CONCERTS
SHAHAM PLAYS BRAHMS
SHAHAM PLAYS BRAHMS
IRIS Orchestra
Michael Stern, conductor
Featuring: Gil Shaham, violin
Buy TicketsDate: Saturday, February 16, 2013
Time: 8:00 PM
Location: GPAC (Directions)

IRIS wind section takes to center stage and IRIS spotlight in Swiss composer Frank Martin’s jauntily inventive Concerto for 7 Winds, Percussion and Strings, a mid-century masterpiece full of jazz-inspired rhythms and ingenious ensemble writing. The glories of the whole orchestra are illuminated in the romantic intensity of the Symphony No. 3 by Sibelius. Gil Shaham, indisputably one of the world’s pre-eminent musicians, combining flawless technique with inimitable warmth and a generosity of spirit, returns for his third appearance with IRIS. His interpretation of the magisterial Violin Concerto by Brahms is sure to be a highlight of the season.

PROGRAM
Martin

Concerto for
7 Wind Instruments, Percussion & StringsAbout this Music

Composed in 1949.
Premiered in 1949 in Bern.

Frank Martin, one of Switzerland's greatest composers, was the tenth child of a Calvinist minister whose ancestors fled from France to Geneva with the Huguenots in the 18th century. Martin (mar-TAN, as in French) began composing when he was only eight and studied piano, composition and harmony privately with Joseph Lauber, but never undertook a formal music curriculum. From 1918 to 1923, he lived in Zurich and Rome, then moved to Paris, where he was strongly influenced by the trends in modern French music. He returned to an active professional life in Geneva in 1926 that included criticism, performance as a pianist and harpsichordist, administering the Association of Swiss Musicians, directing the Dalcroze Institute and composing. His earliest works were indebted to the German tradition, but after his stay in Paris he turned increasingly to experimenting with new styles and techniques, including those of ancient, Indian, Bulgarian and folk music. By 1932, those explorations had led Martin to the serial technique of Arnold Schoenberg, which he handled with an individuality that did not eschew traditional tonal elements. Le Vin Herbé ("The Doctored Wine"), his retelling of the old Tristan legend in the form of a "secular oratorio," won him international prominence despite the difficult conditions at the time of its premiere in Zurich in 1942. After World War II, he settled in Amsterdam, his wife's hometown, and in 1956 moved to the distant suburb of Naarden, remaining active as a composer, conductor and teacher (notably at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne from 1950 to 1957) until his death in 1974. Of the style of Martin's later compositions, the Austrian pianist and composer Jacques de Menasce wrote, "[They] are characterized by broad melodic lines of a chromatic nature, subtle harmonic and rhythmic patterns, and a sustained contrapuntal texture. The common denominator can be described as an organic blend of several methods, which as a composite make for an idiom that is clearly personal."

For a 1962 recording of his Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments, Percussion and Strings, Martin provided the following comments:

"This piece arose from a problem of instrumental technique — producing a conversation of seven solo wind instruments with string orchestra. But when I came to composing, this was only a starting point, as it were the flick that engages the gear of musical invention, providing it with its natural bounds and general form, but in no way influencing the expressive character of the music to be created. If there is inevitably a playful element in this piece, it constantly remains subordinated to the essence of the music.

"The Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments was composed in 1949 for a commission which the Bern Orchestra gave me for an instrumental work. I chose the instrumental lay-out and the form myself. I set out to display the musical qualities of the various soloists in the wind and brass groups as well as their virtuosity, and so I made the music brilliant and technically difficult. But I also tried to make the most of the characters of sonority and expression of the seven instruments, which differ so greatly in their manner of producing sound and in their mechanism.

"The first movement is particularly characteristic in this regard: each musical element is connected with one soloist, and they make up a conversation in which each speaks his own language. Towards the end of this movement, the violins take up a melody, first stated by the trombone, while each of the high instruments, by way of decoration, repeats what it introduced at the beginning of the movement. The second movement rests entirely on an ostinato beat in 2/4, which serves to accompany various musical elements, some elegant and serene, others somber or violent. A lyrical phrase, originally played by the bassoon at the very top of its range, concludes the movement, but now on the trombone in the sweetness of its middle register. The third movement, with some exceptions (the trumpet provides a phrase all its own), generally places the soloists in groups. It is a lively dance in 3/4 which is interrupted by an important timpani solo. The rhythm now changes, and far away a march is heard, which gradually becomes louder until it seizes the whole orchestra. At the height of its development, the melody played by the bassoon and trombone in the second movement bursts in. Then the rhythm changes again, returning imperceptibly to the 3/4 of the start and, after a chase of the flute and clarinet and then of the other high instruments, the piece ends with a new theme of popular character in a brilliant accelerando."

Sibelius Symphony No. 3About this Music

Composed 1904-1907.
Premiered on September 25, 1907 in Helsinki, conducted by the composer.

The successful premiere of the Second Symphony in March 1902 confirmed the distinctive genius of Jean Sibelius to the international musical community. The composer's personal life at the time, however, was not without difficulty. Though he received sizeable royalties from his compositions and an annual stipend from the Finnish government, he was a poor money manager, and mired his family, which then included two young daughters, in continuous debt and some financial distress. Exacerbating his unsettled state of mind was a painful ear infection that did not respond to treatment. Thoughts of the deafness of Beethoven and Smetana plagued him, and he feared that, at the age of 37, he might be losing his hearing. In June 1902, he also began having trouble with his throat, and he jumped to the conclusion that his health was about to give way, even wondering how much time he might have left to work. He persevered, however, and completed his Violin Concerto in 1903. (A benign tumor in his throat was discovered in 1909, and successfully removed. Sibelius enjoyed sterling health for the rest of his days, and lived to the ripe age of 91.) For relaxation during that anxious period in his life, Sibelius frequented the local drinking establishments in Helsinki, and his generous and uncomplaining wife, Aino, often found him unaccounted for after a day or two, when he would resurface with apologies. In addition to the concern such profligacy caused his family, Sibelius also regretted the time stolen from creative work that his excessive drinking caused. By early 1904, he and Aino had determined to face the problem. "It was necessary for me to get away from Helsinki," Sibelius told his biographer Karl Ekman. "My art demanded another environment. In Helsinki, all melody died within me. Besides, I was too sociable to be able to refuse invitations that interfered with my composition. I found it very difficult to say no. I had to get away." He scouted out a lot for a new country house overlooking Lake Tuusula, some twenty miles north of Helsinki, but found the waterfront property too expensive, and settled instead for a nearby forest site at Järvenpää ("Lake's End"; Hallwag's atlas of Europe lists twelve towns by that name in Finland). He engaged a builder, approved plans for a log house, and followed the progress of the project eagerly through the summer of 1904. His new home, named Ainola in honor of his wife, was ready in September, and the move to new surroundings renewed his spirit and fired his creative imagination. Ainola was to be his home until he died more than fifty years later. Almost before the boxes were unpacked, he notified a friend, "Have begun my Third Symphony."

After starting the Third Symphony with enthusiasm in September 1904, Sibelius laid the project aside during the following year to revise the Violin Concerto, to compose the incidental music for a production in Helsinki of Maeterlinck's Pélleas et Mélisande, and to undertake conducting tours to Germany and Britain. He was particularly gratified at his reception in England in November 1905, his first visit to that country, where his host was the composer and conductor Sir Granville Bantock, who had been introducing the local audiences to his music. (Bantock entertained him so liberally that Sibelius said he "never made the acquaintance of English coinage.") While conducting in London, Sibelius met Henry Wood, director of the popular Promenade Concerts, and he agreed to lead the London Philharmonic in the premiere of his still gestating Third Symphony in that city in March 1907. The year 1906 was devoted not to the Symphony, however, but to the tone poem Pohjola's Daughter and the incidental music for Hjalmar Procopé's Belshazzar's Feast, in which event the Symphony was not completed in time for its scheduled introduction in London. Sibelius finally finished the score during the summer of 1907, three years after its conception, and conducted its first performance in Helsinki on September 25th; London did not hear the piece until the following February. The score was dedicated to Bantock upon its publication.

Sibelius' Third Symphony coincided not just with his move to a new home, but also with the beginning of a new manner of composition. The first two symphonies had been heavily indebted in their idiom, scoring and construction to the music of the late Romantic tradition. The C major Symphony signaled a fresh start for Sibelius, a movement into a revitalized musical language that was more concentrated in its expression and form, more logically coherent and inherently profound in its development, and more adventurous and inclusive in its harmonic and tonal structures. "[The Third Symphony] marked a rejection of the late-19th-century style of expansive emotionalism, of epic sweep, of folkloristic color, of the almost Tchaikovskian piling of climax upon climax which had so greatly enhanced the popular appeal of his First and Second Symphonies," wrote American musicologist Edward Downes. "In the Third Symphony ... Sibelius launched his own trend toward a more laconic style of disciplined power." The method that Sibelius demonstrated here, which also served as the stylistic foundation for his four later symphonies, was a sort of mirror-reversal of classical procedure: rather than beginning with a fully stated theme and then breaking it into its component motives during the course of a movement (the characteristic method of Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms and most other 18th- and 19th-century symphonists), Sibelius first presents melodic fragments and then spins them into a whole theme as the music progresses. "The result," according to the eminent English music scholar Sir Donald Tovey, "is that, in works of no inordinate length, Sibelius achieves climaxes on the biggest Wagnerian scale without any redundancies, hesitations or confusions from the habits of older art-forms." Sibelius' dictum that "the essence of the symphonic form lies in its severity and style and the profound logic that creates an inner connection between all the motives" finds its first full realization in the last movement of the Third Symphony.

"The predominating feature of the Symphony," wrote Karl Ekman in his biography of the composer, "is the Apollonian joy in light, clarity, strength and chaste form." The opening Allegro is the most purely classical structure in any of Sibelius' symphonies. Its sonata form begins with a simple but beautifully proportioned main theme given unaccompanied by the low strings and then shared with the rest of the orchestra. A diatonic passage of increasing animation leads to three unison notes from trumpets and trombones to herald the cellos' presentation of the subsidiary theme, a typically Sibelian melody comprising a long-held note followed by a quick flourish. A quiet phrase of slow string scales in contrary motion serves as the gateway to the development section. The recapitulation of the earlier themes is signaled by the loudest dynamic climax of the movement and a drone pedal note in the basses. A hymnal coda closes the movement.

The gently melancholic second movement is a lovely intermezzo with delicately shifting rhythmic accents. There are no strong contrasts to disrupt the easy flow of this music, just short chordal passages for divided cellos and woodwinds to mark the movement's mid-point.

The two-part closing movement fuses the formal functions of scherzo and finale. Its first section, in spirited 6/8 meter, begins the process that the composer called "the crystallization of ideas from chaos." It comprises thematic bits and fragments, sometimes melded, sometimes diffused, which arrange themselves into no obvious formal pattern save the continuous accumulation of energy as the music unfolds. Continuity and thematic integrity are achieved in the movement's second section, the Symphony's finale, which is based on a short-breathed theme intoned by the low strings. The melody acquires a rhythmic ostinato as it proceeds, and grows to a stentorian statement by the full orchestra before reaching its heroic close with a broad proclamation of the notes of the C major triad.

Brahms Violin ConcertoAbout this Music

Composed in 1878.
Premiered on New Year's Day 1879 in Leipzig, conducted by the composer with Joseph Joachim as soloist.

"The healthy and ruddy colors of his skin indicated a love of nature and a habit of being in the open air in all kinds of weather; his thick straight hair of brownish color came nearly down to his shoulders. His clothes and boots were not of exactly the latest pattern, nor did they fit particularly well, but his linen was spotless.... [There was a] kindliness in his eyes ... with now and then a roguish twinkle in them which corresponded to a quality in his nature which would perhaps be best described as good-natured sarcasm." So wrote Sir George Henschel, the singer and conductor who became the first Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, of his friend Johannes Brahms at the time of the composition of his Violin Concerto. Brahms at 45 was coming into the full efflorescence of his talent and fame. The twenty-year gestation of the First Symphony had finally ended in 1876, and the Second Symphony came easily only a year later. He was occupied with many songs and important chamber works during the years of the mid-1870s, and the two greatest of his concertos, the B-flat for piano and the D major for violin, were both conceived in 1878. Both works were ignited by the delicious experience of his first trip to Italy in April of that year, though the Piano Concerto was soon laid aside when the Violin Concerto became his main focus during the following summer. After the Italian trip, he returned to the idyllic Austrian village of Pörtschach (site of the composition of the Second Symphony the previous year), where he composed the Violin Concerto for his old friend and musical ally, Joseph Joachim.

