Valery Gergiev, Music Director and Conductor
Behzod Abduraimov, Piano
TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No. 1
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 7
TCHAIKOVSKY Lullaby, Op. 16, No. 1 (arr. Sergei Rachmaninoff)
Event DurationThe printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission. Please note that there will be no late seating before intermission.
Sponsored by Ernst & Young LLP
The Munich Philharmonic residency with Valery Gergiev at Carnegie Hall is made possible by a leadership gift from Mrs. Veronica Atkins.
In honor of the centenary of his birth, Carnegie Hall’s 2019–2020 season is dedicated to the memory of Isaac Stern in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to Carnegie Hall, arts advocacy, and the field of music.
At a Glance
This concert presents two large-scale late–19th-century works—one Russian, the other Austrian—that marked the first time their respective composers achieved international fame. Though contemporaries, Tchaikovsky and Bruckner had opposing styles and sensibilities, but they did share a morbid self-doubt and an addiction to endless revision. In the case of the two works on this program, however, they stuck to their guns, forged ahead with confidence, and were rewarded with spectacular success. Tchaikovsky’s concerto was an immediate hit in America—first in Boston, later at the opening of Carnegie Hall—and continues to be the most popular Romantic piano concerto in the repertoire and a proving ground for pianists, bursting with ideas and virtuosic display. Bruckner’s Seventh caused a sensation at its second performance in Munich and became a rare success for a composer whose symphonies were normally met with derision. It has the mystical fervor, cathedral-like architecture, and epic length typical for Bruckner, but also a melodic soulfulness, especially in the elegiac slow movement. It was the first Bruckner symphony to be recorded and has remained popular even when his other symphonies were neglected.
The Munich Philharmonic and its renowned conductors have vastly enriched Munich’s musical life since the orchestra’s founding in 1893. Gustav Mahler conducted the orchestra in the world premieres of his Fourth and Eighth symphonies; 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 orchestra’s first Bruckner concerts and established its Bruckner tradition, which was then gloriously continued by Siegmund von Hausegger and Oswald Kabasta.
During the Rudolf Kempe era, the Philharmonic made its first tour to what was then the USSR. Later, the legendary Bruckner concerts with general music director Sergiu Celibidache made a major contribution to the orchestra’s international reputation. With chief conductor James Levine, the orchestra won the prize for the Best Concert Program in the 2002–2003 Season from the German Music Publishers Association. In 2004, the Munich Philharmonic named Zubin Mehta the first conductor laureate in the orchestra’s history. For the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in Munich, chief conductor Christian Thielemann conducted two performances of the work. He was succeeded as chief conductor by Lorin Maazel, who held the position until his death in 2014.
Valery Gergiev has held the position of chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic since the 2015–2016 season. Tours have taken the orchestra to numerous European cities, as well as Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, and the US. Program highlights conceived by Mr. Gergiev include performances of symphonic cycles by Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Rachmaninoff, as well as the MPHIL 360° festival. The Philharmonic’s concerts are regularly broadcast via livestream and on radio and TV. In September 2016, the first CD recordings documenting the Munich Philharmonic’s work were released under the orchestra’s own label, MPHIL. Between 2017 and 2019, the Munich Philharmonic and Mr. Gergiev completed their Bruckner cycle: a major multimedia project that took place at the famous basilica of St. Florian Monastery, the composer’s final resting place.
Born in Moscow, Valery Gergiev studied conducting under Ilya Musin at the Leningrad Conservatory. While still a student, he won the Herbert von Karajan International Conducting Competition in Berlin. In 1978 at age 24, Mr. Gergiev became assistant conductor to Yuri Temirkanov at the Mariinsky Opera, where he made his debut conducting Prokofiev’s adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. More than two decades ago, he assumed his current position as director of the legendary Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, which has since become a cornerstone of operatic culture in Russia.
Mr. Gergiev’s close cooperation with the Munich Philharmonic began in the 2011–2012 season; he has held the position of chief conductor since the 2015–2016 season. He has since performed all of Shostakovich’s symphonies and a cycle of works by Stravinsky with both the Philharmonic and the Mariinsky Orchestra.
Between 2017 and 2019, the Munich Philharmonic and Mr. Gergiev completed their Bruckner cycle: a major multimedia project that took place at the famous basilica of St. Florian Monastery, the composer’s final resting place.
Behzod Abduraimov performs with leading orchestras worldwide, collaborating with prestigious conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, James Gaffigan, Jakub Hrůša, and Santtu-Matias Rouvali.
In addition to his performance at Carnegie Hall with the Munich Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev, Mr. Abduraimov’s season includes his second solo recital in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage with a program of works by Chopin, Debussy, and Mussorgsky. He also serves as artist-in-residence with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, appearing in recital and twice under Lorenzo Viotti.
Other highlights this season include concerts with the Orchestre National de France, Philharmonia Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Abduraimov also performs in concerto and recital at the Alte Oper Frankfurt, and gives recitals at the International Piano Series in London, the Meesterpianisten Series at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Spivey Hall, and Melbourne Recital Centre, among others.
Recent engagements have included appearances with the Orchestre de Paris as part of its Rachmaninoff Weekend, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and The Cleveland Orchestra. In July 2018, Mr. Abduraimov returned to the Hollywood Bowl with a spectacular performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel. Summer 2019 included returns to the Verbier, Rheingau, La Roque–d’Anthéron, and Lucerne festivals. Last season, he was presented in recital by Symphony Center Presents, 92nd Street Y, Vancouver Recital Society, Tippet Rise Art Center, Kölner Philharmonie, and Festspielhaus Baden-Baden.
Born in 1990 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Mr. Abduraimov began studying piano at age five as a pupil of Tamara Popovich at Uspensky State Central Lyceum. In 2009, he won first prize at the London International Piano Competition with Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3. He also studied with Stanislav Ioudenitch at the International Center for Music at Park University in Missouri, where he is artist-in-residence.