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  • Herbert Blomstedt Leads the LA Phil in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis at Walt Disney Concert Hall
  • Apr. 13, 2012


    Herbert Blomstedt comes to Walt Disney Concert Hall to lead the Los Angeles Philharmonic in three performances of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14, at 8 pm, as well as Sunday, April 15, at 2pm. Also performing are soprano Ruth Ziesak, mezzo-soprano Gerhild Romberger, tenor Richard Croft, bass-baritone Hanno Müller-Brachmann and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.

    Beethoven’s 80-minute Missa Solemnis, considered by the composer to be his greatest work, is atypical for him. It’s missing the sustained development of themes that is one of the composer’s hallmarks. Also missing is Beethoven’s penchant for theme and variations. Instead, the Missa presents a continuous musical narrative, almost without repetition.

    The first LA Phil performances (in 1952) were followed by downtown performances in 1961, 1970 and 1980. The work has not been performed by the Philharmonic in 32 years.

    Herbert Blomstedt was chief conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden from 1975 to 1985 and, in his continued relationship with the orchestra, was awarded its Golden Badge of Honour in 2007. Additionally, he holds the following titles with the various orchestras: Honorary Conductor of the NHK Symphony, Conductor Laureate of the San Francisco Symphony, Honorary Conductor of the Gewandhausorchester in Leipzig, the Danish and Swedish Symphony, as well as the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he continues guest conducting the world's most pre-eminent orchestras. Blomstedt, who celebrates his 85th birthday in 2012, has an extensive discography that includes over 130 works with the Dresden Staatskapelle, among them all symphonies of Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the complete orchestral works of Carl Nielsen with the Danish Radio Symphony. With the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra he recorded exclusively for Decca. Several of the numerous recordings received major awards; the complete cycles of the symphonies of Jean Sibelius and Carl Nielsen enjoy reference standard. In September 2012, to make Blomstedt’s jubiless, the querstand label is releasing a CD box set with all the symphonies by Anton Bruckner from live recordings with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Blomstedt has received several Honorary Doctorates and is an elected member of the Royal Swedish Music Academy and he was awarded the "Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz" by the German Federal President Johannes Rau.

    Following her debut at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein based in Düsseldorf and Duisburg, Ruth Ziesak’s career led her from the stages of Munich, Stuttgart, Berlin and Dresden to the international platforms of Milan, Florence, Vienna, Paris, London and New York, where she shone in signature roles of Pamina, Ännchen, Marzelline, Ilia and Sophie. She has also extended her repertoire and made her debut in the role of the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro in Glyndebourne and Zurich. It is in this role that she appeared at the Württembergisches Staatstheater in Stuttgart under Manfred Honeck in the 2009/10 season. The versatile artist is a much sought-after concert soloist and works with the leading orchestras in Paris, Milan, Vienna, Munich, Leipzig, Amsterdam and London. She is also a frequent guest at the Salzburg and Lucerne Festivals, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and the BBC Proms. In addition to her concert recordings with Georg Solti, Riccardo Chailly and Herbert Blomstedt for Decca, Ziesak has recorded Die Zauberflöte (Solti/Decca), Fidelio (Dohnányi/Decca), La Clemenza di Tito (Harnoncourt/Teldec), Der Freischütz (Janowski/BMG), Hänsel und Gretel (Runnicles/ Teldec) and Robert Schumann’s Genoveva with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (Harnoncourt/Teldec). Her solo recordings include Opera Arias by Mozart with the Deutsche Symphonie Orchester Berlin (German Symphony Orchestra Berlin) conducted by Marcus Creed (Capriccio) and lieder by Mahler (Gatti/BMG), as well as a series of lieder recitals for BMG, Naxos and Sony with Ulrich Eisenlohr.

    Recent highlights of Gerhild Romberger’s concert career include concerts with Manfred Honeck, who invited her for, among others, Mahler´s symphonies, Beethoven´s Missa Solemnis or the Große Messe by Walter Braunfels. Additional highlights include concerts at the NDR Hamburg with Wolfgang Rihm´s Drei späte Gedichte von Heiner Müller, with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Prague, numerous performances with Enoch zu Guttenberg (among others Bach´s Passions, Verdi´s Messa da Requiem, Beethoven´s Missa solemnis and Wagner´s Wesendoncklieder). She frequently works with the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester under Riccardo Chailly, as well as with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (in Schmidt´s Buch mit den sieben Siegeln and Mendelsson´s Elias with Thomas Hengelbrock), the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Herbert Blomstedt, the Symphony Orchestras of WDR and MDR and the Konzerthausorchester Berlin. This season, Romberger performs with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Czech Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, on tour with Beethoven’s Missa solemnis with the Orchestre des Champs Elysées Paris under Philippe Herreweghe, the Bavarian Radio Chorus and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Manfred Honeck in the United States and on tour in Europe.

