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  • CONDUCTOR MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS RETURNS TO THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MORE THAN 20 YEARS FOR TWO CONCERTS WITH THE LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC
  • Jul. 31, 2007
  • All-Beethoven Program on Tuesday, July 31 Includes Symphony No. 9 with Soprano Jessica Rivera, Mezzo-Soprano Kelley O'Connor, Tenor Philippe Castagner, Bass Eric Owens, and Los Angeles Master Chorale, Grant Gershon, Music Director

    Works by Bernstein, Copland and Gershwin Spotlighted on Thursday, August 2, with Baritone Thomas Hampson, and Gore Vidal Narrating Lincoln Portrait

    TUESDAY AND THURSDAY, JULY 31 AND AUGUST 2, AT 8 PM

    Sponsor for Both Concerts is Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts

    Media Sponsor for the August 2 Concert is KUSC

    Celebrated conductor, pianist, and composer Michael Tilson Thomas returns to the Hollywood Bowl for the first time since 1985 for two programs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, an all-Beethoven night on Tuesday, July 31 at 8 p.m. and an all-American night on Thursday, August 2, at 8 p.m. One of the most prominent American conductors of his generation, Tilson Thomas was the Philharmonic's principal guest conductor from 1981 to 1985.

    The all-Beethoven program on July 31 includes music from King Stephen, the Bundeslied for chorus and orchestra, and Symphony No. 9 featuring four stellar soloists, soprano Jessica Rivera, mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor, tenor Philippe Castagner, and bass Eric Owens, as well as the renowned Los Angeles Master Chorale, Grant Gershon, music director. Rivera, hailed by The New York Times as a "vocally luminous young soprano," is quickly establishing herself as one of the leading artists of her generation. O'Connor was recognized by Opera Now on its annual "Young Artists: Who's Hot" list in 2006. Castagner has been called "an expressive tenor voice with keen musical intelligence" by the Washington Post. Owens has been recognized for his commanding stage presence and a wide-ranging voice of power and richness. Winner of the 2003 Marian Anderson Award, Owens' recent season was filled with two headline-making world premieres including the role of General Leslie Groves in John Adams' Doctor Atomic at the San Francisco Opera directed by Peter Sellars and the title role in Elliot Goldenthal's Grendel with the Los Angeles Opera and again at the Lincoln Center Festival in a production by Julie Taymor.

    The Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Master Chorale is under the leadership of Music Director Grant Gershon, who also serves as associate conductor/chorus master of LA Opera. Currently celebrating its 44th season, the Chorale is in its fifth season as the resident chorus at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

    The American composers program on Thursday includes Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, Gershwin's An American in Paris, six of Copland's Old American Songs with baritone Thomas Hampson, and Lincoln Portrait narrated by Gore Vidal. Grammy nominee Hampson is considered among America's leading baritones and has been recognized for his versatility and breadth of achievement in opera, song, recording, research and pedagogy. Vidal, the esteemed novelist, essayist, playwright, enjoys a career that has spanned six decades.

    MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS assumed his post as the San Francisco Symphony's 11th Music Director in September 1995, consolidating a strong relationship with the orchestra that began some two decades earlier in 1974 when he made his San Francisco Symphony conducting debut at the age of 29, leading the orchestra in Mahler's Symphony No. 9. In 1969, at age 24, after winning the Koussevitzky Prize at Tanglewood, Tilson Thomas was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Ten days later he made his New York debut with the Boston Symphony, gaining international recognition when he replaced Music Director William Steinberg mid-concert at Lincoln Center. He was later appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the BSO, where he remained until 1974. He has also served as Chief Conductor and Director of the Ojai Festival, Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic from 1971 to 1979, Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1981 to 1985, and Principal Conductor of the Great Woods Music Festival from 1985 to 1988. Tilson Thomas, who became Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra in 1988, was appointed its Principal Guest Conductor in September 1995, "trading" posts with Sir Colin Davis. He has led the LSO on tour in England, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Israel, Spain, the U.S., and Japan, as well as at the Salzburg Festival. In London, he and the orchestra mounted major festivals focusing on the music of Reich, Gershwin, Brahms, and Rimsky-Korsakov and the St. Petersburg school. Tilson Thomas served as Artistic Director of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan until 2000, a festival that he and Leonard Bernstein inaugurated in 1990. His guest-conducting engagements include frequent appearances with the major orchestras of Europe and the United States. In 1995, Michael Tilson Thomas led the London Symphony Orchestra in a concert honoring relief workers and earthquake survivors in Kobe, Japan. In 1995, he led the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in the world premiere of his composition Showa/Shoah, written in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Tilson Thomas' many honors include the President's Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Columbia University's Ditson Award for services to American Music, The American Music Center's Letter of Distinction, Musical America's 1995 Conductor of the Year Award, and National Public Radio's Performance Today Player of the Year Award in 1999.

