Performance Sunday, October 12, 2014 | 3 PM

The MET Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 gained even greater fame when its beautiful slow movement was used in the soundtrack of the film Elvira Madigan. But the concerto also charms with its regal opening movement and its boisterous finale. Mahler’s last recorded words were “little Mozart,” but his Symphony No. 9 seems far removed from Mozart’s world with its ethereal romantic spirits.


  • The MET Orchestra
    James Levine, Music Director and Conductor
  • Maurizio Pollini, Piano


  • MOZART Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467
  • MAHLER Symphony No. 9

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two and one-half hours, including one 20-minute intermission. Please note that there will be no late seating before intermission.


  • 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 as many as seven times a week in repertory that this season encompasses 26 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, Muti and Rattle. 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 six world premieres: John Harbison's Closer to My Own Life, Milton Babbitt's Piano Concerto No. 2 (1998), William Bolcom's Symphony No. 7 (2002), Hsueh-Yung Shen's Legend (2002), and Charles Wuorinen's Theologoumenon (2007) and Time Regained (2009).

    James Levine

    Music Director James Levine has developed a relationship with the Metropolitan Opera that is unparalleled in its history and unique in the musical world today. Since his company debut in 1971, he has led nearly 2,500 performances of 85 operas at the Met, both in New York and on tour. This season at the Met, he conducts a new production of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and a revival of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (both of which will be transmitted live in HD), as well as revivals of Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera, Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Verdi's Ernani, and Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress. He also leads all three concerts of the MET Orchestra's annual subscription series at Carnegie Hall and two concerts by the MET Chamber Ensemble in Weill and Zankel halls.

    Maestro Levine founded the Met's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program in 1980, and returned Wagner's complete Ring  to the repertoire in 1989 (in the first integral cycles in 50 years at the Met). He and the MET Orchestra began touring in concert in 1991, and since then they have performed around the world, including at Expo '92 in Seville, in Japan, across the US, and throughout Europe.

    In addition to his responsibilities at the Met, Mr. Levine has been a distinguished pianist and an active and avid recital collaborator, especially in lieder and song repertoire. He began accompanying such artists as Jennie Tourel, Hans Hotter, and Eleanor Steber more than 50 years ago, and since that time has given recitals with most of the great singers of our time. From 1973 to 1993, he was music director of the Ravinia Festival, summer home to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; became chief conductor from 1999 to 2004 of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra; and served as music director of the Verbier Festival Youth Orchestra from 2000 to 2004. From 2004 to 2011, he was music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Between 1996 and 2000, he led more than a dozen concerts on the Three Tenors World Tour, and he was conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the soundtrack of Disney's Fantasia 2000. He has conducted every major orchestra in America and Europe.

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  • Maurizio Pollini

    Maurizio Pollini, who makes his debut with the MET Orchestra today, was born in Italy and for the past 40 years has played in all the major European, American, and Japanese concert halls and festivals. Among his many international prizes are the Vienna Philharmonic Ehrenring in 1987, Munich's Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 1996, Venice's A Life for Music--Artur Rubinstein Prize in 1999, Milan's Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli Prize in 2000, Tokyo's Prize Imperiale in 2010, the Royal Philharmonic Society Award in 2012, and the Laurea Honoris Causa awarded by Madrid's Università Complutense in 2013.

    Mr. Pollini has devised and presented his own cycles of concerts at the Salzburg Festival, Lucerne Festival, Carnegie Hall, Paris's Cité de la Musique, Rome's Parco della Musica and Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Milan's La Scala, and in Tokyo and Vienna. His repertoire ranges from Bach to contemporary composers (including premiere performances of works by Giacomo Manzoni, Luigi Nono, and Salvatore Sciarrino), and includes the complete Beethoven sonatas, which he has performed in Berlin, Munich, Milan, New York, London, Vienna, and Paris.

    Mr. Pollini's recordings of works from the Classical, Romantic, 20th century, and contemporary repertoire including such composers as Alban Berg, Anton Webern, Pierre Boulez, and Karlheinz Stockhausen have received worldwide acclaim. In 2007, he received a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance for his recording of Chopin nocturnes. His recording of Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Staatskapelle Dresden and Christian Thielemann was released last month in a box set that also includes the composer's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Violin Concerto. Deutsche Grammophon recently re-issued Mr. Pollini's classic Chopin recordings in a three-CD box set.

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Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467 (Andante)
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra | Maurizio Pollini, Piano
Deutsche Grammophon

At a Glance

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART  Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467

Mozart wrote the Piano Concerto No. 21, K. 467, over the course of just four weeks in February and March 1785, during one of the most successful and busiest periods of his life. One of his great crowd pleasers, the Concerto No. 21 generally maintains the cheerful disposition implied by its C-major key signature. But despite its wealth of beautiful, hummable melodies and its exceeding easiness on the ear, it also presents a formidable challenge for the soloist, containing some of Mozart’s most intricate and finger-bending passagework.

GUSTAV MAHLER  Symphony No. 9

While there is a danger to assuming that an artist’s final work was intended as a valedictory statement, the evidence in the case of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony seems overwhelming. Already obsessed with death as a young, healthy man, Mahler became even more so in his final years, and the Symphony No. 9, filled with musical backward glances and faltering explorations of new sound worlds, sounds throughout like one man’s struggle with and contemplation of all things coming to an end. This interpretation has been put forward by a litany of influential scholars and conductors over the years, includingLeonard Bernstein, who wrote that the final movement of the work “is the ultimate farewell … the closest we have ever come, in any work of art, to experiencing the very act of dying, of giving it all up.”

Program Notes
This performance is part of The MET Orchestra.