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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Superconductor Fall Preview: Carnegie Hall

2013-14 at the "Hall that Music Built."
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The Ronald O. Perelman Stage in the Isaac Stern Auditorium in Carnegie Hall.
Photo from
For serious concert-going, it's hard to do better than the 2013-14 schedule that Carnegie Hall has put forth this year. From the slate of piano recitals to the first New York appearances in decades of the Vienna State Opera, this is going to be a season to remember.

The season opens Oct. 2 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Canadian hotshot Yannick Nézet-Séguin. He's the recently appointed music director and is doing much to preserve that ensemble's classic "Philadelphia sound" while guiding the ensemble forward.

This is just the first in a year-long series of concerts by great American orchestras, including the San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and from just up the street, the MET Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. The Minnesota Orchestra is also scheduled to offer a major survey of the seven symphonies of Jean Sibelius, but the current orchestra lockout is threatening to nix the planned concerts. Stay tuned to Superconductor as that story develops.

A week later, (Oct. 10) Valery Gergiev arrives with the Mariinsky Orchestra for a three-concert series which will also celebrate the maestro's 60th birthday. The Mariinsky forces tend to play marathon concerts: these will consist solely of works by Stravinsky (the three Diaghalev ballets) Shostakovich (the little-heard Symphony No. 8) and Rachmaninoff. Other European orchestras of note this season include the St. Petersburg Symphony, the Akademie für Alte Musik from Berlin, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and from that same city, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

The Vienna Philharmonic are regulars at Carnegie Hall, and their appearances in New York are a central component of the month-long Vienna: City of Dreams Festival which will start in February of 2014. Incorporating appearances by the Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera, this ongoing event will celebrate the Austrian capital's central place in the musical and artistic culture of Western Europe. Highlights include complete concert performances of the operas Wozzeck  (Feb. 28) and  Salome (March 1) and the Schubert song recital Die Schöne Müllerin with baritone Matthias Goerne.

In May of last year, Carnegie Hall celebrated the return of James Levine to conducting duties. He's still in a wheelchair and using a specially constructed podium to conduct, but  the Metropolitan Opera's music director will bring the MET Orchestra (as they're billed when they play in a concert setting) to Carnegie for three concerts. Each features a Seventh Symphony, by Beethoven (Oct. 13) Mahler (Dec. 22)  and Dvorak (May 11, 2014.)

It's not all about orchestras. Recitals are a key part of the Carnegie experience. Paul Lewis, Andras Schiff, Yuja Wang, Denis Matsuev, Garrick Ohlsson, Yevgeny Kissin...the list is long and varied. Violinists Joshua Bell and Anne-Sophie Mutter will grace the stage, while the opera and lieder singers include Gerald Finley, Anne Sofie von Otter and Jonas Kaufmann. The schedule is rounded out by chamber recitals (in the Stern Auditorium and in the smaller, more modern Zankel Hall downstairs) and programs dedicated to education and contemporary music.

Of course, these paragraphs just scratch the surface of what the Carnegie Hall season offers, a year-round schedule of intimate recitals, huge orchestral concerts and a celebration of all things that are good in classical music. Tickets are available through CarnegieHall.Org or by calling CarnegieCharge at (212) 247-7800.

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