Pianist Lukáš Vondrácek Performs Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, March 4-6
BSO Music Director Marin Alsop leads Prokofiev's first and sixth symphonies
Baltimore, Md. (February 15, 2011) - Pianist Lukáš Vondrácek reunites with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) for a performance of Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, under the direction of Music Director Marin Alsop, on Friday, March 4 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 6 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, March 5 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. Maestra Marin Alsop will also lead the BSO in two great symphonies by Prokofiev, the youthful and exuberant first symphony, "Classical," paired with his sixth symphony-a haunting memorial to World War II. Please see below for complete program information.
Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini had its world premiere in Baltimore over 76 years ago. The composer had exiled himself to the United States following the Russian Revolution. The work has since become a pinnacle of late-Romantic piano concerto repertory and contains a technically fiendish solo part. Young Czech wunderkind pianist Lukáš Vondrácek returns to the BSO to perform this difficult work. The Baltimore Sun described his last performance with the BSO in 2009 as "energizing" and "technically polished."
Inspired by the neo-classical movement of the early 20th century, Prokofiev composed his first symphony in the style of the old masters of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, portraying the wit, humor and strict traditional form of the 18th century combined with a very modern twist harmonically. This first symphony is a very early work of Prokofiev, composed as a graduation piece for his school in St. Petersburg in 1918. The youthful insouciance of his first symphony is contrasted by the much darker and somber sixth symphony, composed shortly after the Second
World War. At its premiere, the Stalinist regime condemned the work, claiming its solemn finale did not conform to the party line. Still, other music scholars claim that the finale of the sixth symphony contains the same type of optimistic jovial qualities of his first symphony or liken its style to that of Joseph Haydn.
Marin Alsop, conductor
Hailed as one of the world's leading conductors for her artistic vision and commitment to accessibility in classical music, Marin Alsop made history with her appointment as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. With her inaugural concerts in September 2007, she became the first woman to head a major American orchestra. She also holds the title of conductor emerita at the Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom, where she served as the principal conductor from 2002-2008, and is music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California. At the start of the 2012 season, she will also take up the post of Chief Conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP).
In 2005, Ms. Alsop was named a MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive this prestigious award. In 2007, she was honored with a European Women of Achievement Award; in 2008, she was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and in 2009, Musical America named her "Conductor of the Year."
A regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ms. Alsop appears frequently as a guest conductor with the most distinguished orchestras around the world. In addition to her performance activities, she is also an active recording artist with award?winning cycles of Brahms, Barber and Dvorák.
Marin Alsop attended Yale University and received her master's degree from The Juilliard School. In 1989, her conducting career was launched when she won the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize at Tanglewood where she studied with Leonard Bernstein.
Lukáš Vondrácek, piano
Lukáš Vondrácek gave his first public performance at the age of four. In the intervening years he gave many recitals and concerto performances throughout his home country of the Czech Republic as well as abroad. The natural and assured musicality which he has developed over those years, alongside a remarkable technical ability, mark him out as a gifted and mature musician who has already built up a major career. Having spent time studying at the Academy of Music in Katowice and at the Vienna Hochschule, Lukáš Vondrácek has also continued his studies at the University in his home town of Ostrava. Recent highlights include his debuts with the El Paso, Colorado and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras, a return visit to Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and a concert tour of South Africa. At the 2009 International Van Cliburn Piano Competition Lukáš Vondrácek received "The Raymond E. Buck Jury Discretionary
Award". He has performed at various piano festivals in the USA, including the Gilmore Festival, the Ravinia Rising Stars Series, the New York and London International Piano series, Festival La Roque d'Anthéron, Lille Piano(s) Festival, 'The Next Generation' Festival in Dortmund, the Belfast Festival and at Istanbul Recitals in Turkey. He has performed at the Paris Cité de la Musique, the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels and Auditorio Nacional in Madrid as well as at the Mecklenburg Vorpommern Festival. His UK recital debut was at the Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of the International Piano Series, where he became the youngest pianist ever featured.
Vondrácek made his debut with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy in May 2002 with concerts in Prague and Italy, and has since appeared frequently with the orchestra. Engagements have included a major US tour; and concerts in Cologne, Vienna, Lucerne and Birmingham. Vondrácek's performances with orchestras are widely acclaimed. In March 2003 he performed Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Philharmonia. In October 2004 he made his debut with the BBC Philharmonic playing Grieg's Piano Concerto. He has also worked with orchestras such as the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras in Iceland, Cincinnati and Dallas. He has also given concerts with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Wiener Symphoniker, Flemish Radio Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Gulbenkian Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, and Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He has also toured Europe with the Australian Youth Orchestra. Conductors he has worked with include Gianandrea Noseda, Marin Alsop, Zdenek Macal, Pietari Inkinen and Walter Weller amongst others. His first commercial recording, a solo album featuring works by Mendelssohn, Liszt, Janácek and Dohnányi for Octavia records, was released in 2004.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
BSO Classical Concert: Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody
Friday, March 4, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.-The Music Center at Strathmore
Sunday, March 6, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Marin Alsop, conductor
Lukáš Vondrácek, piano
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1, "Classical"
Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 6
Tickets range from $28 to $88. Tickets are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.