• WDCH
  • Pianist Martha Argerich Joins Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a Program of Ravel and Shostakovich
  • Mar. 12, 2009
  • THURSDAY AND FRIDAY, MARCH 12 AND 13, 2009, AT 8 PM; SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, MARCH 14 AND 15, 2009 AT 2 PM

    The March 13 Concert is Generously Sponsored by Breguet, the Official Timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic March 13 Media Sponsor: Time Warner Cable

    Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin makes his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall in a program of works by Ravel and Shostakovich, Thursday and Friday, March 12 and 13, at 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, March 14 and 15, at 2 p.m. Legendary pianist Martha Argerich joins the orchestra for Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, a piece that helped establish her as one of the most exciting and brilliant pianists of her time when she recorded it in 1967 with the Berlin Philharmonic.

    The program opens with Ravel’s La valse. The composer’s initial plan was to write a symphonic poem depicting Vienna in 1855. His work on it was held up by the Great War in which he served as an ambulance driver, but he resumed work on the piece in 1919. The end result was a richly imagined series of waltzes fashioned and developed in an intricate web.

    Ravel intended to write his Piano Concerto in G for his own use, but after completion abandoned the idea, determining that his keyboard skills were not up to standard, despite hours of practice. He turned to Marguerite Long to give the debut performance, which she did in 1932, with the composer conducting.

    Shostakovich wrote his Symphony No. 5 during a tumultuous time in his career. His opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, with its expressionistic intensity and brutal narrative, had incurred the wrath of Josef Stalin, a wrath that was not only career-, but life-threatening, and it was important that Shostakovich make amends. His Fifth Symphony, while not as supportive as a patriotic cantata, was enough to placate the dictator and has turned out to be the most popular of his 15 symphonies. The piece also carried a mixed message – the composer publicly said the work was, “a Soviet artist’s reply to just criticism,” while privately he was reported to have said that the finale is a satirical picture of the dictator – perfectly in keeping with the mystery of Shostakovich.

    The 33-year-old French Canadian Yannick Nézet-Séguin has built an amazing reputation for himself and is known throughout Europe for his soaring talent. He began studying the piano at age 5 and, by the age of 10, decided that he would become an orchestral conductor. By the age of 24, he was appointed Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, a position he maintains along with his recent appointment as Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

    The intensely private Martha Argerich began playing the piano at age 3 and gave her debut concert at the age of 8. Her piano technique is considered to be the most formidable of her time and she is an avid supporter of young artists.

    An opportunity to learn more about the program is free to all ticket holders at Upbeat Live, which takes place in BP Hall one hour prior to each concert. Asadour Santourian, artistic advisor and administrator of the Aspen Music Festival and School, hosts.

    At the beginning of the 2008/09 season, YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN succeeded Valery Gergiev as Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and became Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He remains Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, a position he took in March 2000; during his tenure, he has dramatically raised the orchestra's standards and popularity, sharing his musicians’ rigor and passion for music of many different styles. Following his European debut in late 2004 with Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Nézet-Séguin swiftly established a fine reputation in Europe, appearing with a wide range of orchestras, among them City of Birmingham Symphony, Frankfurt and Flemish Radio Symphony Orchestras, Sydney Symphony, Scottish Chamber and Northern Sinfonia, and received re-invitations across the board. He is now a regular guest conductor of many leading orchestras, such as the Dresden Staatskapelle, Orchestre National de France, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestra of Europe. In 2008, he made acclaimed debuts with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra Washington, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. In Canada, Nézet-Séguin regularly conducts the Toronto Symphony, and has worked with all the orchestras of note, including the National Centre of Arts Orchestra (Ottawa), Montreal Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, CBC Radio Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic and Victoria Symphony, of which he was Principal Guest Conductor between 2003 and 2006. Forthcoming debuts include the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Zurich Tonhalle, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Orchestra Sinfonica dell'Accademia di Santa Cecilia and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. A native of Montreal, Nézet-Séguin’s productions for L'Opéra de Montréal have included Monteverdi’s L'incoronazione di Poppea, Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte, Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande,Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore, Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri, Puccini’s Turandot and La bohéme. HIs most recent Canadian productions have been Gounod’s Faust for Canadian Opera (2007), and Madama Butterfly in Montreal (2008). In August 2008, he made an outstandingly successful Salzburg Festival debut conducting the Mozarteum Orchestra in Mozart's Mass in C Minor and a new production of Gounod’s Roméo and Juliette with a cast led by Rolando Villazon and Nino Machaidze. In May 2009, he makes his debut at the Netherlands Opera conducting Janá?ek’s The Makropoulos Case,with further productions scheduled for 2009/10 and 2011/12. Forthcoming debuts also include the Metropolitan Opera in New York, La Scala, in Milan and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Nézet-Séguin records for the dynamic Canadian company ATMA Classique and all his recordings with his Orchestre Métropolitain have received prizes and been extremely favourably reviewed by the international music press. His most recent recordings, La Mer (a collection of works by Debussy, Britten and Mercure) and Bruckner Symphony No.9 with the Orchestre Métropolitain, have been widely acclaimed. His first recordings with Rotterdam Philharmonic are due for release in the near future.

