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Langrée’s First CSO Season Inspired

Mary Ellyn Hutton
Posted: Jan 30, 2013 - 3:13:52 PM in news_2013, commentary_2013

Louis Langrée
Variety spices Louis Langrée’s first season as music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

You’ll find world premieres and old masters, young artists and established stars, collaborations with other Cincinnati organizations and anniversary nods from Shakespeare to Wagner to the Gettysburg Address.

Most of all, you’ll find Langrée’s official debut, Nov. 8 at Music Hall, a very special concert packed with significance. For instance, November will be the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. Langrée will lead the orchestra in Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait,” a work that not only quotes from the Gettysburg Address, but was commissioned and premiered by the CSO in 1942. Narrator will be poet/author Maya Angelou, appearing with the CSO as part of a Freedom Week collaboration with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and Cincinnati Museum Center. The same program will feature Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, which was performed during the CSO’s very first season in 1895. If that weren’t enough, there will also be a Cincinnati premiere, American composer Jennifer Higdon’s “On a Wire,” a work co-commissioned by the CSO, to be performed by the chamber ensemble eighth blackbird in their CSO debut.

Langrée, appointed the CSO’s 13th music director, in April, 2011, will conduct six concerts during his first season. On Nov. 14 and 16, he will lead concerts keyed to the CSO’s highly successful “One City, One Symphony” initiative, a community undertaking premiered in November to coincide with Langrée’s inaugural concert as music director designate. Featured works will be Tchaikovsky’s romantic Symphony No. 4 and Mozart’s “Davide Penitente,” a choral work inspired by the Psalms of David, featuring the May Festival Chorus. (Those who tuned in to Langrée’s debut with the Berlin Philharmonic, streamed live over the Internet Jan. 25, will recall what a powerful work it is.) Following the pattern of this season’s “One City, One Symphony,” there will be listening parties, digital downloads and discussion guides to explore the subject matter of the program and its twin themes of fate and redemption.

Also on Langrée’s schedule are:

Nov. 29 and 30. Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and “An American in Paris,” plus Ravel’s “Mother Goose” Suite” and Concerto for the Left Hand, with pianist Kirill Gerstein in his CSO debut.

Jan. 10 and 11. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 and Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1, with pianist Hélène Grimaud.

March 14 and 15. Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 and Mozart’s Flute Concerto No. 2, with flutist James Galway.

On March 21 and 22, Langrée and the CSO will collaborate with Cincinnati’s new music festival MusicNOW, electric guitarists Bryce and Aaron Dessner of the indie rock band The National and eighth blackbird on a pair of concerts featuring world premiere commissions by Nico Muhly and David Lang and the Cincinnati premiere of Bryce Dessner’s “St. Carolyn by the Sea,” Kyzysztof Penderecki’s “Polymorphia” and “48 Responses to Polymorphia” by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead.

Popular guest conductor Giancarlo Guerrero will open the season Sept. 12 and 14 with the CSO premiere of Percy Grainger’s “The Warriors,” a one-of-a-kind behemoth for large orchestra, with three pianos and three conductors. Also on that program are Edward Elgar ‘s “In the South” and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1, with guest artist Olga Kern in her CSO debut.

The stars will be out during the 2013-14 season, with the Cincinnati debut of violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter in a special non-subscription gala Sept. 28, guitarist Pepe Romero Nov. 1 and 2, pianist Radu Lupu Feb. 7 and 8 and violinist Midori March 27, 29 and 30. There will be two artists-in-residence, cellist Alisa Weilerstein and violinist Augustin Hadelich, in addition to eighth blackbird, which will serve as ensemble-in-residence. Each will participate in residency weeks in Cincinnati, with concerts, master classes, workshops and other community engagements.

Guest artists returning next season include percussionist Colin Currie, who will perform James MacMillan’s “Veni, Veni Emmanuel” and violinists Pekka Kuusisto (Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2) and Nicola Benedetti (Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy”). Other artists making their CSO debuts include pianists Jeremy Denk, Zhang Zuo and Orli Shaham. CSO principal trumpeter Robert Sullivan will be featured in the 1986 Trumpet Concerto by William Perry Oct. 4 and 5.

