Tomorrow, before dawn, I’ll be leaving Gui Yang and China headed homeward. During the past two weeks my life has been enriched and my hopes for a future filled with human harmony and kindness have been bolstered. I realized that music provides the surest, most immediate and truest path toward oneness and common purpose. And, that the great composers—Mahler, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and others—with their masterworks, having originated in the heavens, have delivered us keys to places of the heart not otherwise reached.
So, I say 再见—Zai Jian, China—with great thankfulness for this wonderful experience, and with deepest gratitude to all the musicians of the Beijing Symphony and Gui Yang Symphony who have been so accepting and open to me and my musical ideas, feelings and interpretations.
You have extended me generous kindness, have renewed my hopes, and have given me a most rewarding musical experience. Xie Xie! Thank you!
—Pacific Symphony Music Director Carl St. Clair on tour in China
Hailed by critics as an “exciting prodigy” and “breathtaking,” 18-year-old Conrad Tao wowed Pacific Symphony audiences when he shone as a last-minute replacement. His performance of Grieg’s masterpiece is sure to elicit the same exuberant reaction! Also: the bold instrumental colors of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony and the delicate mythology of Sibelius’ “Swan of Tuonela.”
When it comes to malicious fun, it’s hard to beat celebrating the stupidity of critics. The world of classical music is filled with poorly judged writing about masterpieces that have earned a cherished place in our hearts and in the standard repertory, but were viciously panned by critics when they were introduced. Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto is a favorite case in point.
Holy moly, and we think music reviewers are tough today! Check out this review of the premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto: by Eduard Hanslick, dean of the Viennese music critics:
The Russian composer Tchaikovsky is surely not an ordinary talent, but rather an inflated one, with a genius-obsession without discrimination or taste. Such is also his latest, long and pretentious Violin Concerto…[by] the end of the first movement, the violin is no longer played; it is beaten black and blue. The Adagio [the canzonetta second movement] is again on its best behavior, to pacify and to win us. But it soon breaks off to make way for a finale that transfers us to a brutal and wretched jollity of a Russian holiday. We see plainly the savage vulgar faces, we hear curses, we smell vodka…Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto gives us for the first time the hideous notion that there can be music that stinks to the ear.
Passion, premieres and the pursuit of perfection entwine as Pacific Symphony welcomes remarkable Israeli virtuoso Vadim Gluzman for Tchaikovsky’s heartrending Violin Concerto. Gluzman, “one of the world’s top violinists” according to The Morning Call, delivers the rich beauty, graceful lyricism and show-stopping cadenzas of the concerto on the 1680 “ex-Leopold Auer” Stradivarius, the same violin that inspired its creation.
Pacific Symphony’s Music Director Carl St.Clair discusses our late February program. Tchaikovsky’s dazzling violin concerto is a test of skill for any violinist, but Vadim Gluzman, who performed Brahms last season in Orange County, is up to the task. In only eight minutes, Barber’s Adagio for Strings will take listeners from the depths of sadness to the heights of joy. And we’ll hear two exciting premieres from Michael Daugherty, including a musical fantasy on the radio broadcasts of Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony in NBC Studio 8-H in New York City’s Rockefeller Center (1937-54).
CARL ST.CLAIR - conductor Vadim Gluzman - violin Paul Jacobs - organ
Daughery: The Gospel According to Sister Aimee (2012) for Organ, Brass and Percussion (World premiere) Barber: Adagio for Strings Daugherty: Radio City (2011) Symphonic Fantasy on Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra in America (American premiere) Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
Music Director Carl St.Clair and Pacific Symphony announce 2012-13 Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Season and special events
Highlights include some of classical music’s top talent: pianists André Watts, Lang Lang and Conrad Tao; cellist Alisa Weilerstein, violinists James Ehnes and Tianwa Yang; organist Paul Jacobs; and guest conductors Alexander Shelley, Garry Walker, Aziz Shokhakivov and Mei-Ann Chen
Gems of the repertoire: Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto, Beethoven’s Fifth and Violin Concerto, Mahler’s Fifth, Mozart’s “Requiem,” Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade,” Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” Tchaikovsky’s Fourth, Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” and more
Opera and vocal initiative, “Symphonic Voices,” enters second year with Puccini’s electrifying “Tosca,” plus emphasis on other vocal activities
Symphony’s acclaimed 13th American Composers Festival shines the spotlight on American jazz with legendary Duke Ellington Orchestra
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded “Music Unwound” series continues with three new innovative programs offering in-depth exploration, unique formats, multimedia and other enhancements
Get all the scintillating details in our press room. View a calendar of events on our website.
Croatian pianist Dejan Lazic returns to the Pacific Symphony (after performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in May 2010) to play Chopin’s instantly recognizable and achingly beautiful Piano Concerto No. 2. It’s an ideal showpiece in the hands of virtuoso Lazic, who has gained a reputation for fresh interpretations of the piano repertoire and established himself as one of the most sought-after and unusual soloists of his generation. An international sensation, born into a musical family in Zagreb, Croatia, Lazic grew up in Salzburg, Austria, where he studied at the Mozarteum, and now lives in Amsterdam.