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Season opener features guest artist Kristian Bezuidenhout, coincides with release of Mozart Requiem on CORO label
Friday, September 23, 2011 at 8pm
Sunday, September 25, 2011 at 3pm
Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA
Haydn: Overture to “Autumn” from The Seasons
Haydn: Concertino in F Major for keyboard & strings
Haydn: Overture to “Winter” from The Seasons
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat Major, K. 482
Dittersdorf: Overture to Esther
Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550
Harry Christophers, conductor
Kristian Bezuidenhout, fortepiano
Handel and Haydn Society Period Instrument Orchestra
Subscriptions and single tickets may be purchased through the Handel and Haydn Box Office by phone at 617 266 3605, online at handelandhaydn.org, or in person at the Handel and Haydn office, Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston (M–F 10am–6pm). Single tickets range from $18 to $75. Student rush available starting one hour before curtain: $15 cash only with valid ID, best available seats subject to availability. Groups of 10 or more receive a 20% discount.
Harry Christophers opens the season with a program featuring the sensational fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout, returning to H&H for his fourth time. Born in South Africa, Bezuidenhout first gained international recognition at the age of 21 after winning first and audience prizes in the Bruges Fortepiano Competition.
Mozart’s tenure in Vienna was marked by many brilliant compositions, and this program delves into some of his later works, including his dramatic and compelling Symphony No. 40 in G Minor. Artistic Director Harry Christophers comments, “Mozart, like many composers of his era, traveled a lot through Europe. In doing so, Mozart really soaked up the great wealth of compositions and performers, both vocal and instrumental, and used that knowledge in his work.”
Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G Minor was completed in 1788, around the same time he completed the 39th and 41st symphonies. Symphony No. 40 was one of only two minor-key symphonies Mozart wrote (the other being Symphony No. 25). After the work was initially completed, Mozart revised the score to include two clarinets—the version which H&H will perform. “The second version varies very slightly from the first in that it introduces clarinets. And that for me is a great pleasure, because I was once a clarinetist and remember playing that symphony back at school,” said Christophers.
Also of note as Handel and Haydn begins its 2011–2012 Season is the imminent release of Mozart Requiem, recorded live at Symphony Hall in April. The recording joins the live recording of Mozart Mass in C Minor (January 2010), as well as Mozart Coronation Mass (May 2012), as part of a Mozart trilogy on the CORO label.
The Handel and Haydn Society is known for a long history of firsts—it has been H&H’s practice to introduce new works and artists to the community for almost 200 years. The recording of Mozart’s Per questa bella mano is yet another; the piece has never before been recorded by a period instrument orchestra. The rarely performed concert aria for bass, double bass obbligato, and orchestra features Requiem soloist Eric Owens and H&H’s own principal bassist Rob Nairn. The project continues H&H’s tradition of innovative and pioneering artistic initiatives, which dates back to H&H’s founding in 1815.
Harry Christophers enters his third season as Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society with the 2011–2012 Season. Appointed in 2008, he began his tenure with the 2009–2010 Season and has conducted Handel and Haydn each season since September 2006, when he led a sold-out performance in the Esterházy Palace at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. Christophers and H&H have since embarked on an ambitious artistic journey that began with the 2010–2011 Season with a showcase of works premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society over the last 195 years, and the release of the first of a series of recordings on CORO leading to the 2015 Bicentennial. Christophers is known internationally as founder and conductor of the UK-based choir and period instrument ensemble The Sixteen. He has directed The Sixteen throughout Europe, America, and the Far East, gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque, and 20th-century music. In 2000, he instituted the “Choral Pilgrimage,” a tour of British cathedrals from York to Canterbury. He has recorded close to 100 titles for which he has won numerous awards, including a Grand Prix du Disque for Handel Messiah, numerous Preise der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics Awards), the coveted Gramophone Award for Early Music, and the prestigious Classical Brit Award (2005) for his disc entitled Renaissance. In 2009, he received one of classical music’s highest accolades, the Classic FM Gramophone Awards Artist of the Year Award, and The Sixteen won the Baroque Vocal Award for Handel Coronation Anthems, a CD that also received a 2010 Grammy Award nomination. Harry Christophers is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Granada Symphony Orchestra and a regular guest conductor with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the Orquestra de la Comunidad de Madrid. In October 2008, Christophers was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Leicester. Most recently, he was elected an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and also of the Royal Welsh Academy for Music and Drama.
