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There will be no late seating for this performance. Please allow enough time to arrive at the hall so that you are seated on time
Maazel, Bronfman, Brahms, and Sibelius
This concert is now past.
Location: Avery Fisher Hall  (Directions)
Price Range: $41.00 - $123.00
 
Wed, Jan, 16, 2013
7:30 PM
 
Thu, Jan, 17, 2013
7:30 PM
 
Fri, Jan, 18, 2013
2:00 PM
 
Sat, Jan, 19, 2013
8:00 PM

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Lorin Maazel

Program

  (Click the red play button to listen)
Piano Concerto No. 1

JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833–97)
Piano Concerto No. 1 (1854–58)

This First Piano Concerto is a remarkable work from a young man who started out on his musical career as a piano player in the dives and taverns of Hamburg’s harbor. Its evolution was complex and its gestation long. Brahms revised it even after it was premiered in 1859. It is symphonic in scope, lasting around 45 minutes. The rolling thunder of the timpani marks the concerto’s long and stormy orchestral introduction. The peaceful Adagio comes as blessed relief (“I am also painting a lovely portrait of you; it is to be the Adagio,” the composer wrote to Clara Schumann, his ardent supporter, advisor, and possibly more). The Rondo finale, with its two huge cadenzas, brings this powerful and massively difficult work to a rousing conclusion. In his book on Brahms, Burnett James wrote: “The D-minor Concerto … marks the end of Brahms’s youthful romantic period. Never again was he to let himself go with such uninhibited passion; never again to wear his heart so unashamedly on his sleeve.”

JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Symphony No. 2 (1902)

Jean Sibelius's Second Symphony came soon on the heels of his Finlandia, Finland's de facto national anthem, composed in 1899. He wrote it mostly while he and his family were soaking up the Italian sun in Rapallo and Florence (a trip made possible with money raised by his patron, Axel Carpelan). Many have seen or heard in the work an emblem of hope for the national liberation of the Grand Duchy of Finland from the yoke of Russia's Tsar Nicholas II, whose grip on the semi-autonomous region had been steadily increasing, even stifling Finnish language and culture. In fact, more than one of Sibelius's works was banned by the Russian regime for being too inspirational and therefore subversive. The composer led the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in the 1902 premiere, which was received with great acclaim by his countrymen, hungry for music by their national hero. The Second Symphony was so successful that three more performances had to be scheduled. And though the composer strenuously denied it, many have commented on the political associations of this work, including Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä: "The second symphony is connected with our nation's fight for independence, but it is also about the struggle, crisis and turning-point in the life of an individual. This is what makes it so touching." Of particular note is the finale, which builds up tremendous tension until the final brass coda, which Sibelius marked a triumphant fff. It was the tonic that the Finns needed to salve their national wounds. And whether the composer had a "program" in mind or not, there is no denying that the Second Symphony is by far the most popular of his symphonies, and its style is characteristic Sibelius...the marvelous dark-hued sonorities, the expansive brass chorales, and the passionate expressiveness.

Artists

Lorin Maazel by Andrew Garn

Lorin Maazel served as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic from 2002 to 2009. In the 2010–11 season he completed his fifth and final year as the inaugural music director of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia opera house in Valencia, Spain, and at the start of the 2012–13 season he became music director of the Munich Philharmonic. Mr. Maazel was also the founder and artistic director of the Castleton Festival, based on his farm property in Virginia, which was launched to great acclaim in 2009. The festival expanded its activities nationally and internationally starting in 2011.

Mr. Maazel was also a composer, with a wide-ranging catalogue of works written primarily over the last dozen years. His first opera, 1984, based on George Orwell's literary masterpiece, had its world premiere at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in May 2005, and was revived at Milan's Teatro alla Scala in May 2008. A Decca DVD of the original London production was released in May 2008.

A second-generation American born in Paris, France, Lorin Maazel began violin lessons at age five, and conducting lessons at age seven. He studied with Vladimir Bakaleinikoff, and appeared publicly for the first time at age eight. Between ages nine and fifteen he conducted most of the major American orchestras, including the NBC Symphony at the invitation of Arturo Toscanini. In the course of his decades-long career Mr. Maazel conducted more than 150 orchestras in no fewer than 5,000 opera and concert performances. He made more than 300 recordings, including symphonic cycles of complete orchestral works by Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Mahler, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Richard Strauss, winning 10 Grands Prix du Disques.

Lorin Maazel was music director of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (1993–2002); music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony (1988–96); general manager and chief conductor of the Vienna Staatsoper (1982–84, the first American to hold that position); music director of The Cleveland Orchestra (1972–82); and artistic director and chief conductor of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (1965–71). His close association with the Vienna Philharmonic included 11 internationally televised New Year's Concerts from Vienna.

Yefim Bronfman by Dario Acosta

Grammy Award–winning pianist Yefim Bronfman is The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic during the 2013–14 season. Since his debut with the Philharmonic in May 1970, Mr. Bronfman has performed with the Orchestra on more than 55 occasions.

A highlight of Mr. Bronfman’s Philharmonic residency is The Beethoven Piano Concertos: A Philharmonic Festival, in which he will play the complete cycle, conducted by Alan Gilbert. His other activities include performances of concertos by Tchaikovsky and Magnus Lindberg, and appearances in CONTACT!, the new-music series; a chamber recital at 92nd Street Y; and the ASIA /WINTER 2014 tour.

Mr. Bronfman is widely regarded as one of the world’s most talented virtuoso pianists. His 2012–13 season included concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic (with Simon Rattle) in Berlin, Salzburg, and at the London Proms; appearances with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (with David Zinman) and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra; a yearlong residency with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; and appearances with the Vienna Philharmonic (with Michael Tilson Thomas) in Vienna and London. In North America he returned to the orchestras of Chicago, Dallas, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Montreal.

Mr. Bronfman has been widely praised for his solo, chamber, and orchestral recordings. He was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2009 for his recording of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Piano Concerto, conducted by the composer (Deutsche Grammophon), and he won a Grammy in 1997 for his recording of Bartók’s three Piano Concertos with Mr. Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Born in Tashkent, in the Soviet Union, in 1958, Yefim Bronfman emigrated to Israel with his family in 1973. There he studied with pianist Arie Vardi, head of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. He later studied in the United States at The Juilliard School, Marlboro Music Festival, and The Curtis Institute of Music; his teachers included Rudolf Firkušný, Leon Fleisher, and Rudolf Serkin. He became an American citizen in July 1989. 

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Concert Duration

2 hours 15 minutes

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Special Thanks

Lorin Maazel's appearance with the New York Philharmonic is made possible through the Daisy and Paul Soros Endowment Fund.

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