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  • ESA-PEKKA SALONEN CONCLUDES THE LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC 2007/08 SEASON WITH WEST COAST PREMIERE OF HIS PIANO CONCERTO FEATURING YEFIM BRONFMAN
  • May. 29, 2008
  • Concerts Also Feature World Premiere of Steven Stucky's Arrangement of Stravinsky's Les Noces and West Coast Premiere of Colin Matthews’ Arrangement of Four Debussy Preludes

    THURSDAY, FRIDAY AND SATURDAY, MAY 29, 30 AND 31, 2008 AT 8 PM; SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2008, AT 2 PM

    The Korea Times is the Media Sponsor for the May 29 Concert. The May 31 Concert is Generously Sponsored by Acura – All Acura Vehicles Park Free

    Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in premiere-filled concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Thursday through Saturday, May 29 through 31, at 8 p.m., as well as Sunday, June 1, at 2 p.m. The 2007/08 LA PHIL season closer includes the West Coast premiere of Salonen’s Piano Concerto, featuring acclaimed pianist Yefim Bronfman to whom Salonen dedicated the work, the world premiere of Steven Stucky’s arrangement of Stravinsky’s Les Noces and the West Coast premiere of Colin Matthews’ arrangement of selected Debussy Preludes. Soprano Susan Narucki, mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, tenor Gordon Gietz, bass Kyle Ketelsen and the Los Angeles Master Chorale under the direction of Grant Gershon are featured in the Stravinsky. The Friday performance, an LA PHIL Casual Fridays evening, features the Debussy and Salonen works. All four performances of Salonen’s Piano Concerto are being recorded for a later CD release.

    Debussy’s Preludes, composed and published between 1909 and 1913, bear program titles that while often perplexing, give some insight into the composer’s thoughts and imagination. In Feux d'artifice (Fireworks), there are subtle hints of the French national anthem and the associated fireworks of Bastille Day among the cascading pianistic fireworks defined by a rhapsodic sense of harmony and color. Bruyères (Heather) evokes a pastoral scene of the moors in the Scottish highlands. Le Vent dans la Plaine (The Wind in the Plain) does not have a definite association and the title of La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair) was provided by the French poet, Leconte.

    In orchestrating the Preludes, Matthews did not feel compelled to work strictly within the composer’s text, and though he intended to write a postlude, he waited until he had finished the orchestration for his arrangement of all 24 of the Preludes and then found it logical to write a piano piece of his own – M. Croche (representing Debussy’s alter ego) – and then transcribe it.

    The rarely performed Stravinsky Les Noces, was written shortly after the Rite of Spring and originally scored for four pianos, four percussionists, four vocal soloists and chorus. Stucky, the LA PHIL Consulting Composer for New Music, explains the genesis of his reworking by saying, "This is one of the best pieces of Stravinsky's folk-music period, but the unusual scoring can be an obstacle. [Esa-Pekka and I] thought that the music might lend itself to orchestral treatment, and he and the orchestra asked me to give it a try.”

    Salonen's Piano Concerto received its world premiere in February 2007 with Salonen leading Bronfman and the New York Philharmonic, which commissioned the piece. The first movement opens with slow, solemn music in dotted rhythms and, per the composer, he imagined this music as a modern version of some very formal (imaginary) slow French court dance from the Baroque era. The second movement, which begins with a piano cadenza, is virtuosic though somehow nostalgic in character. Movement three is a kind of Rondo, where the recurring idea is not a theme, but a chain of five chords, with each chord carrying its own scale and melody. At the very end the opening music of the first movement returns, triumphantly.

    Yefim Bronfman is widely regarded as one of the most talented virtuoso pianists performing today. His commanding technique and exceptional lyrical gifts have won him consistent critical acclaim and enthusiastic audiences worldwide, whether for his solo recitals, his prestigious orchestral engagements or his rapidly growing catalogue of recordings.

    Soprano Susan Narucki has been hailed for evocative performances of works both new and old. The Boston Globe praised her "intelligence, wit, presence, drop-dead musicianship, and a voice you want to hear." She received a 2002 Grammy in the Best Classical Vocal Performance category.

    Mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor has garnered international critical acclaim for her portrayal of Federico García Lorca in Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar. O'Connor created the role for the world premiere at Tanglewood under the baton of Robert Spano and has subsequently joined Miguel Harth-Bedoya for performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall. She reprised her portrayal of Lorca in the world premiere of the revised edition of Ainadamar at the Santa Fe Opera in a new staging by Peter Sellars during the 2005 season, which also was presented at Lincoln Center.

    Tenor Gordon Gietz made his debut in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Bowl in Mozart’s Requiem and returned for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He created the role of Stingo in Sophie’s Choice at Covent Garden and reprised the role for the North American première in Washington, DC.

    American bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen is in regular demand by the world's leading opera companies and orchestras for his vibrant stage presence and distinctive vocalism.

    The Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Master Chorale is led by Music Director Grant Gershon, who also serves as associate conductor/chorus master of the LA Opera. The Chorale, currently celebrating its 44th season, is in its fifth season as the resident chorus at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Among other accolades, the chorus has received the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming.

    The Friday performance is part of the LA PHIL’s Casual Fridays series, which encourage audience and orchestra members to attend attired in comfortable clothes. These shorter programs – without intermission – 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. Deborah Borda, president of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, hosts and is joined by Salonen and Bronfman (for the Thursday and Sunday concerts).

    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.

    YEFIM BRONFMAN was a “Perspectives” artist at Carnegie Hall for the 2007/08 season, partnering with some of the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors including the Vienna Philharmonic with Valery Gergiev, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra with Mariss Jansons, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra with James Levine, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Within the scope of the seven concerts he curated, he played repertoire ranging from solo piano, chamber and orchestral by composers from Mozart to Prokofiev and Berg to Dalbavie. The fall began with a tour of Japan with the Kirov Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev and a solo recital tour beginning during the visit to Japan and traversing the U.S. to culminate in Carnegie Hall in December and continuing in Vienna, Paris and Berlin in the spring. He appeared with the Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, New Jersey and Toronto symphony orchestras and concludes the season with the west coast premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s piano concerto with Salonen conducting to be recorded live for later CD release. Bronfman has given numerous solo recitals in the leading halls of North America, Europe and the Far East, including acclaimed debuts at Carnegie Hall in 1989 and Avery Fisher Hall in 1993. In 1991, he gave a series of joint recitals with Isaac Stern in Russia, marking his first public performances there since his emigration to Israel at age 15. That same year he was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, one of the highest honors given to American instrumentalists. Bronfman has won widespread praise for his solo, chamber and orchestral recordings, including a Grammy award in 1997 for his recording of the three Bartók Piano Concertos with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His extensive discography also includes the complete Prokofiev Piano Sonatas; all five of the Prokofiev Piano Concertos, nominated for both Grammy and Gramophone awards; Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3; recital albums featuring Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” and Stravinsky’s “Three Movements from Petrushka,” and Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons” paired with Balakirev’s “Islamey;” and the Tchaikovsky and Arensky Piano Trios with Cho-Liang Lin and Gary Hoffman. His newest CD release, Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1, was recorded with Bayerischen Rundfunks and Mariss Jansons on Sony BMG. A devoted chamber music performer, Bronfman has collaborated with the Emerson, Cleveland, Guarneri and Juilliard quartets, as well as the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He has also played chamber music with Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Lynn Harrell, Shlomo Mintz, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Pinchas Zukerman and many other artists. Bronfman immigrated to Israel with his family in 1973, and made his international debut two years later with Zubin Mehta and the Montreal Symphony. He made his New York Philharmonic debut in May l978, his Washington recital debut in March l98l at the Kennedy Center and his New York recital debut in January 1982 at the 92nd Street Y. Born in Tashkent in the Soviet Union in 1958, he studied in Israel with pianist Arie Vardi, head of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. In the U.S., he studied at the Juilliard School, Marlboro, and the Curtis Institute, and with Rudolf Firkusny, Leon Fleisher, and Rudolf Serkin. Bronfman became an American citizen in July 1989.

