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  • French Conductor Stéphane Denève Leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Three Performances
  • Jan. 22, 2009
  • Violinist Gil Shaham Plays Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto in a Program that Also Includes Works by Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff


    January 22 Media Sponsor: KUSC

    Stéphane Denève, recognized internationally as a conductor of the highest caliber, leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in three performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Thursday and Saturday, January 22 and 24, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, January 25, at 2 p.m. The French conductor leads a program that offers Stravinsky’s Concerto in E-flat major, “Dumbarton Oaks,” Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto, featuring internationally-acclaimed violinist Gil Shaham, and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, Op. 45.

    Stravinsky’s Concerto in E-flat major was commissioned by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary and named for their Georgetown home, Dumbarton Oaks. Stravinsky was to have conducted the premiere of the three-movement concerto, but was unable to do so because of a bout with tuberculosis, which had also afflicted his daughter. His friend, Nadia Boulanger, gave the premiere, at the home for which the piece was named, in May of 1938.

    Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto was dedicated to violinist David Oistrakh, whose first recording of it became a worldwide favorite. After Oistrakh’s death, the piece faded in popularity, but more recently captured the hearts of today’s violinists, including Shaham. He remarked of the composition, “Very simply, it’s wonderful…I’m in love with every measure of it, the slow movement in particular, its chromatic inflections, the Armenian modes. And so original!” Shaham recently played the piece with the New York Philharmonic to great acclaim. Of the performance The New York Times wrote, “The violinist Gil Shahm is certainly ideally suited to convey the energetic optimism of Khachacturian’s difficult, folkloric Violin Concerto…”

    During his life Rachmaninoff was often criticized for remaining stylistically rooted in the 19th-century while living in the 20th, but in his Symphonic Dances, the composer combines a modernist rhythmic element with his own penchant for a big tune. Despite a lukewarm reception when it premiered, Symphonic Dances has become an audience and critics favorite.

    Denève, who had to cancel his appearance at Walt Disney Concert Hall in the 2007/08 season due to the birth of his first child, serves as music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and continues to guest conduct orchestras and opera companies around the world. Shaham is one of the most sought-after violinists in the world. He last appeared at Walt Disney Concert Hall in January of 2007.

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place in Walt Disney Concert Hall’s BP Hall one hour prior to each concert, and are free to all ticket holders. Michael Walsh, former music critic of Time Magazine, novelist and screenwriter, hosts.

    STÉPHANE DENÈVE is currently in his fourth season as Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He gave his inaugural concert as Music Director in September of 2005 and has since won unanimous praise from audiences and critics alike for his performances and programming. He has conducted the RSNO at the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival, Festival Présences in Paris and at the Vienna Konzerthaus, and together they were awarded the prestigious Diapason d'Or de l'année in 2007 for the first in their series of recordings of the works of Albert Roussel for Naxos. The second disc in the series was released in 2008 to widespread critical acclaim. Very much at home in a broad range of repertoire and a champion of new music, Denève has a particular affinity with the music of his native France, and has conducted works by Grétry, Debussy, Ravel, Berlioz, Roussel, Fauré, and Poulenc. In recent years he has also given world premiere performances of works by the contemporary French composer Guillaume Connesson. As a guest conductor, Denève has appeared with the Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de France, Philharmonia Orchestra, Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Czech Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, New Japan Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Verdi Orchestra Milan. In North America, he has conducted the Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra Washington, Cincinnati Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Houston Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Indianapolis and Seattle Symphony Orchestras. Denève enjoys close relationships with many of the world’s leading solo artists, and has performed with Natalie Dessay, Nina Stemme, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Piotr Anderszewski, Leif Ove Andsnes, Lars Vogt, Nikolai Lugansky, Emanuel Ax, Nikolaj Znaider, Pinchas Zukerman, Leonidas Kavakos, Vadim Repin and Gil Shaham. In the field of opera, Denève has conducted productions at the Royal Opera House (Così fan tutte), Glyndebourne Festival (Carmen), Netherlands Opera (L’amour des trois oranges), La Monnaie (La traviata; La voix humaine), Opéra National de Paris (Don Quichotte; La bohème; Le nozze di Figaro), the Teatro Comunale Bologna (Béatrice et Bénédict), and Cincinnati Opera (Erwartung; Carmen; Bluebeard’s Castle). Highlights for the 2008/9 season include guest conducting engagements with the BBC Symphony, NDR Symphony Hamburg, Maggio Musicale Florence, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Tokyo Metropolian Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic and China Philharmonic.

