Daniel Meyer, conductor. Photo by Kristi Hedberg. download

Daniel Meyer with the Pittsburgh Symphony

This week, as much of the world feels the inexorable pull of the Force, Maestro Daniel Meyer leads the Pittsburgh Symphony in a special live performance of John Williams’s iconic scores for the Star Wars films, Episodes 1-6.

This special concert is not Meyer’s only Pittsburgh Symphony date this December; he leads holiday programs with the PSO throughout the month.

These dates follow a return to Europe for concerts with the Tonkünstler Orchestra (Austria) and Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen, with programs featuring works by Copland and Jennifer Higdon, Osvaldo Golijov, Schumann and others.

Paul Jacobs, organ
Paul Jacobs, organ. Photo by Ficarri. download

Paul Jacobs with the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, and on tour with the Philadelphia Orchestra

This week Paul Jacobs returns to the Chicago Symphony for Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 led by Emmanuel Krivine.

Two weekends ago Paul was the featured soloist at the final concert of the Cleveland Orchestra’s weeklong festival exploring ecstasy in music playing Liszt’s “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam” Fantasy and Fugue — his second engagement with Cleveland this season, following a subscription week in November for performances of Stephen Paulus’ “Grand Concerto” for Organ and Orchestra (2004) with Giancarlo Guererro.

“Still, if anything pushed Saturday over the top, near the “ecstatic” realm, it was the presence at night’s end of organist Paul Jacobs. Playing the Norton Memorial Organ (with pipes partially exposed by the set of “Tristan and Isolde”), the virtuoso held the house in the palm of his hand with an epic Fantasy and Fugue by Liszt.”
Zachary Lewis, THE PLAIN DEALER, April 30, 2018

“Masterfully mixing the registers of the E.M. Skinner organ and making subtle stop changes as the piece went on, Jacobs finally shifted into overdrive, and flicking a fingernail across the organ’s row of coupler tabs to command its full power, brought Liszt’s fantasy to an exultant conclusion.”
– Daniel Hathaway, CLEVELAND CLASSICAL, May 1, 2018

Jacobs closes out this season when he joins forces once again with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin on tour to LuxembourgBrussels and Hamburg’s recently opened Elbphilharmonie playing Wayne Oquin’s Resilience — a work they performed together in Philadelphia to open the season, followed by a subscription week in January when Paul played the mammoth, witty, challenging Scotch Bestiary by Sir James Macmillan as part of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s British Isles Festival.

Coming up next season, Pau plays the world premiere of John Harbison’s What Do We Make of Bach? for Orchestra and Obbligato Organ with the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä; returns for a week to the Cleveland Orchestra with Franz Welser-Möst for the US premiere of Okeanos by Bernd Richard Deutsch, and performs and records Barber’s Toccata Festiva with the Lucerne Symphony led by James Gaffigan.  He also performs the Barber for the opening night of Phoenix Symphony‘s 18/19 season and with the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, as well as numerous recitals, including a return to  the Walt Disney Concert Hall to play the “Hurricane Mama” organ presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Tafelmusik - photo by Sian Richards. download

Tafelmusik’s Safe Haven

US Touring Period: March 4 – 15, 2020

In March 2020, Tafelmusik will bring their latest multimedia project on tour to the U.S.:

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, refugee communities such as French Huguenots in London, Scottish Catholics in Warsaw, and Sephardic Jews in Amsterdam changed and enriched the economy and culture of their host cities.

This concert of masterworks by Vivaldi, Corelli, Lully and Bach portrays the influence of migration on the musical life of the cities of Europe.  In song, images and narration, the concert also celebrates the ancient music and culture of West Africa and its influence in North America today.  A multimedia tale of the musical ideas of Baroque Europe’s refugee artists.

Program includes works by: Lully, Bach, Purcell, Telemann, and featuring Vivaldi’s “Winter” from The Four Seasons.

“…go for the excellent music, or for the compelling story about loss of homeland and redemption in the welcoming arms of strangers. Or you can go just so you can leave the concert with a big smile on your face.”

