Marking 25th Anniversary of Debut as a BSO Guest Conductor,
Günther Herbig Leads Baltimore Symphony in Schubert's Symphony No. 9, "The Great C Major"
November 8-11 concerts also feature BSO Concertmaster Jonathan Carney performing Sibelius' virtuosic Violin Concerto
Baltimore, Md. (October 16, 2007)-Just as the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall celebrates its 25th anniversary in the 2007-2008 season, acclaimed conductor Günther Herbig will celebrate an anniversary as well: 25 years as one of the most beloved guest conductors of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The maestro began guest conducting the Orchestra in February 1983, just months after the Meyerhoff opened its doors. He has since appeared with the BSO nearly every season since. Maestro Herbig returns November 8-11 to lead concerts featuring Schubert's Symphony No. 9, "The Great C Major," as well as Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture. The program will also feature BSO Concertmaster Jonathan Carney performing Sibelius' Violin Concerto. See below for complete program information.
"The BSO enjoys a great relationship with Günther because, no matter the repertoire, he brings a meticulous intelligence to his music making. This has been a constant for the more than two decades we've worked together," commented BSO bassist Hampton Childress, who also joined the Orchestra in the Meyerhoff's opening season. Since first appearing with the BSO, Herbig has led the Orchestra on 23 occasions.
Maestro Herbig will conduct the BSO in Schubert's Symphony No. 9, originally dubbed "The Great C Major" to differentiate it from his other symphony in the same key, "The Little C Major" (Symphony No. 6). Over time, the sobriquet has come to refer to the work's majesty and overall length, often nearly one hour from beginning to end. After Felix Mendelssohn conducted the first public performance of the symphony in 1839, Robert Schumann praised the work for its "heavenly length" and noted that it was one of the greatest instrumental works since the death of Beethoven. The work contains a number of melodic motives, and the second movement, a slow march, is often thought to be one of several nods to Beethoven in the work, resembling in many ways the slow movement from his Symphony No. 7. The last movement includes a direct quote from Beethoven's own "great" Ninth Symphony.
After receiving praise from The Baltimore Sun for his "pure, golden tone" in June 2007 performances of Korngold's Violin Concerto, BSO Concertmaster Jonathan Carney will perform Sibelius' Violin Concerto, the only concerto in the composer's oeuvre. Virtuosic runs, arpeggios and double-stops (playing two strings at one time) make up much of the solo material in the Concerto, but melodic segments can also be found throughout the work's three movements. Sibelius composed the work at the start of the 20th century, barely completing the final movement in time for Viktor Novácek's highly unsuccessful premiere of the work. Sibelius reworked the solo material to make it slightly easier on the player, and the Berlin Philharmonic premiered the final version in 1905. Despite the simplified solo line, the Concerto is still recognized as one of the most difficult in the violin repertoire, and has taken its place among "standard" violin concertos including those by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn.
The program opens with Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture, a concert overture written when the composer was just 21. During a trip to Scotland in 1830, Mendelssohn was so inspired by Fingal's Cave on the island of Staffa that he composed the work's main theme on the spot. The two principal themes have been interpreted to represent the majesty and power of Fingal's Cave, and the ocean's perpetually shifting waves and currents. Mendelssohn originally called the work The Lonely Island, but renamed it after completing revisions of the score in 1832.
Günther Herbig, conductor
Günther Herbig's conducting career has been equally distinguished in both Europe and North America. Mr. Herbig's musical training took place in Central Europe where he studied with Herman Abendroth, Herbert von Karajan and Hermann Scherchen. In 1972 he was named General Music Director of the Dresden Philharmonic and held the same post with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra from 1977 to 1983. Turning to Western Europe, Mr. Herbig became Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic in 1979. In 1984 he moved from East Germany to the United States and served for ten years as Music Director first of the Detroit and later of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. From 2001 to 2006 he served as the Chief Conductor of the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Herbig has been invited to conduct both major European ensembles as well as numerous orchestras throughout the United States. He has recorded more than 100 works, some of which were with the East German orchestras with whom he was associated prior to moving to the West in 1984. Since then he has made recordings with several of the London orchestras, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the Saarbrücken RSO.
Jonathan Carney, violin
Jonathan Carney was appointed concertmaster of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 2001 after 12 seasons in the same position with London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He also held the concertmaster post with the Basque National Orchestra in Spain. Born in New Jersey, Mr. Carney hails from a musical family, with all six members of his family having graduated from The Juilliard School in New York. Upon completing his studies with Ivan Galmian and Christine Dethier, he was awarded a Leverhulme Fellowship to continue his studies in London at the Royal College of Music. Recent solo performances have included concertos by Bruch, Nielsen, Korngold and Khatchaturian; the Brahms Double Concerto; and Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending, which was featured as a live BBC broadcast from London's Barbican Hall.
Mr. Carney lives in Maryland with his wife and their three children. He is a Connolly and Co. artist, exclusively playing Vision strings by Thomastik-Infeld. His violin is a 1687 Stradivarius, the Mercur-Avery.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
Celebrity Series: (Meyerhoff)/Classical Saturdays (Strathmore): Landscapes
Thursday, November 8, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.- Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Friday, November 9, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.- JMSH
Saturday, November 10, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.- The Music Center at Strathmore
Sunday, November 11, 2008 at 3:00 p.m.-JMSH
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Günther Herbig, conductor
Jonathan Carney, violin
Mendelssohn: Hebrides Overture
Sibelius: Violin Concerto
Schubert: Symphony No. 9, "The Great C Major"
Special anniversary pricing for the 2007-2008 season at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall is made possible by generous underwriting from the PNC Foundation.
Tickets for these performances range from $15 to $84 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444 or 410.783.8000, or BSOmusic.org.