The first movement is constructed on the lines of the Classical concerto form, with an extended orchestral introduction presenting much of the movement's main thematic material before the entry of the soloist. The last theme, a dramatic strain in stern dotted rhythms, ushers in the soloist, who plays an extended passage as transition to the second exposition of the themes. This initial solo entry is unsettled and anxious in mood and serves to heighten the serene majesty of the main theme when it is sung by the violin upon its reappearance. A melody not heard in the orchestral introduction, limpid and almost a waltz, is given out by the soloist to serve as the second theme. The vigorous dotted-rhythm figure returns to close the exposition, with the development continuing the agitated aura of this closing theme. The recapitulation begins on a heroic wave of sound spread throughout the entire orchestra. After the return of the themes, the bridge to the coda is made by the soloist's cadenza. With another traversal of the main theme and a series of dignified cadential figures, this grand movement comes to an end.

The rapturous second movement is based on a theme that the composer Max Bruch said was derived from a Bohemian folk song. The melody, intoned by the oboe, is initially presented in the colorful sonorities of wind choir without strings. After the violin's entry, the soloist is seldom confined to the exact notes of the theme, but rather weaves a rich embroidery around their melodic shape. The central section of the movement is cast in darker hues, and employs the full range of the violin in its sweet arpeggios. The opening melody returns in the plangent tones of the oboe accompanied by the widely spaced chords of the violinist.

The finale is an invigorating dance whose Gypsy character pays tribute to the two Hungarian-born violinists who played such important roles in Brahms' life: Eduard Reményi, who discovered the talented Brahms playing piano in the bars of Hamburg and first presented him to the European musical community; and Joseph Joachim. The movement is cast in rondo form, with a scintillating tune in double stops as the recurring theme. This movement, the only one in this Concerto given to overtly virtuosic display, forms a memorable capstone to one of the greatest concerted pieces of the 19th century.

SPONSORS

ARTISTS
Gil Shaham violinistAbout this Artist

Gil Shaham is one of the foremost violinists of our time, combining flawless technique with inimitable warmth and a generosity of spirit. He is sought after throughout the world for concerto appearances with leading orchestras and conductors, and he regularly gives recital and ensemble appearances on the great concert stages and at the most prestigious festivals.

In the 2011-12 season, Shaham continues his long-term exploration of “Violin Concertos of the 1930s,” which comprises performances at some of the most well-established concert venues with the world’s greatest orchestras. In January 2012, he begins the year performing Barber’s Violin Concerto with the Hong Kong Philharmonic and Virginia Symphony. He tackles Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto in February with the New World Symphony and fills out the rest of the season giving performances of the Hartmann, Berg, and Stravinsky concertos with the orchestras of New York, London and Atlanta, respectively. In October, Shaham brings Brahms’s Violin Concerto to Carnegie Hall with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and later in the season he reprises the concerto with the orchestras of San Francisco, Boston and Delaware. This fall also sees Shaham exploring several of Bach’s sonatas and partitas for solo violin on a US recital tour.

Shaham returns to the studio this season with his sister, pianist Orli Shaham, for a new recording, Hebrew Melodies, due out in January 2012 on his own label (Canary Classics). The repertoire features an exploration of both traditional and modern Jewish music, including the world-premiere recording of Israeli composer Avner Dorman’s new work “Niggunim,” a work praised by the New York Times for its “explosive energy.” This is not the first time Shaham has had the good fortune to enjoy musical collaborations with family members; previously he’s worked with wife Adele Anthony, sister Orli Shaham, and his brother-in-law, conductor David Robertson. On two occasions – first in 2007 and then again in 2009 – the violinist has succeeded in fulfilling his dream of bringing together family, friends, and colleagues for chamber music; both tours of Brahms programs culminated in a series of three concerts at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall.

Last season, Shaham launched the “Violin Concertos of the 1930s” project with 34 live performances, including appearances with the Chicago Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and Philadelphia Orchestra. In September 2010, he was a special guest artist for the Chamber Music Society’s season-opening concert at Lincoln Center along with his wife and fellow virtuoso Adele Anthony. Shaham appeared on PBS with Yo-Yo Ma, Emmanuel Ax, Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic for Carnegie Hall’s 120th anniversary concert in May 2011, performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto.

Shaham has more than two dozen concerto and solo CDs to his name, including bestsellers that have appeared on record charts in the US and abroad. These recordings have earned prestigious awards, including multiple Grammys, a Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d’Or, and Gramophone Editor’s Choice. His recent recordings are produced on the Canary Classics label, which he founded in 2004. They comprise Haydn Violin Concertos and Mendelssohn’s Octet with Sejong Soloists; Sarasate: Virtuoso Violin Works with Adele Anthony, Akira Eguchi and Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León; Elgar’s Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and David Zinman; The Butterfly Lovers and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the Singapore Symphony; Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A with Yefim Bronfman and cellist Truls Mork; The Prokofiev Album and Mozart in Paris, both with Orli Shaham; and The Fauré Album with Akira Eguchi and cellist Brinton Smith.

Gil Shaham was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in 1971. He moved with his parents to Israel, where he began violin studies with Samuel Bernstein of the Rubin Academy of Music at the age of seven, receiving annual scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. In 1981, while studying with Haim Taub in Jerusalem, he made debuts with the Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Philharmonic. That same year he began his studies with Dorothy DeLay and Jens Ellerman at Aspen. In 1982, after taking first prize in Israel’s Claremont Competition, he became a scholarship student at Juilliard, where he worked with DeLay and Hyo Kang. He also studied at Columbia University.

Shaham was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990, and in 2008 he received the coveted Avery Fisher Award. He plays the 1699 “Countess Polignac” Stradivarius. Shaham lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, and their two children.

Michael Stern conductorAbout this Artist

Michael Stern BioMichael Stern founded IRIS Orchestra in 2000, and holds the title of founding Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. Under Stern's direction, IRIS has been unanimously heralded for the brilliance of its playing, its varied programming with special emphasis on American contemporary music, and for its acclaimed recordings on the Naxos and Arabesque labels. IRIS has embraced as a central part of its mission a deep commitment to furthering American composers and has commissioned works by Stephen Hartke, Richard Danielpour, Edgar Meyer, Adam Schoenberg, Jonathan Leshnoff, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, among others.

The 2009-10 season also marks Stern's fifth as Music Director of the Kansas City Symphony. Their performances in the inaugural year were greeted universally with public and critical acclaim, and since then the orchestra has been hailed for its remarkable artistic and institutional growth and development. The Symphony and Stern have already made three recordings together; their latest disc, titled "Britten's Orchestra" was released in November of 2009 under the Reference Recordings label, and has glowing rave reviews.

In 2000 Stern concluded his tenure as chief conductor of Germany's Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra. The first American chief conductor in the orchestra's history, he was offered the post almost immediately after making his debut with them in March 1996. In addition to their work in concert, for broadcast and tour Stern and the orchestra made several recordings of American repertoire, notably a disc of Henry Cowell's works, as well as a series devoted to the music of Charles Ives, including a live recorded performance of the "Universe" Symphony and their first recording of the "Emerson" piano concerto.

In September 1991, he was appointed permanent guest conductor of the Orchestre National de Lyon in France, a position which he held for four years. He has also appeared with the national orchestras of Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse. Last year, he bena a three year stint as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Lille. Elsewhere, Stern has led such orchestras as the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Bergen Symphony, the Beethovenhalle Orchestra in Bonn, the Deutsche Symphoniker (DSO) in Berlin, the Budapest Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, the Moscow Philharmonic, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich, and the Chamber Orchestra of Lausanne. He has also been a frequent guest conductor of the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich and has recorded both with that orchestra and with the London Philharmonic for Denton Records. In the United Kingdom, he has conducted the London Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony (London), and the English Chamber Orchestra. Stern has appeared in the Far East with such orchestras as the National Symphony of Taiwan, the Singapore Symphony and Tokyo's NHK Symphony, and he has toured China with the Vienna Radio Symphony.

In North America, Michael Stern has conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Pittsburg Symphony, New York Philharmonic, the Saint Louis Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony, and the National Symphony in Washington, D.C., among many others. He also appears regularly at the Aspen Music Festival and has taught at American Academy of Conducting at Aspen. From 1986 to 1991, Stern was the assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra. In September 1986, he made his New York Philharmonic debut as one of three young conductors invited by Leonard Bernstein to participate in a conducting workshop that culminated in two concerts at Avery Fisher Hall.

Stern received his degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where his major teacher was the noted conductor and scholar Max Rudolf (whose famous textbook, "The Grammar of Conducting," Stern co-edited for its third edition). He also edited a new volume of Rudolf 's collected writings and correspondence, published by Pendragon Press. His studies have included two summers at the Pierre Monteux Memorial School in Hancock, Main, under the tutelage of Charles Bruck. Born in 1959, Michael Stern is a graduate of Harvard University, where he earned a degree in American History in 1981. He makes his home in Kansas City and in New York with his wife, Shelly Cryer, and their two daughters Hannon and Nora.

VIDEO
BEETHOVEN REVELATIONS
BEETHOVEN REVELATIONS
IRIS Orchestra
Michael Stern, conductor
Featuring: Jeffrey Kahane, piano
Buy TicketsDate: Saturday, May 04, 2013
Time: 8:00 PM
Location: GPAC (Directions)

IRIS closes the season with a three-part exploration of Beethoven’s genius. Jeffrey Kahane, a brilliant piano virtuoso, makes his IRIS debut, bringing his masterful insight to Beethoven’s sublime Piano Concerto No. 4. The concert opens with a rare treat: Kahane shares IRIS spotlight with four IRIS musicians in Beethoven’s Quintet for piano and winds, an early work inspired by Mozart – allowing their individual talents to shine in a chamber music setting. Beethoven’s bold, playful and surprising Symphony No. 1 rounds out this magical season wrap-up.

PROGRAM
Beethoven Quintet for piano and windsAbout this Music

Composed in 1797.

In November 1792, the 22-year-old Ludwig van Beethoven, bursting with talent and promise, arrived in Vienna. So undeniable was the genius he had already demonstrated in a sizeable amount of piano music, numerous chamber works, cantatas on the death of Emperor Joseph II and the accession of Leopold II, and the score for a ballet that Maximilian Franz, the Elector of Bonn, his hometown, underwrote the trip to the Habsburg Imperial city, then the musical capital of Europe, to help further the young musician's career (and the Elector's prestige). Despite the Elector's patronage, however, Beethoven's professional ambitions quickly consumed any thoughts of returning to the provincial city of his birth, and, when his alcoholic father died in December, he severed for good his ties with Bonn in favor of the stimulating artistic atmosphere of Vienna.

During his first years in Vienna, Beethoven was busy on several fronts. Initial encouragement for the Viennese junket came from the venerable Joseph Haydn, who had heard one of Beethoven's cantatas on a visit to Bonn earlier in the year and promised to take the young composer as a student if he came to see him. Beethoven, therefore, became a counterpoint pupil of Haydn immediately after his arrival late in 1792, but the two had difficulty getting along — Haydn was too busy, Beethoven was too bullish — and their association soon broke off. Several other teachers followed in short order — Schenk, Albrechtsberger, Förster, Salieri. While Beethoven practiced fugal exercises and setting Italian texts for his tutors, he continued to compose, producing works for solo piano, chamber ensembles and wind groups. It was as a pianist, however, that he gained his first fame among the Viennese. The untamed, passionate, unconventional quality of his playing and his personality first intrigued and then captivated those who heard him. When he bested in competition Daniel Steibelt and Joseph Wölffl, two of the town's noted keyboard luminaries, he became all the rage among the gentry, who exhibited him in performance at the soirées in their elegant city palaces. In catering to the aristocratic audience, Beethoven took on the air of a dandy for a while, dressing in smart clothes, learning to dance (badly), buying a horse, and even sporting a powdered wig. This phase of his life did not outlast the 1790s, but in his biography of the composer, Peter Latham described Beethoven at the time as "a young giant exulting in his strength and his success, and youthful confidence gave him a buoyancy that was both attractive and infectious."

