Rachmaninoff & Wagner
April 24 | 8:00 PM | Hill Auditorium
Behind the Music
We have heard how the past influences the present. This evening’s finale revisits this intertwined commentary on music history as we open with Unsuk Chin’s composition, Frontispiece, a self-described “timelapse of the history of music”. We will then hear Sergei Babayan light up the keys in Rachmaninoff’s melodious second piano concerto, a composition from 1901 that has appeared in popular culture dozens of times in the last century. The 20/21 season comes to an epic conclusion with Act III of Wagner’s Tannhäuser, performed in collaboration with the UMS Choral Union. Do not miss the finale to our historic new conductor selection season!
Unsuk CHIN Frontispiece
RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 2
WAGNER Act III of Tannhauser ft. UMS Choral Union
Sergei Babayan, piano
Perry So, conductor
Sergei Babayan, Piano
He is one of the leading pianists of our time: Hailed for his emotional intensity, bold energy and remarkable levels of color, Sergei Babayan brings a deep understanding and insight to an exceptionally diverse repertoire. Le Figaro has praised his “unequaled touch, perfectly harmonious phrasing and breathtaking virtuosity.” Le Devoir from Montreal put it simply: “Sergei Babayan is a genius. Period.”
Sergei Babayan has collaborated with such conductors as David Robertson, Neeme Järvi, Yuri Temirkanov, Thomas Dausgaard, Tugan Sokhiev, and Dima Slobodeniouk, among others. Over the years, Babayan has performed with Valery Gergiev numerous times to great critical acclaim, including appearances at the International Festival “Stars of the White Nights”, the Moscow Easter Festival, the Barbican Centre with Mo. Gergiev conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, in St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Théâtre des Champs-Elyseés in Paris, at the Salzburg Festival, and at the Rotterdam Philharmonic-Gergiev Festival where Babayan was artist-in-residence.
In the 2019/20 season, Mr. Babayan’s schedule includes concert performances at Carnegie Hall, with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Bamberg Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Mariinsky Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, and the Verbier Festival Orchestra. Sergei Babayan regularly performs at many of the world’s most prestigious venues, including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus and Munich Prinzregententheater, the Maison de la Radio in Paris, at the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie and Frankfurt Alte Oper, and the Zurich Tonhalle. He will also return to major festivals including La Roque d’Anthéron, Piano aux Jacobins in Toulouse, Gstaad Menuhin Festival, and Verbier Festival. At Konzerthaus Dortmund, Sergei Babayan is a Curating Artist during the 2019/20 season. Mr. Babayan performs with the world’s foremost orchestras, including the London Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the New World Symphony.
His engagements and tours have brought him to eminent international concert venues including Carnegie Hall in New York, the Warsaw Philharmony, Severance Hall in Cleveland, Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Herkulessaal in Munich, Liederhalle in Stuttgart, Meistersingerhalle in Nuremberg, Konzerthaus Berlin, Beethovenhalle Bonn, Rudolfinum-Dvorak Hall in Prague, Victora Hall in Geneva and many others. Sergei Babayan is a Deutsche Grammophon exclusive artist; his latest release of his own transcriptions for two pianos of works by Sergei Prokofiev, with Martha Argerich as his partner (‘Prokofiev for Two’; DG 2018), was praised by reviewers as ‘the CD one has waited for’ (Le Devoir), an ‘electrifying duo that leaves the listener in consternation’ (Pianiste), taking ‘the piano duo to a new level: If all music was like this, there would be no sorrow in the world.’ (Norman Lebrecht, MyScena). Mr. Babayan’s performances have been broadcast by Radio France, Polish Radio and Television, BBC-TV and BBC Radio 3, NHK Satellite Television and Medici TV.
Born in Armenia into a musical family, Babayan began his studies there with Georgy Saradjev and continued at the Moscow Conservatory with Mikhail Pletnev, Vera Gornostayeva and Lev Naumov. Following his first trip outside of the USSR in 1989, he won consecutive first prizes in several major international competitions including the Cleveland International Piano Competition, the Hamamatsu Piano Competition, and the Scottish International Piano Competition. An American citizen, he lives in New York City.
Perry So, Conductor
A regular presence in concert halls on five continents, conductor Perry So has guest conducted ensembles across the globe including the Cleveland and Minnesota Orchestras, Houston, Detroit, and Israel Symphony Orchestras, and the Royal Danish Opera. Recent highlights include return visits to the Sinfónica de Tenerife and a seven-week tour of South Africa with three orchestras including a Verdi Requiem in Cape Town. Last season he made his debut with the San Francisco Symphony. He has been a frequent guest both at Walt Disney Hall and the Hollywood Bowl following his stint as an inaugural Dudamel Conducting Fellow of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He led the Hong Kong Philharmonic with Lang Lang in an internationally televised program at the close of his four years as Assistant, then Associate Conductor. So received the First and Special Prizes at the Fifth International Prokofiev Conducting Competition in St Petersburg. His recording of Barber and Korngold’s Violin Concertos with violinist Alexander Gilman and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra was awarded the Diapason d’Or in January 2012. He has recorded extensively with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the BBC Concert Orchestra. He has assisted Gustavo Dudamel, Lorin Maazel, and John Adams. Born in Hong Kong, Perry So holds a degree in Comparative Literature from Yale University.
By The Numbers
international composition awards Unsuk Chin has received
Duration (in hours!) of Wagner's "Ring" cycle
Musicians in Your A2SO
September 10, 2020 | Goodyear Plays Beethoven
September 11, 2020 | Beethoven 7
October 17, 2020 | Brahms & Copland
November 14, 2020 | Beethoven & Scheherazade
December 11, 2020 | Holiday Pops
January 23, 2021 | Mozart's Vienna
March 13 & 14, 2021 | Night at the Movies
March 20, 2021 | Tchaikovsky & Sibelius
April 24, 2021 | Rachmaninoff & Wagner
SEE YOU AT THE SYMPHONY!