Carlos Kalmar Leads BSO, Violinist Karen Gomyo in Sibelius' Violin Concerto, May 27-28
BSO performs Walton's Symphony No. 1 for the first time
Baltimore, Md. (April 27, 2011) - Maestro Carlos Kalmar leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and violinist Karen Gomyo in Sibelius' Violin Concerto on Friday, May 27 at 8 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, May 28 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. Maestro Kalmar will also conduct the first-ever BSO performance of Walton's Symphony No. 1. As part of the BSO's year long tribute to Mahler's 100th anniversary, this concert will also feature What the Wild Flowers Tell Me, arranged by Benjamin Britten. Please see below for complete program details.
Sibelius' Violin Concerto was conceived for the soloist that Sibelius aspired to become, prompting him to write into the solo part some of the most fiendishly difficult musical phrases in the repertoire. The composer began the work in 1902 at the urging of Willy Burmester, the Concertmaster of the Helsinki Philharmonic. He barely completed the work in time for its initial premiere in 1904. Unaccountably, Sibelius selected Viktor Novacek, a less capable violinist than
Burmester, for the concerto's first performance. The work's exceptionally difficult demands, coupled with Novacek's inferior skill, resulted in derision from critics at its premiere. Sibelius revised the work extensively and gave the new version to Karl Halir to perform in 1905 with the Berlin Philharmonic, under the direction of Richard Strauss.
The commission for Sir William Walton's First Symphony came in 1932 from Sir Hamilton Harty, the Music Director of London Symphony Orchestra, at a time when Walton's previously composed works, such as his flashy oratorio Belshazzar's Feast and witty song cycle Facade, began to gain attention. Walton's First Symphony had a long gestation of over three years, and took a serious toll on Walton's personal life. Its eventual premiere in 1935 with the London Symphony Orchestra was a huge success and solidified Walton's reputation as a symphonic composer.
In this final tribute to Mahler's centenary celebration, the BSO will perform Benjamin Britten's arrangement of Mahler's delicate Second Movement from his monumental Third Symphony, titled What the Wild Flowers Tell Me. This work was composed at a time when Mahler had left the stress and politics of the Hamburg State Opera Theater to move to a small Austrian village to pursue his compositional career. He found solace in a small cottage next to a flower filled meadow in the Austrian countryside. The bucolic scenery inspired him to write one of his most carefree and gentle pieces. When Britten first heard a performance of a Mahler symphony he was captivated by the clarity and beauty in the music and this began a long relationship between Britten and Mahler's music. In the 1940s, a British publishing firm suggested to Britten to arrange this particular movement for a small orchestra so that English chamber orchestras would have the opportunity to perform Mahler's music.
Carlos Kalmar, conductor
Carlos Kalmar was appointed Music Director of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra in 2003, and in April, 2008, his contract was extended until 2013. He is also Music Director of the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago. During his career, he has been Music Director of the Hamburg Symphony, Stuttgart Philharmonic, Vienna's Tonkunstlerorchester and the Anhaltisches Theater in Dessau, Germany.
Upcoming appearances include re-engagements with the Baltimore Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, the Lahti Symphony, the Madrid ONE, the Czech Philharmonic, and the Nashville Symphony, and also concerts with the San Francisco Symphony and the City of Birmingham Orchestra. Mr. Kalmar's recent guest conducting engagements in North America have included subscription concerts with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, New World Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and the NACO in Ottawa.
His international conducting appearances have included the Prague Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Berlin Radio Symphony, the National Orchestra of Spain, the ORT Orchestra of Florence, the Bournemouth Symphony, the Hamburg State Opera, the BBC Welsh, the Residentie, the Vienna State Opera, the Yomiuri Japan Orchestra, the Flemish Radio, and the Zurich Opera.
