Performance Friday, March 9, 2012 | 7:30 PM

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
The Boston Symphony Orchestra closes out its three-night stay at Carnegie Hall with the tuneful populism of Shostakovich’s best-known symphony. Premiered in 1937, the Fifth put the composer back in the good graces of Stalin and the Communist government, which had banned his notorious opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk the previous year and had always viewed Shostakovich as something of a troublemaker.


  • Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Stéphane Denève, Conductor
  • Peter Serkin, Piano


  • RAVEL Ma Mère l'Oye (Mother Goose) Suite
  • STRAVINSKY Concerto for Piano and Winds
  • SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 5


  • Stéphane Denève

    Making his Carnegie Hall debut with this concert, Stéphane Denève is the newly appointed chief conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and since 2005 has also been music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. With the latter, he has performed at the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival, and Festival Présences, and at such celebrated European venues as the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris. His recordings with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra include an ongoing survey of the works of Albert Roussel for Naxos. In 2007, they won a Diapason d'Or de l'année award for the first disc in the series. A graduate of and prizewinner at the Paris Conservatoire, Mr. Denève began his career as Sir Georg Solti's assistant with the Orchestre de Paris and Opéra National de Paris, also assisting Georges Prêtre and Seiji Ozawa during this time. At home in a broad range of repertoire and a champion of new music, he has a particular affinity for the music of his native France and in recent years has premiered a number of works by the contemporary French composer Guillaume Connesson. Recent engagements have included debuts with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, NDR Symphony Hamburg Orchestra, and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, as well as return engagements with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, among others. Recent and future engagements include debuts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, and Orchestra Sinfonica dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, as well as return engagements with the San Francisco Symphony, New World Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Cincinnati Symphony, and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted opera productions at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Così fan tutte); Glyndebourne Festival (Carmen); La Scala (Faust); Gran Teatre de Liceu (Ariane et Barbe-bleue); Netherlands Opera (L'amour des trois oranges); La Monnaie in Brussels (La traviata, La voix humaine); Opéra National de Paris (Don Quichotte, La bohème, Le nozze di Figaro); Teatro Comunale Bologna (Béatrice et Bénédict); and Cincinnati Opera (Erwartung, Carmen, Bluebeard's Castle).

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  • Peter Serkin

    Peter Serkin has performed with the world's great symphony orchestras and conductors. Also a dedicated chamber musician, he has collaborated with Alexander Schneider; Pamela Frank; Yo-Yo Ma; the Budapest, Guarneri, and Orion string quartets; and TASHI, of which he was a founding member. He has performed many significant world premieres, particularly of numerous works written for him, including most recently the world premieres of Charles Wuorinen's Piano Concerto No. 4 with James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston, at Carnegie Hall, and at Tanglewood; Elliott Carter's Intermittences, commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival; and Wuorinen's Time Regained, a fantasy for piano and orchestra, with Levine and the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, as well as the composer's second piano quintet, commissioned by the Rockport (MA) Music Festival, with the Brentano String Quartet. Highlights of recent and upcoming appearances include performances with the major orchestras of the United States; recitals at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, and New York's 92nd Street Y; and summer festival appearances at Ravinia, Aspen, Ojai, Caramoor, Tanglewood, Blossom, Mostly Mozart, Saratoga, and, with The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Mann Center. Recent and upcoming European engagements include performances with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. He was the featured soloist at the 2011 Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto, Japan, appearing with both of the festival's orchestras, led by Seiji Ozawa and Diego Matheuz, and subsequently touring China with the festival orchestras. He also played recitals in Matsumoto, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Beijing. His recordings include The Ocean That Has No West and No East (works by Webern, Wolpe, Messiaen, Takemitsu, Knussen, Lieberson, and Wuorinen), three Beethoven sonatas, the Brahms violin sonatas with Pamela Frank, Dvořák's Piano Quintet with the Orion String Quartet, quintets by Henze and Brahms, the Bach double and triple concertos, Takemitsu's Quotation of a Dream, the six Mozart concertos composed in 1784, and Schoenberg's complete works for solo piano.

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At a Glance     

By the time Ravel wrote his Mother Goose Suite, he was an influential and mature composer, his reputation based largely on his works for solo piano. Originally a piano duet written for the young children of close friends, Mother Goose depicts scenes from French fairy tales, including “Sleeping Beauty,” “Tom Thumb,” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Ravel orchestrated the suite when he expanded the score for a 1912 ballet production.

Like Ravel, Stravinsky used the piano as the starting point for much of his compositional thinking. In the early 1920s, for practical reasons, he began putting himself forward as a soloist, as a direct result of which he wrote the Concerto for Piano and Winds—his first major solo vehicle for himself and one of the first and most important examples of his Neoclassical style.

The extraordinarily precocious Shostakovich made a name for himself with his Symphony No. 1 at age 19, and within just a few years had created a startlingly mature and diverse body of work. In 1936, following a high-profile condemnation of the successful yet ribald and modern-sounding opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, Shostakovich abandoned his Fourth Symphony and turned instead to a triumphant new work, the powerful and dramatic Fifth, completed quickly in spring 1937, and destined for both official acceptance and long-lasting public success.
Program Notes
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The Trustees of Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Linda and Earle S. Altman in support of the 2011-2012 season.

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