Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Part of: Carnegie Hall Live on WQXR
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Vasily Petrenko, Music Director and Conductor
Kian Soltani, Cello
Kent Tritle, Chorus Director
BRITTEN Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes
ELGAR Cello Concerto
HOLST The Planets
SHOSTAKOVICH Introduction to The Gadfly (arr. for cello ensemble by Kian Soltani)
TCHAIKOVSKY "Dance of the Tumblers" from The Snow Maiden, Op. 12
Event DurationThe printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.
At a Glance
This concert presents three 20th-century British masterpieces that offer a wide range of colors and sensibilities. Elgar’s Cello Concerto is a work of inwardness and subtlety that did not enter the standard repertoire until the late 20th century. Its compressed structure and attenuated beauty startled those expecting Elgar’s usual expansive Romanticism. Holst’s The Planets, on the other hand, is an epic, go-for-broke adventure in orchestral technology that became immensely popular during the composer’s lifetime (eclipsing his other works) and is now one of the most frequently referenced classical pieces in modern culture. Each of its seven movements suggests a planet and its astrological character, though Holst meant for them to be contrasting mood pieces rather than program music. Opening the concert is another suite of concert pieces by a master of orchestration, the Four Sea Interludes from the opera Peter Grimes, Britten’s atmospheric evocation of the sea in its many lights and colors.
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
As the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) celebrates its 75th anniversary, its mission to enrich lives through orchestral experiences that are uncompromising in their excellence and inclusive in their appeal places it at the forefront of music-making in the UK. With a worldwide audience of more than half a million people, the orchestra embraces a broad repertoire that enables it to reach the most diverse audience of any British symphony orchestra.
The RPO welcomed its new music director, Vasily Petrenko, in August 2021. Mr. Petrenko joins a roster of titled conductors that includes Pinchas Zukerman (Principal Guest Conductor), Alexander Shelley (Principal Associate Conductor), and Grzegorz Nowak (Permanent Associate Conductor).
In addition to the RPO’s annual season of concerts in London’s Royal Albert Hall; Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall; and the orchestra’s home, Cadogan Hall; the orchestra enjoys a busy schedule of international touring, performing in the world’s great concerts halls and at prestigious festivals. The RPO has a long association with the US, from its inaugural 1950 tour under the baton of founder Sir Thomas Beecham (when it performed in a staggering 45 cities in just 64 days) to its current 15-concert tour in January 2022, concluding with tonight’s performance directed by Mr. Petrenko. In recognition of the RPO’s warm relationship with US audiences, in 2016, it set about rejuvenating the American Friends of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (AFRPO), a 501(c)(3) organization that provides essential support for the orchestra’s USA tours and educational activity (afrpo.com).
The RPO aims to place orchestral music at the heart of contemporary society, collaborating with creative partners to foster deeper engagement with communities and ensure that live orchestral music is accessible to as inclusive and diverse an audience as possible. To achieve this, in 1993, the orchestra launched RPO Resound, which has become the most innovative and respected orchestral community and education program in the UK and internationally. Discover more at rpo.co.uk.
The 2021–2022 season marks the start of Vasily Petrenko’s tenure as music director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and artistic director of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Federation, where he was principal guest conductor from 2016 to 2021. He becomes conductor laureate of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra following his hugely acclaimed 15-year tenure as its chief conductor from 2006 to 2021, and continues as chief conductor of the European Union Youth Orchestra (since 2015). He has also served as chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic, principal conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and principal guest conductor of St. Petersburg’s Mikhailovsky Theatre.
Mr. Petrenko has worked with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, NHK Symphony Orchestra, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. In North America, he has led The Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. He has appeared at the BBC Proms, Edinburgh Festival, and Grafenegg Festival.
With more than 30 operas in his repertoire, Mr. Petrenko is equally at home on the operatic stage and has conducted the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Opernhaus Zürich, Bayerische Staatsoper, and Metropolitan Opera, among others.
Mr. Petrenko has established a strongly defined profile as a recording artist. Among a wide discography, his Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff, and Elgar symphony cycles with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra have garnered worldwide acclaim. With the Oslo Philharmonic, he has recently released cycles of Scriabin’s symphonies and R. Strauss’s tone poems, and works by Prokofiev and Myaskovsky.
In September 2017, Mr. Petrenko was honored with Gramophone’s Artist of the Year award. In 2010, he was named Male Artist of the Year at the Classical BRIT Awards. He is only the second person to have been awarded honorary doctorates by both the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University, and an honorary fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University.
