Marin Alsop Leads Baltimore Symphony and Yefim Bronfman in Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto, June 11-14
Season finale program also features selections from Wagner’s epic Ring cycle
Baltimore, Md. (May 18, 2009) — Music Director Marin Alsop leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in its last classical concert of the 2008-2009 season on Thursday, June 11 at 8:00 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore and Friday and Saturday, June 12 and 13 at 8:00 pm. and Sunday, June 14 at 3:00 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The program will feature two powerhouse works: Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto with world-renowned soloist Yefim Bronfman and orchestral selections from Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelungen, including “Ride of the Valkyries.” Please see below for complete program information.
Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto is known as one of the most difficult piano works ever composed. Featured in the 1996 film Shine, this piano concerto’s complexity drove the main character, a struggling pianist, into madness. Yefim Bronfman, who previously recorded this concerto, possesses the technical genius needed to execute the quick and intricate melodies and land the long-fingered chords. The concerto runs through a range of expressions to best show the pianist’s skills: themes run from melancholy to passion and utilize both major and minor keys. The soaring finale features church bells, a roaring piano march and accelerated tempos for an exhilarating finish.
Wagner’s four-opera cycle—Das Rheingold, Die Walkürie, Siegfried and Götterdammerung—known as The Ring cycle, took more than 26 years to complete. This orchestra-heavy opera was the first of its kind to dispense with the standard operatic arias and instead merge singers and orchestra. The story of the magic ring can only be understood from listening to all four operas and the composer meant for it to be done as such. For this performance, Maestra Alsop has selected key orchestral works from all four operas including “At the bottom of the Rhine,” “The Nibelungen Smiths,” “The Ride of the Valkyries,” “Siegfried,” “Dawn and Siegfried’s Rhine Journey,” “Funeral Music,” “Immolation Scene” and “Redemption by Love” offering audiences an abridged version of Wagner’s massive Ring cycle.
Marin Alsop, conductor
Hailed as one of the world’s leading conductors for her artistic vision and commitment to accessibility in classical music, Marin Alsop made history with her appointment as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. With her inaugural concerts in September 2007, she became the first woman to head a major American orchestra. She also holds the title of conductor emeritus at the Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom, where she served as the principal conductor from 2002-2008, and is music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California
In 2005, Ms. Alsop was named a MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive this prestigious award. In 2007, she was honored with a European Women of Achievement Award, in 2008 she was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2009 Musical America named her “Conductor of the Year.”
A regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ms. Alsop appears frequently as a guest conductor with the most distinguished orchestras around the world. In addition to her performance activities, she is also an active recording artist with award-winning cycles of Brahms and Barber orchestral works. She is currently recording the Dvorak symphonies with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Marin Alsop attended Yale University and received her master’s degree from The Juilliard School. In 1989, her conducting career was launched when she won the Leopold Stokowski International Conducting Competition in New York.
Yefim Bronfman, piano
Yefim Bronfman is widely regarded as one of the most talented virtuoso pianists performing today. As an on-location artist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the 2008-2009 season, Mr. Bronfman appeared in two subscription concerts as well as a tour of the Far East with that orchestra in addition to a chamber music concert with the orchestra's musicians. Other highlights include a duo recital tour with Emanuel Ax including performances at Chicago's Orchestra Hall, Disney Hall and Carnegie Hall and a solo recital tour in the U.S. and Europe. North American engagements included opening the 2008-2009 season with the San Francisco Symphony, the New York Philharmonic and performances with the Pittsburgh, Montreal and Toronto symphonies. In Europe, he appeared with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchestra, Orchestre Nationale de France, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival and the Philharmonia Orchestra in London.
Mr. Bronfman appears regularly with such celebrated ensembles as the Cleveland Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, London's Philharmonia and the Orchestre de Paris. Summer engagements have regularly taken him to the Aspen, Bad Kissingen, Blossom, Hollywood Bowl, Lucerne, Mann Music Center, Mostly Mozart, Ravinia, Salzburg, Saratoga, Tanglewood and Verbier festivals.
Mr. Bronfman won a Grammy award in 1997 for his recording of the three Bartók Piano Concertos with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His discography also includes the complete Prokofiev Piano Sonatas; all five of the Prokofiev Piano Concertos, nominated for both Grammy and Gramophone awards; and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3. His most recent releases are Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Mariss Jansons and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, a recital disc, Perspectives, which complements Mr. Bronfman's designation as a Carnegie Hall “Perspectives” artist in the 2007-2008 season.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
Classical Concert Series: Marin Alsop and Yefim Bronfman
Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. —The Music Center at Strathmore*
Friday, June 12, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. —Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Saturday, June 13, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. —JMSH
Sunday, June 14, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. —JMSH
Marin Alsop, conductor
Yefim Bronfman, piano
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor
Wagner: Orchestral Selections from The Ring of the Nibelungen
* Music Notes LIVE! is a free pre-concert lecture at the Music Center at Strathmore, hosted by WETA’s David Ginder. The program begins at 7:00 p.m. and is free to ticket holders.
Tickets for these concerts range from $20 to $85, and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or www.BSOmusic.org.