Performance Saturday, February 19, 2011 | 7:30 PM

Anne Sofie von Otter
Brad Mehldau

Zankel Hall
Mehldau and von Otter are back, bringing together classical music, popular music, and jazz as only they can. In 2009, they teamed up at Carnegie Hall to premiere Mehldau’s Love Songs, and on this program they present an extended version of the piece. Grieg, Sibelius, Brahms, and Strauss highlight von Otter’s special touch with lieder, and she also showcases her talents as a jazz singer.


  • Anne Sofie von Otter, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Brad Mehldau, Piano


  • GRIEG "Med en vandlilie," Op. 25, No. 4
  • PETERSON-BERGER "Som stjärnorna på himmelen"
  • STENHAMMAR "I lönnens skymning," Op. 37, No. 2
  • GRIEG "Kveldssang for Blakken," Op. 61, No. 5
  • SIBELIUS "Till kvällen," Op. 17, No. 6
  • SIBELIUS "Narciss"
  • SIBELIUS "I systrar, I bröder, I älskande par!," Op. 86, No. 6
  • SIBELIUS "Vilse," Op. 17, No. 4
  • BRAHMS Capriccio in B Minor, Op. 76, No. 2
  • BRAHMS Capriccio in G Minor, Op. 116, No. 3
  • BRAHMS "Juchhe!," Op. 6, No. 4
  • BRAHMS "Wir wandelten," Op. 96, No. 2
  • BRAHMS "Unbewegte laue Luft," Op. 57, No. 8
  • R. STRAUSS "Die Nacht," Op. 10, No. 3
  • R. STRAUSS "Nichts," Op. 10, No. 2
  • BRAD MEHLDAU Love Songs (NY Premiere of expanded version, commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
  • Selections to be announced from the stage
  • KERN "I Won't Dance"
  • RODGERS "Something Good" from The Sound of Music

  • Program is approximately 1 hour, 50 minutes, including one intermission


  • Anne Sofie von Otter

    Born in Sweden, Anne Sofie von Otter's studies began in Stockholm and continued with Vera Rózsa at London's Guildhall before she became a principal artist of the Basel Opera, launching her international career that has now spanned more than two decades. Equally active in opera, concert, recital, and recording, and noted as one of the most versatile artists of her generation, Ms. von Otter appears regularly on the world's major stages and boasts an unrivalled personal discography.

    Ms. von Otter's diverse repertoire has played a key role in sustaining her international reputation as an operatic force: Der Rosenkavalier in London, Paris, Chicago, Munich, and Stockholm, as well as in Vienna and at the Met, conducted by the late Carlos Kleiber (filmed for DVD); Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice in Geneva and Alceste at Paris's Théâtre du Châtelet, both conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner; Carmen at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera (with Philippe Jordan) and at the Santa Fe Opera (with Alan Gilbert); Nerone in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence (with Marc Minkowski); Didon in Berlioz's Les Troyens at Grand Théâtre de Genève (with John Nelson); Baba the Turk in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress at the historic Theater an der Wien (with Nikolaus Harnoncourt), Offenbach's La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein (with Christoph Marthaler)-her long-awaited return to the Basel Opera.

    Ms. von Otter recently broadened her repertoire with two highly acclaimed Wagnerian role debuts: Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde for a semi-staged production by Peter Sellars with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen, as well as Waltraute in Götterdämmerung for a co-production by Stéphane Braunschweig at the Aix-en-Provence and Salzburg festivals with Sir Simon Rattle conducting Berliner Philharmoniker.

    A long-running relationship with James Levine at the Metropolitan Opera has led to numerous performances in New York City of Der Rosenkavalier, La clemenza di Tito, and Idomeneo, as well as stage debuts in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande and Countess Geschwitz in Berg's Lulu. A regular performer in Paris, the Théâtre des Champs Élysées and Opéra national de Paris have been platforms for many further role debuts, including Handel's Ariodante (with Marc Minkowski), Clairon in Strauss's Capriccio (with Ulf Schirmer), Sesto in both La clemenza di Tito and Giulio Cesare in Egitto (with Minkowski), Handel's Xerxes (with William Christie), Ottavia in L'incoronazione di Poppea (with René Jacobs), and Lully's Thésée (with Emmanuelle Haim).

    An acclaimed recitalist, Ms. von Otter performs around the globe with her primary accompanist, Bengt Forsberg, and is renowned for her fresh and explorative programming. An equally busy concert career takes her to the major halls of Europe and North America, where she enjoys a regular partnership with many of the world's pre-eminent conductors.

