This week the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival announced its 25th anniversary season, which runs for seven weeks from June 25 to Aug. 4. Celebrated pianist Anne-Marie McDermott returns for a second term as artistic director, and once again the Vail Music Festival hosts three world-class resident orchestras: the New York Philharmonic, returning under music director Alan Gilbert for its 10th summer; The Philadelphia Orchestra, whose new music director designate Yannick Nzet-Sguin makes his Vail Music Festival debut; and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and its music director, Jaap van Zweden.Programming highlights for this season include numerous Festival premieres; multi-event immersions in the art of Brahms, Mendelssohn and Gershwin; a series juxtaposing time-honored classics with trailblazing new music; plus chamber music, jazz and pops galore. New York's Gabriel Kahane returns for an encore performance of his 2011 Festival commission, while the Cantus Vocal Ensemble and Jasper String Quartet serve as 2012's Young-Professionals-in-Residence. An impressive guest-star roster presents more than 30 soloists, including pianists Yefim Bronfman, Kirill Gerstein and Benjamin Grosvenor; violinists Joshua Bell, James Ehnes and Jennifer Koh; cellist Alisa Weilerstein; vocalists Susanna Phillips, Curtis Stigers and Tracy Dahl; and electric guitarist/composer Steven Mackey. Ensembles include the Calder Quartet, Tiempo Libre and Opus One, and guest conductors number Andrey Boreyko, Stphane Denve, Bramwell Tovey and Jeff Tyzik among them. As before, chamber concerts will be held in the intimate Vail Mountain School and Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek, while large-scale concerts take place in Vail's Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.Following the success of last year's Festival, McDermott returns for her second year as artistic director, only the third director in the Festival's history."The 25th anniversary of the Festival has been designed both to honor the past, guided so brilliantly by Executive Director John Giovando, and to embrace the future," she said. "The staples of the orchestral repertoire will be stunningly rendered by our three great orchestras, while we continue to introduce audiences to works - old and new - not yet heard in Vail. My goal is to make it all excellent, fun, rich, vital, and infused with passion."To launch the silver anniversary season, McDermott has invited her two esteemed predecessors, flutist Eugenia Zukerman and Festival co-founder violinist Ida Kavafian, to join her for a free and festive evening of music (June 25). This marks the first of McDermott's numerous festival appearances, which include one of the season's many premieres, a performance of Tchaikovsky's Second Piano Concerto on an all-Tchaikovsky program with the New York Philharmonic, guest conducted by Grammy Award-winner Bramwell Tovey (July 21). McDermott also joins three of her favorite fellow pianists for "4 x 4: A Two-Piano Extravaganza Redux," which re-visits last year's similar and resoundingly successful event, and with which the present season concludes (Aug. 4).To honor the milestone season, 2012 sees a number of important works unveiled at Bravo! Vail for the first time: besides McDermott's Tchaikovsky performance, these Festival premieres include Nielsen's Third Symphony and Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat, Op. 83 (July 26) and Mozart's Mass in C minor (July 27), both by the New York Philharmonic; Bruckner's Eighth Symphony (July 1); and the concert version of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess by the Dallas Symphony (June 30). Upcoming artistic debuts include eminent conductor Yannick Nzet-Sguin, just prior to his inaugural season as music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and superstar violinist Joshua Bell.With the Philadelphians under French maestro Stphane Denve, Bell traverses the beloved and soulful Violin Concerto of Felix Mendelssohn (July 14); the great German early-Romantic is one of three composers whose art is explored in depth this season. Composers often forge their most potent musical ideas into works for just a few players, and, like last summer, Vail Music Festival's acclaimed chamber music offerings are presented as "Big Music for Little Bands." Some of Mendelssohn's finest works are tendered under this