19.01.19 - 29.01.19
For their first rensidency tour, Andris Nelsons and the Gewandhaus Orchestra will play works from two composers who are close to the Orchestra and Leipzig: Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Robert Schumann.
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Ouvertüre zu "Ruy Blas" op. 95
Robert Schumann: Symphonie Nr. 2 C-Dur op. 61
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Symphonie Nr. 4 A-Dur op. 90 ("Italienische")
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt - Konzertouverture op. 27
Robert Schumann: Klavierkonzert a-Moll op. 54
Robert Schumann: Symphonie Nr. 3 Es-Dur op. 97 (Rheinische Symphonie)
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Philharmonie de Paris - Cité de la musique
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The Gewandhausorchester is the oldest civic symphony orchestra in the world. The enterprise was founded in 1743 by a group of 16 musical philanthropists – representatives of the nobility as well as regular citizens - forming a concert society by the name of Das Große Concert. On taking residence in the trading house of the city's textile merchants (the 'Gewandhaus') in 1781, the ensemble assumed the name Gewandhausorchester. Many celebrated musicians have been appointed to the office of Gewandhauskapellmeister (Music Director and Principal Conductor), including Johann Adam Hiller, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Arthur Nikisch and Kurt Masur. After his inauguration in 2005, Riccardo Chailly's phenomenally successful tenure as Gewandhauskapellmeister came to an end in 2016. Andris Nelsons assumed the position of Gewandhauskapellmeister in the 2017/18 season.
Music lovers worldwide revere the highly individual sound palette that distinguishes the Gewandhausorchester from all other symphony orchestras. This unique sound identity, along with the extraordinarily rich diversity of the repertoire which the Gewandhausorchester performs, is cultivated in over 200 performances each year in the Orchestra's three 'homes': as concert orchestra in the Gewandhaus, orchestra of the Leipzig Opera and orchestra for the weekly performances of the cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach with the Thomanerchor in St. Thomas's Church. No other elite symphony orchestra dedicates itself so intensively to the performance of the music of J.S. Bach.
The Gewandhausorchester has toured the globe on a regular basis since 1916 and enjoys almost unparalleled presence in the media of radio, television, CD and DVD.
Few other ensembles have exerted such significant and enduring influence on the development of the symphonic music tradition as the Gewandhausorchester. Throughout its history, the Orchestra has consistently attracted the collaborative energies of the world's most eminent composers, conductors and soloists. The Gewandhausorchester performed a complete cycle of the symphonies of Beethoven during his lifetime (1825/26), as well as the
first ever cycle of Bruckner's symphonies to be mounted (1919/20). Wagner's Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto Emperor, Brahms' Violin Concerto and Deutsches Requiem and Bruckner's 7th Symphony are just a fraction of the wealth of the core symphonic repertoire to be given its first performance by the Gewandhausorchester. The Orchestra commissions and premieres new works each season to this day.
A decisive contribution to the development of the symphonic repertoire must be attributed to the celebrated Gewandhauskapellmeister, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. During his tenure from 1835 until 1847, he presided over the first performances of numerous works from his own pen, for instance the Violin Concerto, the Scottish Symphony and his Overture to Ruy Blas, as well as the world premieres of many works of other composers, including Schubert's C major Symphony The Great and Schumann's 1st, 2nd and 4th symphonies. Through the introduction of new programming concepts – highly innovative for the time – Mendelssohn sharpened the Gewandhaus audiences' awareness of the music of times past, most notably reviving the performance of the orchestral oeuvre of J.S. Bach.
It was on Mendelssohn's initiative that Germany's first conservatoire was founded, in Leipzig, in 1843 - the modern day University of Music and Theatre "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy". Following the principles established by Mendelssohn himself, the Gewandhausorchester and University collaborate in the form of the Mendelssohn Orchestra Academy, offering the most talented young musicians the opportunity to hone their skills to the level required by the world's elite orchestras. Graduates of the Orchesterakademie receive a master's degree from the University.
The CD recordings which document the collaboration between the Gewandhausorchester and Riccardo Chailly have been decorated with the most coveted international awards, including a Golden Disc: complete cycles of the symphonies of Schumann, Brahms and Beethoven; a Gershwin album with Stefano Bollani; Bach's piano concertos, Christmas Oratorio, St. Matthew Passion and the Brandenburg Concertos; Brahms' piano concertos with Nelson Freire; Mendelssohn's Lobgesang and Mendelssohn Discoveries and Gustav Mahler’s symphonies on DVD (Accentus). Herbert Blomstedt recorded the complete symphonies of Anton Bruckner 2005-2012 for CD (Querstand) - performances which have already achieved reference status. Blomstedt, Conductor Laureate of the Gewandhausorchester, recorded a complete cycle of the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven with the Orchestra, which was released in July 2017 to mark the occasion of his 90th birthday. Andris Nelsons, the new Gewandhauskapellmeister, will record the complete symphonies of Anton Bruckner with the Gewandhausorchester (Deutsche Grammophon). The project started with the release of Symphony Nr. 3 in spring 2017, Symphony Nr. 4 followed in February 2018, Symphony Nr. 7 in April 2018. Under the baton of Andris Nelsons, a DVD recording of Antonín Dvořáks 9th Symphony From the New World, was released in February 2018 (Accentus music). The latest DVD production, comprising Alban Berg's Violin Concerto and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy's Scottish Symphony, was released in August 2018 (Accentus music).
