Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Haydn’s craftsmanship, melodic mastery, and sharp wit inspired generations of composers after him, including Mozart and Beethoven. Haydn’s “Farewell” Symphony was the composer’s way of telling his boss, Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, that the court musicians wanted to return to their families after an unexpectedly long period of employment from which they were not permitted leave—after three bustling movements, it winds down to silence to deliver the message. Haydn’s “children” have their say as well: Beethoven’s concerto bubbles over with wit and high spirits, while Mozart’s melodically splendid concert aria weaves voice and obbligato violin into a pseudo operatic duet.
Orchestra of St. Luke's
Bernard Labadie, Principal Conductor
Ying Fang, Soprano
Jonathan Biss, Piano
HAYDN Overture to L'Isola disabitata
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 2
MOZART "Non temer, amato bene," K. 490
HAYDN Symphony No. 45, "Farewell"
Event DurationThe printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.
At a Glance
Joseph Haydn’s reputation as one of the most influential composers of symphonic and chamber music often overshadows the nearly two dozen Italian-style operas he wrote, many of them for the Esterházy family. While his 1779 opera L’isola disabitata was quickly forgotten, the overture has enjoyed an independent life of its own, its theatrical style making for a thrilling concert opener. Beethoven was still living in his hometown of Bonn when he wrote the first two movements of his Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major. Three years later, he moved to Vienna to study with Haydn, eventually finishing the concerto in time for his public performance debut in 1795. A youthful work, the concerto displays Haydn’s influence, especially in the musical “joke” in the third movement, as well as Beethoven’s ability to reinterpret the influences of his teacher and Mozart into his own dramatic and distinctive musical vernacular.
Mozart wrote the Rondo aria “Non temer, amato bene” for the second production of his opera Idomeneo in 1786, five years after the work premiered in Munich. Now typically performed as a concert aria for tenor or soprano, the work is a meltingly melodic showpiece for the singer and a virtuosic display for the featured violinist. Haydn’s “Farewell” Symphony was the composer’s response to Prince Nicholas I Esterházy’s narrow-sighted demands to delay his musicians’ hard-earned vacation. Written in the same Sturm und Drang style as the overture from L’isola disabitata, the “Farewell” Symphony is full of drama, passion, and emotion; rather than racing to a brilliant resolution, however, the second half of the fourth movement slows down. One by one, each musician stops playing, until the symphony has been reduced to a violin duet.
Orchestra of St. Luke's
Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL) is one of America’s most versitile and distinguished orchestras. Now in its 44th season, the orchestra performs a variety of musical genres at New York’s major concert venues, and has collaborated with artists ranging from Renée Fleming and Joshua Bell to Bono and Metallica. In September 2018, Bernard Labadie—a world-renowned conductor of Baroque and Classical repertoire—joined OSL as principal conductor, continuing the orchestra’s tradition of working with champions of historical performance practice.
In 2019, OSL launches two major initiatives: the inaugural OSL Bach Festival in New York City and the opening of the DeGaetano Composition Institute. The three-week Bach Festival will feature 15 performances, including orchestral concerts conducted by Bernard Labadie, keyboard concerts, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company performing Taylor’s complete Bach dances.
OSL’s signature programming includes a subscription series presented by Carnegie Hall; an annual summer residency at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts; and a chamber music series at The Morgan Library & Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and Merkin Hall at the Kaufman Music Center. The orchestra has participated in 118 recordings, four of which have won Grammy Awards; has commissioned more than 50 new works; and has given more than 175 world, US, and New York City premieres.
OSL’s Education & Community Engagement programs reach more than 11,000 New York City public school students each year. Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s provides free instrumental coaching, while the Chamber Music Mentorship Program provides professional development opportunities and workshops for pre-professional musicians.
OSL built and operates The DiMenna Center for Classical Music in Hell’s Kitchen. New York City’s only rehearsal, recording, education, and performance space expressly dedicated to classical music, The DiMenna Center serves more than 500 ensembles and 30,000 musicians annually.
Bernard Labadie has established himself worldwide as one of the preeminent conductors of the Baroque and Classical repertoire, a reputation closely tied to his work with Les Violons du Roy (for which he served as music director from its inception until 2014) and La Chapelle de Québec. With these two ensembles, he has regularly toured Canada, the US, and Europe, visiting major venues and festivals such as Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Barbican, the Concertgebouw, and the Salzburg Festival, among others. He begins his tenure as principal conductor of Orchestra of St. Luke’s in the 2018–2019 season.
In 2018–2019, Mr. Labadie guest conducts the Kansas City Symphony, Handel and Haydn Society, Canadian Opera Company, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, New World Symphony, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. He has become a regular presence on the podiums of the major North American orchestras, including the Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Toronto symphony orchestras; the Colorado, Houston, and San Francisco symphonies; the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras; and the Los Angeles and New York philharmonics. Internationally, Mr. Labadie has conducted the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Collegium Vocale Gent, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, and Zurich Chamber Orchestra.
