Season-long Theme Celebrates Gustav Mahler’s Double Jubilee: 150th Anniversary of His Birth and Centennial of His Death
Music Director Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra announced today the Orchestra’s 2010-2011 season, the fourth full season under the direction of Maestra Alsop. The 2010-2011 season celebrates Gustav Mahler’s double jubilee, recognizing the 150th anniversary of his birth and the centennial of his death. Mahler’s works are closely associated with themes of youth and the innocence of childhood, prompting the BSO to create a season that highlights today’s rising young stars and that features the earlier works of several seminal composers. Notable BSO debuts include 17-year-old BSO-Peabody Bruno Walter Assistant Conductor Ilyich Rivas and German violinist Augustin Hadelich, and there are welcome returns for seasoned performers like Emanuel Ax and Midori. By coupling the beauty of music with the vigor of youth, the 2010-2011 season aims to nourish the youth inside all individuals and affirms the season’s overarching theme: life is better with music.
“I believe that the ability to appreciate the beauty of music is one of the key elements that makes us human,” comments Maestra Alsop. “Music reawakens that sense of wonder that we all had as children. To me, Mahler is a composer whose music has always tapped into that sense of wonder, reveling in the vitality and fearlessness of youth. To honor his memory, every aspect of the BSO’s 2010-2011 season celebrates themes of youth and the innocence of childhood. Music is the catalyst that helps us remember a time when we stood in awe of the world.”
BSO Celebrates Gustav Mahler Double Jubilee
The BSO honors the 150th anniversary of Gustav Mahler’s birth and 100 years since his death by performing several of his most beloved works. The 2010-2011 season includes everything from his large-scale symphonies to delicate Lieder to his retouched arrangements of works by Beethoven and Schumann. The BSO’s season-opening concerts on September 24-25 feature Mahler’s grand Seventh Symphony, paired with his arrangement of music from Bach’s orchestral suites. On October 14-16, the BSO performs the second movement “Blumine” from Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. The program on November 4-6 features the 10th symphonies of both Mahler and Beethoven, works left unfinished as both composers died before completing the works. Also on this program are Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, arranged by Mahler, as well as Sieben Lieder, a work by Mahler’s wife, Alma. The BSO also performs Mahler’s retouched versions of other composers’ works, including Smetana’s The Bartered Bride Overture, to be performed April 28-30. Benjamin Britten intended to widen audiences for the composer he idolized by creating his own arrangement of Mahler’s What the Wild Flowers Tell Me, performed May 27-28. Das Lied von der Erde, performed May 6-8, demonstrates the composer’s profoundly expressive and personal nature in this symphonic song cycle. An all-Schumann program on May 12-15 features two works arranged by Mahler, the Manfred Overture and Symphony No. 1, “Spring.”
Special Off the Cuff Program: “Analyze This: Mahler and Freud”
Inspired by the BSO’s hit “CSI: Beethoven” program in 2008, Marin Alsop leads an Off the Cuff program dubbed “Analyze This: Mahler and Freud” on November 5-6, reenacting the little-known meeting in 1910 between Gustav Mahler and famous psychologist, Dr. Sigmund Freud. Maestra Alsop, “Dr. Freud” and a team of experts psychoanalyze the essence of Mahler’s relationship with his wife Alma, his music and his crippling fear of death—all interposed with performances of excerpts of his music, performed by the BSO. The BSO welcomes back Didi Balle to write and direct the event, whose work as writer/director of “CSI: Beethoven” earned praise from The Baltimore Sun, “…Didi Balle's script achieved concision, naturalness and good flow …this look beneath the epidermis of a musical giant, ‘CSI Beethoven’ cut smoothly and entertainingly."
Music as a Fountain of Youth
The 2010-2011 season celebrates the dual themes of youth and beauty by introducing audiences to young, “up-and-coming” performers and programming works by well-known composers written in the early stages of their careers. Three works, all composed at the age of 19, signal the composer’s emergence as a major voice: Shostakovich’s First Symphony, conducted by 17-year-old Ilyich Rivas on October 14-16; Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto , performed in a program on January 20-23, and Schubert’s Fifth Symphony, which will be performed by the BSO on March 17-19.
