Symphony Concert 28

Vienna Philharmonic | Michael Tilson Thomas | Emanuel Ax

Brahms | Mozart | Beethoven

Sat, 17359

KKL Luzern, Concert Hall

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Summer Festival

11.08.-10.09. 2017







    KKL Luzern, Concert Hall

    Symphony Concert 28

    Vienna Philharmonic | Michael Tilson Thomas | Emanuel Ax

    Emanuel Ax  piano

    60th anniversary of the Vienna Philharmonic’s Lucerne debut

    Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)
    Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn, Op. 56a
    Wolfgang Amadé Mozart (1756–1791)
    Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in E-flat major, K. 449
    Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)
    Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92

    They’ve been regular guests at LUCERNE FESTIVAL since 1957: the Vienna Philharmonic, who this summer celebrate the 60th anniversary of their stage debut here. Many memories of unforgettable musical highlights will be awakened, of appearances with Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan, and Leonard Bernstein; Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, and Pierre Boulez; Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Sir Simon Rattle, Bernard Haitink, and Daniel Barenboim. This orchestra’s magic is based on its distinctive sonic identity, which in the course of its 175-year history has evolved and been passed on from one generation to the next. In fact, the Viennese “sonic style” has even been researched and taught at a special university institute devoted to the topic. It involves the brighter colors of the winds, the covering of the percussion instruments, and certain schools of string playing. All of which will again be a cause of admiration when the “Wiener,” under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, perform music by three composers – Brahms, Mozart, and Beethoven – all of whom chose Vienna as their home.

    Vienna Philharmonic

    On 28 March 1842 members of the Imperial Court Opera Orchestra gave a concert led by Kapellmeister Otto Nicolai in Vienna’s Grand Ballroom. This was the birth of the Vienna Philharmonic. The principles established then have guided the players ever since. One is the stipulation that only musicians of the Vienna Staatsoper (the former Court Opera) can become members of the Vienna Philharmonic. Another is that all decisions regarding artistic, organizational, and financial autonomy are made by general assembly. In 1877 the ensemble performed for the first time outside Vienna at the “Salzburg Music Festival”; in 1900 came the first performance abroad, at the Paris World Exposition, with Gustav Mahler conducting. In addition to Mahler, other composers who have appeared on the podium include Wagner, Verdi, Bruckner, Brahms, and, most notably, Richard Strauss. The list of music directors up to 1933 includes names like Hans Richter, Gustav Mahler, Felix Weingartner, Wilhelm Furtwäng-ler, and Clemens Krauss. The model of a single chief conductor was then abandoned in favor of a close artistic collaboration with various artistic personalities; this has resulted in important chapters in the ensemble’s history under the honorary conductors Karl Böhm and Herbert von Karajan as well as the honorary member Leonard Bernstein. Since its founding, the Vienna Philharmonic has given some 7,000 concerts and performed on all five continents. The Philharmonic has participated in the Salzburg Festival since 1922 and has moreover performed at the Vienna Festival, the Salzburg Mozartwoche, and LUCERNE FESTIVAL, as well as in New York and Japan. Highlights of each season include the New Year’s concert, which is broadcast in 80 countries, and the Summer Night concert at Schönbrunn, which is attended annually by up to 100,000 people. Rolex is the exclusive partner of the Vienna Philharmonic.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 1 September 1957 in a program of works by Schumann, Barber, and Beethoven, with Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting.

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

    August 2016

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    Michael Tilson Thomas

    The American conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, who was born in 1944 in Los Angeles, studied piano, composition, and conducting at the University of Southern California. At the age of 19 he took on directorship of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra, where he collaborated with such composers as Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen, and Copland as they introduced their new works at the celebrated Monday Evening Concerts series. During this period he also took part as a pianist in the master classes given by Gregor Piatigorsky and Jascha Heifetz. After winning the Koussevitzky Prize in 1969, Tilson Thomas made his debut conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He then headed the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra from 1971 to 1979, was Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1981 to 1985, and took on leadership of the London Symphony Orchestra for a period of nine years beginning in 1986. For two decades, starting in 1995, Michael Tilson Thomas has been Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, with whom he has released a highly acclaimed series of recordings; no fewer than twelve of these have won the coveted Grammy. Tilson Thomas is deeply committed to musical education and working with young people. With his television broadcasts of the Young People’s Concerts with the New York Philharmonic from 1971 to 1977, he followed in the footsteps of Leonard Bernstein, his longtime mentor. In February 1987 he founded the New World Symphony, a national orchestra for the most talented students from American conservatories. Tilson Thomas is also a successful composer and has created such works as From the Diary of Anne Frank and Shówa/Shoáh, written to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Among Tilson Thomas’s many awards and honors are the National Medal of Arts, presented by President Barack Obama in 2010.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 19 April 1992 conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in works by Britten, Berlioz, and Brahms.

    August 2015

    Emanuel Ax

    The American pianist Emanuel Ax was born in 1949 to Polish parents in Lviv in the Ukraine, where he took his first piano lessons at the age of six from his father. Following an intermediate stay in Warsaw, the family moved in 1959 to Winnipeg, Canada, and then in 1961 to New York City. It was there that Ax continued his training with Mieczysław Munz at the Juilliard School of Music. In 1973 he won the Young Concert Artists Auditions, a year later the Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv, and, in 1979, the Avery Fisher Prize. Since then, during an international career spanning four decades, Emanuel Ax has performed with such acclaimed ensembles as the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras and the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics; he has also concertized with the Boston and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Staatskapelle Dresden. Alongside his performances as a soloist, chamber music plays a significant role for Ax. For many years he was a duo partner of Isaac Stern, and in 2016 he performed with the cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the violinist Itzhak Perlman. Emanuel Ax’s repertoire includes not only the major works of Classicism and Romanticism but also many compositions of the present day that have been created specifically for him, such as the Piano Concerto by HK Gruber, which he premiered in January 2017 with the New York Philharmonic. Within his abundant discography, Ax’s recordings of piano sonatas by Haydn are especially noteworthy, having received Grammy Awards in 1995 and 2004; his album Variations, featuring works by Beethoven, Haydn, and Schumann, won the Echo Klassik Award in 2013. Emanuel Ax is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates from Yale University as well as Columbia University.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 7 September 1986 in a chamber music evening with Young Uck Kim and Yo-Yo Ma.

    February 2017

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