The New York Philharmonic

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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

David Zinman Conducts Schumann and Sibelius

This concert is now past.
Jan Lisiecki
Location: Avery Fisher Hall (Directions)
Price Range: $33.00 - $107.00

Concert Duration

2 hours
Thu, Dec, 13, 2012
7:30 PM
Fri, Dec, 14, 2012
11:00 AM
Sat, Dec, 15, 2012
8:00 PM
The 2014-15 Season

Program (Click the red play button to listen)


Symphony No. 3

JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Symphony No. 3 (1904-1907)

The year was 1904, and Finnish composer Jean Sibelius realized that, for his art's sake, he needed to get away from the lures and distractions of Helsinki, and he therefore moved his family about 20 miles north of the "big city" to a new home named "Ainola" in honor of his wife. Once there he could finally resume his creative activities. Having already absorbed inspiration from the late Romantics and Romantic nationalism, and invigorated by the change of scene, he immediately set to work on his Third Symphony, finding a new voice in the process. Still, it took three years to complete, what with the many other projects he had undertaken...conducting tours, a revision of his riveting Violin Concerto, writing one of his well-known tone poems, Pohjola's Daughter, as well as assignments for incidental music. He finally completed the symphony and conducted the Helsinki Philharmonic Society in its premiere in 1907. The renowned music critic and commentator Sir Edward Downes wrote that this symphony "marked the rejection of the late 19th century style of expansive emotionalism, of epic sweep, of folkloristic color, of the almost Tchaikovskian piling of climax upon climax which had so greatly enhanced the popular appeal of his First and Second Symphonies. In the Third Symphony... Sibelius launched his own trend toward a more laconic style of disciplined power." Especially noteworthy is the two-part third movement. Here for the first time he initiates a technique he would also use in later symphonies: instead of starting with fully shaped themes that would be put through their paces as was the typical procedure among the Classicists, Sibelius instead launches fragments of melodies that slowly begin to coalesce as the movement proceeds (he referred to it as "the crystallization of ideas from chaos"), gathering energy like some musical snowball and ending in a glorious C Major chord.

Piano Concerto

Piano Concerto (1841; rev. 1845)

Robert Schumann had planned on a career as a pianist, but a permanently lame finger put an end to that dream; his affliction was brought on by a weight he placed on one of his fingers in a misguided attempt to strengthen it during practice sessions. But his loss was the world's gain. The teenaged Robert had come to study piano to the household of Friedrich Wieck, father of Clara Wieck and Schumann's future father-in-law. Though Clara was a child of only nine years at the time, Robert soon fell hopelessly in love in her. Over her father's bitter objections that escalated into a court case, they married in 1840. Clara was already a brilliant pianist in her own right, with an active concertizing career (watched over like a hawk by her father). Marriage seemed to inspire Schumann and led to astonishing creative outpourings, encouraged by Clara. In 1841 he wrote a Fantasy in A Minor for piano and orchestra, which later became the first movement of his Piano Concerto. Clara confided to her diary: " has now become a concerto which I mean to play next winter. I am very glad about it for I have always wanted a great bravura piece by him...I am happy as a king at the thought of playing it with orchestra." She premiered the concerto in Dresden in 1845. At a time when Franz Liszt was burning up keyboards across Europe with his jaw-dropping pyrotechnics, Schumann's music conquered with lovely lyricism. Though it was criticized at the time, it was Clara's celebrity status that enabled the Piano Concerto to be heard, and she championed it throughout her career. A sublime amalgam of rapture and fire, it has stood the test of time and assured it a place among the great works in the piano literature.

