Past Concert Seasons: 2015-2016

Les Délices

Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 4 pm


Caractères de la danse

Simultaneously signaling power and grace, refinement and discipline, the art of dancing held a singular status at the court of Louis XIV. Louis XIV elevated dancing to the level of high art, created the world’s first ballet school (the Académie Royale de la danse), and turned a social pastime into a stylized professional pursuit. Les Délices’s program explores dance from its social roots in the ballroom to the idiosyncratic, highly expressive music written for the first prima ballerinas on the theater stage. Works include Jean Féry-Rebel’s virtuoso “Characters of the Dance,” a scene from Rameau’s Pigmalion, the earthy, rollicking dances of Boismortier’s Ballets de Villages, plus solos for oboe and viola da gamba.

Les Délices (pronounced Lay day-lease) is “an early music ensemble with an avant-garde appetite” (New York Times). The group’s debut CD was named one of the “Top Ten Early Music Discoveries of 2009” (NPR’s Harmonia), and their performances have been called “a beguiling experience” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), “astonishing” (Cleveland, and “first class” (Early Music America Magazine). Founded in Cleveland in 2009, Les Délices’s performances on period instruments allows them to explore a rich tapestry of tone colors. Les Délices has been featured on WCPN, WCLV and WKSU in Ohio, WQXR in New York, NPR’s syndicated Harmonia and Sunday Baroque, and had their debut CD featured on the Audio-guide for a special exhibit at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (Watteau, Music, and Theater). Les Délices made its New York debut before a sold-out audience at the Frick Collection in May 2010, and has performed for Music Before 1800 (New York), Early Music in Columbus, and at Miller Theater at Columbia University in recent seasons.

Stephen Hough, piano

Sunday, February 28, 2016 at 4 pm


Schubert: Sonata in D No.784
Franck: Prelude Choral and Fugue
Hough: Sonata III (Trinitas)
Liszt: Valses Oubliées nos. 1 and 2
Liszt: Transcendental Etudes nos. 11 (harmonies du soir) and 10

Named by The Economist as one of 20 Living Polymaths, British pianist Stephen Hough is a rare renaissance man of our time. Over the course of a long and distinguished career as one of the world’s leading concert pianists, he has also excelled as a writer and composer. Mr. Hough combines an exceptional facility and tonal palette with a uniquely inquisitive musical personality, and his musical achievements have resulted in many awards and accolades for his concerts and a discography of more than fifty recordings.

In 2001 Mr. Hough became the first classical performing artist to win a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. He was awarded the 2008 Northwestern University’s Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano and went on to win the Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist Award in 2010. He has appeared with almost all of the major European and American orchestras and plays recitals regularly in halls and concert series around the world. His recent engagements include recitals in Berlin, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Sydney; performances with the Czech, London, Los Angeles, and New York Philharmonics, the Chicago, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Toronto symphonies, the Cleveland, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Budapest Festival and Russian National Orchestras; and a performance televised worldwide with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle. He is also a regular guest at festivals such as Aldeburgh, Aspen, Blossom, Edinburgh, Hollywood Bowl, Mostly Mozart, Ravinia, Salzburg, Tanglewood, and the BBC Proms, where he has made over 20 appearances and performed the complete Tchaikovsky concertos over four programs, a series he later performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Orchestra Hall.

In the 2012-13 season Mr. Hough gave recitals in Belfast, Berlin, Dublin, Milan, Montreal, Paris, St. Paul, Stockholm, Vancouver, and at Carnegie Hall in March. His orchestral performances in the United States also include appearances with conductor Thomas Dausgaard and the Houston Symphony, Charles Dutoit and the Boston Symphony, Hannu Lintu and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Pablo Heras-Casado and the San Francisco Symphony. He is the Artist-in-Residence with the BBC Symphony performing three concertos and a recital at the Barbican in London. This season he will premiere his Piano Sonata, No. 2, notturno luminoso, jointly commissioned by the Schubert Club in St. Paul, the Vancouver Recital Society, the Swansea Festival of Music and Arts, and the University of Nottingham Lakeside Arts Centre.

