Yo Yo Ma at Symphony Hall Jan. 6-12
Joins Early Music Specialist Ton Koopman
By: Ariel Petrova - Dec 16, 2009
By the time Haydn made his first trip to London in 1791, the composer's music had already been widely played and he was warmly welcomed by the British public. During that first 18-month visit and a second two years later, Haydn composed twelve symphonic masterpieces collectively referred to as the "London" Symphonies. The Symphony No. 98, composed in 1792, was the last of six works written during his initial sojourn there, and it features a prominent part for solo harpsichord.
Haydn's Cello Concerto No. 1 in C was completely lost for centuries, its existence documented only through a two-measure entry of its principal theme in Haydn's personal thematic catalogue of his works. When an old copy of the work (most likely written around 1765) was discovered in Prague in 1961, it was one of the most significant and exciting rediscoveries of Haydn research in the twentieth century.
The second surviving son of J.S. Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788) was far more famous during his lifetime than his father had been. For generations, he was northern Germany's leading composer. He wrote surprisingly few symphonies, given the popularity of the genre during that time Â– just eight during his 30 years' service to Frederick the Great in Berlin, and then six more for strings only in 1773 for Baron Gottfried van Swieten. But in 1775, an unknown patron commissioned four symphonies, of which the Symphony in G is one, written for the full orchestral complement of the day, including flutes, oboes, and horns. Bach obliged, and these carefully crafted works were published in 1780 as "Orchestra Symphonies in twelve obbligato parts," drawing attention to their rich scoring for seven winds, four string parts, and continuo.
Though it is still ambiguous as to whether Schubert's Symphony in B minor was his seventh or eighth work in the genre, what is clear is that it was Unfinished, and the last of his eight symphonies to be performed. The score of the work's first two movements is dated October 30, 1822, six years before his death. Why Schubert abandoned these expressive, memorable movements is one of music history's great mysteries, prompting endless speculation. In fact, by the time Schubert died prematurely at the age of 31, he had already passed the manuscript on to a friend, who waited 35 years before allowing it to be presented before the public.
Born in Zwolle, Holland in 1944, Ton Koopman studied musicology as well as organ and harpsichord, winning the Prix d'Excellence for both instruments. Fascinated by authentic instruments and a performance style based on sound scholarship, he created his first Baroque orchestra in 1969, at the age of 25. In 1979, he founded the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra followed by the Amsterdam Baroque Choir in 1992. Over the course of a forty-five-year career, Mr. Koopman has appeared as conductor and soloist in the most important concert halls and festivals of the five continents. He is also much in demand as a guest conductor. In addition to his concerts with the BSO, the 2009-10 season features engagements with Berlin Philharmonic, Stockholm Philharmonic, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, and many others. Mr. Koopman's impressive activities as a soloist, accompanist and conductor have been recorded extensively, and he has received numerous awards. His massive, decade-long project to record all of J.S. Bach's cantatas garnered Grammy and Grammophon nominations as well as Deutsche Schallplattenpreis "Echo Klassik," the BBC Award 2008, and the Prix Hector Berlioz. More recently, Mr. Koopman began a project to record all the works of Dietrich Buxtehude. He leads the class of harpsichord at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, is Professor at the University of Leiden and is an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music in London. He also is artistic director of the French Festival "ItinÃ©raire Baroque." Starting in 2011, Mr. Koopman will be Artist-in-Residence at the Cleveland Orchestra for three consecutive years.
