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  • WDCH
  • Nov. 11, 2004
  • Program Includes Mozart's Symphony No. 38, K. 504 "Prague"
    Schumann's Symphony No. 4.




    Christoph Eschenbach, one of today's leading international conductors, and Grammy award-winning bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff appear with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Thursday, November 11 at 8 p.m., Friday, November 12 at 11 a.m., and Saturday, November 13 at 8 p.m. Eschenbach makes his first appearance at Walt Disney Concert Hall as Quasthoff performs Mahler's emotional Kindertotenlieder on a program that also includes' Mozart's complex, dramatic Symphony No. 38, K. 504 "Prague" and Schumann's Symphony No. 4.

    Quasthoff is a Los Angeles Philharmonic On Location resident artist during the 2004/2005 season. The On Location residency also includes his appearances in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association's Baroque Variations series with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jeffrey Kahane at Walt Disney Concert Hall (Tuesday, November 16 at 8 p.m.), and a jazz performance at REDCAT (Sunday, November 14 at 2 p.m.) Quasthoff also leads a master class for vocal students at CalArts as part of his residency.

    As a genre, the symphony enjoyed its heyday during the century and a half between the birth of Mozart and the death of Mahler, and this program features works by three of its greatest practitioners. Mozart's "Prague" Symphony, composed in 1786 when the composer was all the rage in Prague, is one of the pinnacles of the 18th century symphony, and it reflects Mozart's symphonic style at its most sophisticated. Robert Schumann's Fourth Symphony, composed in 1841 and reworked in 1851, gives a fair idea of where the symphony went during the middle decades of the 19th century, when it had become the genre of choice for a composer's most expressive and personal music. Mahler's Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children), while not a symphony as such, contains the seeds of many of the composer's most ambitious symphonies. Mahler began the work in the summer of 1901 after a health crisis moved him to ponder his own mortality. Based on the poems of Friedrich Rückert, who wrote them following the deaths of two of his children from scarlet fever, the work touches on several themes, but the constant that binds them together seems to be their prevalent nature imagery, which places the localized tragedy of a child's death within an uninterrupted broader context.

    CHRISTOPH ESCHENBACH is held in the highest esteem by the world's foremost orchestras and opera houses for his commanding presence, versatility and consummate musicianship. He is Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra in the United States and of the Orchestre de Paris in France and regularly conducts major American and European orchestras. A prolific recording artist, Eschenbach has made numerous recordings, as conductor, pianist or both, including works of Bach, Brahms, Berlioz, Grieg, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns, Schumann, Strauss and Tchaikovsky, among others. A champion of 20th century music, he has also recorded works by such composers as Berg, Webern, Schoenberg, Messiaen, Schnittke, Lourie, Picker, Rouse, Glass, Adams and Pintscher. Before turning to conducting, Eschenbach had already earned a distinguished international reputation as a concert pianist. He began winning major competitions at the age of 11 and by 1965 was established as the foremost pianist to emerge from post-war Germany, making his United States concert debut in 1969 with Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra. In testimony to his prowess at the piano, Philips chose Eschenbach as one of 100 pianists featured in their "Great Pianists of the Twentieth Century" Edition. Following his conducting debut in Hamburg in 1972, Eschenbach made his United States conducting debut with the San Francisco Symphony in 1975 and his opera conducting debut with a 1978 production of Verdi's La traviata. In 1981 Eschenbach was named principal guest conductor of the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zürich, becoming Chief Conductor from 1982-1986. Additional posts include Music Director of the Houston Symphony (1988-1999); Chief Conductor of the Hamburg NDR Symphony Orchestra (1998-2004); and Music Director of the Ravinia Festival, summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1994-2003).

    German bass-baritone THOMAS QUASTHOFF is recognized as one of the most remarkable singers performing today. Since making his US debut at the Oregon Bach Festival with Helmuth Rilling, he has sung with the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston and at Carnegie Hall, the Chicago Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh Symphony under the batons of Daniel Barenboim, Colin Davis, Mariss Jansons, Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa and Franz Welser-Möst. In recital, he has performed at Lincoln Center and The Kennedy Center, on the major recital series in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Toronto and Atlanta and made appearances at the Ravinia, Tanglewood, and Mostly Mozart festivals and the Hollywood Bowl. In Europe, Quasthoff regularly appears with the most distinguished orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and London Symphony Orchestra under such eminent conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Claudio Abbado, Bernard Haitink, and Daniel Barenboim. His impressive discography includes recordings for BMG, Haenssler, EMI-Electrola, Philips, and the Bayer labels. In June 1999 he signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon. His first recording for DG, Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn with Anne Sofie von Otter and the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Claudio Abbado, received the 1999 Grammy Award for best vocal performance; his Winterreise received a Grammy nomination in the same category. In February 2004, Quasthoff won a second Grammy for his recording of orchestrated songs by Schubert with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Claudio Abbado A dedicated teacher and advocate for young vocalists, Quasthoff was a professor at the Music Academy in Detmold, Germany from 1996-2004. Beginning in October 2004 he will become a Professor of Vocal Music at the Hanns Eisler School for Music in Berlin.





    Walt Disney Concert Hall

    111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles



    THOMAS QUASTHOFF, bass-baritone

    MOZART Symphony No. 38, K. 504, "Prague"

    MAHLER Kindertotenlieder

    SCHUMANN Symphony No. 4

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place one hour prior to the Thursday and Saturday concerts in BP Hall at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and are free to all ticket holders. The Friday morning pre-concert event tales place in the auditorium at 9:45 a.m. Musicologist and author Michael Steinberg hosts.

    Tickets ($15 - $125) are on sale now at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office, online at, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. When available, choral bench seats ($15) will be released for sale to selected Philharmonic, Colburn Celebrity Recital, and Baroque Variations performances beginning at noon on the Tuesday of the second week prior to the concert. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For all information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Laura Stegman, 310.645.1755; Rachelle Roe, 213.972.7310; photos: 213.972.3034