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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

Saturday Matinee: Brahms and Dvořák

This concert is now past.
Emanuel Ax
Location: Avery Fisher Hall (Directions)
Price Range: $22.00 - $65.00

Concert Duration

2 hours
Sat, Nov, 24, 2012
2:00 PM
The 2014-15 Season

Program (Click the red play button to listen)


Piano Quintet

Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34 (1864)

Johannes Brahms began work on his grand Piano Quintet in 1861, before leaving his hometown of Hamburg the following year to find fame and fortune in Europe's musical capital, Vienna. The piece did not see its final form till two years later, after undergoing two transformations. It started life as a string quintet (with two cellos), became a two-piano sonata, and finally evolved into the present quintet. Brahms's friend and musical advisor Joseph Joachim didn't mince words when assessing the original, saying it "lacked charm." So Brahms, who was himself brutal when it came to his own work (he tended to destroy all traces of the creative progress, burning, for example, the original version of this quintet), went "back to the drawing board"; what emerged was a sonata for two pianos. When Clara Schumann heard the new incarnation and compared it to the original quintet, she felt there were too many ideas to be confined in a sonata, and sent Brahms back to work on it further. It was the distinguished conductor Hermann Levi who suggested Brahms should cast it as a piano quintet — a sort of fusion of the two previous attempts. And when it was finally completed, Levi said, "Anyone who did not know it in its earlier forms of string quintet and two-piano sonata would never believe that it was not originally thought out and designed for the present combination of instruments" and pronounced it "beautiful beyond words... a masterpiece of chamber music." The overall feeling of this peerless work is one of powerful emotions expressed powerfully, with all instruments at full throttle, starting with a mighty unison statement of the theme, carrying through to a lyrical Andante, an absolutely thrilling Scherzo, and a sweeping finale. Applause alert: beware of clapping prematurely! Brahms teases us with a false ending before concluding this magnificent masterpiece.

Symphony No. 9, From the New World

ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841–1904)
Symphony No. 9, From the New World (1893)

Early in his tenure in America Antonín Dvořák composed his beloved New World Symphony. A strong advocate of indigenous forms as inspiration for art music, he wrote: “Since I have been in this country I have been deeply interested in the national music of the Negroes and the Indians. The character, the very nature of a race, is contained in its national music. For that reason my attention was at once turned in the direction of these native melodies…. It is this spirit which I have tried to reproduce in my new Symphony … I have not actually used any of the melodies. I have simply written original themes embodying the peculiarities of the music and, using these themes as subjects, have developed them with all the resources of modern rhythms, harmony, counterpoint and orchestral color.” Filled with hummable melodies, bold horns calls, and an unforgettable, ever-present theme, the Ninth also evokes the native sounds of his homeland, perhaps an expression of his homesickness for his native Bohemia.



Andrey Boreyko by Archiv Kuenstler

Andrey Boreyko, music director of the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra since the 2009–10 season, was born in St. Petersburg and studied at his home town's conservatory, where he studied conducting and composition with Elisaveta Kudriavzeva and Alexander Dmitriev. He is principal guest conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi San Sebastian, Spain. He will become chief conductor of the Orchestre National de Belgique beginning in September 2012. Previous posts include chief conductor of the Bern Symphony Orchestra, Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra, Jenaer Philharmonie (of which he is now honorary conductor), Hamburger Symphony, and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, as well as principal guest conductor of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Boreyko has conducted almost all the internationally renowned orchestras. He has led such European and American orchestras as the New York, Berlin, Los Angeles, Munich, and Rotterdam philharmonic orchestras; Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras; Boston, Chicago, London, and Vienna symphony orchestras; and Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Filharmonica della Scala, Zurich's Tonhalle Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio Franc.

Numerous CDs as well as TV and radio recordings demonstrate Andrey Boreyko's artistic versatility. His recording of Arvo Pärt's Lamentate as well as Valentin Silvestrov's Symphony No. 6 with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR) was released by ECM Records Munich in 2005–06. Also with the SWR Hänssler Classic released a live recording of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 4 and the world premiere of his original version of the Suite, Op. 29 from the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Mr. Boreyko recorded Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony with the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra in 2009.

Learn more about Andrey Boreyko



Emanuel Ax

Internationally renowned pianist Emanuel Ax began his 2013–14 season with appearances at the Barbican Centre; with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Bernard Haitink, at Avery Fisher Hall; and collaborations with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, led by Mariss Jansons, in Amsterdam, Bucharest, China, and Japan, as part of that orchestra’s world-wide centenary celebrations. The second half of the season sees the realization of a project that includes performances of works by Brahms along with new pieces from composers Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, Brett Dean, and Anders Hillborg, co-commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cal Performances Berkeley, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Carnegie Hall, and featuring appearances by mezzo-soprano Anne-Sophie von Otter and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. At the conclusion of the season, Mr. Ax will travel to Hong Kong and Australia for a complete cycle of Beethoven concertos conducted by David Robertson in Sydney and with Sir Andrew Davis in Melbourne.