rubric, with 2011 MacArthur Fellow, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and "risk-taking, high-octane" (Strad) violinist Jennifer Koh joining Artistic Director McDermott to play his perennially popular Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor (June 28). Similarly, Kavafian, Vail Music Festival's first artistic director and co-founder, joins McDermott and cellist Peter Wiley for Mendelssohn's Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, which was dedicated to composer Louis Spohr (July 29). Members of The Philadelphia Orchestra come together to play the inimitable Octet in E-flat on a program with Mendelssohn's Songs, sung by 2010 Beverly Sills Artist, soprano Susanna Phillips, to McDermott's piano accompaniment (July 10).All three of these "Big Music for Little Bands" chamber events juxtapose Mendelssohn's music with that of Vail Music Festival's second featured composer, his compatriot Johannes Brahms. Perhaps the quintessential master of Romantic chamber music, Brahms's evocative First Piano Trio in B is coupled with Mendelssohn's First (June 28), while his Quartet for Piano and Strings No. 1 in G minor balances Mendelssohn's Second Piano Trio in a performance by the Opus One Piano Quartet, comprising violist Steven Tenenbom with McDermott, Kavafian, and Wiley (July 29). Likewise Mendelssohn's Octet and Songs provide the foil for Brahms's own Songs and Trio for clarinet, cello, and piano in A minor, which features Lionel Tertis International Competition-winner Paul Neubauer on viola (July 10).Brahms also figures prominently in Vail Music Festival's 2012 orchestral programming, with performances of four major works scheduled. Both the New York Philharmonic and The Philadelphia Orchestra have selected Brahms symphonies for their opening concerts, the New York ensemble beginning its residency with the First, under dynamic Russian guest conductor Andrey Boryeko (July 20), while for Nzet-Sguin's debut, the Philadelphians undertake Brahms's dark and introspective Fourth. This shares a program with the composer's sole Violin Concerto, performed by violinist James Ehnes, "the Jascha Heifetz of our day" (Globe and Mail) (July 6). Under music director Alan Gilbert, the New York Philharmonic tackles Brahms's Second Piano Concerto in B-flat with Grammy Award-winning powerhouse pianist Yefim Bronfman as soloist (July 26). And the Dallas Symphony, under Musical America's Conductor of the Year, Jaap van Zweden, collaborates with Koh and Weilerstein in a performance of the composer's final orchestral work, the sonorous Double Concerto, alongside Schubert's Ninth Symphony, the "Great" (June 29).By contrast with the two German Romantics, the third composer to come under the spotlight at Vail Music Festival this season is George Gershwin, who died 75 years ago this July and who, in his short life, penned much of America's most recognizable music. This includes the song favorites performed by renowned Canadian coloratura soprano Tracy Dahl, with the New York Philharmonic under Tovey (July 22). Beloved and equally familiar is the composer's "folk opera" Porgy and Bess, the concert version of which - in its premiere Festival performance - forms the centerpiece of the all-Gershwin program presented by the Dallas Symphony and leading pops conductor Jeff Tyzik (June 30).Besides the three composer immersions, another cornerstone of the 25th anniversary season is the introduction of McDermott's new "Silver Nights" series: three evenings of chamber music written over the past 500 years, in the relaxed and beautiful setting of Vail's Donovan Pavilion. The three programs juxtapose music from past centuries by composers like Couperin, Schubert, and Debussy, whose music has been successfully absorbed over time into the mainstream, with thorny experimentalists like Charles Ives and composers of our own day like Thomas Ads and Osvaldo Golijov. These include Steven Mackey and last summer's Composer-in-Residence Gabriel Kahane, who will be in attendance at the Festival and taking part in performances of their own music. After a successful performance at the Festival in 2011, the Calder Quartet returns with the first performance of the string quartet-version of Philip Glass's American Four Seasons, featuring soloist Robert McDuffie. Between hour-long sets, audience members can enjoy a glass of wine as they socialize with players and composers, learning directly