and final movement of the incidental music) symbolizes the ultimate victory of Egmont’s cause.

Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Opus 92 (1811–12)

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN

Beethoven turned 40 in December 1810. Forty can be a difficult age for anyone, but for Beethoven things were going very well. True, his hearing had deteriorated to the point where he was virtually deaf, but he was still riding that white-hot explosion of creativity that has become known, for better or worse, as his “Heroic Style.” Over the decade-long span of that style (1803-1813) Beethoven essentially re-imagined music and its possibilities. The works that crystalized the Heroic Style–the Eroica and the Fifth Symphony–unleashed a level of violence and darkness previously unknown in music, forces that Beethoven’s biographer Maynard Solomon has described as “hostile energy,” and then triumphed over them. In these violent symphonies, music became not a matter of polite discourse but of conflict, struggle, and resolution.

In the fall of 1811, Beethoven began a new symphony–it would be his Seventh–and it would differ sharply from those two famous predecessors. Gone is the sense of cataclysmic struggle and hard-won victory that had driven those earlier symphonies. There are no battles fought and won in the Seventh Symphony–instead, this music is infused from its first instant with a mood of pure celebration. Such a spirit has inevitably produced a number of interpretations as to what this symphony is “about”: Berlioz heard a peasants’ dance in it, Wagner called it “the apotheosis of the dance,” and more recently Maynard Solomon has suggested that the Seventh is the musical representation of a festival, a brief moment of pure spiritual liberation.

But it may be safest to leave the issue of “meaning” aside and instead listen to the Seventh simply as music. There had never been music like this before, nor has there been since–Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony contains more energy than any other piece of music ever written. Much has been made (correctly) of Beethoven’s ability to transform small bits of theme into massive symphonic structures, but in the Seventh he begins not so much with theme as with rhythm: he builds the entire symphony from what are almost scraps of rhythm, tiny figures that seem unpromising, even uninteresting, in themselves. Gradually he unleashes the energy locked up in these small figures and from them builds one of the mightiest symphonies ever written.

The first movement opens with a slow introduction so long that it almost becomes a separate movement of its own. Tremendous chords punctuate the slow beginning, which gives way to a poised duet for oboes. The real effect of this long Poco sostenuto, however, is to coil the energy that will be unleashed in the true first movement, and Beethoven conveys this rhythmically: the meter of the introduction is a rock-solid (even square) 4/4, but the main body of the movement, marked Vivace, transforms this into a light-footed 6/8. This Vivace begins in what seems a most unpromising manner, however, as woodwinds toot out a simple dotted 6/8 rhythm and the solo flute announces the first theme, a graceful melody on this same rhythm. Beethoven builds the entire first movement from this simple dotted rhythm, which saturates virtually every measure. As theme, as accompaniment, as motor rhythm, it is always present, hammering into our consciousness. At the climax, horns sail majestically to the close as the orchestra thunders out that rhythm one final time.

The second movement, in A minor, is one of Beethoven’s most famous slow movements, but the debate continues as to whether it really is a slow movement. Beethoven could not decide whether to mark it Andante (a walking tempo) or Allegretto (a moderately fast pace). He finally decided on Allegretto, though the actual pulse is somewhere between those two. This movement, too, is built on a short rhythmic pattern, in this case the first five notes: long-short-short-long-long–and this pattern repeats here almost as obsessively as the pattern of the first movement. The opening sounds like a series of static chords–the theme itself occurs quietly inside those chords–and Beethoven simply repeats this theme, varying it as it proceeds. The central episode in A major moves gracefully along smoothly-flowing triplets before a little fugato on the opening rhythms builds to a great climax. Beethoven winds the movement down on the woodwinds’ almost skeletal reprise of the fundamental rhythm.

The Scherzo explodes to life on a theme full of grace notes, powerful accents, flying staccatos, and timpani explosions. This alternates with a trio section for winds reportedly based on an old pilgrims’ hymn, though no one, it seems, has been able to identify that exact hymn. Beethoven offers a second repeat of the trio, then seems about to offer a third before five abrupt chords drive the movement to its close.