Among the works with which Beethoven sought to establish his reputation as a composer during his early years in Vienna was a series of pieces for wind instruments — the Trio for Two Oboes and English Horn (Op. 87), Trio for Piano, Clarinet and Cello (Op. 11), Sonata for Horn and Piano (Op. 17), Septet (Op. 20, by far his most popular composition during his lifetime) and Quintet for Piano and Winds (Op. 16) — which enabled him to demonstrate his skill in the traditional modes of chamber music without broaching the genre of the string quartet, then still indisputably dominated by Joseph Haydn. The Op. 16 Quintet drew its inspiration and model from Mozart's exquisite Quintet for Piano and Winds of 1784 (K. 452), which Beethoven heard performed in Prague in spring 1796 during a concert tour that also took him to Dresden and Berlin. He apparently began the Quintet in Berlin and completed the score later that year in Vienna. The piece was first given at a concert organized by the violinist Ignaz Schuppanzigh on April 6, 1797 at the palace of Prince Joseph Johann von Schwarzenberg, which was also to be the site of the premiere of Haydn's The Creation the following year and The Seasons in 1801. In appreciation, Beethoven dedicated the score to Schwarzenberg when it was published by the Viennese firm of Mollo in March 1801. (Beethoven also arranged the Quintet for piano and three strings at that time, and published it with the identical opus number.) Ferdinand Ries, the composer's amanuensis during those years, related an incident from the Quintet's premiere that illustrates both Beethoven's skill as a pianist and his strong self-will. Beethoven, it seems, took advantage of a fermata in the last movement to launch into a vast but unannounced cadenza. "It was comical to see the other players waiting expectantly," Ries reported, "ready every moment to go on, continually lifting their instruments to their lips, and then quietly putting them down again. At last, Beethoven was satisfied and dropped back into the Rondo. The entire audience was delighted."

Though Beethoven's Quintet for Piano and Winds is modeled on the Classical example of Mozart's eponymous work in its form, style, instrumentation and key, it is very much a product of its time and its creator. The eminent English musicologist Sir Donald Tovey wrote, "The majority of Beethoven's early works show a nervous abruptness which is as different from the humor of Haydn as it is from the Olympic suavity of Mozart.... In the Quintet, Beethoven is, indeed, obviously setting himself in rivalry with Mozart's Quintet for the same combination; but if you want to realize the difference between the highest art of Classical composition and the easygoing, safety-first product of a silver age, you cannot find a better illustration than these two works." The American pianist-scholar Charles Rosen offered a further insight on Tovey's thesis: "[The Quintet and the Septet] are classicizing rather than Classical. They are reproductions of Classical forms ... based upon the exterior models, the results of the Classical impulse, and not upon the impulse itself." The Quintet, in other words, stands at the threshold of Beethoven's titanic accomplishment of wrenching music from the tidy and precisely circumscribed arena in which it existed during the late 18th century into the unbounded, cathartic realm of the Romantic age. Within a half-dozen years, Beethoven's youthful buoyancy would crack under the loss of his hearing and the unprecedented deepening of his art.

The Quintet opens with a slow introduction whose stately tread and pompous rhythms recall the old Baroque form of the French overture. With its sweeping figurations and full scoring, the piano announces its intention to be primus inter pares in the music to follow, and, indeed, appropriates for itself the principal theme of the main body of the movement, a sleek, triple-meter melody made from a quick upward leap and a gently descending phrase. The winds are allowed to dabble in this melodic material before more bold piano scales and arpeggios lead to the subsidiary subject, a lovely, flowing strain in even note values. The development section busies itself with some piano figurations before settling down to a discussion of the main theme. A long scale in the piano reaches its apex at the recapitulation, which returns the earlier thematic materials to lend this handsome movement balance and formal closure. The Andante is a richly decorated slow rondo (A–B–A–C–A) which touches upon some poignant proto-Romantic sentiments as it unfolds. The finale is a dashing rondo based on a galloping theme of opera buffa jocularity.

Beethoven Symphony No. 1About this Music

Composed in 1799-1800.
Premiered on April 2, 1800 in Vienna, conducted by the composer.

The year of the First Symphony — 1800 — was a crucial time in Beethoven's development. By then, he had achieved a success good enough to write to his old friend Franz Wegeler in Bonn, "My compositions bring me in a good deal, and may I say that I am offered more commissions than it is possible for me to carry out. Moreover, for every composition I can count on six or seven publishers and even more, if I want them. People no longer come to an arrangement with me. I state my price, and they pay." Behind him were many works, including the Op. 18 Quartets, the first two piano concertos and the Pathétique Sonata, that bear his personal imprint. At the time of this gratifying recognition of his talents, however, the first signs of his fateful deafness appeared, and he began the titanic struggle that became one of the gravitational poles of his life. Within two years, driven from the social contact on which he had flourished by the fear of discovery of his malady, he penned the Heiligenstadt Testament, his cri de coeur against this wicked trick of the gods. The C major Symphony stands on the brink of this great crisis in Beethoven's life.

Beethoven's music of the 1790s showed an increasingly powerful expression that mirrored the maturing of his genius. The First Symphony, though, is a conservative, even a cautious work. In it, he was more interested in exploring the architectural than the emotional components of the form, and relied on the musical language established by Haydn and Mozart in composing it. In its reliance on a thoroughly logical, carefully conceived structure, this work also set the formal precedent for his later music: though Beethoven dealt with vivid emotional states, the technique of his music was never founded upon any other than the most solid intellectual base. Romain Rolland made this point in his insightful if flowery essay titled Beethoven in his Thirtieth Year: "The Ego of Beethoven is not that of the Romantics.... Everything that was characteristic of them would have been repugnant to him — their sentimentality, their lack of logic, their disordered imagination." Thus Beethoven, "at thirty, already the conqueror of the future," in Rolland's phrase, first flexed his symphonic muscles in a work reliant on the style and spirit of the past, not simply to "show he could do it," but rather to explore and set into his imagination the possibilities of the form that he was to electrify as had no other.

The First Symphony begins with a most unusual slow introduction. The opening chord is a dissonance, a harmony that seems to lead away from the main tonality, which is normally established immediately at the beginning of a Classical work. Though not unprecedented (the well-known and influential C.P.E. Bach consistently took even more daring harmonic flights), it does reinforce the sense of striving, of constantly moving toward resolution that underlies all Beethoven's works. The sonata form proper begins with the quickening of the tempo and the presentation of the main theme by the strings. More instruments enter, tension accumulates, and the music arrives at the second theme following a brief silence — a technique he derived from Mozart to emphasize this important formal junction. The woodwinds hold forth here, and the remainder of the exposition is given over to two large paragraphs of rising intensity, each punctuated with a firm cadence. The compact development section deals exclusively with the main theme. The recapitulation follows the events of the exposition, but presents them in an intensified setting. The coda again recalls the main theme, and introduces one of the composer's characteristic traits — the extended repetition of the cadential chords to release the accumulated harmonic tensions of the movement.

The slow second movement, another sonata form, has a canonic main theme and a delicately airy secondary melody. The development employs the melodic leaps of the subordinate theme; the recapitulation is enriched by the addition of contrapuntal accompanying lines. The third movement is the most innovative in the Symphony. Though marked "Menuetto," its tempo indication, "very fast and lively," precludes the staid gait of the traditional courtly dance. This is rather one of those whirlwind packets of rhythmic energy that, beginning with the Second Symphony, Beethoven labeled "scherzo." Its tripartite form (minuet–trio–minuet) follows the Classical model, with strings dominant in the outer sections, and winds in the central portion.

The finale begins with a short introductory sentence comprising halting scale fragments that preview the vivacious main theme of the movement, "let out as a cat from a bag," assessed Prof. Donald Tovey. Yet another excursion in sonata form, this bustling movement is indebted to the sparkling style of Haydn, and even gives off much of the brilliant wit associated with that composer. All is brought to an end with ribbons of scales rising through the orchestra, and the emphatic concluding measures.

Beethoven Concerto No. 4About this Music

Composed in 1804-1806.
Premiered on March 5, 1807 in Vienna, with the composer as soloist.

The Napoleonic juggernaut twice overran the city of Vienna. The first occupation began on November 13, 1805, less than a month after the Austrian armies had been soundly trounced by the French legions at the Battle of Ulm on October 20th. Though the entry into Vienna was peaceful, the Viennese had to pay dearly for the earlier defeat in punishing taxes, restricted freedoms and inadequate food supplies. On December 28th, following Napoleon's fearsome victory at Austerlitz that forced the Austrian government into capitulation, the Little General left Vienna. He returned in May 1809, this time with cannon and cavalry sufficient to subdue the city by force, creating conditions that were worse than those during the previous occupation. As part of his booty and in an attempt to ally the royal houses of France and Austria, Napoleon married Marie Louise, the eighteen-year-old daughter of Austrian Emperor Franz. She became the successor to his first wife, Josephine, whom he divorced because she was unable to bear a child. It was to be five years — 1814 — before the Corsican was finally defeated and Emperor Franz returned to Vienna, riding triumphantly through the streets of the city on a huge, white Lipizzaner.

Such soul-troubling times would seem to be antithetical to the production of great art, yet for Beethoven, that ferocious libertarian, those years were the most productive of his life. Hardly had he begun one work before another appeared on his desk, and his friends recalled that he labored on several scores simultaneously during this period. Sketches for many of the works appear intertwined in his notebooks, and an exact chronology for most of the works from 1805 to 1810 is impossible. So close were the dates of completion of the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, for example, that their numbers were reversed when they were given their premieres on the same giant concert as the Fourth Concerto. Between Fidelio, which was in its last week of rehearsal when Napoleon entered Vienna in 1805, and the music for Egmont, finished shortly after the second invasion, Beethoven composed the following major works: "Appassionata" Sonata, Op. 57; Violin Concerto; Fourth and Fifth Piano Concertos; the three Quartets of Op. 59; Leonore Overture No. 3; Coriolan Overture; Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Symphonies; two Piano Trios (Op. 70); "Les Adieux" Sonata, Op. 81a; and many smaller songs, chamber works and piano compositions. It is a stunning record of accomplishment virtually unmatched in the history of music.

Of the nature of the Fourth Concerto, American musicologist Milton Cross wrote, "[Here] the piano concerto once and for all shakes itself loose from the 18th century. Virtuosity no longer concerns Beethoven at all; his artistic aim here, as in his symphonies and quartets, is the expression of deeply poetic and introspective thoughts." The mood is established immediately at the outset of the work by a hushed, prefatory phrase for the soloist. The form of the movement, vast yet intimate, begins to unfold with the ensuing orchestral introduction, which presents the rich thematic material: the pregnant main theme, with its small intervals and repeated notes; the secondary themes — a melancholy strain with an arch shape and a grand melody with wide leaps; and a closing theme of descending scales. The soloist re-enters to enrich the themes with elaborate figurations. The central development section is haunted by the rhythmic figuration of the main theme (three short notes and an accented note). The recapitulation returns the themes, and allows an opportunity for a cadenza (Beethoven composed two for this movement) before a glistening coda closes the movement.

The second movement, "one of the most original and imaginative things that ever fell from the pen of Beethoven or any other musician," according to Sir George Grove, starkly opposes two musical forces — the stern, unison summons of the strings and the gentle, touching replies of the piano. Franz Liszt compared this music to Orpheus taming the Furies, and the simile is warranted, since both Liszt and Beethoven traced their visions to the magnificent scene in Gluck's Orfeo where Orpheus' music charms the very fiends of Hell. In the Concerto, the strings are eventually subdued by the entreaties of the piano, which then gives forth a wistful little song filled with quivering trills. After only the briefest pause, a high-spirited and long-limbed rondo-finale is launched by the strings to bring this Concerto, one of Beethoven's greatest compositions, to a stirring close.

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ARTISTS
Jeffrey Kahane pianoAbout this Artist

Equally at home at the keyboard or on the podium, Jeffrey Kahane has established an international reputation as a truly versatile artist, recognized by audiences around the world for his mastery of a diverse repertoire ranging from Bach, Mozart and Beethoven to Gershwin, Golijov and John Adams.

Since making his Carnegie Hall debut in 1983, Mr. Kahane has given recitals in many of the nation's major music centers including New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Atlanta. He appears as soloist with major orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic and the Leipzig Gewandhaus, and is also a popular figure at all of the major US summer festivals. Kahane is equally well-known for his collaborations with artists and chamber ensembles such as Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, Joshua Bell, Thomas Quasthoff and the Emerson and Takacs Quartets.