Kian Soltani’s playing is characterized by a depth of expression, sense of individuality, and technical mastery, alongside a charismatic stage presence and an ability to create an immediate emotional connection with his audience. He is one of the most talked-about cellists today, performing with the world’s leading orchestras, conductors, and recital promoters.
In 2021–2022, Mr. Soltani makes debuts with orchestras that include the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Czech Philharmonic, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, WDR Symphony Orchestra, Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He tours with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra under Yuri Temirkanov, and ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop, among others.
Mr. Soltani was artist-in-residence at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in July 2021 and began a multi-year residency with Junge Wilde at Konzerthaus Dortmund in 2018. As a recitalist, he has recently performed at Carnegie Hall, the Salzburg and Lucerne festivals, Wigmore Hall, and the Pierre Boulez Saal.
In 2017, Mr. Soltani signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon. His first disc, Home, was released to international acclaim in 2018. In 2020, he worked on his latest disc, a celebration of the cello and film music titled Cello Unlimited, which was released in October 2021.
Mr. Soltani attracted worldwide attention in April 2013 as winner of the International Paulo Cello Competition in Helsinki. In February 2017, he won Germany’s celebrated Leonard Bernstein Award, and in December 2017, he was awarded the prestigious Credit Suisse Young Artist Award.
Born in Bregenz, Austria, in 1992 to a family of Persian musicians, Mr. Soltani began playing the cello at age four; he was only 12 when he joined Ivan Monighetti’s class at the Basel Music Academy. He was chosen as an Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation scholarship holder in 2014, and completed his studies as a member of the young soloists program at Germany’s Kronberg Academy. He received additional important musical training at the International Music Academy in Liechtenstein.
Mr. Soltani plays “The London, ex-Boccherini” cello by Antonio Stradivari, kindly loaned to him by a generous sponsor through Beare’s International Violin Society.
Musica Sacra’s mission is to create definitive, professional choral performances of the highest caliber—profound statements made simply and elegantly. It does so with concerts, recordings, commissioning and performing new choral works, and collaborating with top-tier performing arts organizations.
The longest continuously performing professional chorus in New York City, Musica Sacra was founded in 1964 by Richard Westenburg, and is now led by Kent Tritle, who began his 15th season this year. The chorus presents performances each year at prestigious venues throughout New York City. The chorus and orchestra’s annual performances of Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall are a New York holiday tradition. In addition, the chorus is frequently invited to perform with such ensembles as the New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, New York City Ballet, and by concert presenters throughout the region.
Musica Sacra has given the world and New York premieres of more than 30 choral works, including the world premiere of Duncan Patton’s There Will Come a Time. Other recent premieres include the world premiere of Pulitzer-nominated composer Michael Gilbertson’s Migration for choir and cello at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and Evan Fein’s Deborah at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center.
Musica Sacra has recorded on the RCA, BMG, MSR Classics, and Deutsche Grammophon labels. Notably, it gave the first digitally recorded performance of Messiah, released in 1982 by RCA and reissued on High Performance, BMG’s audiophile label. For more information, visit musicasacrany.com.
Kent Tritle is one of America’s leading choral conductors. He is director of choral activities at the Manhattan School of Music, director of cathedral music and organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and music director of Musica Sacra and the Oratorio Society of New York. He is also a member of the graduate faculty of The Juilliard School. An acclaimed organ virtuoso, he is the organist of the New York Philharmonic and a member of the organ faculty of the Manhattan School of Music.
Mr. Tritle founded the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space series at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, leading its choir and orchestra in 150 concerts from 1989 to 2011. From 1996 to 2004, he was music director of the Emmy-nominated Dessoff Choirs. He hosted The Choral Mix with Kent Tritle—a weekly program devoted to the vibrant world of choral music—on New York’s WQXR from 2010 to 2014.
Mr. Tritle’s discography features more than 20 recordings on the Telarc, Naxos, AMDG, Epiphany, Gothic, VAI, and MSR Classics labels. Recent releases include the Grammy-nominated 2018 world premiere performance of the Paul Moravec / Mark Campbell oratorio Sanctuary Road with the Oratorio Society of New York; the 2016 performance of David Briggs’s organ-choral version of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8; and Eternal Reflections, choral music of Robert Paterson with Musica Sacra.