The guest conductor list is a distinguished one. Music director laureate Paavo Järvi will return to conduct Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 Feb. 20, 22 and 23. Spanish master Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, who has served two seasons as the CSO’s creative director, will lead an all- Spanish program Nov. 1 and 2 with Pepe Romero and Verdi’s Requiem Feb. 28 and March 1. David Robertson will make his CSO debut with an all-American program April 25 and 26, to feature the Symphony No. 2 (“The Age of Anxiety”) by Leonard Bernstein. Robert Spano returns to lead the CSO in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis and Symphony No. 2 (“A London Symphony”).

John Nelson will lead the annual (non-subscription) performance of Handel’s “Messiah” Dec. 22. Cincinnati Pops conductor John Morris Russell will conduct the CSO’s New Orleans-themed New Year’s Eve gala, “The Big Easy," and the CSO’s annual “Classical Roots” concert celebrating African-American contributions to music March 7.

The conductor guest list also includes returnees Michael Francis, Juanjo Mena, James Gaffigan, Jun Märkl and John Storgårds and newcomers Rafael Payare, Asher Fisch, Christopher König and David Afkham.

In addition to the MusicNOW and Freedom Week collaborations, the CSO will join with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and the drama department of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in music celebrating the Bard’s 450th anniversary, such as excerpts from Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” ballet. The bicentennial of Richard Wagner’s birth will be observed with orchestral excerpts from “Parsifal” and his operatic tetralogy, “The Ring of the Nibelung.”

All concerts are at Music Hall and begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays (with complimentary buffet dinner), 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Fridays, 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.

The CSO season is divided into three series: Masterworks, Boundless and Ascent (five concerts each), plus Grand Masterworks (Masterworks A and B combined). Patrons who subscribe to two or more series (ten or more concerts) before Feb. 28 will receive a free ticket to the Anne-Sophie Mutter gala, or a CSO concert of choice.

For information and subscriptions, visit www.cincinnatisymphony.org/series, or call (513) 381-3300. The renewal deadline for current subscribers is Feb. 28.

Single tickets for Anne-Sophie Mutter go on sale June 4 and for the remainder of the season beginning Aug. 8.

The 2013-14 CSO season.

Sept. 12 and 14. Carl Maria von Weber, Overture to “Oberon.” Frederic Chopin, Piano Concerto No. 1. Edward Elgar, “In the South.” Percy Grainger, “The Warriors” (Music for an Imaginary Ballet). Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor. Olga Kern, piano. (Masterworks B)

Sept. 28. Henry Purcell/ed. Benjamin Britten, Chacony. Edward Elgar, “Enigma” Variations. Antonin Dvorák, Romance for Violin and Orchestra. Dvorák, Violin Concerto. Michael Francis, conductor. Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin. (non-subscription gala)

Oct. 4 and 5. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, “Russian Easter” Overture. John Estacio, “Borealis.” William Perry, Trumpet Concerto. Jean Sibelius, Symphony No. 2. Rafael Payare, conductor. Robert Sullivan, trumpet. (Boundless)

Oct. 11 and 12. Richard Wagner, Prelude to Act I, “Parsifal.” Franz Joseph Haydn, Cello Concerto No. 1. Richard Strauss, Suites from “Die Frau ohne Schatten” and “Der Rosenkavalier.” (Ascent)

Nov. 1 and 2. Robert Schumann, Symphony No. 3, “Rhenish.” Joaquin Rodrigo, “Concierto de Aranjuez” for Guitar and Orchestra. Manuel de Falla, Suites No. 1 and 2 from “The Three Cornered Hat.” Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, conductor. Pepe Romero, guitar. (Masterworks A)

Nov. 8-10. Jennifer Higdon, “On a Wire.” Aaron Copland, “Lincoln Portrait.” Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 5. Louis Langrée, conductor. Maya Angelou, Narrator. Westwater Arts, photochoreography, eighth blackbird. (Boundless)

Nov. 14 and 16. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “Davide Penitente.” Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 4. Louis Langrée, conductor. Jane Archibald, soprano. Michèle Losier, mezzo-soprano. Joseph Kaiser, tenor. May Festival Chorus, Robert Porco, director. (Masterworks A)