from the artists themselves about the music they love and why it attracts them. By presenting new music in so sympathetic a light, this creative programming represents a delightful and highly innovative approach to audience development (July 31-Aug 2).The upcoming anniversary season includes concerto appearances from a stellar lineup of soloists. Reigning Gilmore Artist Kirill Gerstein - recent Artist-in-Residence at the Houston Symphony's RachFest - returns to perform Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Nzet-Sguin, on a program with Tchaikovsky's final Symphony, the "Paththique" (July 7). The New York Philharmonic hosts the debut of teenage piano sensation Benjamin Grosvenor. Grosvenor plays Saint-Sans's Second Piano Concerto with Boreyko conducting, on the same program as Brahms's First Symphony (July 20). In addition to her Tchaikovsky premiere, McDermott undertakes Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25 in C with the Dallas Symphony and van Zweden (June 27). Pianist Inon Barnatan plays Bach's Keyboard Concerto in F minor with the same forces (July 1). Alban Gerhardt plays the Elgar Cello Concerto with the Philadelphians (July 13) while violinist Sheryl Staples joins Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic for renditions of "Winter" and "Spring" from Vivaldi's Four Seasons (July 25).On a lighter note, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra demonstrates its versatility on Independence Day, with the wildly popular annual "Patriotic Celebration" (July 4). This year's event, a co-presentation with the Vail Valley Foundation, features legendary jazz vocalist Curtis Stigers and guest pops conductor Jeff Tyzik in a musical partnership. Prior to the Patriotic Celebrations, Curtis Stigers and Jeff Tyzik perform "Swingin' with Curtis Stigers" which is co produced by Vail Jazz Foundation (July 2). Steven Reineke, music director of the New York Pops, returns to conduct The Philadelphia Orchestra in "Three Wicked Divas," which features two Broadway stars, Helen Hayes Award-winner Stephanie J. Block and Julia Murney. Joining them is one of Vail Music Festival's two Young-Professionals-in-Residence, Cantus, described by Fanfare magazine as "the premier men's vocal ensemble in the United States." The Philadelphia Orchestra's assistant conductor, Cristian Macelaru, will conduct the celebrated Cirque de la Symphonie, in which live orchestral music accompanies the circus troupe's spellbinding stunts (July 8). Cantus also presents the first three events in the Festival's "Free & Easy" series, which comprise hour-long concerts in a relaxed setting with free admission (July 9, 10 and 18). The remaining two are courtesy of the other Young-Professionals-in-Residence, the Jasper String Quartet, winner of the 2012 Cleveland Quartet Award (July 23 and 30). The Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival also offers four intimate "Soires," comprising solo piano recitals by Bronfman (July 24) and McDermott (July 17); a "Gypsy Affair" from soprano Susanna Phillips, violist Neubauer, and McDermott (July 9); and an evening of chamber music from the Calder Quartet with Ida Kavafian and Steven Tenenbom (July 30).Rounding out the season's generous programming is a free family concert by the National Repertory Orchestra performing Bach's Double Violin Concerto (July 12), and audiences can put on their dancing shoes and let loose with Tiempo Libre. Based on its Bach in Havana recording, this hot Cuban music group's "Big Music for Little Bands" show takes the music of Bach as its inspiration and aims to have everyone on their feet (July 16). The 25th Anniversary Gala, comprising a dinner, dance, and auction to the theme of "Under the Silvery Moon," will be held on July 21.
