Performance Sunday, December 2, 2012 | 3 PM

The MET Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
On this concert, the legendary Yefim Bronfman brings Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto to Carnegie Hall with the inestimable MET Orchestra and Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi. Also on the program are Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and music by Sofia Gubaidulina.

The contemporary work on this program is part of My Time, My Music.


  • The MET Orchestra
    Fabio Luisi, Principal Conductor
  • David Chan, Violin
  • Yefim Bronfman, Piano


  • SOFIA GUBAIDULINA In tempus praesens
  • BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor"
  • STRAVINSKY Firebird Suite (1945 version)



    The MET Orchestra

    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra is regarded as one of the world's finest orchestras. From the time of the company's inception in 1883, the ensemble has worked with leading conductors in both opera and concert performances and has developed into an orchestra of enormous technical polish and style. The MET Orchestra (as the ensemble is referred to when appearing in concert outside the opera house) maintains a demanding schedule of performances and rehearsals during its 33-week New York season, when the company performs seven times a week in repertory that this season encompasses approximately 28 operas.

    Arturo Toscanini conducted almost 500 performances at the Met, and Gustav Mahler, during the few years he was in New York, conducted 54 Met performances. More recently, many of the world's great conductors have led the orchestra: Walter, Beecham, Reiner, Mitropoulos, Kempe, Szell, Böhm, Solti, Maazel, Bernstein, Mehta, Abbado, Karajan, Dohnányi, Haitink, Tennstedt, Ozawa, Gergiev, Barenboim, and Muti. Carlos Kleiber's only US opera performances were with the MET Orchestra.

    In addition to its opera schedule, the orchestra has a distinguished history of concert performances. Toscanini made his American debut as a symphonic conductor with the Met Orchestra in 1913, and the impressive list of instrumental soloists who appeared with the orchestra includes Leopold Godowsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arthur Rubinstein, Pablo Casals, Josef Hofmann, Ferruccio Busoni, Jascha Heifetz, Moritz Rosenthal, and Fritz Kreisler. Since the orchestra resumed symphonic concerts in 1991, instrumental soloists have included Itzhak Perlman, Maxim Vengerov, Alfred Brendel, and Evgeny Kissin, and the group has performed five world premieres: Milton Babbitt's Piano Concerto No. 2 (1998), Wiliam Bolcom's Symphony No. 7 (2002), Hsueh-Yung Shen's Legend (2002), and Charles Wuorinen's Theologoumenon (2007) and Time Regained (2009).

    The orchestra's high standing led to its first commercial recordings in nearly 20 years: Wagner's complete Ring cycle, conducted by James Levine. Recorded by Deutsche Grammophon over a period of three years, Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, and Götterdämmerung were winners of an unprecedented three consecutive Grammy Awards in 1989, 1990, and 1991 for Best Opera Recording. Other recordings under Maestro Levine include L'Elisir d'amore, Idomeneo, Le Nozze di Figaro, Der fliegende Holländer, Parsifal, Erwartung, Manon Lescaut, and seven Verdi operas. Maestro Levine has also led the orchestra for recordings of Wagner overtures, Verdi ballet music, an all-Berg disc with Renée Fleming, and aria albums with Bryn Terfel, Kathleen Battle, and Ms. Fleming. The orchestra's first symphonic recordings are pairings of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition with Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps; Beethoven's "Eroica" with Schubert's "Unfinished" symphonies; and Richard Strauss's Don Quixote and Tod und Verklärung.

    Fabio Luisi

    Fabio Luisi became principal conductor of the Metropolitan Opera at the beginning of the 2011-2012 season, and is also chief conductor of the Vienna Symphony and general music director of the Zurich Opera. This season he conducts a new production of Un Ballo in Maschera and revivals of Les Troyens, Aida, and Wagner's Ring cycle at the Met; Don Carlo at La Scala; and Jenůfa, Tosca, La Bohème, Rigoletto, La Straniera, and Der Rosenkavalier at the Zurich Opera; in addition, he conducts concerts with the Vienna Symphony, and embarks on a special initiative programming and conducting orchestral concert performances with the newly renamed Philharmonia Zurich (formerly the Orchester der Oper Zürich).

    Mr. Luisi made his Met debut in 2005 leading Don Carlo, and his repertoire with the company includes Don Giovanni, La Traviata, Manon, Le Nozze di Figaro, Elektra, Hansel and Gretel, Tosca, Lulu, Simon Boccanegra, Die Ägyptische Helena, Turandot, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Rigoletto.

    Recent highlights include debuts last season at La Scala (Manon), and with The Cleveland Orchestra and the Filarmonica della Scala, as well as guest engagements with Florence's Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Oslo Philharmonic, and Genoa Opera Orchestra. Mr. Luisi's previous appointments include serving as artistic director for Japan's Pacific Music Festival, general music director of the Staatskapelle Dresden and Saxon State Opera, artistic director of Leipzig Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, music director of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, chief conductor of Vienna's Tonkünstler-Orchester, and artistic director of the Graz Symphony. He is a frequent guest at the Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Staatsoper Berlin. He made his debut at the Salzburg Festival with Richard Strauss's Die Liebe der Danae in 2002, and returned the following season for Strauss's Die Ägyptische Helena.

    Born in Genoa, Mr. Luisi began piano studies at the age of four and received his diploma from the Conservatorio Nicolò Paganini in 1978. He later attended conducting studies with Milan Horvat at the Conservatory in Graz.

