Murmurs from America: LA Chamber Orchestra and Pianist Andre Watts Play Beethoven, Haydn
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The last date listed for LA Chamber Orchestra and Pianist Andre Watts was Saturday October 13, 2007 / 8:00pm.
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The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra presents world-renowned American classical pianist André Watts in a concert conducted by music director Jeffrey Kahane. The program opens with Augusta Read Thomas’s Murmurs in the Mist of Memory and follows with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major. The final piece of the evening is Haydn’s Symphony No. 99 in E-flat major.
Murmurs in the Mist of Memory, from which this program partially borrows its name, is truly an American composition. It was written in 2001 by Augusta Read Thomas, who is chair of the board of the American Music Center, as well as a former composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and professor of Music at Northwestern University. Murmurs in the Mist of Memory is comprised of four distinct movements, each inspired by a separate Emily Dickinson poem about light. The idea, Thomas explains, is to “capture, concisely, a specific ‘universe’ or ‘mood’ in each movement in the short space of three or four minutes, such that the musicians would escort the listener through a mini suite of diverse expeditions into remembrances.”
Continuing the Orchestra’s celebration of American icons, guest artist André Watts performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, one of many dedicated to the composer’s close friend and student, Archduke Rudolph. Its first public performance in 1808 marked Beethoven’s last appearance as a soloist with an orchestra. While overshadowed by his other, more grandiose piano concertos, this more subdued and intimate piece was revived by Mendelssohn in 1836, thereafter becoming a favorite among pianists.
A child-prodigy-turned-virtuoso, Watts is one of the world’s premier pianists. He has performed with dozens of top orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He made his television debut on CBS at age 16, when Leonard Bernstein handpicked him to perform with the New York Philharmonic, and has since gone on to international acclaim. A recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize and several other honors from respected schools and institutions, he was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame last June.
The evening closes with Haydn’s Symphony No. 99 in E-flat major, a LACO specialty. Haydn, who was Beethoven’s primary teacher and one of his profoundest influences, composed his witty Symphony No. 99 within just a few years of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4. “I think one hears very much in the Haydn, especially in the opening, echoes of Beethoven there or vice versa. I think the connection between those two, which was always very deep, is something you can hear very much in the pieces written around the turn of the century,” commented Kahane. “I think Haydn’s wit is always front and center, but this is the wittiest of the witty.”
Concert Preludes, scheduled one hour prior to the concerts, feature stories behind the music and are free for all ticket holders.
Renowned as a pianist and conductor, Jeffrey Kahane is recognized by audiences around the world for his mastery of diverse repertoire from Bach to Gershwin. He has established a reputation as a truly versatile artist equally sought after as soloist, conductor and chamber musician. This year, Kahane enters his 11th season as music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and continues his successful tenure as music director of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Under his leadership, both ensembles received 2007 ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming. He also continues as artistic director of the Green Music Festival in Sonoma County.
André Watts burst upon the music scene at the age of 16 when Leonard Bernstein chose him to make his debut with the New York Philharmonic in its Young People’s Concerts, broadcast nationwide on CBS-TV. Only two weeks later, Bernstein asked him to substitute at the last minute for the ailing Glenn Gould in performances of Liszt’s E-flat concerto with the New York Philharmonic, thus launching his career in storybook fashion. More than 40 years later, André Watts remains one of the world’s most celebrated and beloved superstars. For his numerous achievements and contributions to the world of classical music, he was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame in June, 2006. Watts performs with many of the American orchestras with which he has had close relationships for many years, including the Philadelphia Orchestra in Philadelphia and Carnegie Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Atlanta, St. Louis, National, Indianapolis, Seattle, Milwaukee, Colorado and New Jersey symphonies. He also appears in recital throughout the country, including at Orchestra Hall in Chicago and Orchestra Hall in Detroit under the auspices of the Chicago and Detroit symphonies. In addition to his regular visits to the major summer music festivals including Ravinia, Tanglewood, Saratoga, the Mann Music Center, Mostly Mozart and the Hollywood Bowl, André Watts’s recent engagements include appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra and the Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Houston, Dallas and Cincinnati symphonies; a tour with the Israel Philharmonic with performances in Boston, Chicago and Atlanta; recitals at New York’s Lincoln Center and Metropolitan Museum, Washington DC’s Kennedy Center and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles; a Carnegie Hall appearance with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; a European tour with the Baltimore Symphony; and an appearance at the Proms in London.