Monday, March 31, 2008

Watts leads CSO lineup

March 16, 2008

The Cincinanti Enquirer
By Janelle Gelfand

André Watts, one of the world's greatest living pianists, will open the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's 2008-09 season in Music Hall.
The orchestra's 114th season will have other star power, too, such as violinist Midori performing Mendelssohn, pianist Yefim Bronfman in Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 and violinist Christian Tetzlaff performing Brahms' Violin Concerto in D.
For his eighth season as music director, Paavo Järvi is following his mantra of mixing symphonic classics with "a little bit of spice" on each program. Traditional favorites will include Gustav Holst's "The Planets," Handel's "Water Music," Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and Saint-Saens' "Organ" Symphony.
For the conductor, programming a season is a puzzle that includes finding subtle connections between pieces, factoring in the guest artists' strengths, working around recording projects and mixing in, not least, his own affinity for the music.
Fans of the new may gravitate to nine works that have never been performed by the Cincinnati Symphony, such as the Percussion Concerto by noted American composer Jennifer Higdon. Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg will take a departure from the usual violin concerto fare to play tango king Astor Piazzolla's "Four Seasons of Buenos Aires."
Järvi, who will lead 14 subscription weeks, will open the season Sept. 12 and 13 with Tchaikovsky's "Festival Coronation" March and Rachmaninoff's "Symphonic Dances." Watts, whose career was launched at age 16 when he stepped in for an ill Glenn Gould to perform with the New York Philharmonic, will be soloist in Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2.
Ten guest conductors will visit the orchestra's podium. Among them are two from the New York Philharmonic: Alan Gilbert, music director-designate, and Xian Zhang, associate conductor and former faculty member at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
The orchestra will record two albums for Telarc: A disc of Holst and Hindemith, and an album of Bartok and Ligeti, including Bartok's "Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta."

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