In conjunction with his role as the New York Philharmonic’s 2012–13 Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, Sony Classical released his latest recital disc of works ranging from Haydn to Schumann to Copland, reflecting their different uses of the “variation” concept. In the spring of 2013 he joined the Orchestra on its European tour led by Music Director Alan Gilbert.

Mr. Ax has been a Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987. His releases include Mendelssohn trios with cellist Yo-Yo- Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman; R. Strauss’s Enoch Arden narrated by Patrick Stewart; and discs of two-piano music by Brahms and Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman. In recent years Mr. Ax has premiered the music of 20th-century composers John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng, and Melinda Wagner. 

Born in Lvov, Poland, pianist Emanuel Ax studied at The Juilliard School, won a Young Concert Artists Award, and majored in French at Columbia University. In 1974 he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv, followed by the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists, and the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. 

Learn more about Emanuel Ax


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, 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.

Learn more about Glenn Dicterow



Sheryl Staples

Violinist Sheryl Staples joined the New York Philharmonic as Principal Associate Concertmaster, The Elizabeth G. Beinecke Chair, in September 1998 and currently serves as Acting Concertmaster, The Charles E. Culpeper Chair. She made her solo debut with the Philharmonic in 1999 performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, led by Kurt Masur, and has since been featured in concertos by Mendelssohn, Mozart, Haydn, Bach, and Vivaldi with conductors including Alan Gilbert, Lorin Maazel, and Sir Colin Davis. In addition she has performed as soloist with more than 40 orchestras nationwide, including The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Diego and Richmond Symphony Orchestras, and Louisiana Philharmonic. In November 2014 she performs Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante with Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps, led by Jaap van Zweden.

A great lover of chamber music, Ms. Staples frequently performs in the New York area in venues including Avery Fisher Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, 92nd Street Y, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ms. Staples has performed chamber music for U.S. Ambassadors in London, Paris, Berlin, Beijing, and Hong Kong, and in 2013 she toured Mexico, Brazil, and Chile. Recent summer festival appearances include La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest, Boston Chamber Music Society, and Salt Bay Chamberfest. She has also collaborated and performed at the chamber music festivals of Santa Fe, Mainly Mozart, Seattle, Aspen, Sarasota, Martha’s Vineyard, Strings Music Festival, and Brightstar Music Festival. She appears on three Stereophile compact discs with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.

Sheryl Staples is a native of Los Angeles, where she developed her love for ensemble work at an early age. She began studying the violin at age five, and her major mentors were Robert Lipsett and Heiichiro Ohyama. Before finishing studies at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Thornton School of Music, Ms. Staples was appointed concertmaster of the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra and other professional ensembles in Los Angeles. She then became concertmaster of the Pacific Symphony in 1994 while enjoying a varied career consisting of solo appearances, chamber music, teaching (at USC’s Thornton School of Music and the Colburn School of Performing Arts), and Hollywood studio recording work for numerous major motion pictures.

At the age of 26 Ms. Staples joined The Cleveland Orchestra as associate concertmaster, a position she held for three years. In addition, she taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Encore School for Strings, and Kent/Blossom Music Festival, and she was a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Piano Trio. Currently she is on faculty at The Juilliard School working with students aspiring toward orchestral careers.

Ms. Staples resides in New Jersey with her husband, percussionist Barry Centanni, and children, Michael and Laura. Mr. Centanni and Ms. Staples premiered William Kraft’s Concerto a Tre for piano, violin, and percussion, written for them, at Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society’s summer festival and recorded it for release on the Albany Records label in 2008. They also premiered David Sampson’s Black River Concerto for solo violin, percussion, and orchestra in April 2011 with the Montclair State University Symphony.

Ms. Staples performs on the “Kartman” Guarneri del Gesu, c. 1728, previously on loan from private collector Peter Mandell and now in the collection of the New York Philharmonic.

Learn more about Sheryl Staples



Cynthia Phelps

Cynthia Phelps is the Philharmonic’s Principal Viola (The Mr. and Mrs. Frederick P. Rose Chair). Her solo appearances with the Orchestra have included performances on the 2006 Tour of Italy, sponsored by Generali, and the 1999 premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Two Paths, which the Orchestra commissioned for her and Philharmonic Associate Principal Viola Rebecca Young. Other solo engagements have included the Minnesota Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Bilbao. Ms. Phelps performs with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Boston Chamber Music Society, and Bargemusic. She has toured internationally with the Zukerman and Friends Ensemble; appeared with The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and the Guarneri, American, Brentano, and Prague string quartets; and has given recitals in the music capitals of Europe and the U.S. Her honors include the Pro Musicis International Award and first prize in the Lionel Tertis International Viola and Washington International String competitions. Her most recent album, for flute, viola, and harp, on Telarc, was nominated for a Grammy Award.She has released a solo CD on Cala Records. Ms. Phelps has performed on PBS’s NPR, Radio France, and RAI in Italy.

Learn more about Cynthia Phelps



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.

Learn more about Carter Brey

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Special Thanks

Emanuel Ax is The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence.


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