    Soprano JESSICA RIVERA made her internationally critically acclaimed Santa Fe Opera debut as Nuria in the 2005 revised world premiere of Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar, a role she reprised for the 2007 Grammy Award winning Deutsche Grammophon recording of the work with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under Robert Spano, and in the Peter Sellars staging at Lincoln Center in January 2006, as well as performances at the Barbican Centre (London), and the Ojai and Ravinia Festivals. In 2006, Rivera created the role of Kumudha in John Adams' newest opera A Flowering Tree, directed by Peter Sellars, as part of the New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna, Austria. She made her Berlin Philharmonic debut under Sir Simon Rattle the following month in the same work and reprises her role in A Flowering Tree with the San Francisco Symphony under John Adams and at the Barbican Centre and New York's Lincoln Center.

    Mezzo-soprano KELLEY O'CONNOR has received international critical acclaim portraying Federico García Lorca in Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar. O'Connor created the role for the world premiere at Tanglewood under the baton of Robert Spano and has subsequently joined Miguel Harth-Bedoya for performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall. She reprised her portrayal of Lorca in the world premiere of the revised edition of Ainadamar at the Santa Fe Opera in a new staging by Peter Sellars, which also was presented at Lincoln Center. For her debut with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, in Ainadamar, she joined Robert Spano for performances and a Deutsche Grammophon recording: she rejoined Spano and Atlanta in summer 2006 for further performances of Ainadamar, and her debuts at the Ojai and Ravinia festivals. O'Connor made her European debut in January 2006 at the Barbican Centre in a performance of Golijov's Ainadamar Suite with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Roberto Minczuk.

    Tenor PHILIPPE CASTAGNER made his debut with the New York Philharmonic last year in Ravel's one-act opera L'enfant et les sortilèges. He won the 2005 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, as well as The Rhoda Walker Teagle Prize, The Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle Prize, and The Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival Prize. During the 2005-2006 season, Young Concert Artists presented Mr. Castagner's recital debuts in New York at Carnegie's Zankel Hall, in Washington, DC at the Kennedy Center, and in Boston at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. As winner of the 2002 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Castagner completed The Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program in the spring of 2005. Castagner has appeared with the New York City Opera, Metropolitan Opera, American Symphony Orchestra, Portland Opera, San Francisco Operaand and Aspen Festival Orchestra, among others.

    American bass-baritone ERIC OWENS' career is taking him to concert, recital and opera stages around the globe, where he has been recognized for his commanding stage presence and a wide-ranging voice of power and richness. The Los Angeles Times referred to Owens' portrayal of Grendel as "career-making" and the Philadelphia Enquirer reported that his was an "absolutely remarkable performance, one for the books, with Owens coloring the wide-ranging vocal lines as deftly as he does in art songs." The past season was no less exciting, highlighted by several performances by Owens in works written and conducted by John Adams. The beginning of the season found him singing Adams' The Wound Dresser with the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall, a performance that he reprised with the American Composers Orchestra at New York's Carnegie Hall. He performed in Adams' Flowering Tree, a new composition with a role written specifically for him, as part of director Peter Sellers' New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna. Owens repeated this role with the San Francisco Symphony, the Berlin Philharmonic (under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle), and again later on in the season at the Barbican Centre in London.

