Symphony Concert 8

Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra | Andris Nelsons | Sir András Schiff

Bartók | Debussy | Stravinsky

Mon, 19324

KKL Luzern, Concert Hall

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Summer Festival

16.08.-15.09. 2019




    Symphony Concert 8

    Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra | Andris Nelsons | Sir András Schiff

    Andris Nelsons  conductor
    Béla Bartók (1881–1945)
    Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3, Sz. 119
    Claude Debussy (1862–1918)
    La Mer
    Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971)
    Concert Suite from the fairy-tale ballet The Firebird (1919 version)

    For their second Lucerne program together, Andris Nelsons and his fabulous Gewandhaus Orchestra present three classics from the first half of the 20th century. And in the process, they will prove how diverse, sensual, and beguilingly beautiful the music of this epoch can be. Stravinsky’s first international success, The Firebird, enriches its melodic ear worms with Russian folk music, dressing them up in the most dazzling orchestral sounds. Debussy’s La Mer vividly reflects the rushing waves, the foam of the spray, and the oscillating colors of water, with infinite variations of motifs, because no one wave is like the other. Béla Bartók’s Third Piano Concerto, however, which the composer wrote in 1945, in a race against death, so to speak, contains a moving middle movement, “Adagio religioso,” in which the composer conjures the magic of untouched nature that Bartók so painfully missed during his New York exile, so far from his Hungarian homeland. Sir András Schiff will explore this compositional legacy in all of its facets, thus paying homage to his great compatriot and idol.

    Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

    The Gewandhausorchester Leipzig is among the oldest civic music institutions in the world. Its roots go back to 1743, when a group of Leipzig merchants founded a society called “The Grand Concert.” In 1781 the Orchestra moved into its signature concert hall, a building used by textile merchants (the “Gewandhaus”), which gave the ensemble its name. Felix Mendelssohn, who took on the position of Music Director in 1835 – becoming its first conductor in the modern sense of the term – established the ensemble’s European reputation. His successors have included Carl Reinecke (1860–95), Arthur Nikisch (1895–1922), Wilhelm Furtwängler (1922–28), Bruno Walter (1929–33), Franz Konwitschny (1949–62), Kurt Masur (1970–96), and Herbert Blomstedt (1998–2005). From 2005 until the summer of 2016 Riccardo Chailly helmed the ensemble; in the 2017-18 season Andris Nelsons will take on that role. The ensemble performs operas and symphony concerts, as well as sacred music with the famous Thomaner Boys’ Choir at the Thomaskirche. The Gewandhausorchester has played an essential role in the development of symphonic music: Beethoven’s complete symphonies already formed part of its repertoire during the composer’s lifetime, and the world’s first Bruckner cycle was performed in Leipzig, as was the first complete cycle of Shostakovich symphonies. Numerous works have been given their world premieres by the Orchestra, including Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, Schubert’s Great Symphony in C major, Schumann’s Spring Symphony, and Brahms’s Violin Concerto. Under Chailly’s direction the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig has in recent years undertaken such recording projects as a Beethoven symphony cycle and all the orchestral works of Brahms, which have garnered many international awards. At the end of 2016 their Mahler cycle with Chailly, which was launched in 2011, will be released on DVD.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 8 September 1998, with Herbert Blomstedt conducting the Third Symphonies of Honegger and Bruckner.

    For further information on this ensemble, visit their homepage at:

    August 2016

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    Andris Nelsons

    Born in Riga in 1978, Andris Nelsons grew up in a family of musicians and began his career as a trumpeter at the Latvian National Opera. In parallel to this, he continued his education as a conductor, studying this discipline with Alexander Titov in St. Petersburg and taking private lessons with Mariss Jansons. As early as 2003, Nelsons was appointed Principal Conductor of the Latvian National Opera, which post he held for four years. From 2008 to June 2015, he subsequently helmed the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Since 2014, he has served as Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and he has also held the position of Gewandhaus Kapellmeister with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra since February 2018. Within a brief period, Nelsons succeeded in becoming a regular guest conductor of leading international orchestras and major opera companies. He has conducted at the Vienna, Munich, and Berlin State Opera companies; the Metropolitan Opera in New York; the Royal Opera House in London; and the Bayreuth Festival. He performs regularly with the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. LUCERNE FESTIVAL gave him the distinction of naming Nelsons “artiste étoile” in 2012 and engaged him to conduct several concerts of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA in 2014 and 2015. Andris Nelsons’s recordings have received many international awards. He is currently working with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on a Shostakovich cycle that includes all of the symphonies and the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk; the first two CDs of the series have earned Grammy Awards. In 2019 he will release accounts of all nine Beethoven symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 31 August 2009 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in works by Britten, Berlioz, Debussy, and Ravel.

    July 2018

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    Sir András Schiff

    Sir András Schiff was born in 1953 in Budapest. He started studying piano with Elisabeth Vadász at five, later continuing his training with Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág, and Ferenc Rados in his native city and with George Malcolm in London. The focus of his artistic work is on the keyboard oeuvre of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, and Bartók. Since 2004 Sir András has performed complete cycles of Ludwig van Beethoven’s piano sonatas in more than 20 cities and has recorded them as well. He appears regularly with the leading international orchestras and conductors, with a special focus on performing the piano concertos of Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart as both soloist and conductor. It was for this purpose that he founded the Cappella Andrea Barca in 1999, and he also collaborates closely with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Since his early youth, Schiff has moreover been a passionate chamber musician. He led the Mondsee Music Festival from 1989 to 1998 and the Ittingen Whitsun Concerts from 1995 to 2013 (together with Heinz Holliger); since 1998 he has helmed the Omaggio a Palladio concert series in Vicenza. Sir András Schiff, who was named an Honorary Member of the Beethoven House in Bonn in 2006, is a recipient of the Robert Schumann Prize (2011), the Golden Mozart Medal (2012), and the Gold Medal of the London Royal Philharmonic Society (2013). In June 2014 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, and in 2018, in his capacity as President of the Royal College of Music, Prince Charles awarded him an honorary doctorate. His book Musik kommt aus der Stille, containing essays and interviews with Martin Meyer, was published in 2017. Sir András Schiff has taken a stand against the alarming political development in Hungary. In response to abusive attacks by Hungarian nationalists, he has decided to give no more concerts in his native land.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 21 August 1990 in a recital of works by Janáček, Bartók, Schubert, and Haydn.

    October 2018

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