Nov. 29 and 30. Maurice Ravel, “Mother Goose” Suite. George Gershwin, “Rhapsody in Blue.” Ravel, Concerto for the Left Hand. Gershwin, “An American in Paris.” Louis Langrée, conductor. Kirill Gerstein, piano. (Ascent)

Dec. 6 and 7. Ralph Vaughan William, Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 25. Vaughan Williams, Symphony No. 2, “A London Symphony.” Robert Spano, conductor. Jeremy Denk, piano. (Masterworks A)

Dec. 22. George Frederick Handel, “Messiah.” John Nelson, conductor. May Festival Chorus, Robert Porco, director. (non-subscription)

Jan. 10 and 11. Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 8. Johannes Brahms, Piano Concerto No. 1. Louis Langrée, conductor. Hélène Grimaud, piano. (Ascent)

Jan. 16 and 18. Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, “Hamlet” Fantasy-Overture. Sergei Prokofiev, Violin Concerto No. 2. Jean Sibelius, “Lemminkäinen” Suite. John Storgårds, conductor. Pekka Kuusisto, violin. Members of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Brian Isaac Phillips, artistic director. (Masterworks B)

Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. Carl Maria von Weber, Overture to “Der Freischütz.” James MacMillan, “Veni, Veni, Emmanuel” for Percussion and Orchestra. Antonin Dvorák, Symphony No. 5. Christoph König, conductor. Colin Currie, percussion. (Boundless)

Feb. 7 and 8. Richard Wagner, “Siegfried Idyll.” Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 3. Beethoven, Symphony No. 4. David Afkham, conductor. Radu Lupu, piano. (Masterworks A)

Feb. 20, 22 and 23. Hector Berlioz, “Love Scene” from “Roméo et Juliette.” Felix Mendelssohn, Piano Concerto No. 1. Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 4. Paavo Järvi, conductor. Zou Zhang, piano. Isabel Bayrakdarian, soprano. (Masterworks B)

Feb. 28 and March 1. Giuseppe Verdi, Requiem. Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, conductor. Angel Blue, soprano. Julia Gersteva, mezzo-soprano. Riccardo Zanellato, bass. Aquiles Machado, tenor. May Festival Chorus, Robert Porco, director. (Ascent)

March 7. “Classical Roots.” John Morris Russell, conductor (non-subscription)

March 14 and 15. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Flute Concerto No. 2. Anton Bruckner, Symphony No. 7. Louis Langrée, conductor. James Galway, flute. (Masterworks A)

MusicNOW Festival: March 21. Bryce Dessner, “St. Carolyn by the Sea.” Nico Muhly, world premiere to be announced. Alexander Scriabin, “The Poem of Ecstasy." March 22. Krzysztof Penderecki, “Polymorphia.” Jonny Greenwood, “48 Responses to Polymorphia.” David Lang, world premiere to be announced. Sergei Prokofiev, “Scythian Suite.” Louis Langrée, conductor. Bryce Dessner and Aaron Dessner, electric guitars. eighth blackbird. MusicNow, Bryce Dessner, artistic director. (Boundless)

 March 27, 29 and 30. Dmitri Shostakovich, Violin Concerto No. 1. Richard Wagner, Orchestral Suite from “The Ring.” Jun Märkl, conductor. Midori, violin. (Masterworks B)

April 11 and 12. Gabriel Pierné, Overture to “Ramuntcho.” Felix Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto. Ginastera, “Panambi.” Juanjo Mena, conductor. Augustin Hadelich, violin. (Ascent)

April 25 and 26. Leonard Bernstein, Three Dance Episodes from “On the Town.” Steven Mackey, “Stumble to Grace” Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. Samuel Barber, Adagio for Strings. Bernstein, Symphony No. 2 “The Age of Anxiety.” David Robertson, conductor. Orli Shaham, piano. (Boundless)

May 2 and 3. Hector Berlioz, “King Lear” Overture. Max Bruch, “Scottish Fantasy” for Violin and Orchestra. Sergei Prokofiev, Suite from “Romeo and Juliet.” James Gaffigan, conductor. Nicola Benedetti, violin. CCM drama department, Richard Hess, chair. (Masterworks A)