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The Beethoven Piano Concertos: A Philharmonic Festival - Emperor and Triple Concerto
This concert is now past.
Location: Avery Fisher Hall  (Directions)
Price Range: $52.00 - $169.00
 
Tue, Jun, 24, 2014
7:30 PM
 
Wed, Jun, 25, 2014
7:30 PM
 
Thu, Jun, 26, 2014
7:30 PM
 
Fri, Jun, 27, 2014
8:00 PM
 
Sat, Jun, 28, 2014
8:00 PM
The festival momentously concludes: Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow performs his final Philharmonic concerts, joining Bronfman and Principal Cello Carter Brey for Beethoven’s joyful Triple Concerto. And Bronfman closes his residency with Beethoven’s majestic Emperor Concerto, perhaps his most popular.

View other concerts in the Beethoven Piano Concerto Festival.
Glenn Dicterow

Program

  (Click the red play button to listen)
Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Cello
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Cello (1804)


There’s no question about it: Beethoven loved the piano. It had given him star-status, entry into the houses of nobility, and opportunities for dazzling audiences. And so we see the instrument cropping up in a variety of genres in the composer’s canon: solo sonatas, concertos, and chamber music (like the three Piano Trios of his Opus 1). It wasn’t too much of a leap, then, to envision violin, cello, and piano being a “concerto soloist” with orchestra. Still, it was an unusual concept, though reminiscent of the Baroque concerto grosso, in which a small group of instruments would be set off against a larger ensemble. But Beethoven, despite the challenges, surpassed that genre: pitting these three instruments against an orchestra was a daunting task, because all three would need to have their place in the spotlight, their personalities would need to be considered as they interacted, and their pitch range would have to be taken into account so that each instrument could be heard. The cello in particular, with its low range, might disappear in the texture of the larger ensemble. Beethoven remedied this pitfall by writing for the upper register of the cello and letting it introduce many of the themes. But there was another consideration: the technical abilities of the musicians who would perform the Triple Concerto. Among the composer’s piano students was Archduke Rudolph (1788-1831), the music-loving Habsburger who commissioned the piece. Beethoven composed the piano part for him, keeping his amateur status graciously in mind, yet allowing the 16-year-old to shine at what was probably a private premiere. Rudolf and Beethoven remained lifelong friends, with Rudolph generously helping to ensure Beethoven’s financial security. The Largo second movement is especially attractive—performed almost entirely by just the soloist trio. Our performance features a virtuoso ensemble: pianist Yefim Bronfman, this season’s Artist in Residence, Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow, and Principal Cellist Carter Brey. 
Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor” (1809)

Composed while Vienna was under siege by Napoleon’s armies, Beethoven’s last piano concerto was born under the sign of war. “What a destructive, unruly life around me! Nothing but drums, cannons, human misery of all sorts!” wrote the nearly deaf composer. To protect his deteriorating hearing from the noise, Beethoven had sought refuge in a friend’s basement and covered his ears with pillows. Yet his despair amid the chaos is never manifested in the score; the music remains defiant, rebellious, triumphant. This concerto concluded one of Beethoven’s most vibrantly productive periods, in which he created an astonishing number of masterpieces (including four symphonies, the Piano Concerto No. 4, the opera Fidelio, the Violin Concerto, the three dramatic “Razumovsky” String Quartets, and two of his great piano sonatas—the “Appassionata” and the “Waldstein”). Sadly, however, it is the only one of his five piano concertos that he could not premiere himself, due to his near-total deafness. Beethoven introduced something new in this piece: where soloists would normally expect to improvise and show off their technical abilities in a cadenza, he wrote in the score: “do not play a cadenza, but immediately begin the following.” He notated an enhanced cadenza-like passage that continues to work the thematic materials and then proceeds to the end of the first movement. After its Leipzig premiere in 1811, a journalist proclaimed: “It is without doubt one of the most  original, imaginative, most effective but also one of the most difficult of all existing concertos.” It is ironic that this concerto should come to be known as “Emperor” (the nickname was appended after Beethoven’s death and refers not to Napoleon, but to the work’s regal temperament); it was Napoleon’s power grab, after all, that so disillusioned and infuriated the composer of the Third Symphony that he tore its original title page. Political implications aside, Beethoven’s masterpiece speaks with both majesty and poetry—a crowning achievement indeed.

Artists

Alan Gilbert

New 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. “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 praised.

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 2013–14 season by Christopher Rouse and pianist Yefim Bronfman, respectively; an annual festival, which this season is The Beethoven Piano Concertos; CONTACT!, the new-music series, extending its reach this season with more concerts in new venues across the city; and, beginning in the spring of 2014, the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, an exploration of today’s music by a wide range of contemporary and modern composers.

In the 2013–14 season Alan Gilbert conducts Mozart’s three final symphonies; the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey as the film is screened, as part of THE ART OF THE SCORE: Film Week at the Philharmonic; 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; and a staged production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson. He also continues 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 will preside over the ASIA / WINTER 2014 tour, with stops including Tokyo and Seoul, featuring Artist-in-Residence Yefim Bronfman performing Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Composer-in-Residence Christopher Rouse’s Rapture, and Alan Gilbert narrating Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra in Japanese at a Young People’s Concert in Tokyo.