These chords set the stage for the Allegro con brio, again built on the near-obsessive treatment of a short rhythmic pattern, in this case the movement’s opening four-note fanfare. This four-note pattern punctuates the entire movement: it shapes the beginning of the main theme, and its stinging accents thrust the music forward continuously as this movement almost boils over with energy. The ending is remarkable: above growling cellos and basses (which rock along on a two-note ostinato for 28 measures), the opening theme drives to a climax that Beethoven marks fff, a dynamic marking he almost never used. This conclusion is virtually Bacchanalian in its wild power–no matter how many times one has heard it, the ending of the Seventh Symphony remains one of the most exciting moments in all of music.

The first performance of the Seventh Symphony took place in the Great Hall of the University in Vienna on December 8, 1813. Though nearly deaf at this point, Beethoven led the performance, and the orchestra was able to compensate for his failings, so that the première was a huge success. On that occasion–and at three subsequent performances over the next few months–the audience demanded that the second movement be repeated.

Symphony No. 7 in C Major, Opus 105 (1924)

JEAN SIBELIUS
Born December 8, 1865, Tavastehus, Finland
Died September 20, 1957, Järvenpää, Finland

In 1915, while at work on his Fifth Symphony, Jean Sibelius looked ahead and described how he envisioned his next two symphonies. He described his Seventh-to-be as: “Joy of life and vitality, with appassionato passages. In three movements–the last an ‘Hellenic rondo.’” And then he offered a caveat: “All this with due reservation.” It was a good thing he did, because when the Seventh Symphony appeared nine years later, it bore almost no resemblance to his earlier description. Instead of being in three movements with a “Hellenic rondo” as its finale, the Seventh is in only one movement, lasting just over twenty minutes. It is an entirely original form, yet that one-movement structure manages to preserve much of the emotional effect of the four-movement classical symphony: we come away from Sibelius’ Seventh Symphony feeling that we have embarked on–and made–a satisfying symphonic journey.

Many have commented on the originality of Sibelius’ design, but in fact others had done the same thing before him. Arnold Schoenberg, in his Chamber Symphony No. 1 of 1906, and Franz Schreker, in his Chamber Symphony of 1916, had made the same effort to compress the massive four-movement symphonic structure of the late nineteenth-century symphony into a concise one-movement form: both those composers pared the symphony down mercilessly, recasting it for a chamber ensemble and limiting it to a twenty-minute span. Sibelius, who probably did not know the Schoenberg and Schreker chamber symphonies, set out to achieve the same structural compression in his Seventh Symphony, but he did it with a full symphony orchestra. For all its compression, however, for all its paring-down and its economy, Sibelius’ Seventh is expressive and heartfelt music.

Good symphonists present their material immediately, and Sibelius gives us his three fundamental themes in the first minutes. The Seventh Symphony opens with a soft timpani salvo, and lower strings climb a C-major scale that somehow ends up in the unexpected key of A-flat minor. Here (and throughout) the syncopated statement of themes contributes to the subtlety of Sibelius’ presentation. Almost instantly we hear pairs of woodwinds weaving about, followed by an intense string chorale that makes its way on a nine-part division of the strings. These will be the basic themes of the symphony, but now Sibelius introduces one further element: a solo trombone cuts through these textures with a ringing, heroic solo that will return twice at climactic moments in the symphony.

Over the next twenty minutes, these themes will re-appear, evolve, and interweave. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Seventh Symphony lies in its subtle changes of tempo, which are achieved with a mastery so assured that we cannot tell where one tempo ends and another begins: a moderate tempo is established, and before we aware of it the pulse of that tempo has become fast, and just as suddenly it has relaxed again. Sibelius’ Seventh Symphony may mirror the general approach of the Schoenberg and Schreker chamber symphonies, but Sibelius integrates tempos, sections, and moods with a subtlety and assurance that those earlier composers never dreamed of. Eventually the Seventh Symphony builds to an icy rip in C major that Sibelius marks Largamente, then falls away and gradually re-groups to build to the powerful close, where–at virtually the final second–the symphony claws its way back into C major.

As was his habit, Sibelius worked on this symphony almost to the last minute. He completed it on March 2, 1924, barely in time to get the parts copied and the music rehearsed before the première three weeks later, when Sibelius led the first performance on March 24, 1924, with the Stockholm Philharmonic. At that concert, the program book listed this piece as a Fantasia Sinfonica–Sibelius was so concerned about his radical structure that he was reluctant to call this music a symphony. But after hearing it, he was convinced that it was a true symphony and that it should be numbered among his works in that form.

