Period Performance Specialist Nicholas McGegan to Lead Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Feb. 25-27
Celebrating Classical-era improvisatory traditions, pianist Robert Levin will perform his own improvisation in the style of Beethoven
Baltimore, Md. (January 14, 2010) – Guest conductor and period performance specialist Nicholas McGegan will join world-renowned pianist Robert Levin and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven & Mozart with a Twist, a fresh program of classical favorites, on Thursday, February 25 and Friday, February 26 at 8 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and on Saturday, February 27 at 8 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore. Levin will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, followed by his own improvisation in the style of Beethoven. This musical treat was typical of Mozart and Beethoven, who would often play improvisations for their audiences after concerto performances. The program also includes two beloved works from Mozart’s repertoire: the Overture to his successful opera The Marriage of Figaro and Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter.” Please see below for complete concert details.
Mozart’s operas showcase not only his compositional mastery, but also his profound psychological understanding of how music can develop character. His comic operas, including The Marriage of Figaro, offer a wonderful blend of humor and insight into human relationships, which is reflected in the wide range of emotions that the music conveys. The Overture to this opera is an audience favorite and is often performed as a stand-alone concert piece.
Beethoven played the piano solo for the premiere of his Piano Concerto No. 1 in Prague in 1798. The piece follows the traditional three-movement, fast-slow-fast format and is stylistically closer to the works of Classical era composers such as Mozart and Haydn than many of Beethoven’s later, more Romantic compositions. Pianist and historical scholar Robert Levin has performed all over the world and is particularly renowned for his period repertoire, including his own improvised cadenzas in the traditional Classical style. In the Classical period, it was common for composers to follow solo performances with improvisations. Levin harkens back to this tradition by improvising in the style of Beethoven following his performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1.
Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter” is the quintessential uplifting Classical symphony. The symphony follows the traditional form, with four movements: Allegro, Andante, Menuetto (or Minuet) and Molto Allegro. Mozart’s genius in his use of counterpoint, particularly in the finale, is truly remarkable, and, combined with the speed of the movement, leaves the audience satisfied and energized.
Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Recognized by The New Yorker as “an acclaimed expert in eighteen-century style,” Nicholas McGegan is the music director of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. He makes regular appearances at festivals including Aspen, Ravinia, Edinburgh and the Hollywood Bowl, and with the symphony orchestras of New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, St. Louis, Detroit and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has also been artistic director of the International Handel Festival Gottingen since 1991.
Mr. McGegan’s extensive discography includes recordings with the PBO, the Gottingen Festival Opera and Orchestra and the Arcadian Academy. His most recent recordings are Handel’s Atalanta and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, both with PBO, and Handel’s Solomon with the Gottingen Festival Orchestra for Carus. Slated for release later this year are the Gottingen Samson and Acis and Galatea.
Born in England and educated at Cambridge and Oxford Universities, Mr. McGegan has an honorary degree from London’s Royal College of Music and was elected an Honorary Professor of Philosophy at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen in 2006.
Robert Levin, piano
Robert Levin has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and in Asia, appearing with the orchestras of Atlanta, Berlin, Birmingham, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, Montreal, Utah and Vienna on the Steinway and with the Academy of Ancient Music, the English Baroque Soloists, the Handel & Haydn Society, the London Classical Players, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique on period pianos. Renowned for his improvised cadenzas in Classical period repertoire, Robert Levin has made recordings of a wide range of repertoire for Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, DG Archiv, Decca/London, ECM, Hänssler, New York Philomusica, Philips and SONY Classical. His recordings include Bach’s complete keyboard concertos, the six English Suites and both books of the Well-Tempered Clavier (Hänssler Edition Bachakademie); a Mozart concerto cycle with Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music for Decca/Oiseau Lyre; and the Beethoven concertos with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique for DG Archiv. A passionate advocate of new music, Robert Levin has commissioned and premiered a large number of works, including Joshua Fineberg’s Veils (2001), John Harbison’s Second Sonata (2003), Yehudi Wyner’s piano concerto Chiavi in mano (Pulitzer Prize, 2006), Bernard Rands’ Preludes (2007) and Thomas Oboe Lee’s Piano Concerto (2007).
Robert Levin appears frequently with his wife, pianist Ya-Fei Chuang, in duo recitals and with orchestra, and with violist Kim Kashkashian. A noted Mozart scholar, Mr. Levin’s completions of Mozart’s Requiem and other unfinished works have been recorded and performed throughout the world. In 2005 his completion of the Mozart C-minor Mass, commissioned by Carnegie Hall, was premiered there and has since been widely heard in the United States and Europe. After more than a quarter century as an artist teacher at the Sarasota Music Festival he succeeded Paul Wolfe as artistic director in 2007. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Akademie für Mozartforschung, he is president of the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition (Leipzig, Germany) and a Dwight P. Robinson, Jr. Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University.
COMPLETE CONCERT DETAILS
Classical Concert: Beethoven & Mozart with a Twist
Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Friday, February 26, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.—The Music Center at Strathmore
Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Robert Levin, piano
Mozart: Overture to The Marriage of Figaro
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1
Robert Levin: Improvisation in the Style of Beethoven
Mozart: Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter”
Tickets for these performances range from $25 to $80 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.