Events & Tickets
THIBAUDET AND PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION
Adrienne Arsht Center
6:00 - 7:00 PM: Complimentary beer tasting from Concrete Beach Brewery, and happy hour specials in the atrium
7:00 - 7:30 PM: Musicians from Young Musicians Unite perform on the stage of the Knight Concert Hall
8:00 PM: New World Symphony concert
From the glittering waters of the Nile to the majestic Golden Gate of Kiev, NWS presents the grand and exotic in this exclusive evening at the Adrienne Arsht Center. One of the world’s premier pianists, Jean-Yves Thibaudet radiates brilliance in Camille Saint-Saëns’ evocative and alluring Egyptian Concerto—a work never before performed by the orchestra. This performance of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition will be unforgettable with breathtaking animations specially designed for NWS and one of the most extraordinary finales of all time. Leading the Fellows from its Old Castle to haunting caverns is Spanish conductor Juanjo Mena. NWS Conducting Fellow Chad Goodman will begin the evening with Hector Berlioz’ Tuscan treasure of an Overture.
NWS DOWNTOWN: The theme for this evening's pre-concert festivities is "Egyptian," which is the nickname of Saint-Saens' piano concerto being performed by the inimitable Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Camille Saint-Saens composed the work while in the city of Luxor, a glorious city on the banks of the Nile River and the site of Ancient Thebes. Experience a taste of the rich musical and dance heritage of this region throughout the evening. Click here to read all about NWS Downtown -- a series of new benefits to your Arsht Center experience!
The animations presented in this performance were commissioned by the New World Symphony. Developed in collaboration with Michael Tilson Thomas, they were created by a team of 13 student, alumni and faculty artists at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. The single-screen version was made possible by Scott Winters and Ion Concert Media.
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Approx. Duration: 11 minutes
Overture to Benvenuto Cellini, Op. 23
Approx. Duration: 30 minutes
Concerto No. 5 in F major for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 103, "Egyptian"
Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel
Approx. Duration: 30 minutes
Pictures at an Exhibition
The Old Castle
Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks
Two Polish Jews
The Market at Limoges
The Catacombs – With the Dead in a Dead Language
The Hut on Hen’s Legs (Baba Yaga)
The Great Gate of Kiev
Overture to Benvenuto Cellini, Op. 23
Approximate duration: 11 minutes
Hector Berlioz was an unlikely musical revolutionary who only began dabbling in composition and teaching himself harmony at the age of 12. His father, a physician, disapproved of these musical pursuits, so the young Berlioz never took lessons or mastered an instrument. At 18 he moved to Paris to study medicine, and he waited another five years before finally enrolling at the Paris Conservatory in 1826. He rocked the establishment with his Symphonie fantastique in 1830, and yet he showed enough technique and restraint in his entry to that year’s Prix de Rome competition that he won the coveted fellowship.
Berlioz left Paris, reluctantly, in 1831. For someone with such a dim view of the Eternal City—he later wrote, “Rome is the most stupid and prosaic city I know: it is no place for anyone with head or heart”—he developed quite a fascination with Italy, one based more on romanticized literature than actual experience.
For his first opera since an unfinished student effort, Berlioz dramatized the memoirs of an artist from the Italian Renaissance, the title character Benvenuto Cellini. The Paris Opera mounted that work in 1838, but the audience hissed through the premiere, and it closed after only three more performances. Although the opera remains a rarity onstage, its Overture and other extracted segments (including the Roman Carnival Overture) have found a lasting place in the orchestral repertoire.
The Overture to Benvenuto Cellini begins on a confident note, in a tempo marked “fast, decisive, with impetus,” establishing the central theme of this curtain raiser. It soon retreats into a slow introduction rooted in a plucked line from the cellos and basses, which serves as a preview of the climactic aria of forgiveness delivered by the Pope in the final act.
Concerto No. 5 in F major for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 103, "Egyptian"
Approximate duration: 30 minutes
Camille Saint-Saëns was just 10 years old when he made his public debut at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, playing a program from memory that included piano concertos by Beethoven and Mozart (for which he wrote his own cadenza). He went on to study piano, organ and composition at the Paris Conservatory, and he excelled in all those pursuits during his long career at the forefront of French music. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of his storied debut, Saint-Saëns returned to the Salle Pleyel with a star-studded program centered on the premiere of a new piano concerto—the fifth he wrote for himself, in addition to several smaller piano showpieces with orchestra.