After the Seventh Symphony, Sibelius wrote only one more large-scale work, the tone poem Tapiola in 1926. And then he stopped composing–the final 31 years of his life were spent in silence. Apparently he tried to write an Eighth Symphony, and evidence suggests that he made some sketches for it, but he abandoned that effort, and his sketches have disappeared. With the Seventh, an entire symphonic journey compressed into a concise one-movement arc, Sibelius had gone as far as he could with the symphony.

Finlandia, Opus 26 (1899–1900)

JEAN SIBELIUS

Finlandia has become a virtual symbol of Finland and its aspirations, but this music achieved that status almost by accident. Sibelius originally composed it in 1899 for what seems like an innocuous occasion–a celebration to help raise money for newspaper pension funds–but this fiery music quickly caught the heart of the Finnish people and became a symbol of their national pride.

Finland had been under Russian control throughout the nineteenth century, and the movement for Finnish independence had always been strong. When Czar Nicholas II cracked down in 1899 and began an intense russification campaign, the country nearly exploded with opposition, and it was at that precise moment that Sibelius wrote this music, which was first titled Finland Awake! So obvious was that meaning that Russian authorities banned its performance, and Sibelius retitled the piece Finlandia when he revised it the following year. The Finns would finally gain their independence from Russia after World War I, but Finlandia has remained a sort of unofficial national hymn ever since.

Yet this music tells no story, nor does it incorporate any Finnish folk material. Many assumed that music that sounds so “Finnish” must be based on native tunes, but Sibelius was adamant that all of it was original: “There is a mistaken impression among the press abroad that my themes are often folk melodies. So far, I have never used a theme that was not of my own invention. The thematic material of Finlandia . . . is entirely my own.”

Finlandia is extremely dramatic music, well-suited to the striving and heroic mood of the times. Its ominous introduction opens with snarling two-note figures in the brass, and they are answered by quiet chorale-like material from woodwinds and strings. At the Allegro moderato the music rips ahead on stuttering brass figures and drives to a climax. Sibelius relaxes tensions with a poised hymn for woodwind choir that is repeated by the strings (surely this was the spot most observers identified as “authentic” Finnish material). The music takes on some of its earlier power, the stuttering brass attacks return, and Sibelius drives matters to a knock-out close.

Small wonder that music so dramatic–and composed at so important a moment in Finnish history–should have come to symbolize that nation’s pride and desire for independence.

PRELUDE 7 PM

The Magnificent Seven with SDSU director of orchestras, Michael Gerdes

On this program, we hear two of history’s greatest symphonists at the peak of their compositional powers. These pieces are a summation of the work that has come before, each symphony building upon the previous and revealing the evolution of two great artists. In listening to the seventh symphonies of Sibelius and Beethoven, can we glimpse what is yet to come?

NewYorkPhilharmonic1Founded in 1842, the New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States and one of the oldest in the world; on May 5, 2010, it performed its 15,000th concert. Music Director Alan Gilbert, The Yoko Nagae Ceschina Chair, began his tenure in September 2009, succeeding a distinguished line of 20th-century musical giants that goes back to Gustav Mahler and Arturo Toscanini. The Orchestra has always played a leading role in American musical life, commissioning and/or premiering works by each era’s leading composers, some of which have won the Pulitzer Prize. Renowned around the globe, the Philharmonic has appeared in 430 cities in 63 countries — including the February 2008 historic visit to Pyongyang, DPRK, for which the Philharmonic earned the 2008 Common Ground Award for Cultural Diplomacy.

The Philharmonic, which appears annually on Live From Lincoln Center on PBS, is the only American orchestra to have a 52-week-per-year nationally and internationally syndicated radio series — The New York Philharmonic This Week — which is also streamed on nyphil.org. The Orchestra has made nearly 2,000 recordings since 1917, with more than 500 currently available, and including several Grammy Award winners. Since June 2009 more than 50 concerts have been released as downloads, available at all major online music stores, and the Philharmonic’s self-produced recordings continue in the 2011–12 season. Famous for the long-running Young People’s Concerts, the Philharmonic has developed a wide range of education programs, among them the School Partnership Program that enriches music education in New York City, and Learning Overtures, which fosters international exchange among educators.

New York Philharmonic last performed for La Jolla Music Society in the Celebrity Orchestra Series on May 15, 2012.