The British classical label Hyperion Records will release two new albums by Mr. Hough this season. The first, titled “Stephen Hough’s French Album,” features works for solo piano by Fauré, Ravel, Debussy, and Poulenc, as well as Mr. Hough’s own arrangement of works by Massenet and Delibes. Part of an ongoing exploration of Central European piano concertos, Mr. Hough’s second album features Brahms’s Piano Concertos, Nos. 1 and 2, recorded with Mark Wigglesworth and the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra. Throughout the months of October and November, London’s Broadbent Gallery will present an exhibition of Mr. Hough’s paintings. The exhibit, titled “Appassionato,” will be the first display of Mr. Hough’s artwork featuring fifteen abstract paintings in acrylic dating from 2007 to the present day.

In the 2011-2012 season Mr. Hough premiered his Piano Sonata No. 1, Broken Branches, at London’s Wigmore Hall before performing it at Orchestra Hall in Chicago and Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival in New York. He was also the featured soloist at St. Louis Symphony’s two-week Rachmaninoff Festival, and he played the Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto, No. 5 with the Pittsburgh Symphony. In 2011 Mr. Hough took part in an eight-city, ten-concert tour as part of Australia’s Musica Viva concert series. In the same year he joined Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra at Carnegie Hall for Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto, No. 1, and he performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto, No. 2 with Vasily Petrenko and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He also gave four concerts as the Artist-in-Residence at Wigmore Hall, and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Liverpool.

Many of Mr. Hough’s catalogue of over 50 albums have garnered international prizes including the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, Diapason d’Or, Monde de la Musique, several Grammy nominations, and eight Gramophone Magazine Awards including ‘Record of the Year’ in 1996 and 2003, and the Gramophone ‘Gold Disc’ Award in 2008, which named his complete Saint-Saëns Piano Concertos as the best recording of the past 30 years. His 2005 live recording of the Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos became the fastest selling recording in Hyperion’s history, while his 1987 recording of the Hummel concertos remains Chandos’s best-selling disc to date. His most recent releases are the piano concertos of Grieg and Liszt with Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra (2011), “Broken Branches: Compositions by Stephen Hough” (2011), and “The Prince Consort: Other Love Songs” released in 2011 by Linn Records featuring new compositions by Mr. Hough, an album that BBC Music Magazine called “a new song cycle of outstanding achievement.” His recording of the complete Chopin Waltzes was named winner of Diapason d’Or de l’Année 2011.

Mr. Hough’s compositions include chamber, choral, symphonic, instrumental and solo piano works. In April 2012 conductor Nicholas McGegan led the Indianapolis Symphony and Chorus in the first performance of the orchestrated version of Mr. Hough’s Missa Mirabilis, a work originally written for London’s Westminster Cathedral Choir. His Mass of Innocence and Experience was premiered by the Westminster Abbey Choir at a concert commemorating the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Blake. Mr. Hough’s cello concerto The Loneliest Wilderness was premiered by Steven Isserlis and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in 2007. His trio, Was mit den Tranen geschieht, commissioned by members of the Berlin Philharmonic, received its world premiere at the Berlin Philharmonie in 2009. A string sextet, Requiem Aeternum: after Victoria, was commissioned by the National Gallery for their major autumn 2009 exhibition, The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture 1600-1700. Mr. Hough’s compositions are published by Josef Weinberger Ltd.

In addition Mr. Hough is an avid writer. He has written for London’s The Guardian, The Times, and was invited by the Telegraph Media Group in December 2008 to write a cultural blog that receives ten to 15 thousand hits every week. He has written extensively about theology, resulting in The Bible as Prayer, published by Continuum and Paulist Press in 2007. The book is a handbook for Lectio Divina with a compilation of Scripture verses to be used for meditation. Currently a resident of London, Mr. Hough is a visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London and holds the International Chair of Piano Studies at his alma mater, the Royal Northern College in Manchester. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2014 New Year’s Honours List.

Angelo Xiang Yu, violin

Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 4 pm


Vitali: Chaconne
Beethoven: Sonata in C minor, Op. 30, No. 2
Debussy: Sonata in G minor for Violin and Piano
Chausson: Poeme, Op. 25
Ravel: Tzigane

Winner of the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition in 2010, violinist Angelo Xiang Yu is regarded as one of today’s most talented and creative young violinists. His astonishing technique and exceptional musical talent have won him consistent critical acclaim and enthusiastic audience response worldwide for his solo recitals, orchestral engagements and chamber music performances.