Saint-Saëns traveled extensively for both work and pleasure, and his contact with many far-flung parts of the globe made a lasting impact on his composing. He wrote the Fifth Piano Concerto while enjoying the winter warmth in Luxor, Egypt, and those origins as well as certain exotic details in the music earned this Concerto its nickname as the “Egyptian.” There is no trace of that foreign aspect in the first movement, with its elegant balancing of themes, nor does it sway the effervescent finale that captures Saint-Saëns’ glittering sense of keyboard coloration; those “Egyptian” elements are limited to the central movement, including a tender melody that Saint-Saëns described as a “Nubian love song” that he heard while traveling down the Nile by boat. Other details have a more Mediterranean flavor, recalling the Flamenco tropes of southern Spain or the related Arabic music of northern Africa—a place Saint-Saëns knew well from his many visits to Algeria, where he eventually died at the age of 86. He lived long enough to give a farewell performance on the 75th anniversary of that boyhood debut, and he kept writing vital music to the very end, but he left the “Egyptian” Concerto as his last contribution to the repertoire for piano and orchestra.
Pictures at an Exhibition
Approximate duration: 30 minutes
Modest Mussorgsky was a military cadet with a knack for the piano when, at age 19, he dedicated himself to composition and took his first serious lessons. The highpoint of his short career came in 1874, with the successful premiere of his opera Boris Godunov. That same year, a memorial retrospective of paintings by Viktor Hartmann, who had recently died from an aneurysm at age 39, inspired his good friend Mussorgsky to compose Pictures at an Exhibition. The suite for solo piano adopted a novel form in which a recurring promenade represents the composer strolling through the exhibit, linking the movements inspired by specific images.
Five years after Mussorgsky’s alcohol-fueled death at the age of 41, his friend and fellow composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov arranged for a posthumous publication of the original piano version of Pictures at an Exhibition, and one of his students soon made the first symphonic adaptation. The music is best known through the orchestral version heard here, created in 1922 by Maurice Ravel.
The iconic Promenade struts to an irregular gait, grouped into five- and six-beat segments. This theme represents the ambling composer, and the slightly imbalanced heft of the music seems a good match for the outsized Mussorgsky. The next movement, The Gnome, celebrates Hartmann’s design for a gnome-shamed nutcracker, depicted with halting phrases and brittle ensemble effects.
A gentle restatement of the Promenade prepares The Old Castle, evoking an image of a troubadour singing before a medieval castle, represented by the dreamy buzz of a solo alto saxophone. Another fragment of Promenade ushers in Tuileries, based on Hartmann’s painting of children in the Tuileries Garden in Paris. The recurring motive of a descending minor third captures the universal musical gesture with which children tease and call each other.
Cattle recalls a painting of an ox-drawn cart, casting the tuba’s sullen melody over plodding accompaniment. An interlude of Promenade material links into the Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks, inspired by Hartmann’s sketch for a costume in which only the dancer’s head, arms and legs emerge from an eggshell. The music uses flitting grace notes and bright treble instruments to maximize the chirping playfulness.
Two Polish Jews represents two separate portraits of Jewish men, one rich and one poor. The first theme in octaves rings with Semitic intervals and inflections, while a second chorale-like passage, peppered with muted trumpet, offsets the initial incantation.
The Market at Limoges transports the animated chatter of female shoppers engaged in frenetic crosstalk. At the climax, it breaks off into the deep, slow resonance of The Catacombs, drawn from a self-portrait of Hartmann in the depths of Paris.
The next section, With the Dead in a Dead Language, brings the composer into the picture through a spectral recollection of the Promenade theme. As Mussorgsky wrote in the margin of his score, “The creative spirit of the dead Hartmann leads me towards the skulls, invokes them; the skulls begin to glow softly from within.”
From that most hallowed place, the exhibition proceeds to the most outlandish movement, The Hut on Fowl’s Legs (Baba Yaga). Hartmann’s design for a clock modeled after the bird-legged house of the witch Baba Yaga inspired Mussorgsky to depict another component of the folk tale, where the witch flies around in the mortar she uses to grind up the human bones she eats. That whirlwind music pivots in an instant to the most grand and majestic passage in the piece, The Great Gate of Kiev, reflecting Hartmann’s winning design for a ceremonial gate for the Ukrainian capital.
-- © 2020 Aaron Grad
Aaron Grad is a composer, guitarist and writer based in Seattle. Besides providing program notes for the New World Symphony, he has been the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s program annotator since 2005 and also contributes notes to the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Seattle Symphony.
