Carnegie Hall to offer a musical multitude in 125th anniversary season

Thu Jan 29, 2015 at 12:25 pm
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Clive Gillinson

Carnegie Hall, under executive and artistic director Clive Gillinson, is arguably the best classical organization in the country in terms of presenting music that spans the entire classical tradition, from early music to world premieres. Now, for their just announced 125th Anniversary season of 2015–16, they threaten to surpass their own standards.

For the season, Carnegie has announced an unprecedented “125 Commissions Project,” the goal of which to support the creation of at least 125 new compositions from leading composers—established as well as emerging—to be premiered at the hall through the 2019–20 season. In the 2015–16 season along, there will be 36 commissioned works, all of them world, American, or local premieres, including John Adams’ Second Quartet, played by the St. Lawrence String Quartet October 29; music from the young composers collective Sleeping Giant (which included Christopher Cerrone, Ted Hearne, Robert Hornstein and Andrew Norman) that will be played by eighth blackbird January 18, 2016; a piece from Richard Danielpour that will be performed by mezzo Isabel Leonard and guitarist Sharon Isbin (November 12); and a new work by Kevin Puts, played by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop (April 16, 2016).

The season starts with a gala concert October 7, with pianist Evgeny Kissin playing the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with the New York Philharmonic and conductor Alan Gilbert; the concert will also have a world premiere co-commissioned by Carnegie from Magnus Lindberg, and Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloë. Kissin will organize one of the two classical music Perspectives series for the season, while Sir Simon Rattle, who lead the Berlin Philharmonic in the current season’s gala opening, is in charge of the other. Over this coming season and next, Rattle will conduct his Berlin orchestra in a Beethoven symphony cycle (No. 1 and No. 3 November 17, No. 2 and No. 5 Nov. 18, No. 8 and No. 6 Nov. 19, No. 4 and No. 7 Nov. 20, and the 9th on Nov. 21, with soprano Anette Dasch, mezzo Eva Vogel, tenor Christian Eisner, and bass Dimitry Ivaschenko).

Kissin’s series six concerts total, including the opener. He will play Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Albéniz in recital November 3 and Nov. 6; chamber music with violinist Mischa Maisky December 3; present a “Jewish Music and Poetry” event as both pianist and speaker, Dec. 16; and play Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the MET Orchestra and conductor James Levine, May 19, 2016.

In the Debs Creative Chair, held the past two seasons by David Lang and Meredith Monk, will be the Kronos Quartet. The position will launch the Quartet’s new, five-year initiative, “Fifty for the Future,” a commissioning project that will bring forth 50 new works for string quartet from student and emerging professional composers, with 25 pieces each from men and women composers. Kronos will play some of these new pieces, along with recent music from Karin Rehnqvist and Fodé Lassana Diabaté, in Zankel Hall, April 2, 2016.

The other major project for 2015–16 is “The Somewhere Project: A Citywide Celebration of West Side Story.” Through the Weil Music Institute, Carnegie will produce events in all five boroughs, centered around three performances of Leonard Bernstein’s great musical, March 4–6, 2016, at the Knockdown Center in Queens. The performances will mix professionals and community members, feature Jerome Robbin’s choreography, and Marin Alsop will conduct.

One more surprise for the season is that there will be second gala concert, May 5, that will bring together musicians from in and out of classical music—Emanuel Ax, Renée Fleming, Marilyn Horne, Yo-Yo Ma, Audra McDonald, James Taylor, and others.

Carnegie is the main venue for musicians and ensembles who visit New York, and notable guests will be pianist Maurizio Pollini, playing Beethoven and Schoenberg (October 11) and Schumann and Chopin (Oct. 25); soprano Dame Emma Kirby singing early English music with lutenist Jakob Lindberg (Oct. 14); pianist and composer Brad Mehldau premiering another Carnegie co-commission, Three Pieces for Piano After Bach (Oct. 22); Gil Shaman playing the Bach Solo Violin Sonatas and Partitas to original films by David Michalek (Oct. 25); Masaaki Suzuki bringing his Bach Collegium of Japan on November 6; Yefim Bronfman playing all-Prokofiev recitals (Nov. 13) and May 7, 2016); the Arcanto Quartet playing Purcell, Beethoven, and Britten (Nov. 15); and Leif Ove Andsnes joining Sibelius, Beethoven, Debussy, and Chopin (Nov. 16).

There is also the New York recital debut of mezzo Tara Erraught, singing Brahms, Liszt, Delius, Quilter, and Strauss (December 4); harpsichordist Jory Vinokur playing music by John Bull, Domenico Scarlatti, and more (Dec. 10); the MET Chamber Ensemble presenting a concert of Boulez and Messiaen’s Quatour pour la fin du temps (Dec. 13); oboist Ramón Ortega Quero in his New York recital debut (January 16, 2016); the return of tenor Jonas Kaufmann (Jan. 31); “This Scepter’d Isle: A Musical Guide to Early English History,” from the Orlando Consort (February 8); So Percussion playing more Carnegie co-commission on Feb. 12; the Jasper String Quartet presenting the New York premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis’ String Quartet No. 3, another Carnegie co-commission (Feb. 19); tenor Paul Appleby, with pianist Ken Noda, premiering a co-commission by Matthew Aucoin, and singing Lachner, Schumann, Wolf, Berlioz, and Villa-Lobos (March 16); an exciting pairing of pianist and composer Timo Andres with singer and composer Gabriel Kahane, performing their own new music, Britten and Bach (April 7); Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax playing the Beethoven cello sonatas (Apr. 15); pianist Jeremy Denk in recital (Apr. 17); the Ariel Quartet with a concert of Haydn, Webern, Bartók and Brahms (May 3); and the return of Yuja Wang on May 14.

In addition the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and MET Orchestras, there will be concerts from orchestras familiar for years with Carnegie Hall. Long-time visitors will be returning: there will be four concerts from the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin (October 13, January 14 and 16, and May 11); Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony in three straight concerts, October 20–22, that will include a New York premiere from Sebastian Currier; the American Composers Orchestra will premiere new works October 23 and April 1, 2016; The Orchestre National de France appears with Music Director Daniele Gatti and violinist Julian Rachin on January 28, they will play Debussy, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich’s Violin Concert No. 1.

Mitsuko Uchida will lead the Cleveland Orchestra in an all-Mozart concert, including Piano Concertos 17 and 25, February 14; the Russian National Orchestra will be in town March 2, 2016, followed by the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, with conductor Kent Nagano and pianist Maria João Pires, who will play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 (March 15); Harry Bicket will lead the English Concert in what will certainly be a highly anticipated concert performance of Handel’s Orlando on March 13; and the Vienna Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony make their annual appearances, February 26–28 and April 13–14, respectively. Valery Gergiev will conduct the VPO in Debussy, Mussorgsky, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, and a new work from Olga Neuwirth; while Michael Tilson Thomas will pair Copland with Schumann’s Symphony No. 2, then lead Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 and Das Lied von der Erde, with mezzo Sasha Cooke and tenor Simon O’Neill.

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