In addition to winning First Prize as well as the Bach and Audience Prizes at the Menuhin Competition, Mr. Yu was awarded third prize at the Michael Hill International Violin Competition in 2011 and was the youngest prize winner ever at the Wieniawski International Violin Competition in 2006.

Angelo Xiang Yu’s recent and upcoming orchestral engagements include appearances with the Pittsburgh, Toronto, Houston, Vancouver, North Carolina, Alabama, Charlotte, Rhode Island, Puerto Rico and Grand Rapids symphonies among others, as well as with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia, Munich Chamber Orchestra and Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.

An active recitalist and chamber musician, Mr. Yu has appeared in recital in Berlin, Paris, Beijing, Singapore, Shanghai, Auckland, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Boston. He has participated as a chamber musician in several of the world’s leading summer music festivals including the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, Bergen Festival in Norway and Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, and attended the Kronberg Academy in Germany and the Perlman Music Program in New York. During the 12/13 season, Mr. Yu was invited to tour with Miriam Fried and chamber musicians from the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute, and performed concerts in New York, Chicago, Florida and throughout New England. He was also recently featured as the Artist in Residence on American Public Media’s nationally broadcast radio program Performance Today.

Born in Inner Mongolia, Angelo Xiang Yu moved to Shanghai at the age of 11 and received his early training from violinist Qing Zheng at the Shanghai Conservatory. He is currently studying at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he is the recipient of the Irene M. Stare Presidential Scholarship in Violin and a student of Donald Weilerstein and Kim Kashkashian. After earning his Bachelor’s degree in 2012, Mr. Yu was one of two instrumentalists invited to be a candidate for NEC’s prestigious Artist Diploma, which he was awarded in May 2014. He began working towards a Masters Degree at NEC in the fall of 2014.

Takács String Quartet

Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 4 pm


Haydn: String Quartet Op. 74 No. 1
Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 3
Dvořák: String Quartet Op. 105

Recognized as one of the world’s great ensembles, the Takács Quartet plays with a unique blend of drama, warmth and humor, combining four distinct musical personalities to bring fresh insights to the string quartet repertoire. For thirty-two years the ensemble has been in residence at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

In 2015-2016, the Takács returns to Carnegie Hall for two programs, one featuring a new work by composer Timo Andres, commissioned by Carnegie Hall, and one with pianist Garrick Ohlsson. They also perform with Mr Ohlsson at Stanford, the University of Richmond, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, and at the University of Florida. For the first time in many years the Takács will perform in Santiago, Chile, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In addition to their annual Wigmore Hall series in London, where the quartet are Associate Artists, other European engagements in 2015-2016 include performances in Oslo, Amsterdam, Budapest, Hamburg, Hanover, Brussels, Bilbao and a concert at the Schubertiade in Hohenems, Austria.

The Takács Quartet performs Philip Roth’s “Everyman” program with Meryl Streep at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto in October 2015, a program that they previously played with Ms Streep at Princeton in 2014. The program was conceived in close collaboration with Philip Roth and first performed at Carnegie Hall with Philip Seymour Hoffman in 2007. The Quartet is known for such innovative programming. They have toured 14 cities with the poet Robert Pinsky, collaborate regularly with the Hungarian Folk group Muzsikas, and in 2010 they collaborated with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and David Lawrence Morse on a drama project that explored the composition of Beethoven’s last quartets.

During the 2016-2017 season, the ensemble will perform complete six-concert Beethoven quartet cycles at the Wigmore Hall, Princeton, the University of Michigan, and at UC Berkeley. In advance of these cycles Takács first violinist Edward Dusinberre’s book, Beethoven for a Later Age: The Journey of a String Quartet, will be published by Faber and Faber in January 2016. The book takes the reader inside the life of a string quartet, melding music history and memoir as it explores the circumstances surrounding the composition of Beethoven’s quartets.

The Takács became the first string quartet to win the Wigmore Hall Medal in May, 2014. The Medal, inaugurated in 2007, recognizes major international artists who have a strong association with the Hall. Recipients so far include Andras Schiff, Thomas Quasthoff, Menachem Pressler and Dame Felicity Lott. In 2012, Gramophone announced that the Takács was the only string quartet to be inducted into its first Hall of Fame, along with such legendary artists as Jascha Heifetz, Leonard Bernstein and Dame Janet Baker. The ensemble also won the 2011 Award for Chamber Music and Song presented by the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.