    Grammy-winning soprano SUSAN NARUCKI has been hailed for evocative performances of works both new and old. Recent appearances include performances with Pierre Boulez and the Cleveland Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, the Schoenberg and Asko Ensembles on Great Performers at Lincoln Center and at the Netherlands Opera. A distinguished chamber musician, she has been a guest with the Orion String Quartet, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Norfolk and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festivals, among many others. Nominated in the Best Classical Vocal Performance category for a 2002 Grammy (Carter: Tempo e Tempi), her extensive discography includes two recent releases of world premiere operas: Louis Andreissen's Writing to Vermeer (Nonesuch) and Claude Vivier's Rêves D'un Marco Polo, (Opus Arte DVD). She can be heard on SONY Classical, Philips, Angel, Chandos, Nonesuch, Decca, Bridge and many other labels. RECENTLY RELEASED is a disc of Aaron Kernis' song cycles for Koch International. Her current season includes include engagements with James Levine and the MET Chamber Ensemble, the New York premiere of Elliott Carter's opera What's Next? (directed by Christopher Alden), Orchestra of Radio France at the Cite de la Musique, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Société de Musique Contemporaine du Quebec, Ojai Festival, the Cabrillo Festival with conductor Marin Alsop, with the Brentano String Quartet, and at the Los Angeles Monday Evening concerts, and a performance of Lisa Bielawa's Chance Encounter, which she co-concieved, at the Whitney Museum in New York.

    Mezzo-soprano KELLEY O'CONNOR has garnered international critical acclaim for her Grammy-winning portrayal of Federico García Lorca in Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar. O'Connor created the role for the world premiere at Tanglewood under the baton of Robert Spano and has subsequently joined Miguel Harth-Bedoya for performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall. She recently made her Carnegie Hall debut in Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs with Bernard Haitink and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. O'Connor made her European debut in January 2006 at the Barbican Centre in a performance of Golijov's Ainadamar Suite with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Roberto Minczuk. Opera Now recognized O'Connor on its annual "Young Artists: Who's Hot?" list of 2006. Highlights of past seasons include performances of Stravinsky's Requiem Canticles with the Cleveland Orchestra under the baton of Welser-Möst, Berio's Laborintus II and Dvo?ák’s Moravian Duets at the Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductors Esa-Pekka Salonen and Iván Fischer, respectively, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Edward Gardner and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and a gala concert of opera arias and ensembles to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Santa Fe Opera. O'Connor has a Bachelor of Music degree from USC and received her master's degree from UCLA while studying with Nina Hinson. She is a winner of the Long Beach Mozart Festival, the Los Angeles NATS Competition, the Palm Springs Opera Guild Competition, and a scholarship recipient of the Opera Buffs, Inc.

    Tenor GORDON GIETZ made his debut in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Bowl in Mozart’s Requiem and returned for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He created the role of Stingo in Sophie’s Choice at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden in London and reprised the role for the North American premiere at the National Opera in Washington, DC. He made his debut at the Opéra National de Paris as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. He returned in subsequent seasons as Alfred in Die Fledermaus, Cassio in Otello under the baton of Valery Gergiev and as Tamino in the acclaimed Robert Wilson staging of Die Zauberflöte. Gietz created the character of Yonas in the Bastille’s world premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s Adriana Mater directed by Peter Sellars and conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, and he appeared as Yonas in the UK premiere of the work at London’s Barbican in April 2008 with the BBC Symphony under the direction of Edward Gardner. Gietz made his La Scala debut as the Chevalier de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites, conducted by Riccardo Muti and released on the TDK DVD Video label. Gietz made his debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona in the Robert Carsen production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, recently released on DVD (Virgin Classics), and will reprise the role at La Scala next season in the same production. He debuted at Glyndebourne Festival Opera as Lysander in the award-winning staging of Sir Peter Hall. Other highlights include Steva in Jenufa at the Châtelet and at the Teatro Real in Madrid, the title role in Les Contes d’Hoffmann in Marseille, Don José in Carmen in Montréal, and Béatrice et Bénédict with the New York Philharmonic, Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse and the Santa Fe Opera.

