Violin Virtuoso Itzhak Perlman to Conduct and Perform with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Feb. 18-21
BSO Principal Oboist Katherine Needleman to join Perlman for J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe
Baltimore, Md. (January 7, 2010) – Internationally acclaimed musician Itzhak Perlman will lead and perform with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, February 18 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 21 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and on Saturday, February 20 at 8 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore. The concert includes a diverse program of orchestral classics from the Baroque to the Romantic eras, featuring Beethoven’s famous Fifth Symphony and Tchaikovsky’s lush Serenade for Strings. BSO Principal Oboist Katherine Needleman will join Perlman for a performance of J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe. Please see below for complete concert details.
According to The New York Times, “there is probably no more talented violinist in the world than Itzhak Perlman.” Perlman trained at the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv and has toured extensively as a guest conductor and performer and is renowned for making several of the most artistic and subtle classical recordings available. The Grammy Award-winning violinist was recently invited as a guest artist to perform during the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. Perlman is currently artistic director of the Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra, while making time to lead the Perlman Music Program in New York and Israel that he founded with his wife, Toby.
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony offers a powerful metaphor for victory. Composed in 1807-1808, the main motif, which is so often quoted in television and movies as an indication of something ominous is commonly thought of as representing fate knocking at the door. While the movement begins in a distraught C minor, the symphony concludes optimistically in C major, suggesting a triumphant victory over fate.
Because J.S. Bach composed primarily to meet the needs of his various church positions, he was incredibly prolific and often would recycle sections from his own works. His Concerto for Violin and Oboe is an example of this phenomenon: while originally composed for violin and oboe, the version that exists today is an arrangement for two harpsichords and orchestra. Luckily, with the help of historians and what remains of the score, musicians can perform a largely accurate version of this original piece.
Romantic composer Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is well-known for his powerfully evocative symphonies and ballets, including his gripping Fourth Symphony (performed by the BSO earlier this season) and the charming ballet The Nutcracker. While Tchaikovsky was dismissed by his colleagues for a large portion of the twentieth century as being a trivial composer, his compositions have proved timeless, securing his status as one of the most famous and important composers of Western classical music. Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings is considered to be an archetypical Romantic composition because of its soaring and beautiful harmonies.
Itzhak Perlman, conductor and violin
Undeniably the reigning virtuoso of the violin, Itzhak Perlman enjoys superstar status rarely afforded a classical musician. In January 2009, Mr. Perlman was honored to take part in the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. In December 2003, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts granted Mr. Perlman a Kennedy Center Honor celebrating his distinguished achievements and contributions to the cultural and educational life of our nation.
Born in Israel in 1945, Mr. Perlman completed his initial training at the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. He came to New York and soon was propelled into the international arena with an appearance on the "Ed Sullivan Show" in 1958. Following his studies at The Juilliard School, he won the prestigious Leventritt Competition in 1964, which led to a burgeoning worldwide career. Since then, he has appeared with every major orchestra and in recitals and festivals around the world.
This season marks his second as artistic director of the Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra. He was music advisor of the St. Louis Symphony from 2002 to 2004 where he made regular conducting appearances, and he was principal guest conductor of the Detroit Symphony from 2001 to 2005. Conducting highlights this season include the San Francisco, New Jersey Symphony, Seattle and Dallas symphonies, as well as a two-week engagement with the Israel Philharmonic.
Soloist highlights of his 2009-2010 season include a reprise of his acclaimed Klezmer program, “In the Fiddler’s House,” for the opening of the Barvikha Concert Hall outside Moscow; a recital at the Moscow Conservatory; a performance with the New York Philharmonic to commemorate World Polio Day; two West Coast tours; and recitals across North and Central America. He also appears with students from the Perlman Music Program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and in Israel.
In February 2008, Mr. Perlman was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in the recording arts. His recordings regularly appear on the best-seller charts and have garnered fifteen Grammy Awards.
Katherine Needleman, oboe
Katherine Needleman joined the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as principal oboist in 2003, the same year she won the International Double Reed Society’s Gillet-Fox Competition. She has appeared as guest principal oboist with The Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of Boston, Atlanta, San Diego and New Zealand.
This past summer, Ms. Needleman performed at the Bay Chamber Concerts in Maine on its “First Chair All Stars” series, at the Kingston Music Festival in Rhode Island and with The Philadelphia Orchestra in Saratoga, New York. She makes regular chamber music appearances with Trio La Milpa and the Mico Nonet.
Ms. Needleman has appeared with the BSO on many occasions as soloist in works by Vivaldi, Mozart, Bach, Lukas Foss, Martinu and the recently discovered slow movement from Beethoven’s lost Oboe Concerto. She attended high school at the Baltimore School for the Arts, but left early to attend the Curtis Institute of Music, where she was a student of Richard Woodhams.
COMPLETE CONCERT DETAILS
Special Event: Itzhak Perlman
Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.—The Music Center at Strathmore
Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 3:00 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Itzhak Perlman, conductor and violin
Katherine Needleman, oboe
J.S. Bach: Concerto for Violin and Oboe
Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5
Tickets for these performances range from $30 to $125 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.