Midori Joins Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1, Oct. 21-23
Guest conductor Gilbert Varga makes BSO debut
Baltimore, Md. (September 28, 2010)— Violinist Midori reunites with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to perform Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 on Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore and Friday, October 22, 2010 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 8 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The program includes Mikhail Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture and features the BSO accompanying Midori in her performance of Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Also on the program is Stravinsky’s ballet score, Petrouchka, under the baton of conductor Gilbert Varga, making his BSO debut. Please see below for complete concert details.
Midori is no stranger to Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1. In 2004, she released an album pairing the piece with Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. Receiving rave reviews, Canada’s national newspaper The Globe and Mail described her playing as “an intensity of focus, a lyrical tenderness and a deep sense of the long perspectives and the singular contrasts in this severely demanding work. Such musical acuity, intellectual penetration and technical command are seldom so finely coordinated in any performance.”
In Shostakovich’s time, violin concertos seldom included the dissonant and sarcastic tone of this Concerto. During the reign of Joseph Stalin, composers and other artists were blacklisted for releasing any work that “offended” the Soviet people. Shostakovich was the main “public enemy” for his subtle refusal of Stalin’s ideals. In order to save himself in 1948, Shostakovich hid his Concerto until Stalin’s death in 1953. Once the government’s strictness began to thaw, the Violin Concerto No. 1 premiered with the Leningrad Philharmonic in 1955 and later that year premiered with the New York Philharmonic. Shostakovich was not only welcomed to the United States as an accomplished composer, but his Violin Concerto No. 1 earned acclaim for its virtuosity, imagination and beauty.
Stravinsky originally planned to create The Rite of Spring as his second ballet, but deferred the project to work on Petrouchka. The original score was developed for an enormous orchestra, but in 1947, Stravinsky revised its concert version, reducing the instrumental forces. Petrouchka was inspired by his vision of a carnival puppet and became a bittersweet tale of the love triangle between three puppets at a fair.
Mikhail Glinka grew up in early 1800s Russia that did not have a style of classical music to call its own. Influenced by Western European music and his friendships with Italian opera singers, he was determined to compose in his native style and became the "father of Russian music." Glinka composed the operatic score Ruslan and Ludmilla based on the fairytale by his friend, Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. The tale tells of the beautiful Ludmilla, who is rescued from harm by her true love, Ruslan. After an unenthusiastic premiere, Russians later enjoyed the opera, with its poem inspired by ancient Slavic tales and romantic, passionate music.
Gilbert Varga, conductor
Gilbert Varga, son of the celebrated Hungarian violinist Tibor Varga, studied under three very different and distinctive maestros: Franco Ferrara, Sergiu Celibidache and Charles Bruck. Renowned for his commanding and elegant baton technique, Mr. Varga has held positions with and guest conducted many of the major orchestras throughout the world.
In North America, he made his debut with the Minnesota Orchestra in 2002 and has since developed a flourishing and long-standing relationship with the Orchestra, returning there every season. In 2005, he made a highly successful debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and works regularly with orchestras such as Atlanta, St. Louis, Dallas, Milwaukee and Indianapolis. In 2010, he will debut in Seattle and Baltimore. In Europe, he works regularly with the Oslo Philharmonic, Berlin Radio Symphony, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, MDR Leipzig, Gürzenich, Hungarian National Philharmonic, Spanish National, Frankfurt Museumgesellschaft and the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra. In South East Asia, he recently made his debuts with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra and with the Malaysian Philharmonic.
In the earlier part of his conducting career, he concentrated on work with chamber orchestras, particularly the Tibor Varga Chamber Orchestra, before rapidly developing a reputation as a symphonic conductor. He was chief conductor of the Hofer Symphoniker (1980-1985) and chief conductor of the Philharmonia Hungarica in Marl (1985-1990), conducting its debut tour to Hungary with Yehudi Menuhin. In 1991, he became permanent guest conductor of the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra until 1995, and from 1997-2000 was principal guest of the Malmö Symphony. From 1997–2008, he was music director of the Basque National Symphony Orchestra, leading them through 10 seasons, including tours across the U.K., Germany, Spain and South America.
His discography includes recordings with ASV, Discover Records, Tring (The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's Collection), Koch International (Munich Chamber Orchestra and Bamberg Symphony) and Claves Recordings (The Basque National Orchestra).
Since her debut at the age of 11 with the New York Philharmonic more than 25 years ago, the violinist Midori has established a record of achievement which sets her apart as a master musician, an innovator and a champion of the developmental potential of children. Named a Messenger of Peace by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2007, she has created a new model for young artists who seek to balance the joys and demands of a performing career at the highest level with a hands-on investment in the power of music to change lives.
In 1992, Midori founded Midori & Friends, a non-profit organization in New York that brings music education programs to thousands of underprivileged children each year. Two other organizations, Music Sharing (Japan) and Partners in Performance (U.S.), also bring music into the lives of people who may not otherwise have involvement with the arts. Her commitment to community collaboration and outreach extends beyond these foundations to her work with young violinists in master classes all over the world, her Orchestra Residencies Program and to her positions as Jascha Heifetz Chair and chair of the strings department at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.
COMPLETE CONCERT DETAILS
Midori Plays Shostakovich
Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 8 p.m.—The Music Center at Strathmore
Friday, October 22, 2010 at 8 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 8 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Gilbert Varga, conductor †
Glinka: Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture
Shostakovich: Violin Concerto 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.