The New York Philharmonic

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Open Rehearsal
This concert is now past.
Location: Avery Fisher Hall  (Directions)
Price Range: $20.00
 
Thu, Jan, 2, 2014
9:45 AM
All Open Rehearsals are “working” rehearsals and therefore the program may not be played in its entirety. Additionally, we cannot guarantee the appearance of any soloist at an Open Rehearsal.
Yefim Bronfman

Program

  (Click the red play button to listen)
CHRISTOPHER ROUSE (born in 1949 in Baltimore, Maryland)
Rapture (2000)

The Baltimore Sun wrote of composer Christopher Rouse, its native son: “When the music history of the late 20th century is written, I suspect the explosive and passionate music of Rouse will loom large.” The Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award winner’s catalog of works includes symphonies, concertos for trombone, violin, cello, guitar, flute, clarinet, and percussion, a requiem, ballet scores, and chamber compositions, many of which were commissioned for and performed by the world’s great orchestras, chamber ensembles, and solo artists. Rapture is one of these, commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for the 2000 season. The composer calls our attention to the fact “that the title of this score is not ‘The Rapture;’ the piece is not connected to any specific religious source. Rather, I used the word ‘rapture’ to convey a sense of spiritual bliss, religious or otherwise. With the exception of my Christmas work, Karolju, this is the most unabashedly tonal music I have composed. I wished to depict a progression to an ever more blinding ecstasy, but the entire work inhabits a world devoid of darkness — hence the almost complete lack of sustained dissonance. Rapture also is an exercise in gradually increasing tempi; it begins quite slowly but throughout its eleven minute duration proceeds to speed up incrementally until the breakneck tempo of the final moments is reached. Although much of my music is associated with grief and despair, Rapture is one of a series of more recent scores…to look ‘towards the light’.” The work’s premiere in Pittsburgh received critical raves, which called attention to “its resplendent scoring [that] is both rich and bright” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) and praised its “powerful tonal underpinnings and swirling dynamic shifts ... well-paced structure, vibrant solos and lush string writing.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
MAGNUS LINDBERG (born in 1958 in Helsinki, Finland)
Piano Concerto No. 2 (2012)

During Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg’s tenure as Composer-in-Residence of the New York Philharmonic (2009–12), audiences had the opportunity to hear a substantial portion of his notable creations, including Kraft, Feria, Al Largo, EXPO, and the 2012 premiere of his Piano Concerto No. 2, co-commissioned by the New York Philharmonic. The work received rave reviews, and the soloist Yefim Bronfman was praised by The New York Times as someone “who can seemingly play anything. It took all of his technique and stamina to dispatch this monster concerto…He gave a brilliant and triumphant performance.... and mastered every challenge: thick chords that leap across the keyboard; spiraling bursts of runs and sputtering arpeggios; cascades of double thirds; finger-twisting counterpoint; on and on.... I look forward to hearing it again. ” Maestro Alan Gilbert concurs, “With Yefim Bronfman you don’t have to worry about technical limitations. He will be able conquer whatever challenges are in the score.” The pianist, too, acknowledges that it was a “complex and fascinating piece.... I love the second movement; I think it has some of the most beautiful moments of lyricism and power and drama ... a nice, quiet, introspective beginning of the solo piano, interrupted by jolts of explosions; then comes the most difficult passage in the whole piece for piano and percussion playing together.... Some of the [Concerto is] almost unplayable ... but my job is to be able to play what’s written, not to complain.” Yet Magnus Lindberg makes it sound so simple: “The concerto runs continuously; there are three clear sections, which evolved naturally during composition. The first presents everything in expository fashion; the second is a contrasting slow movement with cadenza, and the third is a more direct, straightforward finale.” Now, get ready for an encore performance of this amazing work. It’s a not-to- be-missed event.
PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
Symphony No. 5 (1888)

Guilt about his homosexuality and the brief, disastrous marriage he had embarked on to hide it had already found expression in Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony. Eleven years later, he confessed to his patroness Nadezhda von Meck: “Now I shall work my hardest. I am exceedingly anxious to prove to myself, as to others, that I am not played out as a composer. … Have I told you that I intend to write a symphony?” Ever the fragile, self-doubting composer, Tchaikovsky saw himself as a plaything of fate, struggling for happiness. While sketching ideas for the Fifth he noted: “Introduction. Complete submission before Fate — or, what is the same thing, the inscrutable designs of Providence. Allegro. Murmurs, doubts, laments, reproaches against ... XXX [which some feel is Tchaikovsky’s code for his homosexuality].” Even after this symphony’s successful St. Petersburg premiere and the orchestra’s triple fanfare in his honor, Tchaikovsky wrote, “I have come to the conclusion that [the Fifth Symphony] is a failure. The applause and ovations referred not to this but to other works of mine, and the Symphony itself will never please the public.” He couldn’t have been more wrong. To this day the glorious melodies of his emotionally-charged, “heart-on-sleeve” music never cease to thrill audiences, no matter what the composer himself feared or what unkind critics said. Throughout the work, Tchaikovsky employs a motive that is usually taken to symbolize “Fate” or “Providence,” presented in a variety of guises — from subdued to ominous to exultant — as the symphony unfolds. It appears that he has triumphed over fate, as thunderous brass and timpani bring this masterpiece home.

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. 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 Janácek’s Cunning Little Vixen (2011) — both cited as the top cultural events of their respective years — as well as Philharmonic 360 (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.

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, Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestra della Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Orchestre de Paris. His 2014–15 season engagements include appearances with Leipzig’s Gewandhaus Orchestra, opening its season and on tour; The Philadelphia Orchestra; Munich Philharmonic; Berlin Philharmonic; NDR Symphony Orchestra; and Mozart’s Don Giovanni at The Metropolitan Opera in February 2015.

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. 

Rehearsal Duration

2 hours 30 minutes

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Photo of Yefim Bronfman: Oded Antman

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