John Terauds, The Toronto Star, January 19, 2018

An invitation from Maryem Tollar, narrator and vocalist for Tafelmusik’s presentation of Safe Haven, below:

Francesco Piemontesi, piano
Francesco Piemontesi, piano. Photo by Marco Borggreve. download

Francesco Piemontesi: Beethoven with Sir Roger Norrington and upcoming highlights

Francesco Piemontesi performs Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3 with Roger Norrington and the SWR Symphonieorchester in Stuttgart on March 9, 2018. his brilliant performance was filmed from several angles with the players surrounding Norrington:

This summer Francesco will return to he Mostly Mozart estival or Mozart Piano Concerto in B flat major, K. 595 led by Thomas Dausgaard, and next season debuts with the Boston Symphony for Mozart Piano Concerto in F major, K. 459 with Andrew Manze and at the National Symphony with Music Director Gianandrea Noseda for Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

Highlights from the rest of this season include Franck Symphonic Variations and the Strauss Burleske with the Orchestre National de France on tour with Emmanuel Krivine as well as with the Seoul Philharmonic and Asher Fisc; Schumann concerto with the Bamberg Symphony and Marek Janowski; Mozart K. 595 with Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia led by Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla; and Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester led by Pablo Haras Casado.

The Heath Quartet - photo by Simon Way
The Heath Quartet - photo by Simon Way. L to R: Chris Murray, cello; Oliver Heath, violin; Sara Wolstenholme, violin; Gary Pomeroy, violia. download

Heath Quartet returns to Lincoln Center March 22, 2018

On Thursday March 22, the HEATH QUARTET returns to Great Performers at Lincoln Center for a program of Haydn and Tchaikovsky and appears with the Treetops Chamber Music Society in Stamford, Connecticut on March 25.

Next season they will make return appearance  Carnegie Hall and Toronto’s Mooredale Concerts, with debuts for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Buffalo Chamber Music Society, and the Mansion at Strathmore.

2017/2018 highlights include a five-concert series at Wigmore Hall in London, featuring Jörg Widmann’s quartets, with further Widmann cycles at the Boulez Saa in Paris. They will record the Enescu and Mendelssohn octets, give the premiere of a new work by Helen Grime, and undertake a two week tour of New Zealand.

The Quartet will be on-stage cast members in provocative director Calixto Bieito’s The String Quartet’s Guide to Sex and Anxiety.

The production premieres at The Birmingham Repertory Theater in May 2018 and travels to The Brighton Festival, Luxembourg’s Théâtres de la Ville, Bilbao’s Teatro Arriaga Antzokia and The Holland Festival.

The Heath Quartet won the 2016 Gramophone Chamber Award for its recording of the complete string quartets of Michael Tippett (Wigmore LIVE). The ensemble’s critically acclaimed debut recording for Harmonia Mundi featured Tchaikovsky’s first and third quartets, followed by a live recording, released last May, of the complete Bartók quartets performed at Wigmore Hall.

Watch excerpts from their December 10, 2017 Wigmore Hall concert:

Jayce Ogren, conductor
Jayce Ogren, conductor. Photo by Rebecca Fay. download

Jayce Ogren – Launching 2018 with Classics in Edmonton, Columbus, and Louisville

Conductor Jayce Ogren leads subscription weeks this season in debut performances with the Columbus, Louisville, and Asheville Symphonies, and in a return performance with the Edmonton Symphony in straight-ahead classical repertoire ranging from Mendelssohn and Beethoven to Sibelius, Stravinsky, and Copland.

Last month Ogren led the Louisville Symphony in concerts of the rarely heard Berwald’s Estrella de Soria Overture, Sibelius’s Symphony No. 7 (a premiere in Louisville! And one of Jayce’s favorite party pieces), and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Cto. in D.

“When I suggested Sibelius’s Symphony 7 for my program with the Louisville Orchestra, I couldn’t believe that I’d be conducting the first performances in their history. It’s an incredibly important piece to me, and moves me in ways I can’t quite explain. It was so rewarding to talk with the musicians throughout the week about how much they enjoyed discovering this 22 minute masterpiece. Our first concert was cancelled because of an ice storm, so with only one opportunity to perform the Sibelius, they gave it their absolute all! It was a wonderful week with an excellent orchestra.” – Jayce Ogren

Listen to this recent radio interview with Jayce Ogren and violinist Gabe Lefkowitz on 90.5 WUOL Classical Louisville, below.

Next week, Jayce returns to the Edmonton Symphony to lead a double header: two nights of Copland’s Orchestral Variations, Korngold’s Violin Concerto, Sibelius’s Valse Triste and Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite; and a third night of vocal works by Mozart, Offenbach, Verdi, and Bernstein – along with Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll and Schubert’s Symphony No. 5.