Jeffrey Kahane made his conducting debut at the Oregon Bach Festival in 1988. Since then he has guest conducted orchestras such as the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Philadelphia Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin's in the Fields, and the Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Dallas and New World symphonies among others. Currently in his 15th season as Music Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Mr. Kahane concluded his tenure as Music Director of the Colorado Symphony in June 2010 and was Music Director of the Santa Rosa Symphony for ten seasons. He has received much recognition for his innovative programming and commitment to education and community involvement with all three orchestras and received 2007 ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming for his work in both Los Angeles and Denver.

In addition to his programs and projects with LACO, recent and upcoming engagements include appearances at the Aspen, Mostly Mozart, Ravinia, Blossom and Oregon Bach festivals; concerto performances with the Toronto and Houston; guest conducting the San Francisco, National and Indianapolis symphonies; a US recital tour with violinist Daniel Hope; and an appearance with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Mr. Kahane's recent European engagements include play/conduct programs with the Camerata Salzburg and Hamburg Symphony.

Highlights of his 11/12 season include play/conduct programs with the New York Philharmonic and with the Vancouver, Seattle and New Jersey symphonies; his debut conducting the Julliard Orchestra at Lincoln Center; play/conducting a Beyond the Score program with the Philadelphia Orchestra; and a solo/chamber music program at Disney Hall presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in honor of his 15th anniversary as Music Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Jeffrey Kahane's recordings include works of Gershwin and Bernstein with Yo-Yo Ma for SONY, Paul Schoenfield's "Four Parables" with the New World Symphony conducted by John Nelson for Decca/Argo, the Strauss "Burleske" on Telarc with the Cincinnati Symphony under Jesus Lopez-Cobos, and the complete Brandenburg Concerti (on harpsichord) with the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra under Helmuth Rilling on the Haenssler label. He has also recorded the complete works for violin and piano by Schubert with Joseph Swensen for RCA, Bach's Sinfonias and Partita #4 in D Major for Nonesuch and Bernstein's "Age of Anxiety" for Virgin Records, which was nominated by Gramophone magazine for their "Record of the Year" award.

A native of Los Angeles and a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Mr. Kahane's early piano studies were with Howard Weisel and Jakob Gimpel. First Prize winner at the 1983 Rubinstein Competition and a finalist at the 1981 Van Cliburn Competition, he was also the recipient of a 1983 Avery Fisher Career Grant and the first Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award in 1987. An avid linguist who reads widely in a number of ancient and modern languages, Mr. Kahane received a Master's Degree in Classics from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2011.

Jeffrey Kahane resides in Santa Rosa with his wife, Martha, a clinical psychologist in private practice. They have two children - Gabriel, a composer, pianist and singer/songwriter and Annie, a dancer and poet.

Michael Stern conductorAbout this Artist

Michael Stern BioMichael Stern founded IRIS Orchestra in 2000, and holds the title of founding Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. Under Stern's direction, IRIS has been unanimously heralded for the brilliance of its playing, its varied programming with special emphasis on American contemporary music, and for its acclaimed recordings on the Naxos and Arabesque labels. IRIS has embraced as a central part of its mission a deep commitment to furthering American composers and has commissioned works by Stephen Hartke, Richard Danielpour, Edgar Meyer, Adam Schoenberg, Jonathan Leshnoff, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, among others.

The 2009-10 season also marks Stern's fifth as Music Director of the Kansas City Symphony. Their performances in the inaugural year were greeted universally with public and critical acclaim, and since then the orchestra has been hailed for its remarkable artistic and institutional growth and development. The Symphony and Stern have already made three recordings together; their latest disc, titled "Britten's Orchestra" was released in November of 2009 under the Reference Recordings label, and has glowing rave reviews.

In 2000 Stern concluded his tenure as chief conductor of Germany's Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra. The first American chief conductor in the orchestra's history, he was offered the post almost immediately after making his debut with them in March 1996. In addition to their work in concert, for broadcast and tour Stern and the orchestra made several recordings of American repertoire, notably a disc of Henry Cowell's works, as well as a series devoted to the music of Charles Ives, including a live recorded performance of the "Universe" Symphony and their first recording of the "Emerson" piano concerto.

In September 1991, he was appointed permanent guest conductor of the Orchestre National de Lyon in France, a position which he held for four years. He has also appeared with the national orchestras of Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse. Last year, he bena a three year stint as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Lille. Elsewhere, Stern has led such orchestras as the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Bergen Symphony, the Beethovenhalle Orchestra in Bonn, the Deutsche Symphoniker (DSO) in Berlin, the Budapest Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, the Moscow Philharmonic, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich, and the Chamber Orchestra of Lausanne. He has also been a frequent guest conductor of the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich and has recorded both with that orchestra and with the London Philharmonic for Denton Records. In the United Kingdom, he has conducted the London Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony (London), and the English Chamber Orchestra. Stern has appeared in the Far East with such orchestras as the National Symphony of Taiwan, the Singapore Symphony and Tokyo's NHK Symphony, and he has toured China with the Vienna Radio Symphony.

In North America, Michael Stern has conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Pittsburg Symphony, New York Philharmonic, the Saint Louis Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony, and the National Symphony in Washington, D.C., among many others. He also appears regularly at the Aspen Music Festival and has taught at American Academy of Conducting at Aspen. From 1986 to 1991, Stern was the assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra. In September 1986, he made his New York Philharmonic debut as one of three young conductors invited by Leonard Bernstein to participate in a conducting workshop that culminated in two concerts at Avery Fisher Hall.

Stern received his degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where his major teacher was the noted conductor and scholar Max Rudolf (whose famous textbook, "The Grammar of Conducting," Stern co-edited for its third edition). He also edited a new volume of Rudolf 's collected writings and correspondence, published by Pendragon Press. His studies have included two summers at the Pierre Monteux Memorial School in Hancock, Main, under the tutelage of Charles Bruck. Born in 1959, Michael Stern is a graduate of Harvard University, where he earned a degree in American History in 1981. He makes his home in Kansas City and in New York with his wife, Shelly Cryer, and their two daughters Hannon and Nora.

VIDEO
BACK WITH BACH
BACK WITH BACH
IRIS Orchestra
Michael Stern, conductor
Featuring: Jenny Koh & Jamie Laredo, violins
Buy TicketsDate: Saturday, November 03, 2012
Time: 8:00 PM
Location: GPAC (Directions)

Many great musicians have shared the stage with IRIS at GPAC, but none more revered than the legendary Jaime Laredo. Returning with him is his former student Jennifer Koh, now an acclaimed artist in her own right, widely sought after on the world's stages. Laredo and Koh will perform not only Bach's beloved Double Violin Concerto, but also the World Premier of a vibrant new work written expressly for them by the dynamic American composer Anna Clyne, composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony. This concert's IRIS spotlight picks out the entire string section in Mendelssohn's precociously brilliant Octet for Strings, a wondrous work written when the composer was only 16 years old, an enduring icon of the chamber music literature, heard in a full orchestral version.

PROGRAM
Elgar Serenade in e minorAbout this Music

Composed in 1892.
Premiered on April 7, 1893 in Hereford.

Though the name of Elgar brings to mind the splendid large compositions for which he is most widely known — the two Symphonies, the Concertos for Violin and for Cello, the "Enigma" Variations — he was equally recognized by the audiences of his day for his many small orchestral miniatures. More than once accused of writing beneath his abilities in such works as the perennially popular Pomp and Circumstance Marches, he responded, "I look on the composer's vocation as the old troubadours and bards did.... I know that there are a lot of people who like to celebrate events with music; To these people I have given tunes. Is that wrong? Why should I write a fugue or something that won't appeal to anyone, when the people yearn for things which can stir them?" He composed many short occasional pieces throughout his life. His first professional position after leaving college was as director of music at the Powick Lunatic Asylum, where he not only conducted the band made up of inmates and attendants, but also composed sheaves of quadrilles for their use at five shillings each. (His superior believed that the quadrille was the only type of music the residents of the establishment could appreciate.) Elgar's last completed piece, Mina, was a tonal portrait of his Cairn terrier.

One of Elgar's most familiar short orchestral works is the Serenade for Strings. In its present form, the piece was completed in May 1892, but it was almost certainly derived from the now-lost Three Pieces for String Orchestra that Elgar composed in 1888, just after leaving his position as music director at the Powick Asylum. The manuscript has disappeared, but the program leaflet recording the Pieces' performance by the Worcester Amateur Instrumental Society, conducted by Reverend Edward Vine Hall, shows the tempo markings of the movements to have been very similar to those of the Serenade. In addition, it seems unlikely that the composer would have let vanish completely the Three Pieces, of which he once said, "I like 'em — best thing I ever did." The Serenade was first heard publicly at the Hereford Festival on April 7, 1893, though it had received an earlier reading by the Ladies' Orchestral Class in Worcester that Elgar trained and conducted during those years. (The work was not played professionally until 1896, in Antwerp.) In his biography of Elgar, Percy Young wrote that the Serenade was finished to celebrate the third wedding anniversary of the composer and his wife, Alice, his chief prod, critic and inspiration throughout his life (he virtually stopped composing after she died in 1920), a contention supported by a line in the manuscript of the piano duet transcription of the piece that notes, "Braut [German for 'bride' — his term of affection for Alice] helped a great deal to make these little tunes." Elgar retained a deep fondness for the String Serenade, referring to it often in later life as his favorite among his works. It was the last piece that he recorded, on August 29, 1933, only six months before his death.

Though the movements of the Serenade bear no descriptive titles, those of the earlier Three Pieces could well serve to summarize their characters: "Spring Song," "Elegy" and "Finale." Though nominally in the key of E minor, the first movement is more wistful and nostalgic than grave in mood. The opening theme, swaying, almost playful in nature, is succeeded by a more earnestly lyrical melody in the middle section with some dialogue between solo and ensemble. The initial strain returns to close the movement. The nocturnal Larghetto grows from a long, tender melody supported by a rich accompaniment that becomes more active as the music unfolds. The closing Allegretto, one of those inimitable Elgarian creations effortlessly combining vigor and languor, recalls a theme from the opening movement in its closing pages to round out this touching miniature masterwork.

Bach Double ConcertoAbout this Music

Composed around 1720 or 1730.

Scholars have estimated that as much as one-quarter of the music Bach composed has been lost or destroyed through indifference and neglect. One who must bear a good deal of the blame was Wilhelm Friedemann, Bach's eldest son. At Bach's death, many of his important manuscripts were divided between Friedemann and his younger brother Carl Philipp Emanuel. Emanuel took loving care of his part of the treasure, but Friedemann did not. Friedemann, it seems, was too busy just trying to hold his tottering life together to pay much attention to his father's old-fashioned music. Johann Sebastian had thoroughly trained him in music, and he held some important positions as a young man, but he never was able to live up to the family's expectations. When he apparently lost his presence of mind soon after his father's death, he gave way to dissipation and made a thorough mess of his life. Many of the precious manuscripts he inherited were destroyed or lost or perhaps sold for a flagon of wine. In Friedemann's defense it should be noted that hardly anyone else thought much of Bach's music in the years after 1750. The new musical style of the Classical age had demolished the taste for the complex old Baroque tonal language, and the stories of Bach's manuscripts being used to wrap fish in a Leipzig market are as sad as they are true. The scores for the Brandenburg Concertos were sold at auction for the equivalent of a dime each. At any rate, it is known that Friedemann allowed at least three of his father's violin concertos to slip through his unsteady fingers into oblivion. It was Emanuel who preserved the three that exist today.

It was long thought that Bach composed his three extant violin concertos — two for solo violin and one for two violins — while serving as "Court Kapellmeister and Director of the Princely Chamber Musicians" at Anhalt-Cöthen, north of Leipzig, from 1717 to 1723, a productive period for instrumental music when he wrote the Brandenburg Concertos, orchestral suites, many sonatas and suites for solo instruments and keyboard, suites and sonatas for unaccompanied violin and cello, and such important solo harpsichord pieces as the French Suites and the first book of The Well-Tempered Clavier. In the Bach tercentenary issue of Early Music published in May 1985, however, Harvard professor and Bach authority Christoph Wolff surmised from stylistic evidence and from the fact that the only extant performance materials for the Concerto in A minor (BWV 1041) and the Concerto in D minor for Two Violins (BWV 1043) were copied around 1730 that at least those two works date from the years (1729-1736) that Bach was directing the Leipzig Collegium Musicum, the city's leading concert-giving organization.