    American tenor Richard Croft is internationally renowned for his performances with leading opera companies and orchestras around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Salzburg Festival, Opéra National de Paris, the Berlin Staatsoper, Opera Zurich, Glyndebourne Festival, the Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic. His clarion voice, superlative musicianship and commanding stage presence allow him to pursue a wide breadth of repertoire from Handel and Mozart to the music of today’s composers. The 2011/2012 season sees Croft returning to the Metropolitan Opera for an encore engagement of their visually extravagant production of Satyagraha in the role of Gandhi which will also be broadcast live in HD to movie theatres around the world. He continues the operatic season with Bayerische Staatsoper where he will play the title role in Mitridate under Ivor Bolton. He began the concert season with two performances of the Messiah with the Minnesota Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, and continues with performances of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and then with the Berliner Philharmonker conducted by Herbet Blomstedt.

    Hanno Müller-Brachmann has sung with many of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, including: Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the London Philharmonic under Masur, Bach’s St. John Passion with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra under Gardiner and with the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester under Blomstedt, Berlioz’s Romeo et Juliette with the Berlin Staatskappelle under Luisi, Schubert’s Alfons und Estrella with the Berlin Philharmonic under Harnoncourt, Beethoven IX with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Dohnányi and with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Chailly and Beethoven IX and Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi under Chailly, Britten’s War Requiem with the European Youth Orchestra under Ashkenazy and Beethoven IX with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Haitink. He made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Barenboim and has sung at the Festivals of Granada, Dresden, Salzburg, Lucerne, Vienna’s Klangbogen, Tanglewood and the BBC Proms. Müller-Brachmann made his operatic debut in 1996 in Telemann's Orpheus under René Jacobs at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, where he was a member of the ensemble from 1998 and where he sang the great Mozart roles of Leporello, Figaro, Guglielmo and Papageno as well as his first Wotan under Barenboim. In addition to opera and oratorio, he can be heard in recitals in Berlin at both the Staatsoper and Philharmonie. He has given recitals in Graz, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Tokyo, Hamburg, Paris, Lausanne, London’s Wigmore Hall and at the Vienna Konzerthaus, and at the Schwarzenberg Schubertiade, Berlin Festwochen, Ittingen and Edinburgh Festivals. He also works with the pianists Burkhard Kehring, András Schiff, Philippe Jordan, Graham Johnson, Malcolm Martineau and Daniel Barenboim.

    Giving a voice to Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Master Chorale (LAMC), considered one of the world’s leading choirs, is led by Music Director Grant Gershon. The Los Angeles Times proclaims, “Under Gershon, the Master Chorale seems to be able to master anything,” The New York Times calls the choir “inspired,” and The New York Observer declares it “a superb vocal ensemble.” The Chorale is currently in its 48th season as a resident company of the Music Center of Los Angeles County and its 9th as the resident chorus at Disney Hall. Presenting its own concert series each season, it performs choral music from the earliest writings to the most recent contemporary compositions. To date, the choir has commissioned 27 and premiered 69 new works, of which 44 were world premieres, and has been awarded the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming three times – in 1995, 2003 and 2010. Its discography includes four CDs under Gershon’s baton: A Good Understanding, an all-Nico Muhly disk recorded at Disney Hall and released by Decca in September 2010; Daniel Variations by Steve Reich, released in spring 2008 on Nonesuch Records; You Are (Variations) by Steve Reich, released in September 2005 on Nonesuch Records; and an RCM recording featuring Esa-Pekka Salonen’s first choral work, Two Songs to Poems of Ann Jäderlund, and Philip Glass’ Itaipu. A fifth CD with Gershon, to be recorded in June 2012 at Disney Hall and released in Fall 2012 on Decca, will feature three works by Polish composer Henryk Górecki, including his rapturous Miserere, and two that have never been recorded – Lobgesang (Hymn of Praise) and Five Marian Songs. LAMC previously released three CDs under Music Director Emeritus Paul Salamunovich on RCM, including the Grammy-nominated Lauridsen-Lux Aeterna. The Chorale is also featured with Gershon on the soundtracks of such major motion pictures as Charlie Wilson’s War, Lady in the Water, and License to Wed. Serving more than 30,000 audience members of all ages annually, the Los Angeles Master Chorale also provides education outreach to some 6,000 students each year.

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place in BP Hall one hour prior to the concerts, and are free to all ticket holders. Christopher Russell, Director of Orchestral Studies at Azusa Pacific University and Coordinator of the Orchestra Program at Orange County High School of the Arts, hosts.

    Complete program:

    BEETHOVEN Missa Solemnis

    HERBERT BLOMSTEDT, conductor
    RUTH ZIESAK, soprano
    GERHILD ROMBERGER, mezzo-soprano
    RICHARD CROFT, tenor
    HANNO MÜLLER-BRACHMANN, bass-baritone
    Grant Gershon, music director

    Friday, April 13, 2012, at 8 PM
    Saturday, April 14, 2012, at 8 PM
    Sunday, April 15, 2012, at 2 PM

    111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012

    Subscriptions and single tickets for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s 2011/12 season at Walt Disney Concert Hall are currently available. To purchase, please visit, the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office or any Ticketmaster outlet. To order by phone with credit card, please call the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office at 323.850.2000, or Ticketmaster at 800.745.3000. For more information, please call 323.850.2000.

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