Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Please note that Yannick Nézet-Séguin will conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in place of Valery Gergiev. The program remains unchanged.
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Conductor
DEBUSSY Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
RAVEL Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2
Event DurationThe printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.
Major support for this concert is provided by the Audrey Love Charitable Foundation.
The Vienna Philharmonic Residency at Carnegie Hall is made possible by a leadership gift from the Mercedes T. Bass Charitable Corporation.
Rolex is the Exclusive Partner of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
At a Glance
This concert presents three of the most colorful and gorgeously orchestrated works in the repertoire. Two are French impressionist works, and the other is a landmark of Russian Romanticism. Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune inaugurates a new subtlety and freedom in structure and instrumentation, demonstrated in part by its famous flute solo. Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé (premiered by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes the same year the company presented a ballet version of Debussy’s Prélude) is his most spectacular and epic work, full of orgiastic crescendos and climaxes that are especially present in the Suite No. 2 drawn from the complete ballet. Both pieces evoke a magical, mythological world of fauns and satyrs, but Debussy’s is more attenuated while Ravel’s is more dramatic and over-the-top. Both owe a great deal to Rimsky-Korsakov’s 1888 symphonic suite, Scheherazade, a landmark in the sound of the modern orchestra. It, too, has a fantastical narrative, but it is far more than an anthology of musical fairy tales. Rimsky-Korsakov did away with the thick, square sound of the standard 19th-century orchestra, freeing up the brass and percussion, creating a new transparency in the strings, and conjuring coloristic effects. Though the work’s seductive violin solos rivet our attention, this is a concerto for orchestra in which practically everyone gets a difficult solo, and delicate chamber ensembles shine against massive tutti. As with the Debussy and Ravel pieces, one can’t imagine the ideas without the orchestration, the music without the atmosphere.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin is music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera. His intensely collaborative style, deeply rooted musical curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm have been heralded by critics and audiences alike. Yannick has been artistic director and principal conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal since 2000, and in 2017 he became an honorary member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He also served as music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, where he is now an honorary conductor. In 2018, he signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon.
Yannick has worked with many leading European ensembles and has enjoyed many close collaborations with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, as well as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, of which he was principal guest conductor from 2008 to 2014. He has appeared several times at the BBC Proms and many European festivals, among them Edinburgh, Lucerne, Salzburg, and Grafenegg. North American festival appearances include New York’s Mostly Mozart, Lanaudière, and Bravo! Vail. Once chorus master, assistant conductor, and music adviser at Opéra de Montréal, he has since conducted at the Vienna State Opera, Teatro alla Scala, and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
A native of Montreal, Yannick studied piano, conducting, composition, and chamber music at Montreal’s Conservatoire de musique du Québec and continued his studies with renowned conductor Carlo Maria Giulini; he also studied choral conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt at Westminster Choir College. Among Yannick’s honors are an appointment as Companion of the Order of Canada; Companion to the Order of Arts and Letters of Quebec; an Officer of the Order of Quebec; an Officer of the Order of Montreal; Musical America’s 2016 Artist of the Year; ECHO Klassik’s 2014 Conductor of the Year; a Royal Philharmonic Society Award; Canada’s National Arts Centre Award; the Virginia Parker Prize; the Prix Denise-Pelletier; the Oskar Morawetz Award; and honorary doctorates from the Université du Quebec, Curtis Institute of Music, Westminster Choir College of Rider University, McGill University, Université de Montréal, University of Pennsylvania, and Laval University.
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
There is perhaps no other musical ensemble more closely associated with the history and tradition of European classical music than the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Over the past 179 years, the orchestra has experienced and influenced the course of music history around the world, and to this day, prominent soloists and conductors refer to the unique “Viennese Sound” that sets it apart from other orchestras.
Since its founding by Otto Nicolai in 1842, the orchestra has held a fascination for composers and conductors because of its conscious maintenance of a consistent musical style that is carefully bequeathed from one generation to the next, as well as its unique history and organizational structure. The two pillars of the orchestra’s “Philharmonic Idea” are a democratic structure that places the entire artistic and organizational decision-making process in the hands of the musicians themselves, and a close symbiotic relationship with the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. Vienna Philharmonic statutes stipulate that only musicians from the opera orchestra can become members of the philharmonic. The orchestra itself is solely responsible for the organization of concerts and the selection of repertoire, as well as the engagement of conductors and soloists.
In 1860, the Vienna Philharmonic introduced the Subscription Concert series, for which one conductor leads an entire season. Beginning in 1933, the orchestra created a system of engaging guest conductors that promotes a wide spectrum of artistic encounters with the most prominent conductors of each generation. Touring activities began at the turn of the 20th century and have since taken the orchestra to every continent. In recent years, this has included regularly scheduled concerts in Germany, Japan, the US, and China.
From the beginning, the orchestra has displayed a strong social mission characterized by a commitment to individuals in need and the fostering of young musicians. In 2018, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Academy was founded. The academy students are selected in accordance with a strict, internationally oriented audition process, and trained at the highest level during a two-year course of study. The orchestra also engages its humanitarian spirit by performing benefit concerts and developing initiatives for disadvantaged people.
The Vienna Philharmonic performs approximately 40 concerts in Vienna annually, among them the New Year’s Concert and Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn, which are broadcast around the world. The orchestra also has an annual summer residency at the Salzburg Festival and performs more than 50 concerts a year on its international tours. Since 2008, it has been supported by its exclusive sponsor, Rolex.