The three movements of Bach's Concerto for Two Violins follow the fast–slow–fast pattern of the traditional Italian model. The parts for the solo violins are treated as twin melodies, exchanging motives, intertwining contrapuntally and constantly engaging in scintillating musical conversation with each other and with the orchestra. The first movement, in which the soloists alternate with the ensemble in the traditional Baroque "ritornello" form (named for the "returning" elements of the orchestral refrain) is filled with a darkly expressive vitality. In the second movement, one of the most poignantly beautiful pieces of music ever written, the soloists soar above a simple accompaniment from the orchestra, which, unlike the first and third movements, makes no attempt to converse with them. This gently swaying lullaby, in a key suffused with cool sunlight, is full of surpassing calm and ravishing beauty. The sense of urgency and drama from the first movement returns in the finale, which is propelled by Bach's characteristic rhythmic energy.

Anna Clyne Concerto of Two Violins & StringsAbout this Music

Composed in 2012.
WORLD PREMIERE.

"Anna Clyne," according to the biography provided by her distinguished publisher Boosey & Hawkes, "is a composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music, combining resonant soundscapes with propelling textures that weave, morph and collide in dramatic explosions. Her work often includes collaborations with cutting edge choreographers, visual artists, film-makers and musicians worldwide."

Anna Clyne was born in London in 1980, studied music from early in life (she recalls lessons "on a piano with randomly missing keys"), began composing at age eleven (a fully notated piece for flute and piano), and received her undergraduate training at Edinburgh University and a master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music; her teachers included Julia Wolfe, Marina Adamia and Marjan Mozetich. Clyne's career has been on a meteoric trajectory since she completed her education — performances by leading ensembles and soloists around the world and commissions from the American Composers Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, Opus 21, Janus Trio, Jerome Foundation, New York Voices (a collaboration between the Albany Symphony and the New York State Archives), ASCAP, Seattle Chamber Players and Houston Ballet; a residency with the Los Angeles–based Hysterica Dance Company; selection as a participant in a master class with Pierre Boulez in New York City; director of the New York Youth Symphony's award-winning program for young composers "Making Score" from 2008 to 2010; guest composer at the 2011 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival at the University of Missouri. In 2012, Clyne was appointed as a Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which premiered her Night Ferry in February 2012 and took the work on its subsequent West Coast tour; her appointment at the CSO had been renewed for two years the preceding month. In addition to her compositional work in Chicago, Clyne has been an active in the CSO's Institute for Learning, Access and Training initiatives, participating in the Institute's work with incarcerated young women at the Illinois Youth Center at Warrenville and leading workshops for young local composers. Her rapidly accumulating collection of prestigious honors includes eight consecutive ASCAP Plus Awards, Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Clutterbuck Award from the University of Edinburgh, as well as awards from Meet the Composer, American Music Center, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Jerome Foundation and International Artist Sponsorship; she was a finalist for ASCAP's Morton Gould Composer Award and the U.K. Tovey Composition Competition, and also was nominated for a 2010 British Composer Award.

Anna Clyne wrote of Prince of Clouds, composed at the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood, Florida in summer 2012 on a co-commission from IRIS Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Curtis Institute of Music, "When composing Prince of Clouds, I was contemplating the presence of musical lineage — a family-tree of sorts that passes from generation to generation. This transfer of knowledge and inspiration between generations is a beautiful gift. In Prince of Clouds, composed for Jennifer Koh and her mentor at the Curtis Institute of Music, Jaime Laredo, this thread was in the foreground of my imagination as a dialogue between the soloists and ensemble. As a composer, working with such virtuosic, passionate and unique musicians is yet another link in this musical chain."

Mendelssohn Octet (String Orchestra Version)About this Music

Composed in 1825.
Premiered in October 1825 in Berlin.

In addition to being born with the proverbial silver spoon, Felix Mendelssohn was virtually bestowed a golden baton as a natal gift. His parents' household was among the most cultured and affluent in all of Berlin, but his family saw to it that his privilege was well balanced by discipline and responsibility. Young Felix arose at 5:00 every morning (6:00 on Sunday), and spent several hours in private tutoring with the best available teachers. When his musical talents became evident in his early years, he was first given instruction in piano, and soon thereafter in theory and composition by the distinguished pedagogue Carl Friedrich Zelter. Mendelssohn's earliest dated composition is a cantata completed on January 3, 1820, three weeks before his eleventh birthday, though that work was almost certainly preceded by others whose exact dates are not recorded. To display the boy's blossoming musical abilities, the Mendelssohn mansion was turned into a twice-monthly concert hall featuring the precocious youngster's achievements. A large summer house was fitted as an auditorium seating several hundred people, and every other Sunday morning the city's finest musicians were brought in to perform both repertory works and the latest flowers of Mendelssohn's creativity. These matinees — complemented by an elegant luncheon — began in 1822, when Mendelssohn was thirteen. He selected the programs, led the rehearsals, appeared as piano soloist, played violin in the chamber pieces, and even conducted, though in those early years he was still too short to be seen by the players in the back rows unless he stood on a stool. With sister Fanny participating as pianist, sister Rebecca as singer and brother Paul as cellist, it is little wonder that invitations to these happy gatherings were among the most eagerly sought and highly prized of any in Berlin society. By 1825, Mendelssohn had written over eighty works for these concerts, including operas and operettas, string quartets and other chamber pieces, concertos, motets, and a series of thirteen symphonies for strings.

It was with the Octet for Strings, composed in 1825 at the tender age of sixteen, a full year before the Overture to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, that the stature of Mendelssohn's genius was first fully revealed. He wrote the work as a birthday offering for his violin and viola teacher, Eduard Rietz, and premiered it during one of the household musicales in October of that year; Rietz participated in the performance and young Felix is thought to have played one of the viola parts. (Rietz and his family remained close to Mendelssohn. Eduard's brother, Julius, succeeded Mendelssohn as director of the Leipzig Gewandhaus concerts upon the composer's death in 1847, and edited his complete works for publication in the 1870s.) The Octet was one of Mendelssohn's most famous creations during his lifetime, enjoying innumerable performances throughout Europe and England in both its original chamber version and arranged for string orchestra. Mendelssohn himself retained a special fondness for the piece — he eagerly participated in several performances as violist in Leipzig and elsewhere; he arranged the music for piano duet; he made an orchestral transcription of the Scherzo for a London Philharmonic concert of 1829 (George Grove, founder of the music dictionary which still bears his name, reported that "it rarely escapes an encore"); and he declared in later years that it was "my favorite of all my compositions. I had the most wonderful time writing it." Mendelssohn's Octet, called by Max Bruch "a miracle," is the greatest piece of music ever composed by one so young, including Mozart and Schubert.

The Octet is splendidly launched by a wide-ranging main theme that takes the first violins quickly through their entire range; the lyrical second theme is given in sweet, close harmonies. The development section, largely concerned with the subsidiary subject, is relatively brief, and culminates in a swirling unison passage that serves as the bridge to the recapitulation of the earlier melodic materials. The Andante, like many slow movements in Mozart's instrumental compositions, was created not so much as the fulfillment of some particular formal model, but as the ever-unfolding realization of its own unique melodic materials and world of sonorities. The movement is tinged with the delicious, bittersweet melancholy that represents the expressive extreme of the musical language of Mendelssohn. The composer's sister Fanny noted that the feather-stitched Scherzo was inspired by lines from Goethe's Faust: Floating cloud and trailing mist, O'er us brightening hover: The rushes shake, winds stir the brake: Soon all their pomp is over. Mendelssohn's fey music is the perfect complement to Goethe's gossamer verses. The closing movement, a dazzling moto perpetuo with fugal episodes, recalls Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony (C major, K. 551) in its rhythmic vitality and contrapuntal display, simultaneously whipping together as many as three themes from the finale and a motive from the Scherzo during one climatic episode in the closing pages.

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Jennifer Koh violinistAbout this Artist

Violinist Jennifer Koh is recognized for her intense, commanding performances, delivered with dazzling virtuosity and technical assurance. With an impassioned musical curiosity, she is forging an artistic path, choosing works that both inspire and challenge her. She is dedicated to performing the violin repertoire of all eras from traditional to contemporary, believing that the past and present forms a continuum. She is also committed to exploring connections in the works she performs, searching for similarities of voice among diverse composers and associations within the works of a single composer.

In 2009 Ms. Koh debuted "Bach and Beyond," a series of three recitals that explore the history of the solo violin repertoire from Bach's Six Sonatas and Partitas to modern day composers including newly commissioned works. The first recital in the series, "Bach and Beyond Part I," connects Bach's Partitas Nos. 2 and 3 to works by Ysaÿe, Saariaho, Carter, and Salonen with a video commission by Tal Rosner. The short film, a dynamic interpretation of Salonen's work, Lachen Verlernt, was presented at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival and is included as a visual component on her recording "Rhapsodic Musings: 21st Century Works for Solo Violin," released on the Cedille label in 2009. Since the launch of the series, Ms. Koh has performed "Bach and Beyond Part I" at the 92nd Street Y in New York, the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, Oberlin College, Amherst College, UNC Chapel Hill, UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. This season she will perform the program at the Lammermuir Festival in East Lothian Scotland and in Portland, Maine. "Bach and Beyond Part II" will premiere in the 2013 season and will feature a new work for solo violin by Phil Kline and Bartók's Sonata for solo violin, bookended by Bach's Sonata No. 1 and Partita No. 1.

In October 2011, Ms. Koh will perform Bach's complete Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin in a single concert – a feat long considered the ultimate test of a violinist's command of his/her instrument – presented by Columbia University's Miller Theatre at the Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2009, to commemorate the 325th anniversary of Bach's birth, Ms. Koh performed a series of six concerts devoted to the Sonatas and Partitas, also presented by Miller Theatre. Following her performance of Bach's Partita in D Minor, Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times wrote, "she gave a deeply expressive account of the Chaconne, dispatching the challenges with such security that you did not notice the sheer virtuosity at work. The ovation was so ardent that Ms. Koh, who had been visibly engrossed in her performance, wiped away tears."

This season, Ms. Koh launches a new project called "Two x Four," which celebrates the relationship between teacher and student through music. Named for two violinists and four works, Ms. Koh will be joined by Jamie Laredo, her former teacher at the Curtis Institute of Music, in performances of works for two violins and orchestra including Bach's Double Concerti for Two Violins, Philip Glass's Echorus for two violins and string orchestra, and newly commissioned pieces by composers Anna Clyne and David Ludwig. Partners in the commissions of the new compositions, including the Curtis Chamber Orchestra, Delaware Symphony, IRIS Orchestra and Vermont Symphony Orchestra, will present the "Two x Four" program either in its entirety or in parts in coming seasons. In May 2012, Ms. Koh and Mr. Laredo will perform Bach's Double Concerti and Ludwig's new work with the Delaware Symphony, the lead partner in Ludwig's commission.

In the 2011-12 season, Ms. Koh will play a broad range of concertos that reflect the breadth of her musical interests, including Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Christoph Eschenbach, Brahms's Violin Concerto with the Seattle Symphony led by Ludovic Morlot, Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Chattanooga Symphony led by Kayoko Dan, and Saariaho's Violin Concerto with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra led by Alexander Mickelthwate. Additionally, she will perform Beethoven's Triple Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, appear as soloist in Vivaldi's Four Seasons with the Saint Louis and Toronto symphony orchestras, of which the latter will be featured on NPR's "What Makes it Great" with Rob Kapilow, and join pianist Benjamin Hochman in a performance of Mendelssohn's Concerto for Piano and Violin with the Asheville Symphony. Ms. Koh will also collaborate with pianist Shai Wosner in duo recitals of works by Janáček, Bartók and Brahms in Denver and Kansas City, among other cities. Beyond North America, Ms. Koh will perform Menotti's Violin Concerto with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in honor of the centennial of the composer's birth at the Lammermuir Festival, where she is also performing "Bach and Beyond," and she will perform works by Ravel and Saint-Saëns with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra led by Pavel Kogan and Sibelius's Violin Concerto with the Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo in Brazil.

This season, Ms. Koh will become the first female to perform the solo violin role of Einstein in a new production of Robert Wilson and Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach. Never before seen in North America outside of New York City, Ms. Koh will perform Einstein in a preview performance in Ann Arbor with the University Musical Society at the University of Michigan in January 2012, at Toronto's Luminato Festival in June 2012, and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and for Cal Performances at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley in the fall of 2012. Presented in celebration of Philip Glass's 75th birthday, the new production is a historic restaging based on the original 1976 version and the first revival with the original creators since 1992.