Carlos Kalmar's next recording will feature the Oregon Symphony with the popular group Pink Martini. His most recent recordings on the Cedille label include two 2008 releases with the Grant Park Orchestra: one of works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis and one featuring the world-renowned mezzo soprano Jennifer Larmore. His 2006 release of the Szymanowski, Martinu and Bartok Violin Concertos with the Grant Park Orchestra and Jennifer
Koh was highly acclaimed, as was the 2003 release of the Joachim and Brahms Violin Concertos featuring Rachel Barton and the Chicago Symphony, and American Works for Organ and Orchestra featuring David Schrader and the Grant Park Orchestra (2002).
Carlos Kalmar was born in Uruguay to Austrian parents. He showed an interest in music at an early age and began studying violin at age six. By age 15 his musical development led him to the Vienna Academy of Music where he studied conducting with Karl Osterreicher. He resides in Portland, Oregon and Vienna.
Karen Gomyo, violin
Recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2008, Canadian violinist Karen Gomyo first caught public attention just one week after her 15th birthday when she won the 1997 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. She became the youngest artist ever to be presented in the Young Concert Artists Series, in a critically acclaimed New York debut as recipient of the Summis Auspiciis Prize, and has ever since been heard as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician across the US, Canada, South America, Europe and Asia.
Highlights this season were re-engagements as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl under the baton of Leonard Slatkin, the St. Louis Symphony under Gilbert Varga, the Houston Symphony under Louis Langree, the Toronto Symphony under Kwame Ryan, as well as returns with the symphonies of Utah, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Phoenix among others, while making first-time appearances with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Xian Zhang, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille, the New Jersey Symphony, Orquesta Filarmonica de la Ciudad de Mexico, and in summer concert debuts with the San Francisco Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra under Hans Graf.
In September 2008, Ms. Gomyo had the honor of being asked to perform a solo Bach movement at the First Symposium for the Victims of Terrorism held at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York.
Ms. Gomyo has worked with such conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Neeme Jarvi, Andrew Litton, David Zinman, Andrey Boreyko, Hans Graf, Gilbert Varga, Mario Venzago, and Xian Zhang. Past North American engagements have included those with the Minnesota Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra of Washington D.C., Cincinnati Symphony, Seattle Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Ottawa, Vancouver Symphony, Oregon Symphony, and the Buffalo Philharmonic. In Europe she has worked with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille, Den Haag Residentie Orchestra, Orchestre National de Bretagne, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, as well as over 25 visits to various Scandinavian orchestras, including a tour with the Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra in concerts around Hungary, Sweden, and Austria, the last stop being Vienna's Musikverein.
Karen Gomyo has made numerous recital and chamber music appearances. She has performed at the Aspen Music Festival, Banff in Canada, Ravinia Festival Recital Series, Caramoor International Chamber Music Festival, Lajolla Chamber Music Festival, Seattle Symphony Recital Series, Mostly Mozart Recital Series in New York, Gardner Museum in Boston, Schloss Elmau in Germany, the Louvre Museum in Paris, Festival Internacional Santander in Spain, Chanel Ginza Recital Series in Tokyo, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo, as part of a eight-city tour of Japan.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
BSO Classical Concert: Mahler, Sibelius and Walton
Friday, May 27, 2011 at 8 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Saturday, May 28, 2011 at 8 p.m.—Music Center at Strathmore
Carlos Kalmar, conductor
Karen Gomyo, violin
Mahler (arr. Britten): What the Wild Flowers Tell Me ‡
Sibelius: Violin Concerto
Walton: Symphony No. 1 ‡
At a time when Mahler's work was less heralded for concert performance, Benjamin Britten created this arrangement to widen the audiences for one of his favorite composers. Young violinist Karen Gomyo performs Sibelius' concerto with the firecracker finale. Carlos Kalmar conducts the first BSO performances of Sir William Walton's landmark 1935 Symphony, a passionate musical utterance composed during a tempestuous love affair.
‡ Denotes a BSO premiere
Tickets range from $28 to $61. Tickets are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.