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Munich Philharmonic

Monday, April 3, 2017 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
In La valse, Ravel uses splashes of color and implacable rhythms to create a ghostly portrait of a vanished age. While La valse mesmerizes as a mysterious trope on a classic dance, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major simply delights. High spirits rule in an opening movement flecked with jazz references, tenderness softens the second-movement Adagio and its breathlessly beautiful piano solo, and the work culminates in tongue-in-cheek humor and keyboard fireworks. In contrast, Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony is majestic and muscular, a daring new view of the symphony that heralds the dawn of Romanticism.


Munich Philharmonic
Valery Gergiev, Music Director and Conductor
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Piano


RAVEL La valse

RAVEL Piano Concerto in G Major

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 3, "Eroica"


DEBUSSY Etude No. 6, "Pour les huit doigts"

Event Duration

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

At a Glance

This concert presents pieces that ushered in new forms and new musical emotions. The two works by Ravel are homages to two of his favorite genres: the Viennese waltz and American jazz. They use these idioms as aesthetic objects and as catalysts for new visions of modernity. La valse was commissioned by Diaghilev as an opulent homage to the Viennese waltz. By the time Ravel completed it—a decade before his Piano Concerto in G Major—the work was darker and more daring, an apocalyptic depiction of a world that had just emerged from war. The sizzling, bluesy Piano Concerto is a tribute to American jazz, a form Europeans—not just Ravel, but Stravinsky, Weill, Milhaud, and others—took far more seriously than American tastemakers of the time. Beethoven’s Third Symphony, which closes the program, represents an older revolution that still resonates today. It has a whiplash energy, an epic structure, and an explosion of experiments that ushered in the Romanticism of Schumann, Wagner, Mahler, and many others, as well as the large-scale symphonies of today. It is longer, freer, more demanding, more complex, and more emotionally varied than any previous symphony.


Valery Gergiev

Born in Moscow, Valery Gergiev initially studied conducting under Ilya Musin at the Leningrad Conservatory. While still a student, he won the Herbert von Karajan ...

Born in Moscow, Valery Gergiev initially studied conducting under Ilya Musin at the Leningrad Conservatory. While still a student, he won the Herbert von Karajan conducting competition in Berlin. In 1978, Yuri Temirkanov appointed him assistant conductor of the Mariinsky Opera, where he made his debut conducting Prokofiev's adaptation of Tolstoy's War and Peace. In 1988, Maestro Gergiev became music director and, in 1996, artistic and general director of the Mariinsky Theatre (including the Mariinsky Ballet, Mariinsky Opera, and Mariinsky Orchestra). Founder and director of several festivals--including Stars of the White Nights--Maestro Gergiev also served as principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra from 2007 to 2016.

Maestro Gergiev's close cooperation with the Munich Philharmonic began in the 2011-2012 season. Since then, he has performed the complete symphonies of Shostakovich and a cycle of works by Stravinsky with both the Munich Philharmonic and the Mariinsky Orchestra. Since the 2015-2016 season, he has been chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic. As Maestro der Stadt ("The City's Maestro"), he reaches out to Munich concert audiences through subscription concerts and performances for young people, public rehearsals, an open-air concert series on the Odeonsplatz, and the MPHIL 360° festival, while reaching an international audience through regular live streams and television broadcasts from the Philharmonie Concert Hall in the Gasteig Cultural Center in Munich.

In September of 2016, the orchestra's own record label, MPHIL, released its first recordings with Maestro Gergiev: Mahler's Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection," and Bruckner's Symphony No. 4, "Romantic." Further recordings that focus on Bruckner's symphonies are in preparation. Maestro Gergiev and the Munich Philharmonic have toured to numerous European cities, as well as Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan.

Munich Philharmonic

The Munich Philharmonic was founded in 1893 and has since vastly enriched Munich's musical life. Even in the orchestra's earliest years, conductors like Hans Winderstein and Felix Weingartner guaranteed the highest level of performance. Gustav Mahler conducted the orchestra in the world premieres of his Fourth and Eighth symphonies, and in November 1911, the world premiere of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde took place under Bruno Walter's direction. Ferdinand Löwe led the first Bruckner concerts and established the orchestra's Bruckner tradition, which was then gloriously continued by Siegmund von Hausegger and Oswald Kabasta. Eugen Jochum opened the first concert after World War II with Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream Overture. In the autumn of 1945, the orchestra acquired the services of Hans Rosbaud, an outstanding conductor who strongly supported new music. His successor, from 1949 to 1965, was Fritz Rieger, during whose administration the groundwork was laid for the Philharmonic's successful youth work.

During the Rudolf Kempe era (1967-1976) the Munich Philharmonic made its first tour to what was then the USSR. In 1979, Sergiu Celibidache conducted his first series of concerts with the orchestra and was then appointed its general music director later that year. From September 1999 until July 2004, James Levine was the orchestra's chief conductor, winning the prize for the best concert program from the German Music Publishers' Association in the spring of 2003. In January 2004, the Philharmonic made Zubin Mehta the first conductor laureate in the orchestra's history. In May 2003, Christian Thielemann signed a contract as new general music director. He led the orchestra to Japan, Korea, and China in November 2007. These highly successful performances were followed by a repeat tour to Japan for five concerts in May 2010.

January 2009 marked the beginning of a series of concert performances of Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier in collaboration with the Festival Theatre in Baden-Baden. Strauss's Elektra followed one year later, and in January 2011, the Philharmonic presented the four symphonies of Johannes Brahms. The orchestra traveled with Conductor Laureate Zubin Mehta in September of 2010 to South America, where it received the praise of both press and public. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Munich world premiere, Maestro Thielemann led two performances of Mahler's Symphony No. 8 in October 2010. Lorin Maazel assumed the position of chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic in 2012. In his two-year tenure, Maazel expanded the orchestra's repertoire and worked on flexible sounds.

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Pierre-Laurent Aimard

Widely acclaimed as a key figure in the music of our time and as a uniquely significant interpreter of piano repertoire from every age, Pierre-Laurent Aimard enjoys a ...

Widely acclaimed as a key figure in the music of our time and as a uniquely significant interpreter of piano repertoire from every age, Pierre-Laurent Aimard enjoys a celebrated international career. Mr. Aimard has been awarded the 2017 International Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in recognition of a life devoted to the service of music.

He performs throughout the world each season with major orchestras under conductors who include Esa-Pekka Salonen, Peter Eötvös, Sir Simon Rattle, and Vladimir Jurowski. He has been invited to curate, direct, and perform in a number of residencies, with projects at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Vienna's Konzerthaus, Frankfurt's Alte Oper, the Lucerne Festival, Mozarteum Salzburg, Cité de la musique in Paris, and London's Southbank Centre. Mr. Aimard was the artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival from 2009 to 2016; his final season was marked by a performance of Messiaen's Catalogue d'oiseaux with concerts programmed from dawn to midnight.

This season sees Mr. Aimard continue his trio collaboration with Mark Simpson and Antoine Tamestit, and the development of an innovative program of concerts for the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. He also performs with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Paavo Järvi in Taiwan. Along with his engagements with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and The Cleveland Orchestra, Mr. Aimard joins the Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen for a series of concerts entitled Inspirations.

Mr. Aimard has made many highly successful and award-winning recordings. His releases on the Deutsche Grammophon label--The Liszt Project in 2011 and Debussy's Préludes in 2012--were joined by a new recording of Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, in 2014.

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