Ms. Koh is passionate in her efforts to expand the violin repertoire and has established relationships with many of today's composers, regularly commissioning and premiering new works. Recently, Ms. Koh became the only violinist other than Lorin Maazel to perform his violin concerto, conducted by Mr. Maazel at the Castleton Festival in Virginia. She also gave the U.S. premiere of Augusta Read Thomas's Third Violin Concerto "Juggler in Paradise" with the National Symphony led by Christophe Eschenbach, a work she performed in her 2008 PROMS debut with the BBC Symphony conducted by Jiri Belohlavek; she premiered Mark Grey's Mugunghwa with the LA Masterworks Chorale; and a new Missy Mazzoli work, Dissolve, O My Heart, commissioned for her by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a concert that also featured Ms. Koh with composer/guitarist Steve Mackey in his own piece, Four Iconoclast Interludes with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by John Adams. This season, Ms. Koh will again perform Ms. Mazzoli's Dissolve, O My Heart in recital with pianist Reiko Uchida at the Brooklyn Central Library as part of Carnegie Hall's neighborhood concerts and their American Mavericks celebration. Also on the program are Harrison's Grand Duo, Adams's Road Movies, and Jennifer Higdon's String Poetic, which was commissioned for Ms. Koh in 2006. Ms. Koh recently performed another new work by Ms. Higdon, "The Singing Rooms," a concerto for violin with chorus, with the commissioning orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra led by Christoph Eschenbach, the Minnesota Orchestra led by Osmo Vänskä and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra led by Robert Spano, the latter of which was recorded and released by Telarc in September 2010.

Since the 1994-95 season when she won the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Ms. Koh has been heard with leading orchestras and conductors around the world, including the Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, New World Symphony, New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra. Abroad, she has appeared with the BBC London Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Scottish Symphony, the Brandenburg Ensemble, Czech Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony, Lahti Symphony, Moscow Radio Symphony, the Singapore Symphony, and the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra where she performed the Russian premiere of Ligeti's Violin Concerto conducted by Valerie Gergiev. A prolific recitalist, Ms. Koh appears frequently at major music centers and festivals including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Marlboro, Spoleto, Wolf Trap and The Festival International de Lanaudiere in Canada.

A committed educator, Ms. Koh has won high praise for her performances in classrooms around the country under her innovative "Music Messenger" outreach program. Now in its eighth year, the program continues to form an important part of her musical activities. "The majority of children in this country have not been given an opportunity to learn music as a form of self expression," Ms. Koh asserts, "and I want to share the experience of creating and listening to music with them." Her outreach efforts have taken her to classrooms all over the country to perform for thousands of students who have little opportunity to hear classical music in their daily lives. "Music is a visceral experience which can create a positive outlet for emotions and a place for inner expression that is more compelling than time spent in front of the television or at a mall," she adds. Ms. Koh is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Foundation for the Advancement for the Arts, a scholarship program for high school students in the arts.

Ms. Koh brings the same sense of adventure and brilliant musicianship to her recordings as she does to her live performances. In addition to "The Singing Rooms," released by Telarc last year, Ms. Koh has recorded six albums for the Chicago-based Cedille label, including most recently "Rhapsodic Musings: 21st Century Works for Solo Violin." Her Grammy-nominated recording "String Poetic" presents the world premiere of Higdon's work for which the album is named, as well as works by John Adams, Lou Harrison and Carl Ruggles, performed with pianist Reiko Uchida. Other Cedille recordings include an acclaimed CD devoted to the complete Schumann violin sonatas; "Portraits," a disc featuring the Szymanowski and Martinu violin concertos recorded with the Grant Park Orchestra under conductor Carlos Kalmar; a concept album titled "Violin Fantasies" comprising fantasies for violin and piano by Schumann, Schoenberg and jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman; and an program centered on Bach's Chaconne that includes solo chaconnes by turn of the century contemporaries Richard Barth and Max Reger.

Born in Chicago of Korean parents, Ms. Koh began playing the violin by chance, choosing the instrument in a Suzuki-method program only because spaces for cello and piano had been filled. She made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11. Ms. Koh earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Oberlin College and went on to study at the Curtis Institute, where she worked extensively with Jaime Laredo and Felix Galimir. Ms. Koh currently resides in New York City with her husband, pianist Benjamin Hochman.

Jamie Laredo violinistAbout this Artist

"...music-making of unusually high quality – the sort of playing which comes only from understanding, love, painstaking care, and, quite simply, great ability." — The Guardian, London

Performing for over five decades before audiences across the globe, Jaime Laredo has excelled in the multiple roles of soloist, conductor, recitalist, pedagogue, and chamber musician. Since his stunning orchestral debut at the age of eleven with the San Francisco Symphony, he has won the admiration and respect of audiences, critics and fellow musicians with his passionate and polished performances. That debut inspired one critic to write: 'In the 1920's it was Yehudi Menuhin; in the 1930's it was Isaac Stern; and last night it was Jaime Laredo.' His education and development were greatly influenced by his teachers Josef Gingold and Ivan Galamian, as well as by private coaching with eminent masters Pablo Casals and George Szell. At the age of seventeen, Jaime Laredo won the prestigious Queen Elisabeth of Belgium Competition, launching his rise to international prominence. With 2009 marking the 50th anniversary of his prize, he was honored to sit on the Jury for the final round of the Competition.

In the 2012-2013 season, Mr. Laredo continues to tour both as a soloist and as a member of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, including conducting engagements with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, Westchester Philharmonic and appearances as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 2012 also marks the beginning of Mr. Laredo's tenure as a member of the violin faculty at The Cleveland Institute of Music. During the 2011- 2012 season, Mr. Laredo celebrated his 70th birthday with engagements at the 92nd Street Y with colleagues, family and friends. Already this season, Mr. Laredo and Sharon Robinson gave the world premiere of a commission by Richard Danielpour dedicated to and inspired by their marriage, entitled Inventions on a Marriage, which explores in "musical snapshots" the bond of long-term relationships. In past seasons Mr. Laredo has conducted and performed with the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Detroit Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and Philadelphia Orchestra, among many others. Abroad, Mr. Laredo has performed with the London Symphony, the BBC Symphony, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the Royal Philharmonic, and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, which he led on two American tours and in their Hong Kong Festival debut. His numerous recordings with the SCO include Vivaldi's Four Seasons (which stayed on the British best-seller charts for over a year), Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream, "Italian" and "Scottish" Symphonies, Beethoven's Violin Concerto, and recordings of Rossini overtures and Wagner's Siegfried Idyll.

The 2011-2012 season also marked Jaime Laredo's 35th anniversary as the violinist of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. The Trio celebrated its three-and-a-half decades together with a national tour and three new commissions by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, André Previn, and Stanley Silverman. Founded by Mr. Laredo, Sharon Robinson, and pianist Joseph Kalichstein in 1976, the Trio performs regularly at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y in New York, and the Kennedy Center where they are the ensemble in residence. They have toured internationally to cities that include Lisbon, Hamburg, Copenhagen, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna, Helsinki, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Seoul, Sydney, and Melbourne. The trio was named Musical America's "Ensemble of the Year" 2002.

For fifteen years, Mr. Laredo was violist of the piano quartet consisting of renowned pianist Emanuel Ax, celebrated violinist Isaac Stern, and distinguished cellist Yo-Yo Ma, his close colleagues and chamber music collaborators. Together, the quartet recorded nearly the entire piano quartet repertoire on the SONY Classical label, including the works of Beethoven, Mozart, Schumann, Fauré, and Brahms, for which they won a Grammy Award.

Mr. Laredo has recorded close to one hundred discs, received the Deutsche Schallplatten Prize, and has been awarded seven Grammy nominations. Mr. Laredo's discs on CBS and RCA have included the complete Bach Sonatas with the late Glenn Gould and a KOCH International Classics album of duos with Ms. Robinson featuring works by Handel, Kodaly, Mozart and Ravel. His releases on the Dorian label include Schubert's complete works for violin and piano with Stephanie Brown, and Virtuoso!, a collection of favorite violin encores with pianist Margo Garrett. Other releases include Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante and Concertone with Cho-Liang Lin for Sony. In May 2000, KOCH released the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio's two-CD set of the chamber works of Maurice Ravel, to follow the complete trios and sonatas of Shostakovich. In 2009 the Trio released a 4-disc set of the complete Brahms' Piano Trios. The Kalichstein- Laredo-Robinson Trio has recently released the complete Schubert and Beethoven trios, and Mr. Laredo has also released an album with Sharon Robinson and the Vermont Symphony entitled "Triple Doubles," which includes three double concertos dedicated to the Duo: Daron Hagen's Masquerade, a new, fully-orchestrated version of Richard Danielpour's A Child's Reliquary, (originally written as a piano trio for the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio); and David Ludwig's Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra. Both albums were released by BRIDGE in November 2011.

A recent project titled Two x Four celebrates the relationship between the teacher and the student through music. With his colleague and former student Jennifer Koh, Mr. Laredo and Ms. Koh kicked off the inaugural season in May with the Delaware Symphony performing the Double Concerti for Two Violins by J.S. Bach, Philip Glass, and two newly commissioned concerti by composers Anna Clyne and David Ludwig. The IRIS orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Vermont Symphony, Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Kennedy Center and the Miller Theater of Columbia University in New York are on the schedule for this season. Recognized internationally as a sought after violin teacher, Mr. Laredo has fostered the education of violinists that include Leila Josefowitz, Hillary Hahn, Jennifer Koh, Ivan Chan, Soovin Kim, Pamela Frank and Bella Hristova. After 35 years of teaching at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, 7 years at Indiana University's Jacob School of Music, Mr. Laredo teaches at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where his wife cellist Sharon Robinson also holds a teaching position. Additionally, Mr. Laredo is the conductor of the New York String Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, which brings young musicians from around the world to the stage every December.

In demand worldwide as a conductor and a soloist, Mr. Laredo has held the position of Music Director of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra since 1999. He is also the Artistic Director of the Chamber Music at the Y series at the 92nd Street Y in New York. In 2009 Mr. Laredo and his wife were named the Artistic Directors of the Linton Chamber Music Series in Cincinnati, Ohio. As Artistic Director of New York's renowned Chamber Music at the Y series, Mr. Laredo has created an important forum for chamber music performances which has developed a devoted following. His stewardships of the annual New York String Orchestra Seminar at Carnegie Hall and the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis have become beloved educational pillars of the string community. A principal figure at the Marlboro Music Festival in years past, he has also been involved at Tanglewood, Aspen, Ravinia, Mostly Mozart, and the Hollywood Bowl, as well as festivals in Italy, Spain, Finland, Greece, Israel, Austria, Switzerland and England.

Born in Bolivia, Jaime Laredo resides in Guilford, VT and Cleveland, OH, with his wife, cellist Sharon Robinson.

Anna Clyne violinistAbout this Artist

"Anna Clyne," according to the biography provided by her distinguished publisher Boosey & Hawkes, "is a composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music, combining resonant soundscapes with propelling textures that weave, morph and collide in dramatic explosions. Her work often includes collaborations with cutting edge choreographers, visual artists, film-makers and musicians worldwide."

Anna Clyne was born in London in 1980, studied music from early in life (she recalls lessons "on a piano with randomly missing keys"), began composing at age eleven (a fully notated piece for flute and piano), and received her undergraduate training at Edinburgh University and a master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music; her teachers included Julia Wolfe, Marina Adamia and Marjan Mozetich. Clyne's career has been on a meteoric trajectory since she completed her education — performances by leading ensembles and soloists around the world and commissions from the American Composers Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, ASCAP, Seattle Chamber Players and Houston Ballet; a residency with the Los Angeles–based Hysterica Dance Company; selection as a participant in a master class with Pierre Boulez in New York City; director of the New York Youth Symphony's award-winning program for young composers "Making Score" from 2008 to 2010. In 2010, Clyne was appointed as a Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which premiered her Night Ferry in February 2012 and took the work on its subsequent West Coast tour; her appointment at the CSO had been renewed for two years the preceding month. In addition to her compositional work in Chicago, Clyne has been an active in the CSO's Institute for Learning, Access and Training initiatives, participating in the Institute's work with incarcerated young women at the Illinois Youth Center at Warrenville and leading workshops for young local composers. Her rapidly accumulating collection of prestigious honors includes eight consecutive ASCAP Plus Awards, Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Clutterbuck Award from the University of Edinburgh, as well as awards from Meet the Composer, American Music Center, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Jerome Foundation and International Artist Sponsorship; she was a finalist for ASCAP's Morton Gould Composer Award and the U.K. Tovey Composition Competition, and also was nominated for a 2010 British Composer Award.