A bevy of artists, whose already successful careers belie their youth, will appear with the BSO this season, including pianists Markus Groh, Kirill Gerstein, Simon Trpčeski, Yuja Wang, Orion Weiss, Ingrid Fliter and Lukáš Vondráček; violinists Augustin Hadelich, Midori, Baiba Skride, Karen Gomyo, Stefan Jackiw and Tianwa Yang; and conductors Cornelius Meister and Ilyich Rivas.
The season-long focus on youth also includes works intended for or about youth. In the BSO co-commission by Philip Glass, Icarus at the Edge of Time, (January 14-16) the BSO presents a multimedia recreation of string theorist Brian Greene’s board book for children, depicting a young boy’s accidental journey to a black hole. The season’s celebration of youth is epitomized in a June 2-5 program featuring Benjamin Britten’s tour of the orchestra, A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, paired with the First Piano Concerto of Johannes Brahms, written when the composer was just 25.
Off the Cuff Series Expands to Music Center at Strathmore
Audiences at the BSO’s second home, The Music Center at Strathmore, will have the opportunity to experience the BSO’s popular series, Off the Cuff. On Fridays at Strathmore and Saturdays at the Meyerhoff, this series takes classical music appreciation to a whole new level by making it fun and engaging for any level of music enthusiast. In each of the four programs, Marin Alsop explores the evening’s featured masterpiece in a candid and engaging dialogue with the audience that is illuminated by orchestral excerpts and musical examples performed by the BSO. Each performance culminates with the featured work performed in its entirety and a Q&A session. The programs run 60 to 90 minutes without intermission, designed to enable audience members at Strathmore to arrive early to enjoy special dinner options before a later concert start time of 8:15 p.m. Baltimore patrons can arrive for the earlier start time of 7:00 p.m., leaving time to dine out afterwards in the Mount Vernon/Cultural District area.
Marin Alsop and the BSO Return to Carnegie Hall, November 13 and 14
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, under Maestra Alsop’s direction, regularly performs at New York City’s prestigious Carnegie Hall. On November 13, Marin Alsop leads the BSO in two seminal works by 20th-century giants, Samuel Barber’s Essay No. 2, op. 17 and Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3, which features lauded Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski, making his Carnegie Hall debut. The program’s second half features Beethoven’s heroic Symphony No. 3, “Eroica” in Gustav Mahler’s “retouched” orchestration. On November 14, a choir of New York City students joins Marin Alsop and the BSO for Maestra Alsop’s jazzy re-interpretation of Handel’s classical oratorio, Too Hot to Handel: The Gospel Messiah.
BSO Releases Dvořák’s Symphonies Nos. 7 and 8 on Naxos
During the 2007-2008 season, Marin Alsop and the BSO began a recording cycle of Antonín Dvořák’s Symphonies Nos. 6-9. The first CD in this cycle featured the “New World” Symphony and Symphonic Variations and its release in the 2008-2009 season earned praise from The Baltimore Sun, “Alsop has the Ninth unfurling with plenty of fire and lyrical power.” BSO subscribers have the exclusive option to purchase Symphonies Nos. 7 and 8 at a special price, before this second album is released to the general public in June 2010. The BSO will reprise Dvořák’s popular Symphony No. 9, “From the New World” on October 2-3.
Violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg Performs at Gala, September 11
Violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg returns to perform as guest soloist with the BSO for its Gala Concert on Saturday, September 11 at 8:30 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, the Orchestra’s largest fundraising event of the season. Conducted by Maestra Alsop, the special gala performance will feature the world-famous violinist performing the sizzling rhythms of Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. In addition to event tickets available to BSO donors, gala concert tickets are first available to 2010-2011 subscribers for $50 and $75 and will be on sale to the general public beginning in early August.
Special Events: Pianist Emanuel Ax and Chaplin’s The Gold Rush
Among today’s most celebrated pianists, Emanuel Ax burst onto the concert scene in 1974 when he won The Arthur Rubenstein International Piano Competition, followed one year later with the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists and after that, the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. Marin Alsop will lead Mr. Ax and the BSO in subscription concerts of Brahms’ First Piano Concerto on June 2-5.
Based on the enormous success of the BSO’s performance of Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights in 2009, the BSO will present a special multimedia event that features Chaplin’s 1925 masterpiece, The Gold Rush, on April 15-17. Projected on a screen above the stage, patrons can watch The Little Tramp seek his fortune during the Klondike gold rush, accompanied by a live BSO performance of the original musical score.