Born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris, cellist Yo-Yo Ma is one of the most internationally recognized and respected musicians in the world. He spent his formative years in New York, graduating from Harvard University in 1976. His multi-faceted career is testament to his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences, and to his personal desire for artistic growth and renewal. Whether performing new or familiar works from the cello repertoire, coming together with colleagues for chamber music or exploring cultures and musical forms outside the Western classical tradition, Mr. Ma strives to find connections that stimulate the imagination. He draws inspiration from a wide circle of collaborators, creating programs with artists ranging from Emanuel Ax and Daniel Barenboim to Bobby McFerrin and Mark Morris. He has premiered works by a diverse group of composers, including Elliott Carter, Richard Danielpour, Osvaldo Golijov, John Harbison, Leon Kirchner, Peter Lieberson, Bright Sheng, Tan Dun, and John Williams. His wide-ranging discography of over 75 albums includes more than 15 Grammy Award winners. In 1998 Mr. Ma established the Silk Road Project to promote the study of the cultural, artistic, and intellectual traditions along the ancient trade route that stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. By examining the flow of ideas throughout this vast area, the Project seeks to illuminate the heritages of the Silk Road countries and identify the voices that represent these traditions today. The Project's major activities have included the 2002 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which included more that 400 artists from 25 countries and drew more than 1.3 million visitors, concerts at the 2005 World Expo in Aichi, Japan, and the new Silk Road Connect, a multi-year, multidisciplinary educational initiative for middle school students in New York City public schools. Performance-based initiatives include professional workshops co-produced with the Tanglewood Music Center, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Carnegie Hall. In November 2009 Mr. Ma was appointed to the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
Tickets for the regular-season Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, as well as Friday afternoons, are priced from $29 to $105; concerts on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons are priced from $30 to $115. Open rehearsal tickets are priced at $19 each (general admission). Tickets may be purchased by phone through SymphonyCharge (617-266-1200 or 888-266-1200), online through the BSO's website (www.bso.org), or in person at the Symphony Hall Box Office (301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston). There is a $5.50 service fee for all tickets purchased online or by phone through SymphonyCharge.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Diners Club, and Discover, as well as personal checks (in person or by mail) and cash (in person only) are all accepted at the Symphony Hall Box Office. A limited number of rush tickets for Boston Symphony Orchestra subscription concerts on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Friday afternoons are set aside to be sold on the day of a performance. These tickets are sold at $9 each, one to a customer, at the Symphony Hall Box Office on Fridays beginning at 10 a.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning at 5 p.m. Gift certificates are available in any amount and may be used toward the purchase of tickets (subject to availability) to any Boston Symphony Orchestra or Boston Pops performance at Symphony Hall or Tanglewood. Gift certificates may also be used at the Symphony Shop to purchase merchandise.
Patrons with disabilities can access Symphony Hall through the Massachusetts Avenue lobby or the Cohen Wing on Huntington Avenue. An access service center, accessible restrooms, and elevators are available inside the Cohen Wing entrance. For ticket information, call the Disability Services Information Line at 617-638-9431 or TDD/TTY 617-638-9289.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra offers 30-minute Pre-Concert Talks in Symphony Hall before all BSO subscription concerts, beginning at 6:45 p.m. prior to the 8 p.m. evening concerts and at 12:15 p.m. prior to Friday-afternoon concerts. Open Rehearsal Talks begin one hour before the start of all Thursday-morning and Wednesday-evening Open Rehearsals. These informative talks, which include recorded musical examples, enhance the concert going experience by providing valuable insight into the music being performed.
RADIO BROADCASTS, STREAMING, PODCASTS, AND "CLASSICAL COMPANION"
The Boston Symphony Orchestra's extensive website, www.bso.org is the largest and most-visited orchestral website in the country, receiving more than 7.5 million visitors annually and generating $50 million in revenue since its launch in 1996. The BSO's website offers fans information and music beyond the concert hall, providing interactive new media that includes "Classical Companion," an interactive supplement of special BSO concerts that provides interviews with composers and performers, archival images, and video and sound clips. BSO Concert Preview Podcasts, focusing on each of the programs of the BSO's 2009-2010 season, are available through www.bso.org and on iTunes.
BSO concerts can be heard regularly on the radio. The Saturday-evening concerts are broadcast on WCRB 99.5 FM. WGBH also streams the concerts live through their website at www.wgbh.org.