Welcome to Keynotes, NWS's new program-based podcast! NWS audiences can now soak up musical clips and commentary for an upcoming performance while on the road, in the kitchen or at work -- wherever life takes you! Keynotes will be available for select concerts throughout the season. Let us set the stage for your concert experience by sharing noteworthy moments guided by NWS’s program note annotator Aaron Grad and select Fellows. Audio clips provided by Naxos of America, Inc.
One of Spain’s most distinguished international conductors, Juanjo Mena has been Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, Artistic Director of the Bilbao Symphony, Chief Guest Conductor of the Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa and Principal Guest Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic. He is currently Principal Conductor of the Cincinnati May Festival and Associate Conductor of the Spanish National Orchestra. He has worked with many prestigious orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony, National Orchestra of France, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Milan, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich, Bavarian Radio Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Symphony, as well as with all the major orchestras in Spain.
Mr. Mena has conducted most of the leading orchestras in North America, including the Chicago, Boston, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Montreal, National and Toronto symphonies, New York and Los Angeles philharmonics and the Cleveland, Minnesota and Philadelphia orchestras.
A guest of international festivals, Mr. Mena has appeared at the Stars of White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Hollywood Bowl, Grant Park (Chicago), Tanglewood and La Folle Journée (Nantes). He has led the BBC Philharmonic on tours of Europe and Asia, including performances in Cologne, Munich, Vienna, Madrid, Beijing and Seoul, and annual concerts at the BBC Proms in London. His operatic work includes The Flying Dutchman, Salome, Elektra, Ariadne auf Naxos, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, Fidelio and Erwartung, and productions including Eugene Onegin in Genoa, The Marriage of Figaro in Lausanne and Billy Budd in Bilbao.
Mr. Mena has made several recordings with the BBC Philharmonic, including recent releases of Ginastera’s orchestral works to mark the composer’s centenary, three discs of works by Manuel de Falla, one of which was a BBC Music Magazine Recording of the Month, a Gabriel Pierné release which was a Gramophone Editor’s Choice, and works by Albéniz, Arriaga, Montsalvatge, Weber and Turina which have gained excellent reviews from the specialist music press. He has also recorded Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony for Hyperion with the Bergen Philharmonic, an interpretation which is said to “utterly redefine the terms under which past/current/future Turangalîlas need to be judged.” (Gramophone, 2012).
Highlights of Mr. Mena’s 2019-20 season include his debut with the City of Birmingham Symphony, as well as return visits to the symphonies of Chicago, Montreal and Pittsburgh.
For more than three decades, Jean-Yves Thibaudet has performed worldwide, recorded more than 50 albums and built a reputation as one of today’s finest pianists. He plays a range of solo, chamber and orchestral repertoire– from Beethoven through Liszt, Grieg and Saint-Saëns, to Khachaturian and Gershwin, and to Qigang Chen and James MacMillan. From the very start of his career, he delighted in music beyond the standard repertoire, from jazz to opera, which he transcribed himself to play on the piano. His profound professional friendships crisscross the globe and have led to spontaneous and fruitful collaborations in film, fashion and visual art.
In 2019-20, Mr. Thibaudet renews many longstanding musical partnerships. As the St. Louis Symphony’s Artist-in-Residence, he plays a pair of season-opening concerts conducted by longtime friend and collaborator Stéphane Denève, and returns for additional programming later in the season. He also tours a program of Schumann, Fauré, Debussy and Enescu with Midori, followed by the complete Beethoven sonatas for piano and violin. Mr. Thibaudet gives the world premiere of Aaron Zigman’s Tango Manos concerto for piano and orchestra with the China Philharmonic, and goes on to perform it with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and San Francisco Symphony. Mr. Zigman composed the score for Robin Swicord’s Wakefield, for which Thibaudet was the soloist; this was the first time that the composer had allowed a pianist other than himself to perform his film work.
A noted interpreter of French music, Mr. Thibaudet performs works by Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Connesson and Debussy around the world. As one of the premiere interpreters of Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony, he plays the piece in his hometown as Artist-in-Residence of the Orchestre National de Lyon, with conductor Susanna Mälkki. He also brings along his passion for Gershwin this season, performing the Concerto for Piano in F major in Lyon as well as in Houston, Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Naples, Tokyo and at the Kissinger Sommer Festival, where he is Artist-in-Residence.