Kristian Bezuidenhout, born in South Africa in 1979, began his studies in Australia and completed them summa cum laude at the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Rebecca Penneys, Malcolm Bilson, and Paul O’Dette. He first gained international recognition at the age of 21 after winning the prestigious first prize as well as the audience prize in the Bruges Fortepiano Competition (2001), a double honour, this being only the third time the former prize has been awarded in the history of the competition.
Bezuidenhout is a frequent guest artist with the world’s leading ensembles including The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, The Orchestra of the 18th Century, Concerto Köln, The Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Collegium Vocale Ghent, and the Handel and Haydn Society. He has performed with celebrated artists including Frans Brüggen, Pieter Wispelwey, Daniel Hope, Viktoria Mullova, and Christopher Hogwood, and he regularly gives Lied recitals with, among others, Carolyn Sampson, Mark Padmore, and Jan Kobow. He now has a standing duo with the Baroque violinist Petra Müllejans, Artistic Director of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra; their first CD, a disc of Mozart Violin Sonatas, was released on Harmonia Mundi USA in the Spring of 2009.
Bezuidenhout now divides his time between fortepiano, harpsichord, and modern piano engagements and has appeared in the early music festivals of Barcelona, Boston, Bruges, St. Petersburg, Venice, and Utrecht, and the Saintes Festival, La Roque D’Anthéron, the Chopin Festival Warsaw, Musikfest Bremen, the Tanglewood Festival, Mostly Mozart Lincoln Center, and the Gstaad Festival. He is now a guest professor at both the Eastman School of Music and the Schola Cantorum in Basel; in 2007 he was awarded the Erwin Bodky prize.
Teresa Neff received her PhD in Musicology from Boston University. Her research interests center around Gottfried van Swieten, a late 18th-century Viennese patron and composer. Neff’s edition of Swieten’s symphonies will be published by Artaria later this year. She has presented papers at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the New England Chapter of the American Musicological Society, and the Architecture/Music/Acoustics Conference. She presents concert preview lectures for Elderhostel and Boston Lyric Opera, and also teaches at the
Friday, September 23, 2011 at 7pm
Sunday, September 25, 2011 at 2pm
Higginson Room, Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA
Free with concert tickets
Musicologist Teresa Neff gives an illuminating look inside the music and historical context of the program.
Opening Fanfare! Season Opening and CD Release Party
Friday, September 23, 2011, post-concert
Lucca Back Bay, 116 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
Artistic Director Harry Christophers and the Handel and Haydn Society present a wine and dessert reception after the Friday night concert to celebrate the opening of the Society’s 197th Season and CD release of Mozart Requiem—the second of a series of recordings with Harry Christophers leading to the Bicentennial in 2015. Tickets are available by calling 617 262 1815 or purchasing online. The Mozart Requiem CD is available at the Handel and Haydn Society online shop and at the concert hall.
Post-Concert Q&A with Harry Christophers and Kristian Bezuidenhout
Sponsored by WBUR 90.9 FM, with special guest moderator Andrea Shea
Sunday, September 25, 2011, post-concert
Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA
Free with concert tickets
ABOUT HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY
Handel and Haydn Society (H&H) is a professional Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus and an internationally recognized leader in the field of Historically Informed Performance, a revelatory style that uses the instruments and techniques of the composer’s time. Founded in Boston in 1815, H&H is the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States and has a longstanding commitment to excellence and innovation: it gave the American premieres of Handel’s Messiah (1818), Haydn’s The Creation (1819), Verdi’s Requiem (1878), and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (1879). Handel and Haydn today, under Artistic Director Harry Christophers’ leadership, is committed to its mission to perform Baroque and Classical music at the highest levels of artistic excellence and to share that music with as large and diverse an audience as possible. H&H is widely known through its local subscription series, tours, concert broadcasts on WGBH/99.5 Classical and National Public Radio, and recordings. Its recording of Sir John Tavener’s Lamentations and Praises won a 2003 Grammy Award and two of its recordings, All is Bright and Peace, appeared simultaneously in the top ten on Billboard Magazine’s classical music chart. In September 2010, H&H released its first collaboration with Harry Christophers on the CORO label, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor—the first in a series of live commercial recordings leading to H&H’s Bicentennial in 2015. The 2010–2011 Season marked the 25th anniversary of Handel and Haydn’s award-winning Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program, which brings music education, vocal training, and performance opportunities to 10,000 students annually throughout Greater Boston and beyond.
Handel and Haydn Society is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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