© Jens Gerber
Andris Nelsons assumed the position of Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig in February 2018, in addition to his role as Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. With these positions, and in leading a pioneering alliance between two such esteemed institutions, Grammy Award-winning Nelsons is firmly underlined as one of the most renowned and innovative conductors on the international scene today.
Nelsons began his tenure as Music Director of the BSO in the 2014/15 season, and after one year his contract was extended through the 2021/22 season. In summer 2015 and spring 2016, the BSO and Nelsons embarked on their first European tours. In November 2017 they toured to Japan together for the first time, notably with three performances in Suntory Hall. Nelsons gave his debut with the Gewandhausorchester in 2011, followed by regular appearances at the Gewandhaus in subsequent years. In February 2018, Nelsons received the title of Gewandhauskapellmeister, marked by a four week inaugural festival which also celebrated the 275th anniversary of the orchestra's founding. In April/May 2018, Nelsons and the Gewandhausorchester embarked upon their first European tour together, with performances at prestigious venues including the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the Philharmonie de Paris and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.
In the 2017/18 season, Nelsons was Artist in Residence at the Konzerthaus Dortmund and continued his regular collaboration with the Wiener Philharmoniker, leading the orchestra on tour to China, with double appearances in five cities including Shanghai, Macao and Guangzhou. Through the course of his career, Nelsons has also established regular collaborations with the Het Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest, the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and the Philharmonia Orchestra. In the pit, Nelsons has been a regular guest at both the Bayreuther Festspiele and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, where he conducted Lohengrin in David Alden’s new production in the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons.
Andris Nelsons has an exclusive recording relationship with Deutsche Grammophon, which has paved the way for three landmark projects. Nelsons and the BSO partner on recording the complete Shostakovich symphonies and the opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtensk District. The first and second instalments in this exciting collaboration have both received consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Orchestral Performance, 2016 and 2017. The latest recording of the Shostakovich cycle was released in July 2018, comprising symphonies No.4 and No.11. Nelsons and the yellow label also embark upon a collaboration with the Gewandhausorchester that sheds new light on the symphonies of Bruckner, redefining Bruckner’s very distinctive sound world. The recording of Bruckner’s Symphony No.3 was released in spring 2017, receiving widespread critical acclaim. In February 2018, Symphony No.4 was released, with Symphony No. 7 following in April 2018. Furthermore, Nelsons will record Beethoven’s complete symphonies with the Wiener Philharmoniker between 2016 and 2019, before returning to perform the complete cycle in 2020, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
Born in Riga in 1978 into a family of musicians, Andris Nelsons began his career as a trumpeter in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra before studying conducting. He was Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from 2008-2015, Principal Conductor of Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany, 2006-2009 and Music Director of Latvian National Opera 2003-2007.
THIS BIOGRAPHY IS AVAILABLE BY COURTESY OF THE GEWANDHAUSORCHESTER
© Mat Hennek / DG
Renaissance woman Hélène Grimaud is not just a deeply passionate and committed musical artist whose pianistic accomplishments play a central role in her life. She is a woman with multiple talents that extend far beyond the instrument she plays with such poetic expression and peerless technical control. The French artist has established herself as a committed wildlife conservationist, a compassionate human rights activist and as a writer.
Grimaud was born in 1969 in Aix-en-Provence and began her piano studies at the local conservatory with Jacqueline Courtin before going on to work with Pierre Barbizet in Marseille. She was accepted into the Paris Conservatoire at just 13 and won first prize in piano performance a mere three years later. She continued to study with György Sándor and Leon Fleisher until, in 1987, she gave her well-received debut recital in Tokyo. That same year, renowned conductor Daniel Barenboim invited her to perform with the Orchestre de Paris.
This marked the launch of Grimaud’s musical career, characterised ever since by concerts with most of the world’s major orchestras and many celebrated conductors. Her recordings have been critically acclaimed and awarded numerous accolades, among them the Cannes Classical Recording of the Year, Choc du Monde de la musique, Diapason d’or, Grand Prix du disque, Record Academy Prize (Tokyo), Midem Classic Award and the Echo Award.
Between her debut in 1995 with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Claudio Abbado and her first performance with the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur in 1999 – just two of many notable musical milestones – Grimaud made a wholly different kind of debut: in upper New York State she established the Wolf Conservation Center.