Mr. Thibaudet expresses his passion for education and fostering young musical talent as the first-ever Artist-in-Residence at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, where he makes his home. The school has extended the residency for an additional three years and has announced the Jean-Yves Thibaudet Scholarships to provide aid for Music Academy students, whom Mr. Thibaudet will select for the merit-based awards, regardless of their instrument choice.
Mr. Thibaudet’s recording catalog has received two Grammy Award nominations, the German Record Critics’ Awards, the Diapason d’Or, the Choc du Monde de la Musique, the Edison Prize and Gramophone awards. In 2017 he released to great acclaim Bernstein's Age of Anxiety with the Baltimore Symphony and Marin Alsop, with whom he previously recorded Gershwin, featuring big jazz band orchestrations of Rhapsody in Blue, Variations on “I Got Rhythm” and the Concerto in F. In 2016, on the 150th anniversary of Erik Satie's birth, Decca released a box set of Satie's complete solo piano music performed by Mr. Thibaudet – one of the foremost champions of the composer's works. On his Grammy Award-nominated recording Saint-Saëns, Piano Concerti Nos. 2 & 5, released in 2007, he is joined by Charles Dutoit and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Mr. Thibaudet's Aria–Opera Without Words, which was released the same year, features aria transcriptions, some of which are his own. His other recordings include the jazz albums Reflections on Duke: Jean-Yves Thibaudet Plays the Music of Duke Ellington and Conversations with Bill Evans.
Mr. Thibaudet has had an impact on the worlds of fashion, film and philanthropy. In addition to Aaron Zigman’s score for Wakefield, Mr. Thibaudet was soloist in Dario Marianelli’s award-winning scores for the films Atonement (which won an Oscar for Best Original Score) and Pride and Prejudice, and recorded Alexandre Desplat’s soundtrack for the 2012 film Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. He had a cameo in Bruce Beresford's film on Alma Mahler, Bride of the Wind, and his playing is showcased throughout. In 2004 he served as president of the prestigious charity auction Hospices de Beaune. His concert wardrobe is designed by Dame Vivienne Westwood.
Mr. Thibaudet was born in Lyon, France, where he began his piano studies at age five and made his first public appearance at age seven. At 12, he entered the Paris Conservatory to study with Aldo Ciccolini and Lucette Descaves, a friend and collaborator of Ravel. At age 15, he won the Premier Prix du Conservatoire and, three years later, the Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York City. Among his numerous commendations is the Victoire d’Honneur, a lifetime career achievement award and the highest honor given by France’s Victoires de la Musique. In 2010 the Hollywood Bowl honored Mr. Thibaudet for his musical achievements by inducting him into its Hall of Fame. Previously a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Mr. Thibaudet was awarded the title Officier by the French Ministry of Culture in 2012.
Recognized as "an entrepreneur bringing innovation to classical music" (Forbes), Chad Goodman leads an active and diverse conducting career.
The Conducting Fellow of the New World Symphony, Mr. Goodman will work closely with Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas and take the podium on 13 programs during the 2019-20 Season. Since 2018 he has served as an Assistant Conductor to the San Francisco Symphony, assisting Esa-Pekka Salonen, Manfred Honeck, Daniel Harding, Pablo Heras-Casado, Simone Young and James Gaffigan, among others.
As Founder and Artistic Director of Elevate Ensemble, Mr. Goodman’s “courageous” and “ambitious” (San Francisco Classical Voice) vision for concert programming resulted in the pairing of music from Bay Area composers with underappreciated gems of the 20th and 21st centuries. Under his leadership, Elevate Ensemble established a Composer-in-Residence program, served as Ensemble-in-Residence at San Francisco State University, and commissioned 15 works from Bay Area composers.
Mr. Goodman has previously served as Music Director of the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra and Assistant Conductor of the Peninsula Symphony. He has been a Conducting Fellow at the Atlantic Music Festival, a cover conductor for the San Francisco Ballet and has collaborated with composer Mason Bates on his electronica-classical music project, Mercury Soul.
A driving force in the new music scene, Mr. Goodman has conducted the premieres of more than 50 works. In addition to his performing career, he has taught young musicians the business and entrepreneurial skills needed to successfully navigate the world as a working musician in his workshop “You Just Earned a Music Degree. Now What?”
Mr. Goodman holds a bachelor of music degree from the Eastman School of Music and a master of music degree from San Francisco State University. His mentors include Michael Tilson Thomas, Alasdair Neale, Cyrus Ginwala and Martin Seggelke.