UPDATE: Due to back injuries sustained in an accident over the holiday season, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra regrets to announce that Jirí Belohlávek has cancelled his upcoming engagement to conduct the BSO and pianist Garrick Ohlsson in the January 22-24 concerts. In his place, the BSO is pleased to welcome back internationally acclaimed German conductor Günther Herbig.
Acclaimed Pianist Garrick Ohlsson Joins the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto
BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Chief Conductor Jirí Belohlávek to lead program
Baltimore, Md. (November 24, 2009) – BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Chief Conductor Jirí Belohlávek will lead pianist Garrick Ohlsson and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto on Friday, January 22 and Saturday, January 23 at 8 p.m. and on Sunday, January 24 at 3 p.m. The performances on Friday and Sunday will be held at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, and Saturday’s performance will be at The Music Center at Strathmore. Winner of the Avery Fisher Prize in 1994 and hailed by The New York Times as a “powerful” and “eloquent” pianist, guest artist Garrick Ohlsson will give a fresh take on Beethoven’s famous concerto. In keeping with this season’s theme of exploring cultural roots, Czech maestro Jirí Belohlávek will conduct the music of two Czech composers: Dvorák’s Othello Overture and Janácek’s Taras Bulba. Also on the program is Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture. Please see below for complete concert details.
Beethoven’s composed his Third Piano Concerto in 1800 and dedicated it to Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia. The first performance of the piece was in 1803 and featured Beethoven himself as soloist. During this time, Beethoven would often dedicate his pieces to political and heroic figures. In fact, as Beethoven was finishing this concerto he also began composing his Third Symphony “Eroica” (Heroic), which was originally dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte.
The Coriolan Overture was inspired by the play of the same name, written by Austrian dramatist Heinrich Joseph von Collins. Beethoven wrote this overture in 1807, three years after the play was written. The play centers around the legend of Roman general Coriolanus. Beethoven premiered this Overture along with premieres of his Fourth Symphony and Fourth Piano Concerto in March of 1807.
Czech composer Antonin Dvorák is probably most famous for his Ninth Symphony, “From the New World,” and his American quartet, both of which were written during the period when he was working in the United States as artistic director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York. However, included in his vast range of orchestral works is Othello, an overture written in 1892 as the “love” portion of a trilogy of overtures entitled “Nature, Life and Love.”
Twentieth-century Czech composer Leoš Janácek earned an international reputation working in traditional Western art music idioms, while maintaining a unique national style by researching folk music from Moravia and incorporating elements of this folk music into his compositions. Taras Bulba (composed in 1918) is an orchestral rhapsody and programmatic work based on the novel by Gogol.
Jirí Belohlávek, conductor
The renowned Czech maestro Jirí Belohlávek took up the position of chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in July 2006. Founder and Music Director Laureate of the Prague Philharmonia, Maestro Belohlávek studied at the Prague Conservatoire and Arts Academy. He appears regularly with major orchestras including the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, Philharmonia, London Philharmonic and NHK Symphony. In North America, he conducts the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Washington D.C., St. Louis, Montreal and Minnesota. In his homeland, Jirí Belohlávek has frequently performed with the Czech Philharmonic, Prague Symphony and the Prague Philharmonia, and in 2006 was appointed Chairman of the Prague Spring Festival.
Mr. Belohlávek was chief conductor of the Prague Symphony (1977-1989) and music director of the Czech Philharmonic (1990-1992), with whom he has recorded extensively for Chandos Records. He founded the Prague Philharmonia in 1994, and has recorded and toured extensively with this ensemble, including a televised appearance at the BBC Proms in July 2004. He was appointed principal guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in September 1995, immediately following his debut with the orchestra. In the 2009-2010 season, Maestro Belohlávek will conduct, among others, the Japan Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic.
Garrick Ohlsson, piano
Since his triumph as winner of the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition, pianist Garrick Ohlsson has established himself worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess. Although he has long been regarded as one of the world's leading exponents of the music of Frédéric Chopin, Mr. Ohlsson commands an enormous repertoire, which ranges over the entire piano literature.
In recognition of the bicentenary of Chopin's birthday Mr. Ohlsson will present a series of all-Chopin recital programs in Seattle, Berkeley and La Jolla culminating at Lincoln Center in fall and winter of 2010. Other highlights during the 2009-2010 season include Martinu's rarely performed Concerto No. 4 with the New York Philharmonic and the BBC Scottish Symphony as well as appearances with the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta, Vancouver, Indianapolis, San Diego, Milwaukee and Minneapolis. He will be heard in solo recital in Chicago, Fort Worth, Philadelphia and in a special gala concert to be presented in Chopin's birth house in Warsaw. Mr. Ohlsson's debut in Russia will take place during St. Petersburg's winter festival in December, when he appears both in recital and with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic.
COMPLETE CONCERT DETAILS
Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto
Friday, January 22, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall**
Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. - The Music Center at Strathmore
Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 3:00 p.m. -Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Jirí Belohlávek, conductor
Garrick Ohlsson, piano
Beethoven: Coriolan Overture
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3
Dvorák: Othello Overture
Janácek: Taras Bulba ‡
BBC Symphony Orchestra's Chief Conductor Jirí Belohlávek joins the BSO for a program exploring heroes in music. It includes Beethoven's overture about a legendary Roman general, Dvorák's tone poem on Shakespearean tragedy and Janácek's powerful description of a Slavic champion of fierce will and courage. Famed pianist Garrick Ohlsson joins the BSO in Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto.
** Classical Conversations is a free pre-concert lecture at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The program begins at 7:00 p.m. and is free to ticket holders.
‡ Denotes a BSO premiere