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CARNEGIE HALL PRESENTS

Munich Philharmonic

Saturday, October 26, 2019 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
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Valery Gergiev, Leonidas Kavakos by Marco Borggreve
This program’s virtuosity is thrilling and its intensity will keep you on the edge of your seat. Jörg Widmann’s Con brio is an orchestral showpiece that bustles with energy and wittily tips its hat to Beethoven. Brahms’s Violin Concerto is vigorous—especially in its solo pyrotechnics and gypsy-accented finale—and luxurious in its gorgeous melodies and richly sonorous orchestration. Shostakovich’s symphony is a profoundly personal work: a journey from despair to triumph filled with haunting beauty and flashes of the macabre that culminates in a rousing finale.

Part of: International Festival of Orchestras II, Jörg Widmann, and Live Webcasts on medici.tv

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Munich Philharmonic is also performing October 25.

Leonidas Kavakos is also performing March 4, March 6, and March 8.

Performers

Munich Philharmonic
Valery Gergiev, Music Director and Conductor
Leonidas Kavakos, Violin

Program

JÖRG WIDMANN Con brio

BRAHMS Violin Concerto

SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 5


Encore:

ENESCU "Ménétrier" (Minstrel) from Impressions d’enfance, Op. 28, No. 1

Event Duration

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

Watch on Medici.tv

Listen on WQXR

Breguet | Exclusive Timepiece

Sponsored by Breguet, Exclusive Timepiece of Carnegie Hall

The Munich Philharmonic residency with Valery Gergiev at Carnegie Hall is made possible by a leadership gift from Mrs. Veronica Atkins.

Jörg Widmann is the holder of the 2019–2020 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall.

National Endowment for the Arts: arts.gov

Public support for Carnegie Hall Live on WQXR is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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 program presents two popular works that were once met with controversy. The dispute over Brahms’s soaring, fiendishly difficult Violin Concerto had to do with the violin part—whether the concerto was written for the instrument or “against” it, and whether the gorgeous oboe solo in the slow movement was allowed to steal too much of the show. With Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, the argument was about politics—whether this epic, exciting work was straightforwardly inspirational, or whether it utilized musical “codes” and ironic gestures that were secretly anti-Stalin even though the rhetoric of the piece suggests the opposite. With its stark yet lyrical opening movement, its deliciously sardonic Allegretto, its hymn-like slow movement (the heart of the piece), and its thrilling, whirlwind finale, the work is now interpreted any number of ways—or simply enjoyed as one of the most gripping symphonies of the mid–20th century.

Tonight’s concert opens with a recent work: Jörg Widmann’s Con brio, an homage to Beethoven.
The work was originally meant as a warm-up for all-Beethoven programs, but it has recently served as a curtain-opener for more varied concerts. In this case, it opens a program of works by two admirers of Beethoven. Brahms was the late–19th-century standard-bearer of the Haydn-Beethoven tradition; Shostakovich’s Fifth makes use of stark motifs as building blocks—a technique that Beethoven inaugurated—as well as an earthy, dance-like scherzo.

Bios

Munich Philharmonic

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 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.

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Valery Gergiev

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 ...

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.

Read More
Leonidas Kavakos

Leonidas Kavakos was born in Athens. By age 21, had won three major competitions: the International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition (1985), Paganini Competition (1988), and Naumburg ...

Leonidas Kavakos was born in Athens. By age 21, had won three major competitions: the International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition (1985), Paganini Competition (1988), and Naumburg International Violin Competition (1988). This success led to his recording the original Sibelius Violin Concerto (1903–1904)—the first recording of the work in history, which won the Gramophone Concerto of the Year Award in 1991.

Mr. Kavakos works with the world’s greatest conductors and orchestras. Recent highlights include a season as artist-in-residence with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and recitals with Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax at the Tanglewood Festival, where he also appeared as conductor and soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He was named the 2019 Lucerne Festival’s “artiste étoile.”

During the 2019–2020 season, Mr. Kavakos joins Mr. Ma and Mr. Ax for three Beethoven programs at Carnegie Hall. He also undertakes two tours to Asia, one of which features the complete Beethoven sonatas with Enrico Pace (in Shanghai and Guangzhou).

Mr. Kavakos is also active as a conductor, and has directed orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.

Mr. Kavakos is an exclusive recording artist with Sony Classical. Among his many albums are Beethoven’s violin sonatas with Mr. Pace, Brahms’s piano trios with Mr. Ax and Mr. Ma, Brahms’s Violin Concerto with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Riccardo Chailly, Brahms’s violin sonatas with Yuja Wang, and Mendelssohn’s and Mozart’s violin concertos with Camerata Salzburg.

Mr. Kavakos was named Gramophone Artist of Year in 2014 and was awarded Denmark’s Léonie Sonning Music Prize in 2017. He plays the “Willemotte” Stradivarius violin of 1734.

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