Alan-GilbertNew York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert began his tenure in September 2009. The first native New Yorker to hold the post, he has sought to make the Orchestra a point of pride for the city and country. As New York magazine wrote, “The Philharmonic and its music director Alan Gilbert have turned themselves into a force of permanent revolution.”

Mr. Gilbert and the Philharmonic have forged artistic partnerships, introducing the positions of The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence and The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, held in the 2014–15 season by Christopher Rouse and violinist Lisa Batiashvili, respectively, as well as the new position of Artist-in-Association, inaugurated by Inon Barnatan this season; an annual festival, which this season is Dohnányi / Dvořák; CONTACT!, the new-music series; and the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, an exploration of today’s music by a wide range of contemporary and modern composers inaugurated in spring 2014.

In the 2014–15 season Alan Gilbert conducts the U.S. Premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Clarinet Concerto, a Philharmonic co-commission, alongside Mahler’s First Symphony; La Dolce Vita: The Music of Italian Cinema with Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, and Josh Groban; Verdi’s Requiem; a staging of Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake featuring Oscar winner Marion Cotillard; World Premieres by John Adams, Peter Eötvös, and Christopher Rouse; works by contemporary Nordic composers during CONTACT!; and the Silk Road Ensemble and Yo-Yo Ma’s 15th-anniversary celebration. He concludes The Nielsen Project, the multi-year initiative to perform and record the Danish composer’s symphonies and concertos, the first release of which was named by The New York Times as among the Best Classical Music Recordings of 2012. The Music Director presides over the EUROPE / SPRING 2015 tour with stops including London, featuring Giants Are Small’s theatrical reimagining of Stravinsky’s ballet Petrushka as part of the Orchestra’s second International Associate residency at the Barbican Centre; Cologne, where he leads the World Premiere of Peter Eötvös’s Senza sangue, a Philharmonic co-commission; and returns to Dublin and Paris.

Last season’s highlights included the inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL; Mozart’s three final symphonies; the U.S. Premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Frieze coupled with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; World Premieres; an all-Britten program celebrating the composer’s centennial; the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey as the film was screened; the ASIA / WINTER 2014 tour; and a staged production of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson. High points of Mr. Gilbert’s first four Philharmonic seasons included the critically celebrated productions of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre (2010) and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (2011) — both cited as the top cultural events of their respective years — as well as Philharmonic 360 at Park Avenue Armory (2012), the acclaimed spatial music program featuring Stockhausen’s Gruppen, and A Dancer’s Dream: Two Ballets by Stravinsky (2013, and later presented in movie theaters internationally). Other highlights included World Premieres of works by Magnus Lindberg, John Corigliano, Christopher Rouse, and composers featured on CONTACT!; Mahler’s Second Symphony, Resurrection, on A Concert for New York on September 10; Mr. Gilbert’s Philharmonic debut as violin soloist in J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins; five concerts at Carnegie Hall; six tours to Europe; and the Asia Horizons tour.

Conductor laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of Hamburg’s NDR Symphony Orchestra, he regularly conducts leading orchestras nationally and internationally, such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestra della Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. He has appeared at The Metropolitan, Los Angeles, Zurich, Royal Swedish, and Santa Fe opera companies. In 2014–15 he conducts the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra’s season-opening concerts and on tour in Lucerne, Berlin, and London; Mozart’s Don Giovanni at The Metropolitan Opera; and The Philadelphia, Munich Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and NDR Symphony orchestras.

In September 2011 Alan Gilbert became Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies at The Juilliard School, where he is also the first holder of Juilliard’s William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies. He made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut in 2008 leading John Adams’s Doctor Atomic; the DVD and Blu-ray of this production received the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. Renée Fleming’s recent Decca recording Poèmes, on which he conducted, received a 2013 Grammy Award. Earlier releases garnered Grammy Award nominations and top honors from the Chicago Tribune and Gramophone magazine.

Mr. Gilbert studied at Harvard University, The Curtis Institute of Music, and Juilliard and was assistant conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra (1995–97). In May 2010 he received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from Curtis, and in December 2011 he received Columbia University’s Ditson Conductor’s Award for his “exceptional commitment to the performance of works by American composers and to contemporary music.” In 2014 he was elected to The American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and he received a 2015 Foreign Policy Association Medal for his commitment to cultural diplomacy.