Symphony No. 7

JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Symphony No. 7 (1924)

"The fate of an aging composer is endlessly tragic... the work doesn't go at the pace it once did, and my self-criticism is growing to absurd proportions." That was Jean Sibelius's confession to his diary, filled with self-doubt during the last phases of work on his Seventh Symphony. Tragically, he composed almost nothing for the final 27 years of his life, and in the 1940s burned all traces of an eighth symphony, along with many other manuscripts. Still, this ca. 22-minute symphony represents his lifelong quest for a completely integrated symphonic form. His struggle was already apparent when he called it "Fantasia sinfonica" at its premiere in 1924; only when the manuscript was being prepared for publication did he change the title to "Symphony No. 7 (in one movement)," having convinced himself of the work's symphonic nature. No matter what the name though, it is a masterpiece of seriousness, stature, and grandeur. The Seventh Symphony is a web of connected motifs, with tempo markings that vary from very slow to vivacissimo. It begins slowly with three distinct melodic ideas, including a dramatic rising scale and a noble trombone motif that recurs two more times in the symphony, including in the final pages of the work. The sweeping, expansive, and richly scored harmonies of the C-Major ending of this epic work are a triumphant resolution of the trombone theme that has been hanging unresolved throughout and represent a fitting valedictory to Sibelius's symphonic oeuvre.


David Zinman

In the 2013–14 season conductor David Zinman is concluding his tenure as music director of Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra, which includes a tour to Japan in the spring of 2014. Additionally Mr. Zinman returns to the Vienna, Bavarian Radio, and Hamburg’s NDR symphony orchestras; the Royal Stockholm and London Philharmonic Orchestras; and the Orchestre National de France and Orchestre de Paris. He returns to the Mostly Mozart Festival and appears with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood. He has conducted all the leading North American orchestras, including the Chicago and Boston Symphony Orchestras and The Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras. His European engagements have included the Berlin and Munich Philharmonic orchestras; Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra; and the London and Frankfurt Radio symphony orchestras.

Mr. Zinman’s discography of more than 100 recordings has won international honors, including five Grammy awards, two Grand Prix du Disque, two Edison Prizes, the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, and a Gramophone Award. Mr. Zinman and the Tonhalle Orchestra have most recently released a recording titled Wagner in Switzerland, and have collaborated with violinist Julia Fisher and Decca Classics for Bruch’s and Dvořák’s violin concertos. Recently completed cycles with the Tonhalle Orchestra include works by Schubert, Brahms, and Mahler (the recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 received a 2011 ECHO Klassik Award), as well as a Beethoven cycle that has sold more than one million copies.

David Zinman studied conducting with Pierre Monteux, has served as music director of the Rotterdam and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras, and as principal conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. He was also music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School and American Academy of Conducting for 13 years. In 2000 Mr. Zinman was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and in 2002 he was the first conductor and non-Swiss recipient of the City of Zurich Art Prize. He received the Theodore Thomas Award in recognition of outstanding achievement and extraordinary service to one’s colleagues in advancing the art and science of conducting. In 2008 he won the Midem Classical Artist of the Year award for his work with the Tonhalle Orchestra.

Learn more about David Zinman



Jan Lisiecki by Andras Schram

Pianist Jan Lisiecki, age 17, was born in Calgary to Polish parents. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Philharmonic Concert Hall, Seoul Arts Centre, and Paris’s Salle Cortot and has shared the stage with Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma, and Pinchas Zukerman. He received the 2010 Révélations Radio-Canada Musique and Jeune Soliste des Radios Francophones awards, and he records exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon, who signed him when he was 15.

Performance highlights for his 2011–12 season included the opening of the Orchestre de Paris under Paavo Järvi at Salle Pleyel and debuts with the BBC Symphony at the Barbican in London and the Leipzig Radio Symphony at the Leipzig Gewandhaus. Mr. Lisiecki appeared with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under Peter Oundjia, Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain under Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and the Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Antonio Pappano. In the 2012–13 season Mr. Lisiecki tours with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, makes his Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra debut under Jakub Hrusa at Suntory Hall, and in May 2013 tours with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart, with stops including Innsbruck, Vienna, and Berlin.

Also a dedicated chamber musician, Jan Lisiecki has collaborated with the New Zealand String Quartet, Quatuor Ébène, and the Penderecki String Quartet. He was featured in the CBC Next! series as one of the most promising young artists in Canada and was the subject of a 2009 CBC National News documentary titled The Reluctant Prodigy. In June 2008 he was appointed a National Youth Representative by UNICEF Canada. Having graduated from high school in Calgary in January 2011, Jan Lisiecki is studying for a bachelor’s of music degree at the Glenn Gould School of Music in Toronto on a full scholarship.

Learn more about Jan Lisiecki

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