Young Chinese pianist Yuja Wang joins forces with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO), under the direction of Juanjo Mena, in a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto on Thursday, February 10 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore and Friday, February 11 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 13, 2010 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. This program will also feature the BSO’s first performance of Bruckner’s Sixth symphony since 1988.
The monstrous solo part and lush orchestral writing of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto has made it one of his most popular works. Rachmaninoff composed this work after a bout with depression following his poorly received first symphony. The success of this work revitalized his composing career and brought him international fame as a concerto composer. The difficult virtuoso solo part finds itself in the capable hands of Yuja Wang, whom Gramophone magazine named the 2009 Young Artist of the Year.
Like other major symphonic composers of the late Romantic era, Bruckner composed either small personal works or works of gargantuan proportions. Bruckner belonged to a new generation of composers in the nineteenth century that continually expanded traditions in musical styles, especially with harmony and form. His Sixth Symphony is no different and shows Bruckner’s maturity as an orchestral composer through its opulent harmonies, complex polyphony and unprepared modulations. Audience favorite Juanjo Mena, who was recently appointed Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, will lead the program.