    Ms. von Otter's current season includes orchestral concerts with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Salonen, the Israel Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Salonen, San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas, as well as tours with Concerto Copenhagen and Lars Ulrik Mortensen, and Les Musiciens du Louvre and Minkowski. A season of operatic debuts, Ms. von Otter sings new productions of Rameau's Castor et Pollux at Vienna's Theater an der Wien, Charpentier's Médée for Oper Frankfurt, and Handel's Tamerlano alongside Plácido Domingo at Barcelona's Gran Teatro del Liceu.

    In 2010, Anne Sofie von Otter began an exciting new recording relationship with Naïve Paris. The first Naïve record, Love Songs-a collaboration with Mr. Mehldau-was released in October 2010.
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  • Brad Mehldau

    Brad Mehldau's musical personality forms a dichotomy. He is first and foremost an improviser, and greatly cherishes the surprise and wonder that occur from a spontaneous musical idea that is expressed directly, in real time. But he also has a deep fascination with the formal architecture of music, and it informs everything he plays. He listens to how ideas unwind, and the order in which they reveal themselves. The two sides of Mehldau's personality-the improviser and the formalist-play off each other, and the effect is often something like controlled chaos.

    As a jazz pianist, Mehldau has recorded and performed extensively since the early 1990s. Mehldau's most consistent output over the years has taken place in the trio format. Starting in 1996, his group released a series of five records on Warner Bros. entitled The Art of the Trio. Mehldau also has a solo piano recording entitled Elegiac Cycle, and a record called Places that includes both solo piano and trio songs. Elegiac Cycle and Places might be called "concept" albums-they are made up exclusively of original material and have central themes that hover over the compositions. Other Mehldau recordings include Largo, a collaborative effort with the innovative musician and producer Jon Brion, and Anything Goes-a trio outing with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy.

    His first record for Nonesuch, Live in Tokyo, was released in September 2004. After 10 rewarding years with Rossy playing in Mehldau's regular trio, drummer Jeff Ballard joined the band in 2005. The label released its first album by Mehldau's trio, Day is Done, in September 2005. An exciting double live trio recording entitled Brad Mehldau Trio Live was released in March 2008 to critical acclaim. Two years later, Nonesuch released a double-disc of original work entitled Highway Rider, the highly anticipated follow up to Largo. The album is Mehldau's second collaboration with renowned producer Jon Brion and features performances by Mehldau's trio, percussionist Matt Chamberlain, saxophonist Joshua Redman, and a chamber orchestra led by Dan Coleman.

    In addition to his trio and solo projects, Mehldau has worked with a number jazz greats, including a rewarding gig with Redman's band for two years; recordings and concerts with Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, and Lee Konitz; and recordings as a sideman with Michael Brecker, Wayne Shorter, John Scofield, and Charles Lloyd. For more than a decade, he has collaborated with several musicians and peers whom he respects greatly, including the guitarists Peter Bernstein and Kurt Rosenwinkel, and saxophonist Mark Turner. Mehldau also has played on a number of recordings outside of the jazz idiom, like Willie Nelson's Teatro and singer-songwriter Joe Henry's Scar. His music has appeared in several motion pictures, including Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut and Wim Wenders's The Million Dollar Hotel. He also composed an original soundtrack for the French film Ma femme est une actrice.

    Mehldau recently composed two new works commissioned by Carnegie Hall for voice and piano, The Blue Estuaries and The Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, which were performed in the spring of 2005 with classical soprano Renée Fleming. These songs were recorded with Ms. Fleming and released in 2006 on the Love Sublime record; simultaneously, Nonesuch released an album of Mehldau's jazz compositions for trio entitled House on Hill. A 2008 Carnegie Hall commission for a cycle of seven love songs for Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, set to poems of Sara Teasdale, premiered in 2009. In addition to their album Love Songs, a selection of French, American, English, and Swedish songs that Mehldau and von Otter performed together was released in late 2010.

    Mehldau was appointed as curator of an annual four-concert jazz series at London's prestigious Wigmore Hall during its 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 seasons, with Mehldau appearing in at least two of the four annual concerts.

    Follow Mr. Mehldau's composer-in-residence blog at
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Brahms Lieder und Gesänge Op. 63 (V. “Meine Liebe ist grün wie der Flie- derbusch”)
Anne Sofie von Otter, Mezzo-Soprano / Bengt Forsberg, Piano
Deutsche Grammophon

Brad Mehldau is holder of the 2010-2011 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall.
This concert is made possible, in part, by The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.
This performance is part of Off the Beaten Track.

Part of