Michael Stern conductorAbout this Artist

Michael Stern BioMichael Stern founded IRIS Orchestra in 2000, and holds the title of founding Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. Under Stern's direction, IRIS has been unanimously heralded for the brilliance of its playing, its varied programming with special emphasis on American contemporary music, and for its acclaimed recordings on the Naxos and Arabesque labels. IRIS has embraced as a central part of its mission a deep commitment to furthering American composers and has commissioned works by Stephen Hartke, Richard Danielpour, Edgar Meyer, Adam Schoenberg, Jonathan Leshnoff, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, among others.

The 2009-10 season also marks Stern's fifth as Music Director of the Kansas City Symphony. Their performances in the inaugural year were greeted universally with public and critical acclaim, and since then the orchestra has been hailed for its remarkable artistic and institutional growth and development. The Symphony and Stern have already made three recordings together; their latest disc, titled "Britten's Orchestra" was released in November of 2009 under the Reference Recordings label, and has glowing rave reviews.

In 2000 Stern concluded his tenure as chief conductor of Germany's Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra. The first American chief conductor in the orchestra's history, he was offered the post almost immediately after making his debut with them in March 1996. In addition to their work in concert, for broadcast and tour Stern and the orchestra made several recordings of American repertoire, notably a disc of Henry Cowell's works, as well as a series devoted to the music of Charles Ives, including a live recorded performance of the "Universe" Symphony and their first recording of the "Emerson" piano concerto.

In September 1991, he was appointed permanent guest conductor of the Orchestre National de Lyon in France, a position which he held for four years. He has also appeared with the national orchestras of Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse. Last year, he bena a three year stint as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Lille. Elsewhere, Stern has led such orchestras as the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Bergen Symphony, the Beethovenhalle Orchestra in Bonn, the Deutsche Symphoniker (DSO) in Berlin, the Budapest Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, the Moscow Philharmonic, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich, and the Chamber Orchestra of Lausanne. He has also been a frequent guest conductor of the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich and has recorded both with that orchestra and with the London Philharmonic for Denton Records. In the United Kingdom, he has conducted the London Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony (London), and the English Chamber Orchestra. Stern has appeared in the Far East with such orchestras as the National Symphony of Taiwan, the Singapore Symphony and Tokyo's NHK Symphony, and he has toured China with the Vienna Radio Symphony.

In North America, Michael Stern has conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Pittsburg Symphony, New York Philharmonic, the Saint Louis Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony, and the National Symphony in Washington, D.C., among many others. He also appears regularly at the Aspen Music Festival and has taught at American Academy of Conducting at Aspen. From 1986 to 1991, Stern was the assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra. In September 1986, he made his New York Philharmonic debut as one of three young conductors invited by Leonard Bernstein to participate in a conducting workshop that culminated in two concerts at Avery Fisher Hall.

Stern received his degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where his major teacher was the noted conductor and scholar Max Rudolf (whose famous textbook, "The Grammar of Conducting," Stern co-edited for its third edition). He also edited a new volume of Rudolf 's collected writings and correspondence, published by Pendragon Press. His studies have included two summers at the Pierre Monteux Memorial School in Hancock, Main, under the tutelage of Charles Bruck. Born in 1959, Michael Stern is a graduate of Harvard University, where he earned a degree in American History in 1981. He makes his home in Kansas City and in New York with his wife, Shelly Cryer, and their two daughters Hannon and Nora.

VIDEO
SCHUBERT'S SYMPHONY, UNFINISHED, & IMMORTAL
SCHUBERT'S SYMPHONY,
UNFINISHED, & IMMORTAL
IRIS Orchestra
Michael Stern, conductor
Buy TicketsDate: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Time: 8:00 PM
Location: GPAC (Directions)

Inaugurating this special year with a flourish, four of IRIS' accomplished violinists step into IRIS spotlight to bring Vivaldi's inspired Concerto for 4 violins to life. Michael Stern leads the whole orchestra in two of the most profoundly beautiful works in the classical canon: Schubert's transcendental and timelessly eloquent "Unfinished" Symphony and Schumann's 3rd Symphony, the exuberant and majestic "Rhenish."

PROGRAM
Vivaldi Concerto for 4 violinsAbout this Music

Vivaldi's fecundity is amazing. He composed forty operas, two oratorios, two dozen cantatas, 75 sonatas, many miscellaneous instrumental and vocal pieces, and a clutch of music for the church. Not to deny the considerable beauties of these works, it is, however, for his concertos that he is chiefly remembered. There are close to 500 of these, almost half being for solo violin, with other large collections for bassoon, cello, oboe, flute, recorder and mandolin. There is a sizable body of works for multiple soloists, and some with no featured performers at all, these latter drawing such soloists as are required from the orchestra itself.

Vivaldi was occupied with the composition of concertos for over forty years. He inherited many of the formal and stylistic traits of this music from the large number of Italian composer-violinists who had been spurred on by the achievements in string instrument making scored by such Cremonese craftsmen as Stradivarius, Guarneri and Amati. The Roman master Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) laid the foundations for the concerto late in the 17th century with works that pitted a small group of soloists against the larger body of the orchestra in the concerto grosso ("great concerto"). His principles of construction were transferred from a group of soloists to a single featured performer by Giuseppe Torelli (1658-1709), based in Bologna, a significant incubator for early instrumental idioms. It was the Venetian Vivaldi, however, who gathered together many disparate ideas to create the style of the mature Baroque concerto that was to prove such a great influence on Bach, Handel and even Mozart. (The concerto, it must be remembered, reached its formal perfection at least a half-century before the symphony, and is the earliest species of music still part of the regular orchestral repertory.) Vivaldi's contributions to the genre may be summarized as follows: he established the three-movement, fast-slow-fast organization of the concerto that has served almost three centuries of composers; he introduced brilliance and virtuosity into the solo part (he was known in his day as much for his impassioned violin playing as for his compositions); he brought a quality of heightened expression into instrumental music; he created themes with distinct profiles that were easily remembered; he codified the ritornello form; he injected a quality of almost operatic pathos into many of his slow movements; and he promoted the use of wind instruments.

The form of the Baroque concerto is simple in principle, but capable of seemingly infinite variation, as the diversity of Vivaldi's own works demonstrates. The word "concerto" comes from the Latin concertare, which originally meant "to contend, dispute," but in its Italian derivative also took on the sense "to agree, get together." Both implications of the word apply to the musical form. The soloist (or group of soloists) is held in opposition to the larger body of the orchestra (hence, the concert placement of the soloist at the front of the stage), but the two forces must collaborate in themes, tonalities and rhythm if anything other than chaos is to result — cooperation and contention simultaneously. The so-called "ritornello" form of the first and last movements of Vivaldi's concertos exploits these two sounding elements by alternating them. First, the orchestra (called the tutti — Italian for "together") introduces a collection of thematic fragments that establishes the key and mood. Then the soloist is trotted out as the orchestra is reduced to an accompanimental role. After the soloist has a turn, the full orchestra again appears with some of the fragments from the opening tutti. Further exchanges between soloist and orchestra fill out the movement, the solo portions being comparable to the stained-glass windows in a church wall buttressed by the returning tuttis. The form derives its name from the returning nature of these tutti sections, ritornello meaning simply "return." The form is logical, easy to follow and amenable to an enormous variety of music.

The twelve Concertos published in 1712 as Op. 3 were the first such works of Vivaldi to appear in print, having been preceded by the Op. 1 Trios Sonatas (1705) and the Op. 2 Solo Sonatas (1709). The Op. 3 Concertos were brought out not in the composer's hometown of Venice but in Amsterdam, and were soon after republished in London and Paris, testimony to his broad European reputation. (By 1712, many of Vivaldi's works were already widely dispersed in manuscript copies.) Their publisher, Estienne Roger, titled the collection L'Estro Armonico, which has variously been translated as "The Harmonic Whim" or "The Musical Fancy." The appearance of the Op. 3 Concertos marked Vivaldi as one of the leading composers of the day and were an important influence on the music of his contemporaries — of the dozen keyboard transcriptions Bach made from Vivaldi's works, six come from this collection. These Concertos were composed between about 1700 and the time of their publication, and they exhibit a great variety of stylistic features and performing forces, ranging from the old-fashioned church concerto grosso in several movements for a trio of soloists perfected by Corelli to the fully mature, tightly structured, three-movement Baroque solo concerto.

The B minor Concerto for Four Violins, Op. 3, No. 10, whose music is also familiar in Bach's transcription for four keyboards (BWV 1065), is one of Vivaldi's most elaborate contrapuntal creations. In addition to the four named solo parts, there are also occasional obbligato lines for two violas and for cello, thus producing a full, seven-voice texture in some passages. The Concerto's three movements follow the characteristic fast–slow–fast pattern, with the outer, ritornello-form movements exhibiting a certain bittersweet nobility of mood and an irresistible rhythm vivacity, while the intervening Largo is a study in shimmering string arpeggios framed by majestic, dotted-rhythm pronouncements from the ensemble.

Schubert Symphony No. 8 "Unfinished"About this Music

Composed in 1822.
Premiered on December 17, 1865 in Vienna, conducted by Johann Herbeck.

The mystery surrounding the composition of the "Unfinished" Symphony is one of the most intriguing puzzles in the entire realm of music. The work was left incomplete not because Schubert's death intervened, as happened with Mozart's Requiem, Bartók's Viola Concerto or Puccini's Turandot. Indeed, the Eighth Symphony occupied Schubert fully six years before his death at the pathetically early age of only 31. It is known that Schubert composed the first two movements of this "Grand Symphony," as he referred to it, in the autumn of 1822, and then abruptly stopped work. He sent the manuscript to his friend Anselm Hüttenbrenner, who was supposed to pass it on to the Styrian Music Society of Graz in appreciation of an honorary membership that that organization had conferred upon Schubert the previous spring. Anselm, described by Schubert's biographer Hans Gal as a "peevish recluse," never sent the score. Instead, he squirreled it away in his desk, where it gathered dust for forty years. It was not until 1865 that he presented it for performance to Johann Herbeck, director of Vienna's Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, in return asking that one of his own tedious overtures also be included on the concert. Schubert's magnificent torso was an immediate success at its premiere, and has since maintained its position as one of the most popular symphonic pieces ever written.

Lacking conclusive evidence, writers on Schubert have advanced a fascinating variety of explanations as to why the young composer never completed the last two planned movements of this Symphony. Among others: he was too ill with syphilis; he could not be bothered with the labor of writing down the last two movements; his friends believed he was basically a song composer rather than an instrumental composer, and their arguments caused him to lose faith in this large work; the last two movements were lost; he despaired of ever having a work of this scale performed; a new commission intervened; Hüttenbrenner's servant used the manuscript to start a fire. All of these have been proven false. The truth is that, despite exhaustive research, there is no conclusive evidence to support any single theory. The explanation currently given the greatest credence is that Schubert thought he could not match the wonderful inspiration of the first two movements in what was to follow, so he abandoned this Symphony for work on another project and simply never returned to complete it.

Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony is notable for the beauty of its themes, the richness of its orchestration, the sincerity of its emotional expression, and the clarity of its structure. The first movement is a sonata form that begins without introduction. The first theme, in the dark tonality of B minor, is made up of three components: a brooding, eight-measure phrase heard immediately in unison cellos and basses; a restless figure for violins; and a broad melody played by oboe and clarinet. As the music grows in intensity and dynamic level, it modulates to the key of the second theme, the bright, contrasting tonality of G major. This theme, one of the most famous melodies ever written for orchestra, is played by cellos over a syncopated accompaniment in violas and clarinets. A series of decisive chords and a tossing-about of fragments of the second theme bring the exposition to a close. The development, based entirely on the movement's opening phrase, begins softly in unison cellos and basses. This lengthy central section rises to great peaks of emotional tension before the recapitulation begins with the restless violin figure of the first theme. The oboe-clarinet theme is heard again, as is the renowned second theme, before the movement ends with restatements of the cello and bass phrase that began both the exposition and the development.