Last season’s highlights included Bach’s B-minor Mass and Ives’s Fourth Symphony, and, during the EUROPE / SPRING 2013 tour, participating in the Vienna Konzerthaus’s centennial and performing Lindberg’s Kraft and Rouse’s Prospero’s Rooms at the Volkswagen Transparent Factory. The season concluded with A Dancer’s Dream, a multidisciplinary reimagining of Stravinsky’s The Fairy’s Kiss and Petrushka, created by Giants Are Small and starring New York City Ballet principal dancer Sara Mearns.

High points of Mr. Gilbert’s first three Philharmonic seasons included the critically celebrated productions of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre (2010) and Janácek’s Cunning Little Vixen (2011) — both cited as the top cultural events of their respective years — and Philharmonic 360 (2012), the acclaimed spatial music program featuring Stockhausen’s Gruppen.  Other highlights include 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; five tours to Europe; and the Asia Horizons tour.

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. 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, and the Berlin Philharmonic. His 2013–14 season engagements include appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic, Juilliard Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Munich Philharmonic, NDR Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and Orchestre National de Lyon.

Alan Gilbert 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.

Visit Alan Gilbert's Official Website

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. 

Glenn Dicterow

Glenn Dicterow has established himself worldwide as one of the most prominent American concert artists of his generation. His extraordinary musical gifts became apparent when, at age 11, he made his solo debut in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (where his father, Harold Dicterow, served as principal of the second violin section for 52 years). In the following years, Mr. Dicterow became one of the most sought-after young artists, appearing as soloist from coast to coast.

Mr. Dicterow, who has won numerous awards and competitions, is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where he was a student of Ivan Galamian. In 1967, at the age of 18, he performed as soloist with the New York Philharmonic under Andre Kostelanetz in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. In 1980 he joined the Orchestra as Concertmaster, and has since performed as soloist every year, most recently in Brahms’s Double Concerto in November 2012, with cellist Alisa Weilerstein, conducted by Case Scaglione. Prior to joining the New York Philharmonic, he served as Associate Concertmaster and Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Mr. Dicterow, who frequently appears as a guest soloist with other orchestras, has made numerous recordings. His most recent CD is a solo recital for Cala Records entitled New York Legends, featuring John Corigliano’s Sonata for Violin and Piano, Korngold’s Much Ado About Nothing, the premiere recording of Leonard Bernstein’s Sonata for Violin and Piano, and Martinů’s Three Madrigals for violin and viola, in collaboration with violist Karen Dreyfus and pianist Gerald Robbins. His recording of Bernstein’s Serenade, on Volume 2 of the American Celebration set, is available on the New York Philharmonic’s Website, nyphil.org. Mr. Dicterow can also be heard in the violin solos of the film scores for The Turning Point, The Untouchables, Altered States, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and Interview with the Vampire, among others. Glenn Dicterow is on the faculty of The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music, as well as a faculty artist at the Music Academy of the West, following three years of participation in Music Academy Summer Festivals. Beginning in the fall of 2013, he will become the first to hold the Robert Mann Chair in Strings and Chamber Music at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.

Learn about The Glenn Dicterow Fund.

Carter Brey

Carter Brey was appointed Principal Cello, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Chair, of the New York Philharmonic in 1996. He made his official subscription debut with the Orchestra in May 1997 performing Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations under the direction of then Music Director Kurt Masur, and has since performed as soloist each season.

From the time of Mr. Brey’s New York and Kennedy Center debuts in 1982, he has been regularly hailed by audiences and critics for his virtuosity, flawless technique, and complete musicianship. He rose to international attention in 1981 as a prizewinner in the Rostropovich International Cello Competition. The winner of the Gregor Piatigorsky Memorial Prize, Avery Fisher Career Grant, Young Concert Artists’ Michaels Award, and other honors, he also was the first musician to win the Arts Council of America’s Performing Arts Prize.

Mr. Brey has appeared as soloist with virtually all the major orchestras in the United States, and performed under the batons of prominent conductors including Claudio Abbado, Semyon Bychkov, Sergiu Comissiona, and Christoph von Dohnányi. His chamber music career is equally distinguished; he has made regular appearances with the Tokyo and Emerson string quartets as well as The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and at festivals such as Spoleto (both in the United States and Italy), and the Santa Fe and La Jolla Chamber Music festivals. He presents an ongoing series of duo recitals with pianist Christopher O’Riley; together they recorded Le Grand Tango: Music of Latin America, a disc of compositions from South America and Mexico released on Helicon Records. On another CD he collaborated with violinist Pamela Frank and violist Paul Neubauer in Aaron Jay Kernis’s Still Movement with Hymn (on Decca’s Argo label). He also recorded all of Chopin’s works for cello and piano with pianist Garrick Ohlssen (currently available on Hyperion).

Mr. Brey was educated at the Peabody Institute, where he studied with Laurence Lesser and Stephen Kates, and at Yale University, where he studied with Aldo Parisot and was a Wardwell Fellow and a Houpt Scholar. His violoncello is a rare J. B. Guadagnini made in Milan in 1754.

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Concert Duration

1 hour 30 minutes

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Special Thanks

This Philharmonic Festival is made possible with major underwriting from Laura Chang and Arnold Chavkin.

Generous sponsorship is provided by Yoko Nagae Ceschina.

Additional support is provided by an anonymous donor.

Yefim Bronfman is The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence.

Alan Gilbert’s June 24–28 appearance is made possible through the Daisy and Paul Soros Endowment Fund.

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