Carnegie Hall in New York City has released the details of their 2011-12 season. As always, the programming is rich with diversity, and special attention is being paid to the 120th anniversary of the very first concert. Tchaikovsky was present to conduct on the original 'opening night' in 1891, and there will be special emphasis on both his music and that of the composers he influenced. Additionally, turn-of-the-century compositions are in the spotlight by way of recalling the culture and musical atmosphere of those first few years when Carnegie Hall was still in its infancy as a landmark cultural institution.
No fewer than eleven subscription series fall under the umbrella category 'Orchestras', emphasizing a long-standing commitment to hosting the world's greatest instrumental ensembles. Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Vladimir Jurowski, Iván Fischer, and Sir Simon Rattle will appear with the Mariinsky, Vienna Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Budapest Festival, and Berlin Philharmonic orchestras, respectively. Major symphonic works by Tchaikovsky, Schubert, Shostakovich, and Sibelius are on offer, as are concertos spotlighting pianists András Schiff and Emanuel Ax and violinist Itzhak Perlman. The Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, under the direction of Sir John Eliot Gardiner, will be on hand for several all-Beethoven concerts.
Major choral works include Honegger's Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, and Bach's St. John Passion. Opera lovers will be excited to hear that the Cleveland Orchestra will offer a concert performance of Strauss's Salome, featuring exciting soprano Nina Stemme as the titular anti-heroine and Eric Owens as Jochanaan, all under the direction of Franz Welser-Möst. Other American orchestras on the schedule are the Baltimore Symphony (Marin Alsop), the Boston Symphony (James Levine), Atlanta Symphony (Robert Spano), Philadelphia Orchestra (Charles Dutoit), Minnesota Orchestra (Osmo Vänskä), and the New York Philharmonic (Adam Gilbert). The Philadelphia Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and Orchestra of St. Luke's all have their own three-concert miniseries.
While the aforementioned orchestral events all take place on the Perelman Stage in the main hall (Stern Auditorium), there are excellent smaller spaces available for a wealth of chamber music and vocal programs. Both Zankel Hall and Weill Recital Hall will host a diversity of chamber events far beyond the scope of this article, but among the bigger names, the Takács, Artemis, and Brentano string quartets will all appear, as will the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio.
Instrumental and vocal recitals are always an integral part of the Carnegie season. Virtuoso pianists will include Lang Lang, Yefim Bronfman, Maurizio Pollini, Christian Zacharias, Leif Ove Andsnes, Mitsuko Uchida, Evgeny Kissin, Richard Goode, Juho Pohjonen, and Simon Trpceski. Yuja Wang, Van Cliburn gold medalist Nobuyuki Tsujii, Grace Francis, and Kit Armstrong will all be making their New York recital debuts. Violinist Joshua Bell will also appear, accompanied by pianist Sam Haywood.
The list of singers appearing in concert or recital seems to diminish every year, but there are some choice events on tap nevertheless. Vivica Genaux will appear with her frequent collaborators Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante in a program of Vivaldi arias taken from her immensely impressive recording 'Pyrotechnics.' Spectacular soprano Sandrine Piau will make one of her all too rare appearances in New York with a recital in Zankel Hall, accompanied by Susan Manoff. And while in town for performances at the Metropolitan Opera as Donizetti's tragic Anna Bolena, charismatic Russian soprano Anna Netrebko will make her New York recital debut on October 26 with Elena Bashkirova at the piano. Other notable singers will include Karita Mattila, Matthias Goerne, Susan Graham, Ian Bostridge, Angelika Kirchschlager, Eric Owens, Christian Gerhaher, Lucy Crowe, Ietsyn Davies, Erin Morley, and Nadine Sierra. The list of collaborators is no less glittering and includes Malcom Martineau, András Schiff, Martin Katz, Thomas Adès, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Carol Wong.
I will leave it to the individual reader to peruse the remainder of the new season's offerings. There is a wealth of Early Music on the schedule, as well as plenty of 'New Music', so that one can enjoy everything from Claudio Monteverdi to Philip Glass. In addition, there are many World music and Jazz events well worth investigating. With such imaginative programming, Carnegie Hall remains one of the most important cultural icons in New York. Start planning your new season now, before all the most popular events are sold-out; this can happen very quickly in the smaller venues (Zankel and Weill). All pertinent information (including a season brochure) can be found at Carnegie's website: www.carnegiehall.org
Photos: Don Perdus.
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