    American bass-baritone KYLE KETELSEN is in regular demand by the world's leading opera companies and orchestras for his vibrant and handsome stage presence and his distinctive vocalism. His Lyric Opera of Chicago debut was as Masetto in Don Giovanni. The 2007/08 season saw debuts with the Hamburg Staatsoper as the Four Villains in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, and with the Los Angeles Opera and Opera Liceu, Barcelona, as Leporello. In addition, Ketelsen returned to Covent Garden for Escamillo. In recent seasons, he has sung Mozart's Figaro for his New York City Opera debut and at Opera Pacific, Leporello with Glimmerglass Opera and Michigan Opera Theater, Escamillo in Carmen with Washington National Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Michigan Opera Theater, the Teatro Real, Madrid and Orlando Opera, and his debut performances of Gounod's Mephistopheles in Faust with Michigan Opera Theater. Other roles in Washington include Oroveso in Norma, the Speaker in Die Zauberflöte, the Villains in Les Contes d'Hoffmann, and Abimelech in Samson et Dalila. In concert, Ketelsen has collaborated with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Berlioz's Lélio, and Kaija Saariaho's Cinq reflets de l'Amour de loin. He made his Carnegie Hall debut with Haydn's Creation with the Oratorio Society of New York and repeated this work with Music of the Baroque in Chicago. His concert repertoire also includes the Verdi Requiem, Brahms Deutsches Requiem, Handel Messiah, Fauré Requiem, Dvo?ák’s Te Deum, the Bach St. Matthew and St. John Passions and the Mozart C-minor Mass. Among the newest additions to his concert repertoire is Mahler's Eighth Symphony in Madison under John DeMain. Ketelsen has won First Prize in several international vocal competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation (Career Grant), the George London Foundation, the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation, the Sullivan Foundation, Opera Index, the MacAllister Awards, Fort Worth Opera, National Opera Association, Connecticut Opera, and the Liederkranz Foundation. Ketelsen received his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa, where he studied with Albert Gammon, and did his graduate studies at Indiana University, where he studied with Giorgio Tozzi.

    The Grammy-nominated LOS ANGELES MASTER CHORALE is led by Music Director Grant Gershon, who also serves as associate conductor/chorus master of the LA Opera. The Chorale, currently celebrating its 44th season, is in its fifth season as the resident chorus at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Among other accolades, the chorus has received the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming. Founded in 1964, the Chorale was the first organization in the nation to offer a complete season of great choral masterworks. In addition to presenting its own concert series at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Chorale performs regularly with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The Chorale has recorded three CDs under Gershon's baton, including Daniel Variations by Steve Reich, to be released in September on Nonesuch Records; the acclaimed You Are (Variations) by Steve Reich, released in September 2005 on Nonesuch; and an RCM recording featuring Esa-Pekka Salonen's first choral work, Two Songs to Poems of Ann Jäderlund, and Philip Glass' Itaipu. It previously released three CDs under the baton of Music Director Emeritus Paul Salamunovich on RCM, including the Grammy-nominated Lauridsen-Lux Aeterna. The Chorale is also featured on the soundtracks of numerous major motion pictures, including License to Wed, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Waterworld.

    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.

    EDITORS PLEASE NOTE:

    THURSDAY, MAY 29, 2008, at 8 PM

    FRIDAY, MAY 30, 2008, at 8 PM (Casual Fridays)

    SATURDAY, MAY 31, 2008, at 8 PM

    SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2008, at 2 PM


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



    LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC

    ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, conductor

    YEFIM BRONFMAN, piano

    SUSAN NARUCKI, soprano (except Casual Fridays concert)

    KELLEY O’CONNOR, mezzo-soprano (except Casual Fridays concert)

    GORDON GIETZ, tenor (except Casual Fridays concert)

    KYLE KETELSEN, bass (except Casual Fridays concert)

    LOS ANGELES MASTER CHORALE, Grant Gershon, music director (except Casual Fridays concert)



    DEBUSSY (arr. Matthews) Selected Preludes (West Coast premiere of arrangement)

    Feux d'artifice

    Bruyères

    Le Vent dans La Plaine

    La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin

    MATTHEWS Postlude M. Croche

    STRAVINSKY (arr. Stucky) Les Noces (World premiere of arrangement) (except Casual Fridays concert)

    SALONEN Piano Concerto (West Coast premiere)

    The Korea Times is the media sponsor for the May 29 concert. The May 31 Concert is generously sponsored by Acura – all Acura vehicles park free for the evening.

    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. Deborah Borda, president of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, hosts, joined by Salonen and Bronfman (Thursday and Sunday only).

    Tickets ($40 - $142) are on sale now online at LAPhil.com, 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, acrane@laphil.org; Photos: 213.972.3034