The second movement is in the form of a large sonatina (sonata form without a development section) and flows like a calm river, filled with rich sonorities and lovely melodies. Of it, Alfred Einstein wrote, "The whole movement in its mystery and unfathomable beauty is like one of those plants whose flowers open only on a night of the full moon."

Schumann Symphony No. 3 "Rhenish"About this Music

Composed in 1850.
Premiered on February 6, 1851 in Düsseldorf, conducted by the composer.

Robert Schumann arrived in Düsseldorf on September 2, 1850 to assume his new duties as conductor of the local orchestra and choral society. He seemed pleased with the situation: the musical forces were skilled enough to present an annual music festival that had been conducted by such luminaries as Mendelssohn; Schumann's home life with his beloved wife, Clara, was happy; he had been composing a steady stream of new music for nearly two decades; and his position offered him the chance to live in the heart of the Rhineland, on the legendary river itself, a region for which he harbored great fondness throughout his life. During the three months following his move to Düsseldorf, he wrote two important works — the Cello Concerto and the "Rhenish" Symphony.

The immediate inspiration for the Symphony came from the Schumanns' visit to Cologne on September 29, 1850. The city and its great cathedral, still incomplete centuries after its inception, made such a powerful impression on the composer that he determined to write a work which, he said, "mirrors here and there something of Rhenish life." Though he provided only the fourth of the Symphony's five movements with a programmatic title, the second and last movements reflect the spirit and style of peasant dances, while the first shows the confidence and joy Schumann felt in his new surroundings and the third the deep contentment he found in living close to the Rhine. The fourth movement was originally titled, "In the character of an accompaniment to a solemn ceremony," though Schumann later deleted the heading, saying that "the general impression of a work of art is more effective [than a specific extra-musical reference]." This great movement, which stands at the pinnacle of Schumann's symphonic achievement, grew from the ritual that the composer observed at the Cologne Cathedral on November 12, 1850, when Archbishop von Geissel was elevated to the rank of Cardinal. So overwhelmed was Schumann with the magnificent service in that great church that he produced what the eminent British musicologist Sir Donald Tovey later dubbed "one of the finest pieces of ecclesiastical polyphony since Bach." Schumann, who revered and studied Bach's music for all of his life, would have been immensely pleased with Tovey's evaluation.

The opening movement of Schumann's "Rhenish" Symphony launches without introduction into its main theme. This striding melody, characterized by its buoyant syncopations and bright vitality, precedes a vigorous scalar motive and a lyrical second theme, all of which are combined with considerable craft in one of Schumann's most elaborate developmental sections. The second movement, notable for its rich harmonic palette and its two-trio structure, resembles a slow Ländler, the peasant dance that was the forerunner of the waltz. The brief third movement, only 54 measures long, is a songful interlude similar in spirit to the many mood paintings that abound in Schumann's works for solo piano. The penultimate movement is the composer's depiction of the majestic ceremony in Cologne Cathedral. Its mystical atmosphere is as much the product of its exquisite sonority — horns and bassoons enhanced by the noble voices of the trombones, heard here for the first time in the Symphony — as of its strict contrapuntal style. The finale exudes the aura of a folk festival, as though Schumann had left the misty Gothic interior of the cathedral to find a sun-lit square filled with carnival revelers immediately outside. At the climax of the movement, the cathedral music again bursts forth from the winds and brass, and the work closes with an energetic coda alluding to the theme of the first movement.

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Carolyn Huebl violinistAbout this Artist

Michael Stern BioViolinist Carolyn Huebl is sought after as a soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. She is currently Associate Professor of Violin at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University and violinist of the Blakemore Trio. Prior to her appointment at Blair, she was Assistant Principal Second Violin with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Assistant Professor of Violin at Carnegie Mellon University. Critics have called her playing "unfailingly sensitive", "utterly fearless", and "pristine".

Since her appearance as soloist with the Detroit Symphony at the age of seventeen, Carolyn has been soloist with orchestras and in recital throughout the United States, as well as in Argentina and Canada. Together with pianist Mark Wait, she recently released recordings of the works by Igor Stravinsky and Alfred Schnittke. Both recordings were received with great critical acclaim.

In 2002, Carolyn founded the Blakemore Trio with cellist Felix Wang and pianist Amy Dorfman. Engagements have taken the trio to chamber series across the country including a New York debut in 2010. The trio's recording of Beethoven and Ravel trios will be released in 2013.

During the summer, Carolyn is on the faculty of the Brevard Music Center, and has also taught at Killington, Interlochen, and the Rocky Mountain Summer Conservatory. A devoted teacher, Carolyn's students have been awarded prizes in national competitions and hold orchestral and teaching positions throughout the United States. Her primary teachers included Andres Cardenes, Paul Kantor, and Donald Weilerstein.

Carolyn makes her home in Nashville with her husband, cellist Felix Wang, and their three children.

Stephen Miahky violinistAbout this Artist

Michael Stern BioViolinist Stephen Miahky has been praised for his expressive and communicative performances as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician.  His most recent engagements include performances at New York City's Carnegie and Merkin Halls, Symphony Space and Bargemusic, Atlanta's ProMozart Society, Monadnock Music, the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival, the American Academies in Rome and Berlin, and on NPR's Performance Today.  Miahky has also performed with members of the Arianna, Colorado, Chester, Tokyo, Concord, and Los Angeles Piano Quartets, as well as with the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble.  He has served as a guest concertmaster of the Columbus ProMusica, the Illinois Symphony, and the Kansas City Symphony, and currently is a member of the new music ensemble Brave New Works and the IRIS Orchestra.  Miahky can be heard on the Naxos, New Dynamic, AMP, and Edition Modern record labels.  

A native of Akron, Ohio, Miahky received his D.M.A. from Rutgers University where he received the Bettenbender Award for outstanding artistic achievement.  He received his B.M. and M.M. from the University of Michigan and remains the university's only two-time winner of the Earl V. Moore Award for outstanding achievement.  Miahky studied chamber music with Andrew Jennings, Martin Katz, and members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, American and Tokyo String Quartets, and received additional training at the Aspen Music Festival, the Meadowmount School, the Perlman Music Program, Canada's National Arts Centre, and the Blossom Festival.  His teachers include Arnold Steinhardt, Paul Kantor, Stephen Shipps, and Alan Bodman.  He has served on the faculty of the Point Counterpoint Chamber Music Camp and Cornell University.  Miahky is currently Assistant Professor of Violin at the Ohio University School of Music, and serves on the faculty of the Montecito Music Festival in Santa Barbara, CA.

Miho Saegusa violinistAbout this Artist

Michael Stern BioBorn in Kitakyushu, Japan, violinist Miho Saegusa was appointed Concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia in 2011.  Her passion for chamber music has led to participation in the Marlboro Music Festival, Steans Institute at Ravinia, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Music@Menlo, and the Kitakyushu International Music Festival in Japan.  She has collaborated with world-renowned musicians such as Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode, Arnold Steinhardt, David Soyer, Kim Kashkashian, and Miriam Fried.  She has also toured nationally and internationally with Musicians from Marlboro and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. 

Ms. Saegusa has been featured as soloist with the New Jersey Symphony, Aspen Music Festival orchestras, and the Juilliard Orchestra, and has worked with conductors James DePriest, David Zinman, Lawrence Leighton Smith, Daniel Meyer, and the late Sergiu Commissiona.  She is on the faculty of the Praxis Youth Leadership Orchestra, and as a guest member of the Bryant Park Quartet participated in Chamber Music America's Residency Program.  

Ms. Saegusa started violin studies at the age of five, and her principal teachers include Masao Kawasaki and Dorothy DeLay.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University, and completed graduate work at The Juilliard School, earning her Master of Music and Artist Diploma.

Jonathan Swartz violinistAbout this Artist

Michael Stern BioA native of Toronto, violinist Jonathan Swartz has distinguished himself throughout North America both as a performer and pedagogue.  He serves on the faculties at Arizona State University, the Innsbrook Institute, Madeline Island Music Camp, Round Top Festival Institute, and the Domaine Forget Academy, while maintaining a prolific performing career.  He collaborates often with his sister Jennifer Swartz, principal harpist of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and his wife, American pianist Wendy Chen. 

Swartz has appeared at the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, Colorado's Strings in the Mountains Chamber Festival, the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, the Mooredale Concert Series, and the Artists Series at Roy Thompson Hall, in addition to several venues under the auspices of Les Jeunesses Musicales du Canada.

Swartz's solo recording, Suite Inspiration (Soundset Recordings), was praised by the Strad for its "impeccable playing" and "gorgeous viola-like tone." John Terauds of Musical Toronto comments, "Swartz sounds as if his bow were strung with threads of silk rather than horsehair," and calls his performance of Bach's Chaconne "something to treasure." Swartz's chamber music recording, Groteske (Soundset Recordings), has also received critical acclaim.
  
Swartz earned a Bachelor of Music cum laude from Rice University, a Master of Music from the Mannes College of Music, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from Rice University.  His doctoral thesis is titled Perspectives of Violin Pedagogy: A Study of the Treatises of Francesco Geminiani, Pierre Baillot, and Ivan Galamian, and a Working Manual by Jonathan Swartz.

Michael Stern conductorAbout this Artist

Michael Stern BioMichael Stern founded IRIS Orchestra in 2000, and holds the title of founding Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. Under Stern's direction, IRIS has been unanimously heralded for the brilliance of its playing, its varied programming with special emphasis on American contemporary music, and for its acclaimed recordings on the Naxos and Arabesque labels. IRIS has embraced as a central part of its mission a deep commitment to furthering American composers and has commissioned works by Stephen Hartke, Richard Danielpour, Edgar Meyer, Adam Schoenberg, Jonathan Leshnoff, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, among others.

The 2009-10 season also marks Stern's fifth as Music Director of the Kansas City Symphony. Their performances in the inaugural year were greeted universally with public and critical acclaim, and since then the orchestra has been hailed for its remarkable artistic and institutional growth and development. The Symphony and Stern have already made three recordings together; their latest disc, titled "Britten's Orchestra" was released in November of 2009 under the Reference Recordings label, and has glowing rave reviews.

In 2000 Stern concluded his tenure as chief conductor of Germany's Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra. The first American chief conductor in the orchestra's history, he was offered the post almost immediately after making his debut with them in March 1996. In addition to their work in concert, for broadcast and tour Stern and the orchestra made several recordings of American repertoire, notably a disc of Henry Cowell's works, as well as a series devoted to the music of Charles Ives, including a live recorded performance of the "Universe" Symphony and their first recording of the "Emerson" piano concerto.

In September 1991, he was appointed permanent guest conductor of the Orchestre National de Lyon in France, a position which he held for four years. He has also appeared with the national orchestras of Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse. Last year, he bena a three year stint as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Lille. Elsewhere, Stern has led such orchestras as the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Bergen Symphony, the Beethovenhalle Orchestra in Bonn, the Deutsche Symphoniker (DSO) in Berlin, the Budapest Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, the Moscow Philharmonic, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich, and the Chamber Orchestra of Lausanne. He has also been a frequent guest conductor of the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich and has recorded both with that orchestra and with the London Philharmonic for Denton Records. In the United Kingdom, he has conducted the London Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony (London), and the English Chamber Orchestra. Stern has appeared in the Far East with such orchestras as the National Symphony of Taiwan, the Singapore Symphony and Tokyo's NHK Symphony, and he has toured China with the Vienna Radio Symphony.

In North America, Michael Stern has conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Pittsburg Symphony, New York Philharmonic, the Saint Louis Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony, and the National Symphony in Washington, D.C., among many others. He also appears regularly at the Aspen Music Festival and has taught at American Academy of Conducting at Aspen. From 1986 to 1991, Stern was the assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra. In September 1986, he made his New York Philharmonic debut as one of three young conductors invited by Leonard Bernstein to participate in a conducting workshop that culminated in two concerts at Avery Fisher Hall.

Stern received his degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where his major teacher was the noted conductor and scholar Max Rudolf (whose famous textbook, "The Grammar of Conducting," Stern co-edited for its third edition). He also edited a new volume of Rudolf 's collected writings and correspondence, published by Pendragon Press. His studies have included two summers at the Pierre Monteux Memorial School in Hancock, Main, under the tutelage of Charles Bruck. Born in 1959, Michael Stern is a graduate of Harvard University, where he earned a degree in American History in 1981. He makes his home in Kansas City and in New York with his wife, Shelly Cryer, and their two daughters Hannon and Nora.

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