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  • WDCH
  • May. 1, 2008
  • Program Includes Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 and Soprano Lisa Gasteen in Wagner's Excerpts from Götterdämmerung

    SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2008, AT 2 PM

    Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in three performances featuring acclaimed pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, Thursday and Friday, May 1 and 2, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, May 4, at 2 p.m., at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Andsnes performs Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 in all three concerts, and soprano Lisa Gasteen joins for Excerpts from Wagner's Götterdämmerung at the Thursday and Sunday concerts. Friday is an LA PHIL Casual Fridays evening.

    Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat, in four movements rather than the usual three, opens with a mood-setting horn call to the other instruments. The second movement, which the composer labeled a scherzo, is the most dramatic and tempestuous of the movements, beginning with a vigorous workout for the piano, followed by a mellow theme for the violins and a noble trio section prior to the repetition of the opening. The slow movement is based on the solo cello’s eight-measure phrase, which is subsequently passed to the violins and expanded by the piano. The rondo finale builds to a pair of aggressive climaxes before returning to the skipping opening theme, and the final orchestral crescendo, altering the mood from gracious to thunderous by the end of the concerto.

    Wagner's Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), the fourth installment of the composer’s massive tetralogy, Der Ring Des Nibelungen (The Ring of Nibelungs), dramatically and musically resolves the conflicts and struggles presented in the previous operas. By its end, the old gods who struggled over the magic ring have been destroyed, the ring has been returned to its appropriate place in nature and the world has been cleansed of its corrupt past. The program presents three excerpts: Dawn and Siegfried’s Rhine Journey; Siegfried’s Death and Funeral Music; and Brünhilde’s Immolation.

    Andsnes' career has attracted considerable interest and excitement since his international debut in the early 1990s. The multiple-Gramophone Award-winning Norwegian pianist is now firmly established as one of the most compelling artists on the international concert circuit. Gasteen, internationally-acclaimed Australian opera singer, is a well-known Wagner soprano. She sang the role of Brünnhilde in the Ring Cycles in Meiningen, and most recently in Adelaide, Vienna, London and New York.

    The Friday performance is part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Casual Fridays series. Casual Fridays series concerts, which encourage audience and orchestra members to attend attired in comfortable clothes, are shorter programs without intermission and feature free post-concert activities for all ticket-holders to enjoy. These activities include a TalkBack discussion with musicians held on stage after the performance and a chance to mingle with members of the orchestra in the Concert Hall Café.

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place in BP Hall one hour prior to each concert, and are free to all ticket holders. Russell Steinberg, composer, conductor, performer, Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra and a UCLA faculty member, hosts.

    ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, who was born in Helsinki in 1958, studied at the Sibelius Academy in Finland. In 1979, he made his conducting debut with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and his American debut conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1984. He was recently appointed Principal Conductor of London's Philharmonia. In addition, Salonen has won acclaim for his work as a composer. Among the many highlights of Salonen's career with the Los Angeles Philharmonic have been world premieres of works by composers John Adams, Franco Donatoni, Anders Hillborg, William Kraft, Magnus Lindberg, Witold Lutoslawski, Bernard Rands, Kaija Saariaho, Rodion Shchedrin, Steven Stucky, Tan Dun and Augusta Read Thomas, as well as his own works. He has led critically-acclaimed festivals of music by Sibelius, Ligeti, Schoenberg, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Berlioz and Beethoven, as well as the Tristan Project. He and the Philharmonic have toured extensively since 1992. In October of 2003, Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic opened Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry. In March 2003, Salonen signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon. The following year, DG released a disc devoted to his recent orchestral works, featuring Foreign Bodies, Insomnia and Wing on Wing. In January 2006, Salonen and the Philharmonic recorded their first CD together for DG, the first live recording at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Salonen and the Philharmonic also have four live concert recordings available for download on iTunes from DG Concerts. Before signing with DG, Salonen recorded regularly with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for Sony Classical. Salonen is the recipient of several major awards including the Siena Prize from the Accademia Chigiana in 1993, the first conductor ever to receive the prize; the Royal Philharmonic Society's Opera Award in 1995; and their Conductor Award in 1997. In 1998, he was awarded the rank of Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. Musical America named him 2006 Musician of the Year.