    Violinist GIL SHAHAM is internationally recognized by audiences and critics alike as one of today's most virtuosic and engaging classical artists. He is sought after throughout the world for concerto appearances with celebrated orchestras and conductors, as well as for recital and ensemble appearances on the great concert stages and at the most prestigious festivals. A highly regarded soloist around the world, Shaham will play nine violin concertos with top orchestras in the 2008/2009 season. He begins the season with the Brahms concerto at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on September 11 and later with the Atlanta Symphony and the Montreal Symphony. Other highlights this season include the Stravinsky concerto with the Houston Symphony, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra, the Khachaturian concerto with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra, the Berg concerto with the San Francisco Symphony, and Bolcom's concerto with the Toronto Symphony. In April, Shaham will tour performances of two Haydn concertos with Sejong. In addition to his many orchestral engagements Shaham regularly tours in recital with pianist Akira Eguchi. He has the good fortune to enjoy musical collaboration with his family as well, including his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, his sister pianist Orli Shaham and his brother-in-law, conductor David Robertson. In spring 2007, his dream of bringing together friends and colleagues for chamber music came to fruition in a tour of Brahms programs, culminating in a series of three concerts at Carnegie's Zankel Hall. An encore of this project is planned for Spring 2009. Another highly anticipated event this season will be Shaham's concert marking the centenary after the death of the legendary Spanish violinist and composer Pablo Sarate. Shaham will play the Romantic-era composer's music with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in the Kaplan Penthouse at New York's Lincoln Center. This program will be broadcast nationally on PBS in its Live from Lincoln Center Series. He will then take this program on a tour of Spain where he will visit several Spanish cities, including Sarasate's hometown of Pamplona. Among his more than two dozen concerto and solo CDs are a number of best sellers, appearing on record charts in the U.S. and abroad. These recordings have earned prestigious awards including multiple Grammys, a Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d'or and Gramophone Editor's Choice. Shaham's most recent recordings have been produced for his own label "Canary Classics" - The Butterfly Lovers / Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Singapore Symphony, The Fauré Album with Akira Eguchi, The Prokofiev Album with Orli Shaham, Mozart in Paris, a recording of Tchaikovsky's  Piano Trio in A major with Yefim Bronfman and cellist Truls Mørk, and a recording of  Elgar's Violin  Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and David Zinman released in November 2008. Shaham was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990, and in November of 2008, he was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher prize, one of the highest honors given to classical musicians. Shaham plays the 1699 "Countess Polignac" Stradivarius.

    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, JANUARY 22, 2009, AT 8 PM

    SATURDAY, JANUARY 24, 2008, AT 8 PM

    SUNDAY, JANUARY 25, 2009, AT 2 PM

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


    STÉPHANE DENÈVE, conductor

    GIL SHAHAM, violin

    STRAVINSKY Concerto in E-flat major, “Dumbarton Oaks”

    KHACHATURIAN Violin Concerto

    RACHMANINOFF Symphonic Dances, Op. 45

    January 22 Media Sponsor: KUSC

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place in BP Hall at Walt Disney Concert Hall one hour prior to each concert, and are free to all ticket holders. Michael Walsh, former music critic of Time Magazine, novelist and screenwriter, hosts.

    Tickets ($17 - $147) are on sale now at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office, online at, or via credit card by phone at 323.850.2000. When available, choral bench seats ($17), 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 information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Lisa White, 213.972.3422,; Photos: 213.972.3034