Performance Thursday, January 15, 2015 | 8 PM

Orchestra of St. Luke's

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
The Financial Times likened pianist Stephen Hough to “a sorcerer bewitching his audience.” Hough casts his spell in Dvořák’s Piano Concerto, a work of bountiful lyricism and dramatic power. Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, beloved for its subtle charm, is the tender birthday gift the composer wrote for his wife, while Haydn’s last symphony, commissioned by a London impresario, is the pinnacle of the composer’s symphonic art and his crowning achievement.


  • Orchestra of St. Luke's
    Harry Bicket, Conductor
  • Stephen Hough, Piano


  • WAGNER Siegfried Idyll
  • DVOŘÁK Piano Concerto
  • HAYDN Symphony No. 104, "London"

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Orchestra of St. Luke's

    Orchestra of St. Luke's (OSL) is one of America's foremost and most versatile orchestras, collaborating with the world's greatest artists and performing approximately 70 concerts each year-including its series of orchestral concerts at Carnegie Hall, chamber music series at The Morgan Library & Museum and Brooklyn Museum, and summer residency at the Caramoor Music Festival. OSL has commissioned more than 50 new works, including four this season; has given more than 170 world, US, and New York premieres; and appears on more than 100 recordings, including four Grammy Award winners and seven releases on its own label, St. Luke's Collection. Pablo Heras-Casado, named 2014 Conductor of the Year by Musical America, is OSL's principal conductor.

    Celebrating its 40th anniversary this season, OSL began as a chamber ensemble based at The Church of St. Luke in the Fields in Greenwich Village. Today, St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble consists of 21 virtuoso artists who perform a diverse repertoire and make up OSL's artistic core.

    OSL owns and operates The DiMenna Center for Classical Music in Midtown Manhattan, where it shares a building with the Baryshnikov Arts Center. The DiMenna Center is New York City's premier venue for rehearsal, recording, and learning, having quickly gained a reputation for its superb acoustics, state-of-the-art facilities, and affordability. Since opening in 2011, The DiMenna Center has welcomed more than 50,000 visitors, including more than 300 ensembles and artists such as Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Valery Gergiev, James Levine, James Taylor, and Sting. OSL hosts hundreds of neighbors, families, and schoolchildren at its home each year for free community events.

    Through its Community & Education programs, OSL has introduced audiences across New York City to live classical music. OSL brings free chamber concerts to the five boroughs; offers free, interactive events at The DiMenna Center; provides chamber music coaching for adults; and engages 10,000 public school students each year through its Free School Concerts. In 2013, OSL launched Youth Orchestra of St. Luke's (YOSL), an intensive in- and after-school instrumental coaching program emphasizing musical excellence and social development, in partnership with Police Athletic League (PAL) and public schools in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood.

    For more information, visit

    Harry Bicket

    Internationally renowned as an opera and concert conductor, Harry Bicket is especially noted for his interpretation of Baroque and Classical repertoire. He became artistic director of The English Concert, one of the UK's finest period orchestras, in 2007. He was also appointed chief conductor of Sante Fe Opera in 2013 and opened the 2014 season with a critically acclaimed Fidelio.

    Mr. Bicket's engagements in the 2014-2015 season include extensive touring with The English Concert in performances of Handel's Alcina and Hercules, and  programs with soloists such as Iestyn Davies, Sarah Connolly, and Rachel Podger at Wigmore Hall. As guest conductor, he performs with Orchestra of St. Luke's as well as with the orchestras of Oslo, Chicago, and Hong Kong. Future plans include performances with The Cleveland Orchestra and NDR Hannover, as well as at the Metropolitan Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Houston Grand Opera.

    Highlights of recent seasons include guest-conducting engagements with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Tokyo Symphony Orchestra; critically acclaimed opera productions for Lyric Opera of Chicago (Hercules), Minnesota Opera (Orfeo), Canadian Opera Company (Orfeo, Idomeneo), Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu (L'arbore di Diana), Theater an der Wien (Iphigénie en Tauride), and Atlanta Opera (Orfeo); extensive concerts and tours with The English Concert, including at the BBC Proms and throughout Spain, the Middle East, Austria, Germany, and the US; and returns to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (including the world premiere of Ken Hesketh's oratorio Like the Sea, Like Time). Other guest-conducting engagements have included performances with the San Francisco Symphony, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Houston and Seattle symphonies, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

    Mr. Bicket has appeared at major US festivals that include Glimmerglass, Spoleto, Aspen, and Santa Fe. His discography includes releases with Ian Bostridge, David Daniels, Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson; a disc of Handel duets with Sarah Connolly and Rosie Joshua; and, most recently, a recording with Lucy Crowe and The English Concert.