    LEIF OVE ANDSNES, born in Karmoy, Norway in 1970, is the recipient of three Gramophone Awards, most recently in the Best Concerto category for his recording of Grieg and Schumann Piano Concertos with the Berlin Philharmonic and Mariss Jansons. He won the award in the same category in 2000 for his disc of Haydn Piano Concertos Nos. 3, 4, and 11, in which he directed the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra from the keyboard. In 2002 his recording of Grieg's Lyric Pieces - played on the composer's own piano in Troldhaugen – won the Gramophone Award for Best Instrumental recording. His wide-ranging discography includes sonatas by Haydn, Schubert, Chopin and Schumann, Liszt piano works, the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 and piano concertos by Shostakovich and Britten. His recordings of Mozart's Piano Concertos Nos. 9 and 18 with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and Schubert's Winterreise with Ian Bostridge were released in Autumn 2004; both were listed among the best CDs of the year by The New York Times. Andsnes was recently chosen as the youngest ever Carnegie Hall "Perspectives" artist, performing there in recital, in concert with the San Francisco Symphony, and in collaborations with Christian Tetzlaff and with Ian Bostridge. In 2005, he gave the world premiere performance of Marc-André Dalbavie's Piano Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Jukka-Pekka Saraste - a BBC Proms co-commission with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony. He is co-artistic director of his own festival in Risør, an event which every year draws some of the most esteemed classical performers to Norway and features artists such as Emanuel Ax, Ian Bostridge, Matthias Goerne, Barbara Hendricks, Gidon Kremer and Maxim Vengerov. He is a regular guest at such leading summer festivals as Aspen, Ravinia, Saratoga, Verbier, Tanglewood and New York City's Mostly Mozart Festival. Andsnes has been the subject of a number of television documentaries, and in 2003, he performed at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, which was televised worldwide. In 2002, Andsnes was made a Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St Olav – Norway's most distinguished award. This is one of a long list of accolades that also includes the Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist Award in 2000 and the 1998 Gilmore Artist Award from the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

    LISA GASTEEN, born in Brisbane, Australia, is considered to be one of the best leading dramatic sopranos of the opera world and sings at all important opera houses. She studied with Margaret Nickson in Brisbane as well as at the London Opera Studio, and won several highly-acclaimed competitions, including the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in 1991, the Advance Australia Award in 1992, and the Sydney Mayer Performing Arts Award in 2003. Gasteen made her operatic debut with the Lyric Opera Queensland and her engagements with Opera Australia have included Leonore (Fidelio), Leonora (Forza del Destino), Amelia (Ballo in Maschera), Elisabetta (Don Carlo), Elisabeth (Tannhäuser), Senta (Fliegender Holländer) and the title roles in Aida and Salome. Her repertory also includes Isolde (Tristan und Isolde, London Covent Garden 2002, as well as Stuttgart, Australia and Paris Bastille), the title role of Elektra (London in 2003, Cleveland under Welser-Möst in 2004), Sieglinde (Walküre) at the Metropolitan Opera under James Levine, Ariadne in Berlin, as well as Tosca, the Empress and the Dyer’s Wife (Frau ohne Schatten). She reprises the role of Brünnhilde at the Metropolitan Opera and Hamburg Staatsoper in the near future.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, presents the finest in orchestral and chamber music, recitals, new music, jazz, world music and holiday concerts at two of the most remarkable places anywhere to experience music — Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to a 30-week winter subscription season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil presents a 12-week summer festival at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the Association’s involvement with Los Angeles extends to educational programs, community concerts and children's programming, ever seeking to provide inspiration and delight to the broadest possible audience.


    THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2008, at 8 PM

    FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2008, at 8 PM (Casual Fridays)

    SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2008, at 2 PM

    WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL, 111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles


    ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, conductor


    LISA GASTEEN, soprano (except Friday)

    BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2

    WAGNER Excerpts from Götterdämmerung (except Friday)

    Casual Fridays series programs offer post-concert events that are free to all ticket-holders. Available options are an onstage TalkBack discussion with musicians and a post-concert reception with the musicians in the Concert Hall Café.

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place in BP Hall one hour prior to each concert, and are free to all ticket holders. Russell Steinberg, composer, conductor, performer, Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra, and a UCLA faculty member, hosts.

    Tickets ($40 - $142) are on sale now online at, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. When available, choral bench seats ($15) are released for sale to selected Philharmonic, Colburn Celebrity Recital, and Baroque Variations performances two weeks 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 10 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Adam Crane, 213.972.3422,; Photos: 213.972.3034