The 2018-2019 Classical Season

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

text and images courtesy of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts presents some highlights of the 2018 – 2019 Performance Season. 
Above: Aspen Santa Fe Ballet with pianist Joyce Yang. Photo by Michele Cardamone. 

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

On March 2, the innovative Aspen Santa Fe Ballet presents a program devoted to contemporary dance works accompanied by pianist Joyce Yang. Devoted to curating new ballets, the company has come to epitomize the contemporary-classical genre. The ballets for this program will be chosen from works set to music by Robert Schumann, Leoš Janáček, Philip Glass and Erik Satie.

Korean-born pianist Joyce Yang won fame when she was awarded the Silver Medal at the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. She has gone on to perform with major orchestras and received a Grammy nomination for her collaboration with violinist Augustin Hadelich on Works for Violin and Piano (2016). The Washington Post noted, “Yang’s attention to detail and clarity is as impressive as her agility, balance and velocity.”

One of America’s foremost pianists teams with legendary English chamber orchestra, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, for a concert that is part of the academy’s 60th anniversary tour.

Jeremy Denk, winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship for his adventurous programming, will play two works with the orchestra: Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major, K. 414, and Benjamin Britten’s one-movement study for piano and strings, Young Apollo. Known for a repertoire that embraces scores from Beethoven to Charles Ives, Denk is, according to The New York Times, “a pianist you want to hear no matter what he performs.”

Originally founded by Sir Neville Marriner as a recording orchestra, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields quickly became one of the globe’s most popular classical performing groups, gaining widespread fame when it supplied the soundtrack for the Oscar-winning film Amadeus in 1984.

The program includes; Albinoni: Concerto Op. 5, No. 5 A minor (strings only), C.P.E. Bach: Symphony in E-flat Major (including winds), Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major (K. 414), Britten: Young Apollo for piano and strings and Haydn: Symphony No. 44 in E minor, “Mourning.”

Above: Academy of St. Martins-in-the-Fields.

VIRGINIA G. PIPER  CONCERT SERIES

The long-running Virginia G. Piper Concert Series begins on October 28 with a debut season performance by Yekwon Sunwoo, the gold medalist in the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Yekwon impressed the judges with “crisp, effervescent playing” (The New York Times) and became the first South Korean to capture the Gold Medal. He has been praised for “fastidious fingerwork” and “a true legato” (The Dallas Morning News), “animated, light-filled playing” (The Washington Post), and “total command over the instrument and its expressiveness” (San Francisco Examiner).

On November 11, Cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han will perform three works representing the peak of the German Classical and Romantic traditions: Beethoven’s lyrical Op. 69 Sonata, composed at the height of the Classical period; Brahms’s soulful Sonata in E minor, with a fugue in homage to J. S. Bach; and Mendelssohn’s exhilarating Op. 58 Sonata. The evening promises to be a tour de force, exhibiting the technical and expressive powers of this instrumental combination. They are “America’s power couple of chamber music” (The Wall Street Journal) and the artistic directors of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, but they also manage to plumb the rich repertoire of music for their instruments in concerts around the world. Says Strings Magazine of the duo: “Finckel and Wu Han surmount all the formidable technical, tonal and musical challenges and play with absolute security, conviction and authority.”

Since shooting to classical stardom as the Gold Medal winner at the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition (the first and, so far, only American ever to do so), Garrick Ohlsson has commanded an international career of the first order. Known for bold interpretations of Romantic repertoire, Ohlsson will perform a range of works for this recital, focusing on the music of Brahms on January 6.

On April 6, stellar violinist Midori and renowned pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet team for this concert of Romantic and early 20th-century masterpieces. While each enjoys a major solo career, Midori and Thibaudet will collaborate on this program featuring scores that challenge both instruments. Schumann’s Sonata No. 1, composed in 1851, represents the Romantic era at its height. George Enescu’s sonata “Romanian folk style” from 1926 calls forth a late-blooming nationalism. Of special interest are two French works that frame the early and final stages of Impressionism: Gabriel Fauré’s A Major sonata from 1876, and Claude Debussy’s final completed work, his sole Violin Sonata from 1917.

The Jerusalem Quartet rounds out the concert series on April 7 with a concert commemorating the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel,  Praised by the The New York Times for “passion, precision, warmth, a gold blend,” the Jerusalem Quartet has performed and recorded since 1996, with appearances in London, Paris, Zurich, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and other major cities, and recorded award-winning albums for the Harmonia Mundi label. In connection with naming the ensemble the winner of the BBC Music Magazine Award for chamber music, the magazine said of the Jerusalem Quartet: “An absolute triumph. Their playing has everything you could possibly wish for.”

Above: Jeffrey Siegel returns for his 40th season of Keyboard Conversations.

KEYBOARD CONVERSATIONS

Acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Siegel returns for his 40th season of Keyboard Conversations. Siegel will be performing four concerts; The Joyous Music of Beethoven on December 11, Celebrating Rachmaninoff and Debussy on January 15, The Romantic Connection: Chopin, Schumann and Liszt on February 12 and Chopin in Paris on March 12.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC

Scottsdale Arts presents an enriching concert experience that brings together chamber music, distinguished performers and insightful commentary, Yehuda Hanani, artistic director and cellist, introduces each program from the stage, placing the composers’ works and their times in perspective. 

On January 16, the Romantic Quintets: Brahms and Schumann concert presents the essence of romanticism in works by two 19th-century giants. The featured musicians are; Soyeon Kate Lee on piano, Irina Muresanu and Peter Zazofsky on violin, Michael Strauss on viola and Yehuda Hanani on cello. 

On February 6, Alexander Shtarkman on piano, and Yehuda Hanani on cello, collaborate and perform Three Russian Giants: Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Stravinsky. 

For a complete listing, visit www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org