    More Info

  • Stephen Hough

    Stephen Hough is a Renaissance man of his time, securing a reputation not only as a uniquely insightful concert pianist, but also as a writer and composer. In 2001, Mr. Hough was the first classical performing artist to win a MacArthur Fellowship. He was awarded Northwestern University's 2008 Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance, won the Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist Award in 2010, and in January 2014 was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He has appeared with most of the major European and American orchestras, and performs recitals regularly in the world's most distinguished halls and concert series.

    Mr. Hough's 2014-2015 season began with return visits to the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and to the Aspen, Grant Park, and Blossom music festivals with The Cleveland Orchestra. His season continues with an extensive tour of Asia and Australia. He appears twice at Carnegie Hall, performs with numerous North American orchestras, and appears in recital in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Atlanta, Cincinnati, and at the Kennedy Center and the Savannah Music Festival. Highlights of his European season include performing and recording the Dvořák and Schumann piano concertos with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Andris Nelsons, and a recital at London's Royal Festival Hall.

    Many of Mr. Hough's catalogue of more than 50 albums have garnered international prizes. His most recent releases include Stephen Hough's French Album and In the Night. As a composer, Mr. Hough has written works for orchestra, choir, chamber ensemble, and solo piano; as a writer, he contributes to numerous newspapers and publications. In 2008, he was invited by The Telegraph to start a blog that has become one of the most influential forums for cultural discussion. His book, The Bible as Prayer, was published in 2007.

    Mr. Hough resides in London, where he is a visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music and holds the International Chair of Piano Studies at his alma mater, the Royal Northern College in Manchester. In September, he joined the faculty of The Juilliard School. 

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Haydn's Symphony No. 104 in D Major, "London" (Finale)
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra | Sir Colin Davis, Conductor
Universal International Music B.V.

At a Glance

RICHARD WAGNER  Siegfried Idyll

Wagner’s smallest, yet most popular, orchestral work was composed as a gift to his wife, Cosima, for her 33rd birthday (on Christmas Day) soon after she had given birth to their son Siegfried. Wagner assembled the small orchestra for rehearsals in secret. Early on Christmas Day 1870, he let the players quietly into his home in Lucerne, arranged them up and down the staircase, and directed the first performance as a gentle wake-up call. Afterward, everyone shared a birthday breakfast and listened to the piece twice more that day.

ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK  Piano Concerto in G Minor, Op. 33

The earliest of Dvořák’s three completed concertos (for piano, violin, and cello, respectively), the Piano Concerto in G Minor, Op. 33, is the least frequently performed. Unlike works such as the Slavonic Dances or the “New World” Symphony, the Piano Concerto has no apparent regional associations: Instead of the flashy, virtuoso showpiece that we might expect from a contemporary of Tchaikovsky, Dvořák took the concertos of Beethoven as his model, producing a work that favors musical argument over bravura display.

JOSEPH HAYDN  Symphony No. 104 in D Major, “London”

The last of Haydn’s more than 100 symphonies, the “London”Symphony was the capstone of Haydn’s life as a symphonist, having shaped the genre with extraordinary imaginations, variety, skill, and wit for nearly 40 years. He was by no means finished as a composer, but once he left London for the last time, he no longer had the astonishingly enthusiastic audiences who thronged to the many orchestral concerts in the city with the most highly developed concert life in Europe at the time. He devoted himself increasingly to chamber music (string quartets and piano trios), as well as two great oratorios and a series of masses.Audiences at the first performance of the “London” Symphony responded with extraordinary acclaim, astonished that Haydn—then a very elderly (for the day) 63 years old—seemed to be as freshly and youthfully imaginative in shaping new works as ever.

Program Notes
This performance is part of Orchestra of St. Luke's.