17-year-old Conductor Ilyich Rivas Debuts with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Oct. 14-16
Prodigy Markus Groh performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2
Baltimore, Md. (August 19, 2010)—The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Shostakovich’s First Symphony on Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 8 p.m. and Friday, October 15, 2010 at 8 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. Continuing this season’s focus on youth, 17-year-old BSO-Peabody Bruno Walter Assistant Conductor Ilyich Rivas makes his subscription concert debut with Shostakovich’s First Symphony, written when the composer was only 18. Joining Rivas is young German pianist Markus Groh, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The program also includes Brahms’ collegiately inspired Academic Festival Overture and Mahler’s Blumine in celebration of this season’s other theme: the life and music of Gustav Mahler. Please see below for complete concert details.
BSO-Peabody Bruno Walter Assistant Conductor Ilyich Rivas makes his subscription concert debut conducting this ambitious program. Born in Venezuela in 1993 into a distinguished musical family, Mr. Rivas’ talent was evident at a young age. In 2009, he was selected to participate in the Cabrillo Festival Conductors Workshop in California, where he made a significant impression on both Marin Alsop and Gustav Meier. After an audition in front of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, he was awarded the position of BSO-Peabody Conducting Fellowship starting in September 2009. This two-year position permits him to study conducting at the Peabody Institute under Meier's guidance, and to work closely with Marin Alsop and the BSO.
The young pianist Markus Groh will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the BSO. Groh’s repertoire includes all of Beethoven’s piano concertos that according to The Florida Times-Union, are “a perfect showcase for the German pianist's elegant but controlled power” and “effortless” technique. At just 22 years old, Beethoven brought the beginnings of his Piano Concerto No. 2 to Vienna in 1792 when he studied under Haydn. The Viennese aristocracy received Beethoven as the most popular pianist in Vienna and Mozart’s heir. Beethoven, while reminiscent of Mozart, displayed a new proto-Romantic style to break free of direct comparison to his predecessor.
Shostakovich began writing his First Symphony in 1924 as a graduation test piece. Though he wrote the work as an 18-year-old student, his finished product astounded and impressed established music professionals, including the music director of the Leningrad Philharmonic, Nikolai Malko. “It was immediately clear that this First Symphony by Shostakovich was the vibrant, individual and striking work of a composer with an original approach,” Malko said, whose orchestra premiered the Symphony in 1926. “The style of the Symphony was unusual; the orchestration sometimes suggested chamber music in its sound and its instrumental economy.”
Mahler struggled with the type of symphonic expression he wanted to create, debating between a conventional four-movement symphony and a freely constructed symphonic poem. He composed “Blumine” (“Flowers”) for his First Symphony, but eliminated the movement later. Though the score was thought lost for years, it turned up in 1959 at Sotheby’s Auction House; Mahler had given it to a favorite student at the Vienna Conservatory in 1897, who then passed it on to her son. Blumine was scored for a much smaller orchestra than the rest of the First Symphony and most notably features a haunting trumpet solo.
In 1879, the University of Breslau named Johannes Brahms an honorary doctor in philosophy and called him the “present leader in Germany of music of the more serious sort.” Wanting to prove that he was not limited to serious music when composing his work for the university, he based his boisterous Academic Festival Overture on undergraduate-inspired songs, such as drinking tunes. The Overture includes the student hymn “We Had Built a Stately House,” “High Festival Song,” the freshman hazing song “Fuchsenritt” (“Fox Ride”) and the worldwide classic “Gaudeamus igitur” (“Let Us Rejoice”), which originated as a drinking song and evolved into a graduation piece.
Ilyich Rivas, conductor
Ilyich Rivas was born in Venezuela in 1993 into a distinguished musical family. From a young age it was clear he had a natural talent for conducting and he started studying with his father when he was just 6 years of age.
In 2009, he was selected to participate in the Cabrillo Festival Conductors Workshop in California, where he made a significant impression on both Marin Alsop and Gustav Meier. After an audition in front of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, he was awarded the position of BSO-Peabody Conducting Fellowship starting in September 2009. This two-year position permits him to study conducting at the Peabody Institute under Meier's guidance, and to work closely with Marin Alsop and the BSO.
In the summer of 2009, he spent an extensive period of time in Europe at the invitation of Glyndebourne Opera, where he observed rehearsals and performance mentored primarily by Vladimir Jurowski and then attended the first Verbier Festival Conducting Academy.
In the 2009-2010 season, he made his professional debut in the U.S. conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in a summer festival concert to considerable critical acclaim. More recently, he made a hugely impressive debut with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra. This summer, he was once again invited by Glyndebourne Opera to continue the mentoring programme and also returned to the Verbier Festival, where he had a major success conducting performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and La bohème. At the Festival, he was awarded the Julius Baer Prize in recognition of his impressive talent and achievements.
Markus Groh, piano
In addition to recent debuts with the National Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra, Markus Groh has also appeared with the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Colorado, Detroit, Florida, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle. Among his worldwide engagements are the Beijing Symphony, Berlin Symphony, Hague Residentie Orkest, Helsinki Philharmonic, London Symphony, MDR Orchestra at the Leipzig Gewandhaus, New Japan Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. Upcoming concerts include debuts with the Cincinnati Symphony, Houston Symphony, Mozarteum Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic and the Vancouver Symphony.
A spellbinding recitalist, he recently appeared at the Friends of Chamber Music Denver, Friends of Chamber Music Kansas City, Vancouver Recital Society and at The Frick Collection in New York. A frequent guest at international festivals, he is also the founder and artistic director of the Bebersee Festival near Berlin. Widely acclaimed for his interpretations of Liszt, an all-Liszt CD was released by AVIE in 2006. Showered with rave reviews, it was named “Editor’s Choice” in Gramophone Magazine. Other recordings include an all-Brahms CD and Liszt’s Totentanz with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducted by Fabio Luisi.
COMPLETE CONCERT DETAILS
Beethoven and Shostakovich
Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 8 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Friday, October 15, 2010 at 8 p.m.—JMSH
Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 8 p.m.—Music Center at Strathmore
Ilyich Rivas, conductor †
Markus Groh, piano
Brahms: Academic Festival Overture
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 1
† Denotes a BSO artist debut
Tickets range from $27 to $88 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.