June 25 at 6pmGerald R. Ford Amphitheater, VailA 25-Year Salute to Three Artistic DirectorsBach: Partita No. 2 in C minor (selected movements)Franck: Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major (selected movements)Elgar: Salut d'amour, Op. 12Shostakovich: Three Duets for violin and pianoGershwin: It Ain't Necessarily So Doppler: Rondo and AndanteRachmaninoff/Kriesler: LiebesliedLiszt: tude de Paganini No. 6 in A minorIda Kavafian, violinEugenia Zukerman, fluteAnne-Marie McDermott, pianoFreeJune 27 at 6pmGerald R. Ford Amphitheater, VailBeethoven: Fidelio OvertureMozart: Piano Concerto No. 25 in C, K. 503Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 in B-flatDallas Symphony Orchestra / Jaap van ZwedenAnne-Marie McDermott, pianoJune 28 at 6pmConcert Hall, Vail Mountain SchoolBig Music for Little BandsMendelssohn: Trio in D minor for piano, violin, and cello, Op. 49Brahms: Trio No. 1 in B for piano, violin, and cello, Op. 8Alisa Weilerstein, celloJennifer Koh, violinAnne-Marie McDermott, pianoJune 29 at 6pmGerald R. Ford Amphitheater, VailBrahms: Concerto for violin, cello, and orchestra, Op. 102Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C, D. 944 ("Great")Dallas Symphony Orchestra / Jaap van Zweden, conductorAlisa Weilerstein, celloJennifer Koh, violinJune 30 at 6pmGerald R. Ford Amphitheater, VailA Salute to George Gershwin Funny Face Overture, Gershwin Lullaby, Rialto, Ripples, "The Man I Love," Cuban Overture Porgy and Bess, Concert Version - Vail PremiereDallas Symphony Orchestra / Jeff TyzikEvans Chorus / Catherine SailerJanice-Chandler Eteme, sopranoKevin Deas, baritoneJuly 1 at 6pmGerald R. Ford Amphitheater, VailBach: Keyboard Concerto in F minor, BWV 1056Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 in C minorDallas Symphony Orchestra / Jaap van ZwedenInon Barnatan, pianoJuly 2 at 6pmGerald R. Ford Amphitheater, VailSwingin' with Curtis StigersDallas Symphony Orchestra / Jeff TyzikCurtis Stigers, jazz vocalist (Vail Music Festival Debut)July 4 at 2pmGerald R. Ford Amphitheater, VailA Patriotic CelebrationDallas Symphony Orchestra / Jeff TyzikCurtis Stigers, jazz vocalistJuly 6 at 6pmGerald R. Ford Amphitheater, VailBrahms: Violin Concerto in D, Op. 77Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98The Philadelphia Orchestra / Yannick Nzet-SguinJames Ehnes, violinJuly 7 at 6pmGerald R. Ford Amphitheater, VailRachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, PathtiqueThe Philadelphia Orchestra / Yannick Nzet-SguinKirill Gerstein, pianoSunday, July 8 at 6pmGerald R. Ford AmphitheaterCirque de la Symphonie The Philadelphia Orchestra / Cristian MacelaruJuly 9 at 6 pmLittle Beach Amphitheater, MinturnFree & EasyCantus Vocal EnsembleJuly 9 at 6pmLocation TBAA Gypsy AffairSoire Susanna Phillips, sopranoPaul Neubauer, violaAnne-Marie McDermott, pianoJuly 10 at 11amVail Interfaith Chapel, VailFree & EasyCantus Vocal EnsembleJuly 10 at 6pmVilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver CreekBig Music for Little BandsDonor Appreciation Concert and ReceptionMendelssohn: SongsBrahms: Trio for Viola (Clarinet), Cello and Piano in A minor, Op. 114Brahms: SongsMendelssohn: Octet in E flat major for strings, Op. 40Susanna Phillips, sopranoPaul Neubauer, violaAnne-Marie McDermott, pianoMembers of the Philadelphia OrchestraJuly 11 at 6pmGerald R. Ford Amphitheater, VailSelections from Wicked, Carmen, Chicago, Phantom of the Opera, and RagtimeWicked DivasThe Philadelphia Orchestra / Steven ReinekeStephanie Block, vocalistJulia Murney, vocalistJuly 12 at 11amGerald R. Ford Amphitheater, VailFamily Youth ConcertProgram to include: Bach Concerto for Two Violins in B minor, BWV 1043National Repertory Orchestra / Carl TopilowClara Neubauer, violinOliver Neubauer, violinFreeJuly 13 at 6pmGerald R. Ford Amphitheater, VailElgar: Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47The Philadelphia Orchestra / Stphane DenveAlban Gerhardt, celloJuly 14 at 6pmGerald R. Ford AmphitheaterMendelssohn: Concerto in E minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 64Dvork: Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70 The Philadelphia Orchestra / Stphane DenveJoshua Bell, violinJuly 16 at 6pmVilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver CreekBig Music for Little BandsTiempo Libre - "Bach in Havana" July 17 at 6pmSherry and Jim Smith Residence, ArrowheadSoireAnne-Marie McDermott, pianoJuly 18 at 5pmGypsum Town Hall, GypsumFree & EasyCantus Vocal Ensemble July 20 at 6pmGerald R. Ford AmphitheaterDe Falla: Danza Ritual del Fuego (Ritual Fire Dance) from El Amor BrujoSaint-Sans: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22Brahms: Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68New York Philharmonic / Andrey BoreykoBenjamin Grosvenor, pianoJuly 21 at 6pmGerald R. Ford AmphitheaterTchaikovsky: Festival Coronation MarchTchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major, Op. 44Tchaikovsky: Excerpts from Act IV of Swan LakeTchaikovsky: 1812 OvertureNew York Philharmonic / Bramwell ToveyAnne-Marie McDermott, pianoJuly 21 at 