15-year-olds Sirena Huang and Conrad Tao make BSO debuts
Two gifted young soloists—violinist Sirena Huang and pianist Conrad Tao—both only 15 years old, will make their BSO debuts on Saturday, July 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, July 17 at 8 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore. Led by conductor and BSO Assistant Principal Viola Christian Colberg, this all-Tchaikovsky program opens with the composer’s summer fantasia, Capriccio italien, and features these young performers in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Piano Concerto No. 1.
Internationally renowned British violinist Vanessa-Mae described Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto as a “complex mixture of dynamic orchestral fireworks.” In 1878, Tchaikovsky struggled to find a soloist who could keep up with his rapid scale passages and treacherous double-stops. Violinist Sirena Huang will take on Tchaikovsky’s challenge. "Her musical imagination is boundless," said Juilliard Dean Stephen Clapp, who described her as "a musical artist with qualities of maturity far beyond her age."
Piano Concerto No. 1 was met with harsh criticism in 1847 from the Director of the Moscow Conservatory, Nicholi Rubinstein. Tchaikovsky performed this piece for him, hoping to hear criticism about the mechanical details. Instead, Rubinstein gave him a lot more than he bargained for. He kept quiet throughout the entire concerto and when Tchaikovsky finished, he seemed disgusted with what he had just heard. Rubinstein described the piece as “trivial and vulgar.” Tchaikovsky was enraged but he made no changes to his original piece. This risk has led Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto to be internationally acclaimed and widely popular. Pianist Conrad Tao, who will perform Tchaikovsky’s concerto, has been deemed a prodigy and been commended on “his onstage demeanor,” described as “refreshingly free of willful tempo changes, distracting theatrical gestures and other prodigy personality excesses” (Barbara Jepson, The Wall Street Journal). According to critic James Bash from Northwest Reverb, Tao has “never overstated his playing” and yet he can still “keep the audience fully engaged.”
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
Rising Stars Perform Tchaikovsky Concertos
Saturday, July 10, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. – Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Saturday, July 17, 2010 at 8 p.m. – The Music Center at Strathmore
Christian Colberg, conductor
Sirena Huang, violin
Conrad Tao, piano
Tchaikovsky: Capriccio italien
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1