New York Philharmonic arrives at Bravo! Vail |

New York Philharmonic arrives at Bravo! Vail

Jon Kimura Parker joins the New York Philharmonic on Friday night for a performance of Grieg's Piano Concerto at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. The second half of the program is Elgar's Enigma Variations.
Special to the Daily |

If you go...

What: The New York Philharmonic at Bravo! Vail

When: Friday through July 31

Where: Ford Amphitheater in Vail

More info: or call 877-812-5700

The New York Philharmonic gave its first concert on Dec. 7, 1842, with the American premiere of some piece known as Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

This new-fangled orchestra was the first in the United States to play what was then a relatively new piece of music. The Fifth had only been written 34 years previous in 1842.

And Dec. 7 of that year was simply the seventh day of the last month of the year because likely very few people had an idea of where Hawaii was on a map. On Dec. 7, 1941, the New York Philharmonic was performing its weekly radio broadcast on CBS — Brahms’ Second Symphony — when the network cut into the performance to announce the attack on Pearl Harbor.

These are just mere sticky notes in the history of the New York Philharmonic, which starts its 13th residency at Bravo! Vail on Friday at 6 p.m. at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.


Bramwell Unravels Elgar’s Enigma

In the first half of the concert, Jon Kimura Parker plays Grieg’s Piano Concerto. Parker is someone who really can check the box, “Been there, done that.” During his career, he has done everything from jamming with the group Barenaked Ladies to performing for Queen Elizabeth II. Presumably, Parker did not play “If I had $1,000,000” for the queen as we’re pretty sure she has at least 1 million pounds already.

In a bit of trivia, the Grieg Piano Concerto was the first piece Kimura performed professionally with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in 1980. By the way, the current conductor of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra just happens to be Bramwell Tovey, who will conduct the New York Philharmonic tonight.

Speaking of Tovey, he leads the New York Philharmonic in Elgar’s Enigma Variations. The piece is composed of variations on a theme the first written for the composer’s wife, followed by musical descriptions of his friends.

As the title of the concert implies, there are numerous theories of whether there is a larger theme linking the movements and what said theme means, hence the title of Enigma. Tovey, who, as Bravo! Vail audiences know well, has never suffered from a shortage of commentary from the stage, will doubtless unravel his own interpretation.


The Weilersteins & Tchaikovsky

Many families are serious about their music, but some more than most. Meet the Weilersteins. Alisa, 33, will be the cellist for Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme for Cello and Orchestra. She started playing the cello when she was 4 and made her major orchestral debut with the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra when she was 13.

Along the way in addition to her solo career, Alisa is part of the Weilerstein Trio, which includes her father, Donald, on the violin, and mother, Vivian, on the piano.

Not to be left out, Alisa’s younger brother, Joshua, 27, will be conducting the New York Philharmonic on Saturday.

Leading the New York Philharmonic is nothing new to Joshua, as he has served a term as one of the orchestra’s assistant conductors.

It’s hard to follow all of that, but the Philharmonic will with Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, Pathetique.


Tovey and McDermott

Variations seem to be the theme of the weekend, as Bravo! Vail artistic director Anne-Marie McDermott takes to the stage to perform Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

Rachmaninoff started with Paganini’s Caprice No. 24 and composed 24 variations of that melody that weave into the work. Like the Grieg on Friday, this work is one of the more soaring works for the piano.

Tovey leads the New York Philharmonic in Strauss Jr.’s Emperor Waltzes and Strauss’ Suite from Der Rosenkavalier in the second half of the program. Tovey should bring a lot of fun to those works.


• Speaking of Paganaini’s Caprices, violinist Augustin Hadelich performed No. 5 as an encore on Saturday after performing Silbelius’ Violin Concerto with The Philadelphia Orchestra on Saturday. Hadelich’s performance fell under the appreciative category of “Now, you’re just showing off.” Not only was it a brilliant performance, but one could also see how much pleasure it gave members of The Philadelphia Orchestra to hear Hadelich perform the solo. That’s praise from Cesar.

• Tuesday is another chance to see the New York Philharmonic up close with th July 31e final chamber concert of the season at Donovan Pavilion. Members of the Philharmonic will perform works of Beethoven, Bartok and Dohnanyi, starting at 6 p.m.

Staff writer Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, and @cfreud.

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