    More Info

  • David Chan

    Violinist David Chan is the concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and an active soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. He made his Carnegie Hall debut during the 2002-2003 season, performing the Brahms Double Concerto with cellist Rafael Figueroa and the MET Orchestra conducted by James Levine. He was also a featured soloist in the MET Chamber Ensemble's performance of Berg's Chamber Concerto for Piano, Violin, and 13 Winds in Weill Recital Hall. Most recently, he appeared as soloist throughout Japan, performing on stages that included Tokyo's Suntory Hall and Sapporo's Kitara Hall conducted by Fabio Luisi.

    Mr. Chan first gained international recognition when, at age 17, he won a top prize at Moscow's Tchaikovsky International Competition, followed by a bronze medal and the special Josef Gingold prize at the Indianapolis International Violin Competition. He made his New York debut at Avery Fisher Hall in 1995, performing Paganini's Concerto No. 2 under the direction of Hugh Wolff. He has performed throughout the US, Europe, and the Far East, appearing as soloist with orchestras that include the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, the San Diego and Aspen Chamber symphonies, and the Indianapolis, Richmond, Springfield, and Northbrook symphony orchestras. As a chamber musician, he is the founder and artistic director of Musique et Vin au Clos Vougeot in the Burgundy region of France, and a frequent guest at Japan's Pacific Music Festival, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, and La Jolla's SummerFest.

    His recordings include a recital program, a disc of two Paganini concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra, and an album of violin-cello duos with Rafael Figueroa.

    A native of San Diego, Mr. Chan began his musical education at the age of four. At 14, he won the San Diego Symphony's Young Artists Concerto Competition and subsequently appeared with the orchestra in two series of concerts. That same year, he was the featured soloist on the San Diego Youth Symphony's tour of Austria, Germany, Hungary, and the former Czechoslovakia. Mr. Chan, whose principal teachers were Dorothy DeLay, Hyo Kang, and Michael Tseitlin, received his bachelor's degree from Harvard University and his master's degree from The Juilliard School, where he currently serves on the faculty.


    More Info

  • Yefim Bronfman

    Yefim Bronfman is widely regarded as one of the most talented virtuoso pianists performing today. His commanding technique and exceptional lyrical gifts have won him consistent critical acclaim and enthusiastic audiences worldwide, whether for his solo recitals, his orchestral engagements, or his rapidly growing catalogue of recordings.

    Mr. Bronfman's 2012-2013 season includes concerts with the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Sir Simon Rattle in Berlin, Salzburg, and the London Proms, followed by performances with Zurich's Tonhalle Orchestra with David Zinman and London's Philharmonia conducted by Tugan Sokhiev. A yearlong residency with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and longtime collaborator Mariss Jansons began this fall, and encompasses orchestral and chamber music in a broad range of repertoire. A return to Salzburg's Easter Festival with the Staatskapelle Dresden and Christian Thielemann is planned for next spring, followed by appearances with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas in Vienna and London, subscription concerts in Spain and Germany, and a spring tour with Ensemble Wien-Berlin. In North America, in addition to today's debut concert with the MET Orchestra, he also returns to orchestras in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Montreal. In collaboration with mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená, he will make a short winter tour that includes a stop at Carnegie Hall. He gives solo recitals in Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, and Atlanta, as well as in the great halls of Paris, Berlin, and Lisbon.

    Mr. Bronfman was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2009 for his Deutsche Grammophon recording of Esa-Pekka Salonen's Piano Concerto with  the composer conducting, and won a Grammy Award in 1997 for his recording of the three Bartók concertos with Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Yefim Bronfman immigrated to Israel with his family in 1973, where he studied with pianist Arie Vardi, head of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. In the US, he studied at The Juilliard School, Marlboro, and the Curtis Institute of Music, as well as with Rudolf Firkušný, Leon Fleisher, and Rudolf Serkin. He became an American citizen in

    July 1989.


    More Info


Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor" (Rondo allegro)
Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra | David Zinman, Conductor | Yefim Bronfman, Piano
Arte Nova Classics

At a Glance


SOFIA GUBAIDULINA  In tempus praesens

Gubaidulina's second violin concerto, In tempus praesens (For the present time) is inspired by a concept in Eastern Orthodoxy of the vocalization/personification of God's wisdom. The violin is the bright voice of this wisdom, while the orchestra, dimmed by the absence of its own violins, represents the opposing darkness. Through its use of musical symbolism and integration of set and number theory, the work displays the composer's love for mathematics, philosophy, and theology.

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN  Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 73, "Emperor"

It was during the French bombardment of Vienna in the summer of 1809—which Beethoven described as "nothing but drums, cannons, and human misery of every sort!"—that the composer wrote his Fifth Piano Concerto. One of the final works of the composer's so-called heroic period, the second of the three major artistic phases of his career, it displays the combination of expressive grandeur and musical ingenuity that are the hallmarks of the style.


In 1910, legendary impresario Sergei Diaghilev took a chance and commissioned the relatively unknown 28-year-old Stravinsky for his new ballet, The Firebird. It was a portentous decision, proving wildly successful for both men and, over the following 13 years, changing both music and dance forever. Though there are similarities between The Firebird and the music of Stravinsky's predecessors Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky, this music could never be confused with the work of either of these earlier composers, and the germs of groundbreaking ideas that came to fruition in Stravinsky's later work are already present here.

Program Notes


Written 20 years after Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune—and sharing key compositional traits with that seminal work—The Firebird was originally written as a ballet score.

Here, Carnegie Hall's Director of Artistic Planning Jeremy Geffen and David Robertson of the St. Louis Symphony introduce the piece and reveal the composers—Rimsky-Korsakov, Debussy, and Ravel—who influenced Stravinsky's complex orchestration.

This performance is part of The MET Orchestra.