For more information visit www.alangilbert.com

Alan Gilbert last performed for La Jolla Music Society in the Celebrity Orchestra Series on May 15, 2012.

May
8
Sun
JOSEF SPACEK, violin
May 8 @ 3:00 pm
JOSEF SPACEK, violin @ The Auditorium at TSRI | San Diego | California | United States

Josef Špaček, violin

2009 First Prize Winner at the Michael Hill Violin Competition

Closing the 47th Season Discovery Series is multiple violin competition winner Josef Špaček. Returning to La Jolla Music Society, having appeared during Season 46 as concertmaster with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,
Mr. Špaček’s solo program includes works by J.S. Bach, Prokofiev, Saint-Saëns and more.

“With pure tone and a gutsy lower register, the cooly contained Špaček combined fluent technique with expressive finesse…” — The Guardian

Buy Tickets

Josef Špaček, violin
Miroslav Sekera, piano

J.S. BACHChaconne from the Partita No. 2 in D Minor for Unaccompanied Violin, BWV 1004 (1720)
SZYMANOWSKIMyths, Op. 30 (1915)
YSAŸECaprice (After a Study in Form of a Waltz of Saint-Saëns, Op. 52, No. 6) (1900)
PROKOFIEVSonata for Solo Violin in D Major, Op. 115 (1947)
SAINT-SAËNSViolin Sonata No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 75 (1885)
ENCORES
VIEUXTEMPSYankee Doodle
SCHUMANNAbendlied

Click here to view the complete May 2016 Program Book

PROGRAM NOTES: Josef Špaček, violin & Miroslev Sereka, piano

by Eric Bromberger

Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 in D Minor for Unaccompanied Violin, BWV 1004 (1720)

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Born March 21, 1685, Eisenach
Died July 28, 1750, Leipzig

This Chaconne is of course THE Chaconne, one of the most famous and difficult pieces ever written for the violin. Bach composed it around 1720 as the final movement of his Partita No. 2 in D Minor for Unaccompanied Violin. The first four movements present the expected partita sequence–Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, and Gigue–but then Bach springs a surprise: the last movement is a chaconne longer that the first four movements combined. The Chaconne offers some of the most intense music Bach ever wrote, and it has worked its spell on musicians everywhere for the last two-and-a-half centuries. Beyond the countless recordings for violin, it is currently available in performances by guitar, cello, lute, and viola, as well as in piano transcriptions by Brahms, Busoni, and Raff.

A chaconne is one of the most disciplined forms in music: it is built on a repeating ground bass in triple meter over which a melodic line is varied. A chaconne demands great skill from a performer under any circumstances, but it becomes unbelievably complex on the unaccompanied violin, which must simultaneously suggest the ground bass and project the melodic variations above it. Even with the curved bow of Bach’s day, some of this music borders on the unplayable, and it is more difficult still on the modern violin, with its more rounded bridge and concave bow.

This makes Bach’s Chaconne sound like supremely cerebral music–and it is–but the wonder is that this music manages to be so expressive at the same time. The four-bar ground bass repeats 64 times during the quarter-hour span of the Chaconne, and over it Bach spins out gloriously varied music, all the while keeping these variations firmly anchored on the ground bass. At the center section, Bach moves into D major, and here the music relaxes a little, content to sing happily for awhile; after the calm nobility of this interlude, the quiet return to D minor sounds almost disconsolate. Bach drives the Chaconne to a great climax and a restatement of the ground bass at the close.

Myths, Opus 30 (1915)

KAROL SZYMANOWSKI
Born October 3, 1882, Tymoszówska
Died March 29, 1937, Lausanne

World War I forced Szymanowski to remain in his native city of Tymoszówska in Poland, and there he composed prodigiously: the Symphony No. 3, Violin Concerto No. 1, and numerous songs, cantatas, and piano pieces all date from the first years of the war. Now in his early thirties, Szymanowski had only recently thrown off the influence of Wagner and Strauss to forge his own style, a style that grew in large measure from his exploration of Sicily and North Africa and from his new awareness of ancient cultures. Musically, this meant a style characterized by great attention to instrumental color, busy textures, and an expressionism that can verge on intoxicated ecstasy.

Szymanowski composed several works for violin and piano during this period, among them his three Myths, Opus 30 in 1915. Szymanowski had fallen in love with classical antiquity, and each of the three movements–The Fountain of Arethusa, Narcissus, an