Pianist Barry Douglas Joins Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, June 12-15
Led by Thomas Dausgaard, program also features Sibelius’ En Saga, Symphony No. 7
Baltimore, Md. (May 22, 2008)—Acclaimed pianist Barry Douglas will join the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, June 12, 13 and 15 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, and June 14 at the Music Center at Strathmore. Led by guest conductor Thomas Dausgaard, the program also includes Sibelius’ Symphony No. 7 and his sweeping tone poem, En Saga. See below for complete program information.
Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 is among the most infamously challenging and virtuosic works in the piano repertory. Rachmaninoff penned the concerto in the summer of 1909, but was only able to practice on a silent keyboard as he made the sea voyage to America for its premiere and his first American tour. Though well received in its early years, it was not until the mid-twentieth century when, championed first by famed pianist Vladimir Horowitz and then by Van Cliburn, the work took its place among the giants of the repertoire. On the Baltimore Symphony’s program, “Rach 3” is performed by Irish pianist Barry Douglas, the 1986 winner of the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition. On June 2, Sony BMG Masterworks will release a heritage recording, circa 1993, of Douglas performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto Nos. 1 and 3 with the Russian State Symphony Orchestra.
Also featured on the program is Finnish composer Jean Sibelius’ seventh symphony, considered by some to be his greatest achievement. The composer had long rejected the traditional, four-movement symphonic form, believing that a symphony should flow like a river; thus, Symphony No. 7 is just one movement, completely original in form and in treatment of dramatically varied tempi. With its organic, free-flowing melodies, the work has just one true theme, proclaimed three times by the brass. In the words of BSO program annotator Jan Bedell, “Like many of Sibelius’ greatest works, there is an underlying feeling of the human being standing in wonder before a big, powerful and unknowable natural world: Nature at its most awesome.” Though the composer lived another 31 years—to the age of 91—serious depression and alcoholism stymied his compositional output, leaving Symphony No. 7 as his final symphonic work.
Unlike many tone poems, which follow a clear narrative, Sibelius’ En Saga (“A Legend”) remains shrouded in mystery and without a program. The composer would never reveal the troubles that inspired the work, only saying that En Saga was “an expression of a state of mind…I could almost say that the whole of my youth is contained within it…When I was writing En Saga I went through many things that were upsetting to me. In no other work have I revealed myself as completely as in En Saga.”
Thomas Dausgaard, conductor
Danish conductor, Thomas Dausgaard is renowned for his dynamic conducting style, his fresh approach to a broad range of repertoire, his prolific discography, and the exciting results he has achieved as chief conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra/DR since 2004 and as principal conductor of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra since 1997.
Mr. Dausgaard guest conducts several of the world's leading orchestras including the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Radio Symphony Berlin, the Czech Philharmonic, the Verdi Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, Seattle Symphony and the Montreal Symphony. He enjoys a special relationship with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, conducting them on tour as well as in their home city. He works with the leading Scandinavian ochestras and has conducted the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra in St Petersburg and on tour in Italy, where he also works with the RAI Turin and La Scala Philharmonic orchestras. He conducts the Toronto Symphony every year, and makes regular appearances at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York.
Mr. Dausgaard already has a discography of more than 30 recordings. His much praised DVD recording of Langgaard's opera Antikrist on the Dacapo label was released in 2006.
Barry Douglas, piano
Barry Douglas continues to enjoy a major international solo career which has developed since winning the Gold Medal at the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow. In 1999 he founded Camerata Ireland, an all-Irish chamber orchestra with players from both Northern and Southern Ireland to celebrate “the wealth of Irish musical talent.” The group tours regularly through Europe and the United States. He has also served as artistic director of the Clandeboye Festival in Ireland since 2004 and the International Piano Festival in Manchester.
In the 2007-2008 season, Mr. Douglas has performed with the Dresden Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Houston Symphony Orchestra, National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Douglas is also establishing a worldwide reputation as a conductor, uniting his talents as soloist and chamber musician with his passionate and imaginative approach to music making. He makes his debut with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields at the Mostly Mozart Festival this summer and with the I Pommerigi di Milano the following autumn.
Barry Douglas received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2002 New Year’s Honors List for services to music.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
Celebrity Series (Baltimore)/Classical Saturdays (Strathmore): Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3
Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Friday, June 13, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.—JMSH
Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.—The Music Center at Strathmore
Sunday, June 15, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.—JMSH
Thomas Dausgaard, conductor
Barry Douglas, piano
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor
Sibelius: En Saga
Sibelius: Symphony No. 7
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 this concert range from $15 to $84 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000, 877.BSO.1444 or BSOmusic.org.