The Los Angeles Philharmonic will launch a five-year Shostakovich Cycle in January when Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the orchestra in a program of early 20th century Russian works. Featured on this program is the First Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich, which kicks off the five-year survey of the composer’s symphonic works that will culminate during the 2005/06 season – the centennial of his birth. Also featured on the program is guest pianist Alexander Toradze, who will perform Scriabin’s tone poem, Prometheus with special lighting design, and the well-known Night on Bald Mountain in both the original version by Mussorgsky, and the more widely-known orchestration by Rimsky-Korsakov.
Concerts take place at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Wednesday, January 16; Friday, January 18 [part of the Casual Fridays series]; and Saturday, January 19; all at 8 p.m. The program for January 18, a Casual Friday performance, is a shorter, 70-minute program, designed to accompany the more casual atmosphere of the dressed-down orchestra. That program will include only the works by Shostakovich and Scriabin.
Special Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place one hour prior to each concert in the Grand Hall, and are free to all ticketholders. During the Shostakovich Cycle performances, members of the Philharmonic will perform a String Quartet by Shostakovich during Upbeat Live, coinciding with the symphonic survey. This week, String Quartet No. 1 will be heard prior to the January
16 and 18 concerts; No. 2 will be performed on January 19. Sandra Tsing Loh will host the January 18 Upbeat Live event.
Opening the January 16 & 19 program is Modeste Mussorgsky’s familiar tone poem Night on Bald Mountain in the version edited by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov after Mussorgsky’s death. Later in the program, audiences will be able to hear and compare the composer’s original 1867 version.
Dmitri Shostakovich’s composed his first symphonic work was as a graduation exercise at the Leningrad Conservatory in 1925, when he was just 19 years old. Symphony No. 1 premiered one year later in the Great Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonic, during the first ever radio broadcast from that hall.
Throughout his life and works, Scriabin sought liberation from the industrialism and materialism dominating Russia in the early 1900s. He found his coveted escape by connecting image and sound in his final tone-poem, Prometheus, written in 1910. For this piece, the composer showed his innovation, including a keyboard of lights, something not yet invented, in the score to “play” colors corresponding to tones in the music. The Los Angeles Philharmonic will recreate his “synthesis of arts” vision for modern audiences this week – something that’s been done fewer than 20 times in the last century. Lighting design is by Steve Shapiro, a LASERIUM® laser artist at Griffith Observatory.
ALEXANDER TORADZE, the internationally recognized keyboard virtuoso, distinguished for the highly emotional intensity of his playing, will help Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic breathe life into the first Shostakovich series pieces. Throughout his career, this former Silver Medallist of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition has enriched the great Russian pianist heritage with his own boldly unorthodox interpretive conceptions, deeply poetic lyricism and visceral excitement.
ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, the tenth conductor to head the Los Angeles Philharmonic, began his tenure as Music Director in October 1992. Salonen made his American debut conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic in November 1984, and he has conducted the Orchestra every season since. Among the many highlights of Salonen’s activities with the Philharmonic have been world premieres of new works by composers John Adams, Bernard Rands, Rodion Shchedrin, Steven Stucky and Salonen himself, well-received Ligeti and Stravinsky Festivals, appearances at the Ojai Festival, seven critically acclaimed international tours since 1992, and his extensive discography with the Orchestra for Sony Classical. Salonen was born in Helsinki, Finland in 1958. He made his conducting debut in London with the Philharmonic Orchestra in September 1983. He served as principal guest conductor of the Philharmonic of London from 1985 to 1994 and as a principal conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1985 to 1995.
EDITORS - PLEASE NOTE:
Wednesday, January 16, 8 PM
Friday, January 18, 8 PM (Causal Fridays series)
Saturday, January 19, 8 PM
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Los Angeles Philharmonic
ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, conductor
ALEXANDER TORADZE, piano
Mussorgsky/Rimsky-Korsakov: Night on Bald Mountain (except 1/18)
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 1
Mussorgsky: Night on Bald Mountain – original version (except 1/18)
Scriabin: Prometheus (with special lighting design)
Upbeat Live, a free pre-concert discussion, takes place one hour prior to performances. Sandra Tsing Loh hosts the Jan. 18 event. Members of the Philharmonic will perform a string quartet by Shostakovich.
Single tickets ($12-$78) are available at the Philharmonic’s Music Center box office, all Ticketmaster outlets (Robinsons-May, Tower Records, Ritmo Latino, Tu Música, and selected Wherehouse locations), and by credit card phone order at 213/365-3500. Tickets are also available on-line at www.laphil.com. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available 2 hours prior to the performance at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion box office. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person. Groups of 10 or more may be eligible for special discounts. For further information, please call 323/850-2000.
Elizabeth Hinckley, (323) 850-2047; Rachelle Roe, (323) 850-2032