    The LOS ANGELES MASTER CHORALE, Grant Gershon, Music Director, has received the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming, among other accolades. Founded in 1964, the Chorale was the first organization in the nation to offer a complete season of great choral masterworks. In addition to presenting its own concert series at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Chorale performs regularly with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    American baritone THOMAS HAMPSON took first place in the 1981 Metropolitan Opera Auditions and the following year attracted wide notice as Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. He studied with Marietta Coyle, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Martial Singher and Horst Günther and now enjoys an international career that has taken him to all of the world's most prestigious stages and concert halls, making him one of today's most respected, innovative and sought-after soloists. Hampson's operatic roles span a wide range of repertoire from Rossini to Verdi and Puccini and from Monteverdi to Britten and Henze. He has furthered his commitment to the art of song not only by teaching, but also by researching the repertoire, and designing multi-media projects like "Voices from the Heart," a performance documentary on the music of Stephen Foster for the Hessischer Rundfunk/Arte network, and the highly acclaimed "I Hear America Singing," a program about the cultural contexts of American song, which first aired in 1997 on WNET's Great Performances. One of the most prolific and diversely-recorded artists of his generation, Hampson's recordings appear on eight major labels. Almost all of his recordings have received the rewards of the industry, including six Grammy nominations, two Edison Prizes, three 1994 Gramophone Awards, the 1992 Grand Prix de la Nouvelle Académie du Disque, the Grand Prix du Disque, the 1994 Charles Cros Académie du Disque Lyrique, and the esteemed Toblacher Prize.

    GORE VIDAL made a name for himself right after World War II with his first few novels, especially Williwaw (1946) and The City and the Pillar (1948). Since then he has become one of America's foremost celebrity authors, famous for his prose, intelligence and sophistication. Visible as an all-purpose guest commentator on television since the 1950s, Vidal has also appeared in the movies, including Bob Roberts (1992). Vidal wrote the hit Broadway play Visit to a Small Planet (1955), and the hit book Myra Breckenridge (1968), and a very successful and critically-acclaimed series of historical novels about the United States, including Burr (1973), 1876 (1976), Empire (1989), Hollywood (1989) and The Golden Age (2000). According to one biographer, Gore is "still gets his name in the papers every now and then during regular highbrow spats with other celebrities." Vidal has made unsuccessful bids for both the congress (1960) and the senate (1982). The grandson of U.S. Senator Thomas Pryor Gore, Vidal shared a stepfather (Hugh Auchincloss) with Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and is a distant cousin of former Vice President Al Gore. He was an uncredited writer for the 1959 blockbuster Ben-Hur (starring Charlton Heston).

    One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the HOLLYWOOD BOWL has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922, and in 1991 gave its name to the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, a resident ensemble that has filled a special niche in the musical life of Southern California. The 2004 season introduced audiences to a revitalized Hollywood Bowl, featuring a newly-constructed shell and stage and the addition of four stadium screens enhancing stage views in the venue. To this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's concerts. While the Bowl is best known for its sizzling summer nights, during the day California's youngest patrons enjoy "SummerSounds: Music for Kids at the Hollywood Bowl," the Southland's most popular summer arts festival for children, now in its 39th season. Attendance figures over the past several decades have soared: in 1980 the Bowl first topped the half-million mark and close to one million admissions have been recorded. In February 2007, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue for the third year in a row at the 18th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards; the Bowl's summer music festival has become as much a part of a Southern California summer as beaches and barbecues, the Dodgers, and Disneyland.

    EDITORS PLEASE NOTE:

    HOLLYWOOD BOWL, 2301 N. Highland Ave. in Hollywood

    Tuesday, July 31 at 8 PM

    LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC

    MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS, conductor

    JESSICA RIVERA, soprano

    KELLEY O'CONNOR, mezzo-soprano

    PHILIPPE CASTAGNER, tenor

    ERIC OWENS, bass

    LOS ANGELES MASTER CHORALE, GRANT GERSHON, music director

    BEETHOVEN Music from King Stephen

    BEETHOVEN Bundeslied

    BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9

    Thursday, August 2 at 8 PM

    LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC

    MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS, conductor

    THOMAS HAMPSON, baritone

    GORE VIDAL, speaker

    BERNSTEIN Symphonic Dances from West Side Story

    COPLAND Old American Songs

    COPLAND Lincoln Portrait

    GERSHWIN An American in Paris

    Sponsor for Both Concerts is Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts

    Media Sponsor for the August 2 Concert is KUSC

    Tickets ($1 - $93) are on sale now at HollywoodBowl.com, at the Hollywood Bowl Box Office (Tuesday - Saturday, 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.), or by calling Ticketmaster at 213.480.3232, and at all Ticketmaster outlets (Macy's, Tower Records and Ritmo Latino locations). Groups of 10 or more may be eligible for a 20% discount, subject to availability; call 323.850.2050 for further details. For general information or to request a brochure, call 323.850.2000.

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  • contact:

    Adam Crane, acrane@laphil.org, 213.972.3034; Rachelle Roe, rroe@laphil.org, 213.972.7310; Lisa Bellamore, lbellamore@laphil.org; 213.972.3689; For photos: 213.972.3034