8pmBetty Ford Alpine Gardens, VailUnder the Silvery Moon25th Annual GalaDinner Dance and AuctionJuly 22 at 6pmGerald R. Ford AmphitheaterCopland: Suite from Billy the KidBernstein: Three Dance Episodes from On the Town, and "Glitter and be Gay" from CandideGershwin: "The Man I Love," "They Can't Take That Away From Me," "A Foggy Day in London Town," "Fascinatin' Rhythm," and An American in ParisNew York Philharmonic / Bramwell ToveyTracy Dahl, sopranoJuly 23 at 7:30pmCordillera Lodge and SpaFree & EasyJasper String Quartet (J Freivogel, violin; Sae Chonabayashi; violin, Sam Quintal, viola; Rachel Henderson Freivogel, cello)July 24 at 6pmSandi and Greg Walton Residence, ArrowheadSoire Yefim Bronfman, pianoJuly 25 at 6pmGerald R. Ford AmphitheaterRespighi: Fountains of RomeVivaldi: Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8, RV 269, La primavera (Spring)Vivaldi: Concerto No. 4 in F minor, Op. 8, RV 297, L'inverno (Winter)Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36New York Philharmonic / Alan GilbertSheryl Staples, violinJuly 26 at 6pmGerald R. Ford AmphitheaterNielsen: Symphony No. 3, Op. 27Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83New York Philharmonic / Alan GilbertJennifer Zetland, sopranoJoshua Hopkins, baritoneYefim Bronfman, pianoJuly 27 at 6pmGerald R. Ford AmphitheaterStravinsky: Symphony in Three MovementsMozart: Mass in C minor, K. 427New York Philharmonic / Alan GilbertColorado Symphony Orchestra Chorus / Duain WolfeJennifer Zetlan, sopranoJennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-sopranoPaul Appelby, tenorJoshua Hopkins, baritoneJuly 29 at 6pmConcert Hall, Vail Mountain SchoolBig Music for Little BandsMendelssohn: Trio in C minor for Piano, Violin and Cello, Op. 6 Brahms: Quartet No. 1 in G minor for Piano and Strings, Op. 25Opus One Piano Quartet (Ida Kavafian, violin; Steve Tenenbom, viola; Peter Wiley, cello; Anne-Marie McDermott, piano)July 30 at 6pmCarol and Pat Welsh Residence, VailSoireCalder Quartet (Benjamin Jacobson, violin; Andrew Bulbrook, violin; Jonathan Moerschel, viola; Eric Beyers, Cello)Ida Kavafian, violin Steven Tenenbom, violaJuly 30 at 7:30pmBrush Creek Pavillion, EagleFree & EasyJasper String Quartet (J Freivogel, violin; Sae Chonabayashi; violin, Sam Quintal, viola; Rachel Henderson Freivogel, cello)July 31 at 6pmDonovan Pavilion, VailBig Music for Little Bands - Silver Nights at the Donovan (Evening I)6 pm: Cosma: Promenade sentimentale from the film Diva Couperin: L'me-en peine ("The Anguished Soul") Evans: Turn Out the Stars Scriabin: Etude No. 5 in C sharp minor, Op. 42 Korngold: (arr. Prutsman) Farewell Moon Feldman: Intermission I Scarlatti: Sonata K. 247 Crumb: Pastorale (from the Kingdom of Atlantis, ca. 10,000 BC) from Makrokosmos No.1 Debussy : Ce qu'a vu le vent d'Ouest ("What the West Wind Saw") 7 pm: Wine and Conversation with Performers and Composers Anne-Marie McDermott, piano Pedja Muzijevic, piano Stephen Prutsman, piano August 1 at 6pmBig Music for Little Bands - Silver Nights at the Donovan (Evening II)6 pm: Kahane: Come on all you Ghosts (a Bravo commission) Ades: Arcadiana for String Quartet Schubert: Auf dem Wasser zu Singen Ives: The Things Our Fathers Loved Schubert: Suleika Ives: Tom Sails Away Schubert: Litanei 7 pm: Wine and Conversation with Performers and Composers 7:30 pm: Works for solo and four-hands piano Schumann: Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44 Gabriel Kahane, singer/composerCalder String QuartetAnne-Marie McDermott, piano Pedja Muzijevic, piano Stephen Prutsman, piano August 2 at 6pmBig Music for Little Bands - Silver Nights at the Donovan (Evening III)6 p.m. Program to include: Mackey: Physical Property; I've Grown So Ugly - for String Quartet and Electric Guitar Barber: String Quartet, Op. 11 Golijov: Nonet for Two String Quartets and Double Bass 7 p.m. Wine and Conversation with Performers and Composers 7:30 p.m. Schubert: Quartettsatz in C minor, D. 703 Glass: The American Four Seasons for Violin and String Quartet Robert McDuffie, violin Steve Mackey, electric guitar Calder String Quartet Jasper String Quartet August 4 at 6pmVilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek4 x 4 - A Two Piano Extravaganza REDUXAlessio Bax, pianoAnne-Marie McDermott, pianoPedja Muzijevic, pianoStephen Prutsman, pianoVisit www.vailmusic.org for ticket prices and to learn more. 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