Mr. Labadie’s critically acclaimed discography includes Handel’s Apollo e Dafne, and a collaborative recording of Mozart’s Requiem with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec—both of which received Canada’s Juno Award. Other recordings include C. P. E. Bach’s complete cello concertos with Truls Mørk and Les Violons du Roy, J. S. Bach’s complete piano concertos with Alexandre Tharaud, and Haydn’s piano concertos with Marc-André Hamelin. Mr. Labadie has received Paris’s Samuel de Champlain award and the Canadian government’s Officer of the Order of Canada, and his home province has named him a Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Québec.
Soprano Ying Fang has been hailed by The New York Times for her “pure and moving soprano.” During the 2018–2019 season, she makes her debut at the Salzburg Festival in Idomeneo and returns to the Metropolitan Opera for her role debut as Servilia in La clemenza di Tito. She also appears with the Los Angeles and New York philharmonics, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, the Hong Kong and Malaysian philharmonic orchestras, the Houston Symphony, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s, with conductors who include Jaap van Zweden, Franz Welser-Möst, Andris Nelsons, and Susanna Mälkki.
Highlights of previous seasons include performances at the Metropolitan Opera, Opernhaus Zürich, Washington National Opera, Vancouver Opera, Opéra de Lille, Opera Philadelphia, and Wolf Trap Opera Company, in such operas as Die Zauberflöte (Pamina), L’elisir d’amore (Adina), Alcina (Morgana), Le nozze di Figaro (Susanna), Falstaff (Nannetta), Don Giovanni (Zerlina), Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Konstanze), Tannhäuser (Shepherd), Iphigénie en Aulide (Iphigénie), Giulio Cesare (Cleopatra), Il viaggio a Reims (Contessa di Folleville), Zaïde (title role), The Nose (Madame Podtochina’s Daughter), Hänsel und Gretel (Dew Fairy), and Curlew River (Spirit of the Boy).
Ms. Fang has worked with distinguished conductors who include James Levine, Sir Andrew Davis, Gustavo Dudamel, Christoph Eschenbach, Carlo Rizzi, Alan Gilbert, William Christie, Emmanuelle Haïm, Marc Minkowski, Jesús López Cobos, Nathalie Stutzmann, and Manfred Honeck. Concert engagements have included appearances with The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Pittsburgh and National symphony orchestras, New World Symphony, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, and Music of the Baroque in such works as Mahler’s symphonies nos. 2 and 4, Handel’s Messiah, Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri, Fauré’s Requiem, Telemann’s Der Tag des Gerichts, and Bernstein’s West Side Story.
Ms. Fang has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Alice Tully Hall, as well as at the Verbier, Aix-en-Provence, and Ravinia festivals. A native of Ningbo, China, she holds a bachelor’s degree from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and a master’s degree and artist diploma in opera studies from The Juilliard School. She is a former member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.
Jonathan Biss is a world-renowned pianist who shares his deep curiosity with music lovers in the concert hall and beyond. He continues to expand his reputation as a teacher, musical thinker, and one of the great Beethoven interpreters of our time. He was recently named co-artistic director alongside Mitsuko Uchida at the Marlboro Music Festival, where he has spent 12 summers. In addition, he has written extensively about his relationships with the composers with whom he shares a stage.
In the past years, Mr. Biss has worked to add five new concertos by major composers to the piano repertoire. He conceived the Beethoven/5 project, for which The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra has co-commissioned Timo Andres, Sally Beamish, Salvatore Sciarrino, Caroline Shaw, and Brett Dean to write piano concertos, each inspired by one of Beethoven’s. The concerto by Shaw, Watermark, received its premiere with the Seattle Symphony last month, and will receive its New York premiere with Orchestra of St. Luke’s at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts this July. Mr. Biss is committed to making sure that these concertos become part of the repertoire and has performed the commissions globally.
A member of the faculty of his alma mater—the Curtis Institute of Music—since 2010, Mr. Biss led the first massive open online course (MOOC) offered by a classical music conservatory, Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, which has reached more than 200,000 people in 185 countries. As 2020—the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth—approaches, Mr. Biss continues to add lectures to his online course until he covers all of the sonatas in time for the anniversary year. He simultaneously progresses through his nine-year, nine-disc recording cycle of Beethoven’s complete piano sonatas, which will also be completed in 2020. Volume 8 of this endeavor will be released this March. Mr. Biss’s bestselling eBook, Beethoven’s Shadow (published by RosettaBooks in 2011), describes the process of recording the sonatas and was the first book written by a classical musician in the Kindle Singles series.
Mr. Biss has long-standing relationships with the New York Philharmonic; the Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Philharmonia orchestras; the Boston, Chicago, and Swedish Radio symphony orchestras; and the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Budapest Festival, and Royal Concertgebouw orchestras, among many others. He began piano lessons at age six, and studied at Indiana University with Evelyne Brancart and at the Curtis Institute of Music with Leon Fleisher.