Her love for the endangered species was sparked by a chance encounter with a wolf in northern Florida; this led to her determination to open an environmental education centre. “To be involved in direct conservation and being able to put animals back where they belong,” she says, “there’s just nothing more fulfilling.” But Grimaud’s engagement doesn’t end there: she is also a member of the organisation Musicians for Human Rights, a worldwide network of musicians and people working in the field of music to promote a culture of human rights and social change.
For most people, establishing and running an environmental organisation or having a flourishing career as a musician would be accomplishment enough. Yet, remarkably, Hélène Grimaud has also found time to pursue writing, publishing three books that have appeared in various languages. Her first, Variations Sauvages, appeared in 2003. It was followed in 2005 by Leçons particulières, and in 2013 by Retour à Salem, both semi-autobiographical novels.
Despite her divided dedication to these multiple passions, it is through Grimaud’s thoughtful and tenderly expressive music-making that she most deeply touches the emotions of audiences. Fortunately, they have been able to enjoy her concerts worldwide, thanks to the extensive tours she undertakes as a soloist and recitalist. She is also an ardent and committed chamber musician who performs frequently at the most prestigious festivals and cultural events with a wide range of musical collaborators, including Sol Gabetta, Rolando Villazón, Jan Vogler, Truls Mørk, Clemens Hagen and the Capuçon brothers. Her prodigious contribution to and impact on the world of classical music were recently recognised by the French government when she was admitted into the Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur (France’s highest decoration) at the rank of Chevalier (Knight). She was presented with the award at a ceremony in Aix-en-Provence on 22 March 2016.
After appearances at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and the Ruhr Piano Festival in July, Grimaud will begin the 2017-18 season in Sweden, as the Gothenburg Symphony’s Artist in Residence, with a chamber recital and performances of the Ravel Piano Concerto, a work she will also play in Zurich and Vienna in January. Other highlights include concerts featuring Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto in, among other cities, Munich with Valery Gergiev and the Munich Philharmonic, on tour in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland with the Gothenburg Symphony, and in Philadelphia with Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and performances this autumn in Lucerne, Ludwigshafen and Paris of a multimedia concert project, Woodlands and beyond…, which combines piano works by Romantic and Impressionist composers with images from Woodlands, the latest publication by her partner, fine art photographer Mat Hennek. This was premiered at the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie in April 2017.
Performance highlights of recent years include two collaborations with the Turner Prize-winning artist Douglas Gordon – tears become… streams become…, a large-scale immersive installation at New York’s Park Avenue Armory, and Neck of the Woods, a piece devised for the Manchester International Festival. During the 2016-17 season Grimaud made a series of European appearances with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Rotterdam Philharmonic; performed concertos by Brahms and Ravel in the US and Australia; gave recitals in Germany and Switzerland with cellist Sol Gabetta; and performed music from her 2016 album, Water, in the US and Europe, as well as at a number of venues in South Korea and China.
Hélène Grimaud has been an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist since 2002. Her most recent album, Perspectives (April 2017), a two-disc personal selection of highlights from her DG catalogue, includes two “encores”, Brahms’s Waltz in A flat and Sgambati’s arrangement of Gluck’s “Dance of the Blessed Spirits”, previously unreleased on CD/via streaming. Water (January 2016) is a live recording of the performances from tears become… streams become… with works by nine composers: Berio, Takemitsu, Fauré, Ravel, Albéniz, Liszt, Janáček, Debussy, and Nitin Sawhney, who wrote seven short Water Transitions for the album as well as producing it. Classicalite called the release “an astonishing work of piano majesty that is both thought-provoking and spiritually unsettling”, while Gramophone hailed Grimaud’s ability to interpret “a multitude of styles with passionate authority”. Water was the follow-up to the September 2013 release of her album of the two Brahms piano concertos, the First recorded with Andris Nelsons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Second with Nelsons and the Vienna Philharmonic. Limelight magazine called it an “utterly remarkable, inspired and inspiring recording”.
Duo, the album she recorded with cellist Sol Gabetta just prior to the Brahms concertos, won the 2013 ECHO Award for “chamber recording of the year”. Previous releases include her readings of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 19 and 23 on a 2011 disc which also featured a collaboration with singer Mojca Erdmann in the same composer’s Ch’io mi scordi di te?. Grimaud’s 2010 release, the solo recital album Resonances, showcased music by Mozart, Berg, Liszt and Bartók, while her other DG recordings include a selection of Bach’s solo and concerto works, in which she directed the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen from the piano; a Beethoven disc with the Staatskapelle Dresden and Vladimir Jurowski which was chosen as one of history’s greatest classical music albums in the iTunes “Classical Essentials” series; Reflection and Credo (both of which feature a number of thematically linked works); a Chopin and Rachmaninov Sonatas disc; a Bartók CD on which she plays the Third Piano Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra and Pierre Boulez; and a DVD release of Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and Claudio Abbado.
Hélène Grimaud is undoubtedly a multi-faceted artist. Her deep dedication to her musical career, both in performances and recordings, is reflected and reciprocally amplified by the scope and depth of her environmental and literary pursuits.
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