New World Symphony
New World Symphony is also performing May 2.
New World Symphony
America’s Orchestral Academy
Michael Tilson Thomas, Artistic Director and Conductor
Yuja Wang, Piano
JULIA WOLFE Fountain of Youth (NY Premiere, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 5
BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique
MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS You Come Here Often? for Solo Piano
WAGNER Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin
Video directed by Habib Azar.
Sponsored by KPMG LLP
The Trustees of Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Alan G. Weiler in support of the 2018-2019 season.
Funding for this commission is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by members of Carnegie Hall’s Composer Club.
At a Glance
Julia Wolfe, a co-founder of the indie-classical collective Bang on a Can, has preserved her iconoclastic ethos even as she has reached the highest echelons of musical achievement, including a Pulitzer Prize in 2015 and a MacArthur “Genius Grant." She has become known for serious works on topics like exploitative labor practices, but for this co-commission from the New World Symphony and Carnegie Hall, she and Michael Tilson Thomas decided instead to focus on “serious fun.” In her new work, Fountain of Youth, Wolfe pays tribute to “this incredible orchestra of young people” and Michael Tilson Thomas, “who is forever young,” while also recalling Florida’s legendary wellspring sought by Ponce de León in the 16th century.
Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 5, completed in 1932 and premiered with the Berliner Philharmoniker, speaks to the crossroads that this Russian expatriate faced in Europe, where his self-described “new simplicity” chafed against modernist trends. The unruly concerto in five short movements brought Prokofiev into dialogue with the fashions of that time and place, producing music as incisive as Stravinsky’s and as nonchalant as Ravel’s.
Berlioz was an unlikely musical revolutionary who only began dabbling in composition and teaching himself harmony out of a book at the age of 12. His breakthrough work, completed while he was still a student at the Paris Conservatoire, grew out of his infatuation with an Irish actress he first saw playing Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In his program note for the Symphonie fantastique, as he subtitled it, Berlioz described “a young musician of morbid disposition and powerful imagination” who “poisons himself with opium in an attack of despairing passion.” In the ensuing opium dream, “the beloved herself appears to him as a melody … an obsessive idea that he keeps hearing wherever he goes.”
New World Symphony
The New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy (NWS), prepares graduates of music programs for leadership roles in professional orchestras and ensembles. In the 31 years since its co-founding by Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas and Lin and Ted Arison, NWS has helped launch the careers of more than 1,100 alumni worldwide.
A laboratory for the way music is taught, presented, and experienced, the New World Symphony consists of 87 young musicians who are granted fellowships that last up to three years. The fellowship program offers in-depth exposure to traditional and modern repertoire, professional development training, and personalized experiences working with leading guest conductors, soloists, and visiting faculty. Relationships with these artists are extended through NWS’s extensive distance learning via the internet.
NWS Fellows take advantage of the innovative performance facilities and state-of-the art practice and ensemble rooms of the Frank Gehry–designed New World Center, the campus of the New World Symphony and home of the Knight New Media Center. In the hopes of joining NWS, more than 1,500 recent music school and conservatory graduates compete for about 35 available fellowships each year. The Fellows are selected for this highly competitive, prestigious opportunity based on their musical achievement and promise, as well as their passion for the future of classical music. Visit nws.edu for more information.
Michael Tilson Thomas
Michael Tilson Thomas is co-founder and artistic director of the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy; music director of the San Francisco Symphony; and conductor laureate of the London Symphony Orchestra. In addition to these posts, he maintains an active presence guest conducting with the major orchestras of Europe and the United States.
Mr. Tilson Thomas began his formal studies at the University of Southern California, where he studied piano with John Crown, and conducting and composition with Ingolf Dahl. At age 19, he was named music director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra. He worked with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen, and Copland on premieres of their compositions at Los Angeles’s Monday Evening Concerts. During this same period, he was a pianist and conductor for Gregor Piatigorsky and Jascha Heifetz. In 1969, Mr. Tilson Thomas won the Koussevitzky Prize and was appointed assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO). He went on to become the BSO’s associate conductor, then principal guest conductor, which he remained until 1974.
Mr. Tilson Thomas’s extensive television work includes a series with the London Symphony Orchestra for BBC Television, the television broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts from 1971 to 1977, and numerous productions on PBS’s Great Performances. In 2004, Mr. Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony embarked on a multi-tiered media project titled Keeping Score, which includes television, websites, radio programs, and programs in the schools, all designed to make classical music more accessible to a new audience.
Among his many honors and awards, Mr. Tilson Thomas is a Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France; was Musical America’s Musician of the Year and Conductor of the Year, and Gramophone’s Artist of the Year; and has been profiled on CBS’s 60 Minutes and ABC’s Nightline. He has won 11 Grammy Awards for his recordings. In 2008, he received the Peabody Award for his radio series for SFS Media, The MTT Files. In 2010, President Barack Obama awarded him the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the US government.
Critical superlatives and audience ovations have continuously followed Yuja Wang’s dazzling career. Celebrated for her charismatic artistry and captivating stage presence, she has achieved new heights during the 2018–2019 season, which features recitals, concert series, season residencies, and extensive tours with some of the world’s most venerated ensembles and conductors.
Ms. Wang began the current season with a performance of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto at the Tanglewood Music Festival with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Andris Nelsons, followed by a tour with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Kirill Petrenko that featured Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto. In the spring of 2019, Ms. Wang embarks on a tour to Los Angeles, Seoul, and Tokyo with the Los Angeles Philharmonic to give the first-ever performances of John Adams’s newest piano concerto. She also reunites with cellist and frequent collaborator Gautier Capuçon for a vast US chamber tour.
Additional engagements this season include an extensive recital tour to South America, several concerts with the Munich Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev throughout Asia, concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at Versailles, performances at the Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn with Gustavo Dudamel, tours with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, and concerts in Istanbul, Toronto, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Kotor. In addition to this evening’s concert, Ms. Wang’s Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall has included performances with Martin Grubinger, Leonidas Kavakos, Gautier Capuçon, and Igudesman & Joo. This season, Ms. Wang is also an artist in residence at Vienna’s Konzerthaus and Luxembourg’s Philharmonie.
Ms. Wang was born into a musical family in Beijing, China. After childhood piano studies, she received advanced training in Canada and at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music under Gary Graffman. Her international breakthrough came in 2007 when she replaced Martha Argerich as soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon two years later, and has since established her place among the world’s leading artists with a succession of critically acclaimed performances and recordings. Ms. Wang was named Musical America’s 2017 Artist of the Year.