Grieg's Piano Concerto: Meet The Artists
Zubin Mehta said of Spain’s pre-eminent pianist, “I have only heard this sound from Rubinstein,” while Sir Simon Rattle commented: “There is something special with Joaquín Achúcarro. Very few musicians can extract this kind of sound from the piano.” This not-to-be-missed debut is part of a program that includes Grieg’s ever popular Peer Gynt, musical fairy-tale ballet music by Stravinsky and a magical, mystical concerto from Finland that includes taped bird songs interacting with the orchestra.
Preview Talk with host Alan Chapman included!
This is Part 2 of the Program Notes for Nov. 17 - 19. You'll be automatically linked to the next NoteStream at the end.
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An energetic and compelling figure on the podium, Norwegian conductor Rune Bergmann is a dynamic, versatile conductor with an extensive classical, romantic, operatic and contemporary repertoire.
Recently named music director designate of Canada’s Calgary Philharmonic as well as artistic director and chief conductor of Poland’s Szczecin Philharmonic, Bergmann has been artistic director of Norway’s innovative Fjord Cadenza Festival since its inception in 2010. Additionally, he regularly conducts a wide range of distinguished orchestras and opera houses around the world.
The 2015-16 season saw Bergmann make a joint North American operatic debut at Yale Opera with innovative stage director Claudia Solti. Upcoming highlights of Bergmann's 2016-17 season include return engagements in Calgary, Lisbon and New Mexico, as well as North American debuts with the Edmonton, Hawaii and Toledo Symphony Orchestras and the Wrocław and Argovia Philharmonics in Europe.
The 2016-17 season also marks the beginning of Bergmann's tenure as the new artistic director and principal conductor of the Szczecin Philharmonic in Poland, and the continuation of his role as principal guest conductor of the Kaunas City Symphony in Lithuania.
A multitalented musician who also plays trumpet, piano and violin/viola, Bergmann studied choral and orchestral conducting under Anders Eby, Jin Wang and Jorma Panula at Sweden’s Royal College of Music. He graduated with high honors from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland, where he studied under chief conductor emeritus of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/former principal conductor of the Vienna Radio, Finnish Radio and Danish National symphony orchestras, Leif Segerstam.
Honors include the 2010 Kjell Holm Foundation Culture Prize, the 2009 SMP Press culture award and second prize in Helsingborg’s 2002 Nordic Conducting Competition. Maestro Bergmann’s former posts include deputy general music director with the Augsburger Philharmoniker and Theater Augsburg in Germany.
In October 2015, the prestigious French magazine Diapason selected one of Joaquín Achúcarro's recordings as one of "The Best 100 Piano Recordings of All Time" together with legends such as Rachmaninoff, Horowitz and Rubinstein, among others.
Born in Bilbao, he won a number of international prizes in Spain, France, Italy and Switzerland during his student days, but it was his victory in England at the 1959 Liverpool International Competition (one year after Zubin Mehta had won it as conductor) and the rave reviews in the London papers after his debut with the London Symphony in the Royal Festival Hall that marked the beginning of his career.
Since then, Achúcarro has been enjoying an uninterrupted international career, performing in prestigious venues around the world such as Avery Fisher Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center. He has performed with over 200 orchestras including Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, La Scala (Milan) and London Philharmonic, and under more than 350 conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Chailly, Sir Colin Davis, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa and Sir Simon Rattle.
Achúcarro was named "Artist for Peace" in 2000 by UNESCO in Paris in recognition of "his extraordinary artistic achievement." He is Accademico ad Honorem of the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy, and in his home country, Achúcarro has received the highest honors in the arts: the Gold Medal of Fine Arts and The National Award for Music. In 2003, King Juan Carlos of Spain bestowed upon him the Great Cross of Civil Merit. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) named the miniplanet 2131 after Achúcarro, as a tribute to his successful international career.
His 2010 DVD/Blu-Ray Achúcarro plays Brahms, in which he plays the Brahms Concerto No. 2 with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony (Opus Arte label) received five-star reviews throughout Europe.
The following year, EuroArts released Achúcarro's DVD/Blu-Ray Falla and Friends, featuring him performing Manuel de Falla's Nights in the Garden of Spain with the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle. In 2014, Sony reissued two of his recordings: Goyescas by Granados (Choc Prize in Classical Music 2014) and Música Española por un poeta del piano.
Since August 1989 he has held the Joel Estes Tate Chair at SMU in Dallas, adjusting his teaching periods to his busy concert schedule. In 2007, The Joaquín Achúcarro Foundation was created by a group of individuals and institutions from the Dallas community "to perpetuate his artistic and teaching legacy" and to help young pianists at the outset of their careers.