Violin Virtuoso Itzhak Perlman to Conduct and Perform with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Feb. 18-21

BSO Principal Oboist Katherine Needleman to join Perlman for J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe

Internationally acclaimed musician Itzhak Perlman will lead and perform with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, February 18 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 21 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and on Saturday, February 20 at 8 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore. The concert includes a diverse program of orchestral classics from the Baroque to the Romantic eras, featuring Beethoven’s famous Fifth Symphony and Tchaikovsky’s lush Serenade for Strings. BSO Principal Oboist Katherine Needleman will join Perlman for a performance of J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe.

According to the New York Times, “there is probably no more talented violinist in the world than Itzhak Perlman.” Perlman trained at the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv and has toured extensively as a guest conductor and performer and is renowned for making several of the most artistic and subtle classical recordings available. The Grammy Award-winning violinist was recently invited as a guest artist to perform during the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. Perlman is currently artistic director of the Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra, while making time to lead the Perlman Music Program in New York and Israel that he founded with his wife, Toby.

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony offers a powerful metaphor for victory. Composed in 1807-1808, the main motif, which is so often quoted in television and movies as an indication of something ominous is commonly thought of as representing fate knocking at the door. While the movement begins in a distraught C minor, the symphony concludes optimistically in C major, suggesting a triumphant victory over fate.

Because J.S. Bach composed primarily to meet the needs of his various church positions, he was incredibly prolific and often would recycle sections from his own works. His Concerto for Violin and Oboe is an example of this phenomenon: while originally composed for violin and oboe, the version that exists today is an arrangement for two harpsichords and orchestra. Luckily, with the help of historians and what remains of the score, musicians can perform a largely accurate version of this original piece.

Romantic composer Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is well-known for his powerfully evocative symphonies and ballets, including his gripping Fourth Symphony (performed by the BSO earlier this season) and the charming ballet The Nutcracker. While Tchaikovsky was dismissed by his colleagues for a large portion of the twentieth century as being a trivial composer, his compositions have proved timeless, securing his status as one of the most famous and important composers of Western classical music. Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings is considered to be an archetypical Romantic composition because of its soaring and beautiful harmonies.

Special Event: Itzhak Perlman

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.—The Music Center at Strathmore
Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 3:00 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

Itzhak Perlman, conductor and violin
Katherine Needleman, oboe

J.S. Bach: Concerto for Violin and Oboe
Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5

Tickets for these performances range from $30 to $125 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or


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