• The Carnegie Hall Season in Review: Orchestras Part I

    In 2011-2012, Carnegie Hall once more brought the greatest American and international orchestras to New York City. The illustrious Vienna Philharmonic opened our season with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Lang Lang on October 1. The following night, Harnoncourt and this illustrious ensemble performed Smetana’s Má Vlast, a piece that Carnegie Hall audiences have heard only a handful of times, and later in the week Gustavo Dudamel took over conducting duties for two sold-out concerts. 

    It was a spectacular first week with Vienna; equally remarkable were the five performances of six Mahler symphonies that Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra gave over eight days later in the month.

    Vienna Philarmonic and Nicholas Harnoncourt
    Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts the Vienna Philharmonic on Opening Night 2011. Photo by Chris Lee. 

    Throughout the rest of the fall, some of the finest American orchestras were on hand, starting with the Philadelphia Orchestra and followed by the Orchestra of St. Luke's and Perspectives artist Christian Tetzlaff, who appeared as violin soloist and leader. Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra closed out the month with a powerful program that included Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass, Arvo Pärt’s mesmerizing Fratres, and a suite from Bartók’s scandalous pantomime-ballet The Miraculous Mandarin.

    The New York Philharmonic, under Maestro Alan Gilbert, was joined by violinist Midori for Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, or what she calls "the ultimate violin concerto." The very next night, Marin Alsop conducted the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in a program that included Beethoven's beloved "Eroica" Symphony, as orchestrated by Mahler.

    December saw the beginning of JapanNYC and the emotional return to Carnegie Hall of Seiji Ozawa, who was still recuperating from illness when he led the Saito Kinen Orchestra. In addition to performances of Brahms's Symphony No. 1 and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Ozawa was also on the podium for Britten's monumental War Requiem. Tatsuya Shimono joined the Saito Kinen Orchestra as conductor for November Steps by Maestro Ozawa's close friend and collaborator Tōru Takemitsu.

    Seiji Ozawa conducting War Requiem (Steve J Sherman)
    Seiji Ozawa conducts the Saito Kinen Orchestra in a performance of Britten's War Requiem. Photo by Steve J. Sherman. 

    Also in December, the Orchestra of St. Luke's and Edo de Waart joined by mezzo-soprano Susan Graham for Berg's Seven Early Songs. The month concluded with two concerts by the young musicians of the New York String Orchestra and conductor Jaime Laredo, whose Christmas-eve concert has become something of a New York City tradition.

    Join us tomorrow for part two of our review of the orchestral season at Carnegie Hall.

    For information about the world’s greatest orchestras that are scheduled to perform at Carnegie Hall in 2011–2012, check out these pages:
    International Festival of Orchestras I
    International Festival of Orchestras II
    International Festival of Orchestras III
    Concertos Plus
    Carnegie Hall Classics
    Choral Classics
    Great American Orchestras I
    Great American Orchestras II
    The Philadelphia Orchestra
    The MET Orchestra 

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