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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
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The Carnegie Hall Season in Review: Orchestras Part II

The New Year began with James Levine conducting The MET Orchestra and mezzo-soprano Michelle De Young in a performance of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. February brought two great American orchestras to the Hall. Early in the month, The Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, performed the New York premiere of Toshio Hosokawa's Woven Dreams and was joined the following evening by French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, who performed Schumann's Piano Concerto. Following a triumphant performance of Sibelius's Kullervo in 2010, Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra returned to the Hall for a concert of the Finnish giant's sixth and seventh symphonies and Beethoven's Violin Concerto with Lisa Batiashvili.

March was yet another month of powerful orchestral concerts at Carnegie Hall. Charles Dutoit and The Philadelphia Orchestra led the month off with violinist Vadim Repin, performing the New York premiere of Scottish composer James MacMillan's Violin Concerto. A few nights later, David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony were joined by Leila Josefowicz to perform former Carnegie Hall composer-in-residence Thomas Adès's Violin Concerto, “Concentric Paths."

Christian Tetzlaff was the soloist for all three works on the program with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Marcelo Lehninger, in its first of three consecutive concerts. The following night, violinist Joshua Bell was the soloist for Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, with Roberto Abbado on the podium. On the final night of the three, Andris Nelsons conducted the BSO in a performance of Mahler's Ninth Symphony.

JapanNYC returned in March and April, beginning with the NHK Symphony Orchestra. André Previn conducted Takemitsu's Green, Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5, and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa sang Strauss's Four Last Songs. Finally in March, Peter Oundjian and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra were joined by violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, who performed Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 to a full house.

April began with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, conducted by Iván Fischer—who returns in October with the Budapest Festival Orchestra—and violinist Nikolaj Znaider in a performance of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. With a program of Schoenberg, Chopin, and Brahms, The MET Orchestra, James Levine, and Evgeny Kissin were a powerful threesome in mid-April. For the first of two concerts, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Yuri Temirkanov, performed and all-Russian program that included Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Nikolai Lugansky. Cellist Alicia Weilerstein was the soloist for the orchestra's second concert the following night.

St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Yuri Temirkanov conducts the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Alicia Weilerstein, cello perform Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1. Photo by Chris Smith. 

The very next evening saw the much-anticipated Carnegie Hall debut of Riccardo Muti as Music Director and Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra—with a concert performance of Verdi's Otello. The second concert of three was an all-Berlioz event, while the final night saw the CSO closing its three-night stay with a performance of Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony, hailed today as the composer's most popular work.

The New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert returned on May 5 for the spectacular 120th Anniversary Gala. The orchestra was joined by Gil Shaham, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, and Audra McDonald. The Philadelphia Orchestra's final concert of the season in May had a mythological theme with Charles Dutoit leading the orchestra, soloists, and choir in Stravinsky's Apollo (Apollon musagète) and Oedipus Rex. Principal Guest Conductor Fabio Luisi conducted soprano Natalie Dessay and The MET Orchestra con for a wide-ranging program that included Ravel’s spicy habanera rhythms and, as a finale, two arias from operas by Poulenc and Massenet.

120th Gala - Shaham, Ax, Ma (Steve J Sherman)
Gil Shaham, violin, Emanuel Ax, piano, and Yo Yo Ma, cello perform Beethoven's Triple Concerto in C Major with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Alan Gilbert during Carnegie Hall's 120th Anniversary Gala. Photo by Steve J. Sherman. 

The orchestral season concluded with the inaugural Spring for Music festival, which brought seven North American orchestras and chamber orchestras to Carnegie Hall, performing creative, stimulating, and adventurous programs. All of the concerts were broadcast live by WQXR and can be relived here and here.

Read all about the first half of the orchestral season at Carnegie Hall here. 

For information about the world's greatest orchestras that will grace the Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage 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