Hans Graf Leads Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Mendelssohn's "Scottish Symphony," Mozart's Symphony No. 34, January 25-27
Pianist Kirill Gerstein performs Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Major
Baltimore, Md. (December 20, 2007)-Renowned Austrian conductor Hans Graf joins the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for works by European masters, January 25-27 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. On the program are Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3, "Scottish," as well as Mozart's Symphony No. 34. Pianist Kirill Gerstein will perform Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Major. See below for complete program information.
Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Major reflects the composer's opinion that a concerto should be "light-hearted and brilliant, and not aim at profundity or at dramatic effects." Though Ravel composed the bright, jazz-infused work to demonstrate his own technical prowess, fatigue and overexertion prevented him from doing so, and ultimately, it was the pianist Marguerite Long who gave the work its overwhelmingly success debut in Paris in 1932. Kirill Gerstein, who made his Baltimore Symphony debut in 2005, returns to perform this concerto.
"When God in heaven takes up panorama painting you can expect something terrific," wrote 21-year-old Mendelssohn of the Scottish landscape. "Everything looks so stern and robust here, even if it all is half obscured by steam or smoke or fog." Scotland so inspired Mendelssohn that he wrote not one masterwork, but two: the first, his Hebrides Overture, was completed shortly after his return from the country, while Symphony No. 3 was only completed in 1842. Dubbed the Scottish Symphony, the work does not take up traditional Scottish tunes, but nonetheless evokes the drama of the highlands, the darkly lush beauty of the countryside and the storms that marked much of the composer's time in Scotland.
While Mendelssohn's Scottish Symphony was born of admiration for the country, Mozart's Symphony No. 34 emerged from utter distaste for both his surroundings-his native Salzburg- and its inhabitants. In a relatively small, unsophisticated city and in the service of the demanding Prince-Archbishop Colloredo, the 24-year-old Mozart felt unable to achieve his potential, writing despairing letters to his family. Just as he was writing his Symphony No. 34 in 1780, he received a commission from Munich to compose an opera, Idomeneo, and with the commission came the hope of leaving Salzburg behind. With its opening fanfare, dramatic harmonies and intimate second movement, Symphony No. 34 anticipates not only Idomeneo, but other of Mozart's great operas, and served as the composer's farewell to the city he so despised.
Hans Graf, conductor
Known for his intensely musical interpretations of a wide range of repertoire and creative programming, the distinguished Austrian conductor Hans Graf is one of today's most highly respected musicians. Currently the music director of the Houston Symphony, a post for which he was unanimously chosen in September 2000, Hans Graf completed his eighth and final season as music director of the Calgary Philharmonic in May 2003 and concluded a six-year tenure as music director of the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine in June 2004.
Mr. Graf is a much sought-after guest conductor in North America and has led the orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Toronto, Cincinnati, Detroit and Montreal. Internationally he has led the Vienna Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the St. Petersburg, Czech and Israel Philharmonics.
An experienced opera conductor, Mr. Graf first conducted the Vienna State Opera in 1981 and has since led productions in the opera houses of Berlin, Munich, Paris and Rome. His extensive opera repertoire includes several world premieres.
Born in 1949 near Linz, Austria, Mr. Graf studied violin and piano as a child. He entered the Musikhochschule in Graz in 1967 and received diplomas in piano and conducting. He later studied with Franco Ferrara in Siena, Sergiu Celibidache in Bologna and Arvid Jansons in Weimar and Leningrad. These concerts mark Mr. Graf's fifth appearance with the Orchestra since his BSO debut in 1997.
Kirill Gerstein, piano
Russian pianist Kirill Gerstein is quickly proving to be one of today's most promising and intriguing young artists. At 28 years old, he is already recognized for his deeply musical interpretations and masterful technique.
Mr. Gerstein won the International Bach Competition in Gorzuw, Poland at age 11 and over the next several years attended jazz workshops, having taught himself to play jazz by listening to his parents' extensive record collection. At age 14 he was accepted into Berklee College of Music in Boston and became the youngest college student in the school's history. He later attended the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Solomon Mikowsky and earned both his bachelor's and master's of music degrees by age 20.
His European orchestral appearances include performances with the National Orchestra of Spain, Israel Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, Bamberg Symphony and the Deutsche Symphony Orchestra Berlin. In North America, Mr. Gerstein has appeared with the San Francisco, Detroit, Houston, Oregon, Indianapolis, Utah and Quebec symphonies.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
Favorites Series: Across the Pond
Friday, January 25, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.-Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Saturday, January 26, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.-JMSH
Sunday, January 27, 2008 at 3:00 p.m.-JMSH
Hans Graf, conductor
Kirill Gerstein, piano Mozart: Symphony No. 34
Ravel: Concerto in G Major
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3, "Scottish"
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 concerts range from $15 to $75 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000, or BSOmusic.org