CARNEGIE HALL PRESENTS

Performance Tuesday, February 14, 2012 | 8 PM

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
For James Ehnes, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto is a piece that exemplifies “so quintessentially who he was as a composer … once he found his voice, that voice was perfect.” Ehnes brings this exemplary work of youthful 19th-century genius to Carnegie Hall with The Philadelphia Orchestra. As one of the world’s great ensembles, the orchestra showcases its own virtuosity in Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra.

Performers

  • The Philadelphia Orchestra
    Charles Dutoit, Chief Conductor
  • James Ehnes, Violin

Program

  • MARTIN Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments
  • MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto
  • BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra

  • Encore:
  • NICOLÒ PAGANINI Caprice No. 16 in G Minor

Bios

  • The Philadelphia Orchestra


    Renowned for its distinctive sound, desired for its keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences, and admired for an unrivaled legacy of "firsts" in music making, The Philadelphia Orchestra remains one of the preeminent orchestras in the world.

    The Philadelphia Orchestra has cultivated an extraordinary history of artistic leaders in its 112 seasons, including music directors Fritz Scheel, Carl Pohlig, Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, Riccardo Muti, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Christoph Eschenbach, as well as the orchestra's current chief conductor, Charles Dutoit. In the 2012-2013 season, Yannick Nézet-Séguin becomes the eighth music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Named music director designate in 2010, Mr. Nézet-Séguin brings a vision that extends beyond symphonic music and into the vivid world of opera and choral music.

    Philadelphia is home, and the orchestra nurtures an important relationship with patrons who support the main season at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The orchestra also performs for Philadelphia audiences at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Penn's Landing, and other regional venues. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association continues to own the Academy of Music-a National Historic Landmark-as it has since 1957.

    The ensemble maintains an important tradition of presenting educational programs for local audiences as well. Today the orchestra executes myriad education and community partnership programs, notably its Neighborhood Concert Series, Sound All Around and Family Concerts, eZseatU, and more.

    Through concerts, tours, residencies, presentations, and recordings, The Philadelphia Orchestra touches the lives of countless music lovers around the world. The orchestra annually performs at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center while also enjoying a three-week residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in New York and a strong partnership with the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. Please visit philorch.org for more information.


    Charles Dutoit


    In the 2010-2011 season, The Philadelphia Orchestra celebrated its 30-year artistic collaboration with Charles Dutoit, who has held the title of chief conductor since 2008. With the 2012-2013 season, the orchestra will honor Mr. Dutoit by bestowing upon him the title of conductor laureate. Also artistic director and principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic, he regularly collaborates with the world's pre-eminent orchestras and soloists. He has recorded extensively for Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Philips, CBS, and Erato, and his more than 200 recordings have garnered over 40 awards and distinctions.

    From 1977 to 2002, Mr. Dutoit was artistic director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. Between 1990 and 2010, he was artistic director and principal conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra's summer festival at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and from 1991 to 2001 he was music director of the Orchestre National de France. In 1996, he was appointed music director of Tokyo's NHK Symphony Orchestra; today he is music director emeritus. Mr. Dutoit has been artistic director of both the Sapporo Pacific Music Festival and the Miyazaki International Music Festival, as well as the Canton International Summer Music Academy in Guangzhou, which he founded in 2005. In 2009, he became music director of the Verbier Festival Orchestra. While still in his early 20s, Mr. Dutoit was invited by Herbert von Karajan to conduct the Vienna State Opera and has since conducted at Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires.

    In 1991, Mr. Dutoit was made an Honorary Citizen of the City of Philadelphia. In 1995, he was named Grand Officier de l'Ordre National du Québec, and in 1996 Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the government of France. In 1998, he was invested as an Honorary Officer of the Order of Canada, the country's highest award of merit, and this past May was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music.

    Mr. Dutoit was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, and his musical training included violin, viola, piano, percussion, music history, and composition in Geneva, Siena, Venice, and Boston. A globetrotter motivated by his passion for history and archaeology, political science, art, and architecture, Mr. Dutoit has traveled all the nations of the world.

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  • James Ehnes


    Violinist James Ehnes has performed in more than 30 countries on five continents, appearing regularly with many of the world's most well-known orchestras and conductors. Highlights of this season include performances in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway.

    Mr. Ehnes's recent recordings include a disc of Bartók's two violin concertos and the Viola Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic on the Chandos label, Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with the Sydney Symphony on the Onyx label, and Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto with London's Philharmonia Orchestra and Octet, also for Onyx. Among his other recordings are Elgar's Violin Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra (Onyx); a disc of works by Paul Schoenfield with pianist Andrew Russo (Black Box); a Grammy and Juno award-winning recording of the violin concertos of Korngold, Walton, and Barber with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (CBC Records); two recordings of Paganini's caprices (Onyx and Telarc); works by Bruch with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and Charles Dutoit (CBC Records); Bach's sonatas and partitas (Analekta); and Mozart's complete works for solo violin and orchestra (CBC Records).

    Mr. Ehnes was born in 1976 in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. He began violin studies at the age of four, and at age nine became a protégé of Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin. He also studied with Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School of Music and, from 1993 to 1997, at The Juilliard School. Mr. Ehnes has won numerous awards and prizes, including the first-ever Ivan Galamian Memorial Award, the Canada Council for the Arts' Virginia Parker Prize, and a 2005 Avery Fisher Career Grant. In 2005, he was honored by Brandon University with an honorary doctorate. Two years later, he became the youngest person ever elected as a fellow to the Royal Society of Canada. In 2010, the Governor General of Canada appointed him a member of the Order of Canada.

    Mr. Ehnes plays the 1715 "Marsick" Stradivarius violin. He currently lives in Bradenton, Florida, with his wife, Kate.


     

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Audio

Mendelssohn Concerto in E Minor for Violin and Orchestra (Allegro molto appassionato)
Philadelphia Orchestra; Eugene Ormandy, Conductor; Isaac Stern, Violin 
Sony

At a Glance

The virtuosity displayed in the three pieces on tonight’s program extends beyond the solo wonders of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. Two orchestral showcases frame that masterpiece—a concerto for a group of wind soloists and another for the entire orchestra.

There may be some poetic justice that the musical style of a Swiss composer, Frank Martin, should be positioned between French and German ones, as well as between traditional and modernist tendencies. We can hear the imaginative mixture of influences in Martin’s three-movement Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments, composed in the aftermath of the Second World War.

The early works of Felix Mendelssohn, the 19th century’s greatest musical prodigy, dazzled audiences with marvels not encountered since Mozart some 50 years earlier. The youthful energy endured, as heard in his beloved Violin Concerto, which he wrote at age 35 and which turned out to be his last significant orchestral composition. After completing the work, Mendelssohn was plagued with health problems precipitated by a series of strokes; he died three years later.

The concluding piece on the program returns us to the mid-1940s and to another late composition. Béla Bartók left war-torn Europe in 1940 and lived his last years in America. His dazzling Concerto for Orchestra showcases the collective virtuosity of a full symphony orchestra.
Program Notes
The Trustees of Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick C. Benenson in support of the 2011-2012 season.