    Acclaimed worldwide as a living legend of the piano and renowned for her extraordinary technique and interpretive abilities, MARTHA ARGERICH reappeared in recital for the first time in 19 years in a benefit concert held at Carnegie Hall in Spring 2000. That same year, she was selected as the “Musician of the Year 2000” by Musical America. Earlier in the 1999/00 season, she received the Grammy Award as "Best Instrumental Soloist" for her recording of the Prokofiev Concertos Nos. 1 and 3 and the Bartók Piano Concerto No. 3, which she recorded with the Montreal Symphony conducted by Charles Dutoit. She has also gone on to win two additional Grammys: Best Chamber Music Performance” in February 2005 for her recording with Mikhail Pletnev on Deutsche Grammophon; and “Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (With Orchestra)” for her recording of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3 with Maestro Claudio Abbado and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in February 2006. A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Argerich began her piano studies at the age of 5 with Vicenzo Scaramuzza. Three years later, she gave her first professional performance in Buenos Aires and later moved to Europe to continue her studies with, among others, Stefan Askenaze, Friedrich Gulda, Nikita Magaloff, Madame Dinu Lipatti, and Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. At age 16, Argerich stunned the music world when, in the space of three weeks, she won both the Geneva International Competition and the Ferruccio Busoni International Competition in Bolzano. In 1965, she returned from a self-imposed retreat to become the first artist from the western hemisphere to win first prize at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw. This spectacular success led to her U.S. debut in 1966 on Lincoln Center's Great Performers series. Since then, Argerich has performed as a concert pianist with the world's leading orchestras and conductors. In 1998, Argerich became the Artistic Director of the Beppu Festival in Japan. In 1999, she created the International Piano Competition and Festival Martha Argerich in Buenos Aires, and in June 2002 the Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano. Agerich’s numerous awards, honours and distinctions include, from the government of France, Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres (1996) and Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2004); from Rome, Accademica di Santa Cecilia (1997) and, from Japan, Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, presented by the Emperor, and the prestigious Praemium Imperiale from the Japan Art Association (2005). Argerich's collaborations with Gidon Kremer have resulted in a rich variety of recordings recognized and honored by several prestigious awards. One of the most notable projects is a recording of the complete Beethoven violin sonatas (Nos. 1-3 won the 1985 Record Academy Prize), which they brought to a close with the release of the Kreutzer Op. 47 and Op. 96 in September 1995. She has also recorded much of the literature for four hands and two pianos with Nelson Freire, Stephen Bishop-Kovacevich, Nicolas Economou and Alexandre Rabinovitch. Argerich's discography, which includes more than a dozen Deutsche Grammophon recordings, encompasses works by Bach, Bartók, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, de Falla, Franck, Haydn, Liszt, Lutoslawski, Paganini, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Schubert, Schumann and Tchaikovsky. She has recorded Chopin and Schumann duos for piano and cello with Mstislav Rostropovich as well as Schumann sonatas for violin and piano with Gidon Kremer; a Schumann collection featuring Kreisleriana and Kinderscenen and Bach cello sonatas with Mischa Maisky, and the Ravel Piano Concerto in G with Claudio Abbado and the London Symphony. Another brilliant collaboration is a recording of Beethoven Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 with Giuseppi Sinopoli and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Argerich has also recorded on the EMI, RCA, CBS, Philips, Sony and Teldec labels.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, presents the finest in orchestral and chamber music, recitals, new music, jazz, world music and holiday concerts at two of the most remarkable places anywhere to experience music – Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to a 30-week winter subscription season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil presents a 12-week summer festival at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the Association’s involvement with Los Angeles extends to educational programs, community concerts and children's programming, ever seeking to provide inspiration and delight to the broadest possible audience.

    EDITORS PLEASE NOTE:

    THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2009, AT 8 PM

    FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2009, AT 8 PM

    SATURDAY, MARCH 14, 2009, AT 2 PM

    SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2009, AT 2 PM


    WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL

    111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles



    LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC

    YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN, conductor

    MARTHA ARGERICH, piano



    RAVEL La valse

    RAVEL Piano Concerto in G

    SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 5

    The March 13 concert is generously sponsored by Breguet, the Official Timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. March 13 Media Sponsor: Time Warner Cable

    An opportunity to learn more about the program is free to all ticket holders at Upbeat Live, which takes place in BP Hall one hour prior to each concert. Asadour Santourian, artistic advisor and administrator of the Aspen Music Festival and School, hosts.

    Tickets ($42 - $147) are on sale now at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office, online at LAPhil.com, or via credit card by phone at 323.850.2000. When available, choral bench seats ($17), will be released for sale to selected Philharmonic, Colburn Celebrity Recital, and Baroque Variations performances beginning at noon on the Tuesday of the second week prior to the concert. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For information, please call 323.850.2000.

    # # #

  • contact:

    Sophie Jefferies, 213.972.3422, sjefferies@laphil.org; Lisa White, 213.972.3408, lwhite@laphil.org; Photos: 213.972.3034