Coming up Ogren leads the Columbus Symphony in Beethoven Symphony No. 1, Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3; and the Asheville Symphony in John Adams’ The Chairman Dances, de Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain with Joyce Yang, and Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2.

He finishes up the season with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, leading the remastered film of Bernstein’s West Side Story with live orchestra.

Jacques Lacombe, conductor
Jacques Lacombe, conductor. Photo by Philippe Champoux. download

Vive Ravel, Daphnis et Chloé – and Jacques Lacombe!

Jacques Lacombe, conductor

Jacques Lacombe, conductor. Photo by Hilary Scott.

“…Lacombe treated Symphony Hall to the most engrossing and dynamic rendition of Ravel’s ‘Daphnis et Chloé’ that I’ve ever seen performed…
“Lacombe’s direction gave unique form to each figure, with the conductor stepping lightly and gesturing gracefully. The music danced like the ballet it was.” – Zoë Madonna, Boston Globe, February 16, 2018

“Canadian maestro, Jacques Lacombe filled Symphony Hall with a kaleidoscope of colors…He colored each episode with the shifting hues and timbres of its specific atmospherics and shrewdly molded the swells and surges from which the alluring solo contributions by flute, oboe, English horn and French horn rose.” – Kevin Wells, Bachtrack February 19, 2018

Jacques Lacombe, conductor

Jacques Lacombe, conductor

Jacques Lacombe, conductor
Jacques Lacombe, conductor. Photo by Philippe Champoux. download

Operas, Orchestras, Jacques Lacombe

Currently Principal Conductor of the Bonn Opera in Germany, Jacques Lacombe keeps his hand in the orchestral scene in North America when he leads the Boston Symphony February 15-17 in a subscription week at Symphony Hall – an all-French program (Debussy/Ravel) with Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Also in February, he returns for concerts with the Montreal Symphony — where he has led well over a hundred concerts — in a program of Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 and Shostakovich’s Violin Cto. No. 2, featuring violinist Alina Ibragimova. At season’s end, he leads the Quebec Symphony in Brahms’ German Requiem.

On the opera front in 2017/18, Lacombe leads Carmen, Il Tabarro/Gianni Schicchi and Oberst Charbert in Bonn; Hoffmann in Monte Carlo with Juan Diego Flores and Olga Peretyatko, Faust at the Deutsche Oper Berlin (Diana Damrau’s debut in the role of Marguerite), Tosca at the Calgary Opera and Turandot in Vancouver.

Rounding out the picture, in the last several seasons European Opera houses have seen Lacombe lead productions of:

La Boheme
Peter Grimes

Deutsche Oper Berlin
Pelleas and Melisande
Der Traumgörge
Flying Dutchman
Ariadne Auf Naxos
Eugene Onegin
Un Ballo in Maschera
Samson and Delilah

L’Opera de Monte Carlo
La Favorite (w/ J.D. Flores)
Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
Opera Gala w/ Diana Damrau

Nantes/Anger: Dialogues des Carmélites

Opéra National du Rhin: La Juive

L’Orchestre National de France/Paris: Werther w/ J.D. Flores and Joyce DiDonato

“On the orchestral front, an augmented Vancouver Opera orchestra revelled in the score’s sinister brilliance and conductor Jacques Lacombe was in his element.” – David Gordon Duke, Vancouver Sun, October 15, 2017

“Lacombe proved a skilled and zealous advocate for this music’s poundingly atavistic rhythms and its fanciful lyric scenes.” – Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe, July 11, 2016

Adam Golka, piano
Adam Golka, piano. Photo by Jürgen Frank. download

Adam Golka Releases a Schumann Disc!

Adam Golka releases SCHUMANN: Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 11 etc with First Hand Records. For more information, click here.

“These are performances of poetry and sensitivity, with the reading of the piano sonata rivalling some of the great discs of the past. Adam Golka is joined by the soprano Lauren Eberwein, an artist of subtle skill, on An Anna II, and a particularly delicate reading is given of all the music here, which is perhaps not as familiar as it should be.” [Classical CD Choice]

Adam Golka piano
Lauren Eberwein soprano*

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
1. An Anna II *
2-6. Piano Sonata No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 11, ‘Grosse Sonate’
7. Fantasiestücke, Op. 12, No. 1, Des Abends: Sehr innig und spielend
8. 6 Gedichte und Requiem, Op. 90, No. 6, Der schwere Abend*
9. 12 Klavierstucke, Op. 85, No. 12, Abendlied (arr. Adam Golka)

Recorded at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York City, USA, 24-30 October 2016