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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

Masur Conducts Brahms

This concert is now past.
Kurt Masur
Location: Avery Fisher Hall (Directions)
Price Range: $38.00 - $125.00

Concert Duration

1 hour 50 minutes
Thu, Nov, 8, 2012
7:30 PM
Fri, Nov, 9, 2012
8:00 PM
Sat, Nov, 10, 2012
8:00 PM
Tue, Nov, 13, 2012
7:30 PM
The 2014-15 Season

Program (Click the red play button to listen)


Concerto for Violin and Cello

Concerto for Violin and Cello, Op. 102, "Double Concerto" (1887)

The Double Concerto was Johannes Brahms's last concerto and his last orchestral work. It was also a kind of "peace offering"... salve for a wounded 30-year friendship. When the composer's great friend, collaborator, and musical advisor, violinist Joseph Joachim — after years of suspecting his wife, contralto Amalie Spies, of infidelity — filed for divorce, Brahms took Amalie's side in a letter of support. Construing this as an act of betrayal, Joachim broke with Brahms. They did not speak for years, despite Brahms's several attempts to communicate with Joachim. But finally, in 1887, Brahms composed this noble "double" concerto and offered it to Joachim as an act of reconciliation, and inscribed it: "To him for whom it was written: Joseph Joachim." The catalogue of Brahms's concertos is slim: two piano concertos, one violin concerto, and the present "Double Concerto." He never composed a cello concerto, and cellists wistfully speculate about what might have been. Writing a concerto in which two or more strong (and sometimes quite distinct) instrumental personalities are in play was a technical challenge not undertaken by many composers before Brahms (the combination of violin and cello had never been attempted). And in typical Brahmsian fashion, the composer made deprecating remarks about his piece, calling it a "folly." He wrote to Clara Schumann: "It is a very different matter writing for instruments whose nature and sound one only has a chance acquaintance with, or only hears in one's mind, from writing for an instrument that one knows as thoroughly as I know the piano." But hearing this titanic work gives the lie to this worry. Joachim and the renowned cellist Robert Hausmann were the soloists in the premiere of this symbolic musical give-and-take between friends, in which drama, lyricism, and emotional capital abound. As for the peace offering? Joachim apparently accepted it.

Symphony No. 2

Symphony No. 2 (1877)

While Johannes Brahms waited until he was 42 years old to write his First Symphony, he completed his genial Second only a few months later. He called it “cheerful and sweet,” with “melodies flying so fast that you need to watch that you don’t step on any of them.” Some have dubbed it his “Pastoral” symphony. You’ll sense that his creative process was probably inspired by the congenial surroundings of the small lakeside town Pörtschach in the Austrian Alps where he composed it. But this symphony isn’t all sweetness and light. There are constant mood shifts, as well as changes from major to minor mode, with a finale that drives the work home with brasses ablaze and joy all around. Guest conductor Sakari Oramo has been hailed as possessing “keen musical insight” (The Chicago Tribune), a “masterly hand” (The Telegraph), and an “imaginative ear for orchestral sonority” (BBC Music Magazine), making this Brahms something to anticipate with great excitement.



Kurt Masur by Frans Jansen

Kurt Masur is well known to orchestras and audiences alike as both a distinguished conductor and a humanist. In September 2002 he became music director of the Orchestre National de France in Paris, and, in September 2008, became that ensemble's honorary music director for life. From September 2000 to 2007 he was principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. From 1991 to 2002 he was Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, and was subsequently named Music Director Emeritus — the first New York Philharmonic music director to receive that title, and only the second (after Leonard Bernstein, who had been named Laureate Conductor) to be so recognized. The New York Philharmonic established the Kurt Masur Fund for the Orchestra, which endows a conductor debut week at the Philharmonic in his honor in perpetuity. From 1970 until 1996 Mr. Masur served as Gewandhaus Kapellmeister of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, a position of profound historic importance; upon his retirement in 1996 the Gewandhaus named him its first-ever conductor laureate. Mr. Masur is a guest conductor with the world's leading orchestras and holds the lifetime title of honorary guest conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. In July 2007 he celebrated his 80th birthday in a concert at the BBC Proms in London, where he conducted the joint forces of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestre National de France.

A professor at the Leipzig Academy of Music since 1975, Kurt Masur has received numerous honors, including the Cross of the Order of Merits of the Federal Republic of Germany (1995); Gold Medal of Honor for Music from the National Arts Club (1996); the titles of Commander of the Legion of Honor from the French Government, and of New York City Cultural Ambassador from the City of New York (1997); and the Commander Cross of Merit of the Polish Republic (1999). In March 2002 the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Johannes Rau, bestowed upon him the Cross with Star of the Order of Merits of the Federal Republic of Germany, and in September 2007 he received the Great Cross of the Legion of Honor with Star and Ribbon from the President of Germany, Horst Köhler.

In September 2008 Mr. Masur received the Furtwängler Prize in Bonn, Germany. He is also an honorary citizen of his hometown, Brieg. He has made more than 100 recordings with numerous orchestras, and in 2008 celebrated 60 years as a professional conductor.

Learn more about Kurt Masur


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



Alisa Weilerstein

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein is the recipient of a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship. An exclusive recording artist for Decca Classics, her label debut, featuring Elgar’s and Elliott Carter’s cello concertos with Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Staatskapelle, was named BBC Music magazine’s Recording of the Year 2013. On her second Decca release Ms. Weilerstein plays Dvorák’s Cello Concerto, which she reprises with the New York Philharmonic and Christoph von Dohnányi in these performances. Upcoming orchestral highlights also include Elgar with Dallas, Milwaukee, Stuttgart, and Tokyo’s NHK symphony orchestras, and The Cleveland Orchestra, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, and Netherlands Philharmonic, as well as Haydn on a German tour with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Shostakovich with England’s Hallé Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall. In recitals in Boston and Aspen and at London’s Wigmore Hall she performs repertoire from Solo, her new Decca compilation of unaccompanied 20th-century cello music. The album’s centerpiece is Kodály’s Sonata, a signature work that she also performs on the sound track of If I Stay, a 2014 feature film in which she makes a cameo appearance as herself. Ms. Weilerstein’s career milestones include Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic under Barenboim in Oxford, England, and a performance at the White House for the President and Mrs. Obama. An ardent champion of new music, she has worked with Osvaldo Golijov and Matthias Pintscher and premiered works by Lera Auerbach and Joseph Hallman. She appears at major music festivals worldwide, and regularly collaborates with Venezuela’s Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and the El Sistema education program. Her honors include Lincoln Center’s 2008 Martin E. Segal prize and the 2006 Leonard Bernstein Award. She is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and Columbia University. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she is a Celebrity Advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Learn more about Alisa Weilerstein

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