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Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Look Ahead: Carnegie Hall in 2014-15

The Grass is Always Greener...Upstairs
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Anne Sophie Mutter (left) and Joyce DiDonato are
the  Carnegie Hall Perspectives artists for 2014-15.
The annual schedule of concerts and performances put forth by the Carnegie Hall Corporation is always ambitious. Next season sees the culmination of an ambitious renovaton to the famed music venue, with the opening of new education rooms, party space and a grassy roof deck.

Onstage, promises to be a feast of multiculturalism, with UBUNTU! a lengthy festival devoted to the music and culture of South Africa, not one but two artists offering Perspectives series, and the appointment of Meredith Monk as next year's Composer In Residence.

With the enormous slate of programs on offer, Superconductor looks over the slate of concert and opera performances that you shouldn't miss next year at Carnegie Hall.

  • This year opens Oct. 1 with the Berlin Philharmonic in a four-concert stand under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. They'll be joined by this year's Perspectives artist Anne Sophie-Mutter for the Bruch Violin Concerto. A performance of Stravinsky's Firebird will be followed by a complete cycle of the four symphonies by Robert Schumann.
  • James Levine and the MET Orchestra return to the Hall (Oct. 9) for Mahler's Ninth Symphony, proof that the conductor has completed rehabilitation and is once more capable of leading long works. This is the first of three concerts at the Hall next season.
  • Starting in October and continuing through the next month, thee aforementioned UBUNTU festival offers a wide array of concerts, with hghlighs including the New York recital debut of soprano Pretty Yende and concerts by Hugh Maskela and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
  • The highly successful concert series of Handel operas by Harry Bickett and The English Concert continues Oct. 26 with Alcina featuring the other Carnegie Hall Perspectives artist this year: Joyce Di Donato. The all-star cast also includes Anne Chrisy and Alice Coote in this rarely performed opera.
  • The opera highlight of the Carnegie Hall schedule (and possibly the entire season) is the Teatro Regio Torino performance of Rossini's William Tell under the vigorous baton of Gianandrea Noseda. A stellar cast is led by baritone Fabio Capitanucci in the title role, John Osborn in the hellishly difficult role of Arnold, and Angela Meade in the key role of Mathilde.
  • On Jan. 30, 2015, Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra return after an 18-month absence to play a set of three concerts focusing on major works by Alexander Scriabin. Also on the bill: music from Prokofiev's mighty Alexander Nevsky.
  • On Feb. 27, conductor Daniele Gatti and the Vienna Phlharmonic take aim at the major works of Johannes Brahms. This three-concert festival features all four symphonies and the choral Ein Deutsches Requiem.
  • One of the more challenging and interesting programs of the schedule next year is an all-Pierre Boulez program at Zankel Hall March 16. Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich tackle the Douze notations , the three piano sonatas and even more complex modern works.
  • David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony celebrate Meredith Monk's position as composer-in-residence with the premiere of her new composition Weave on March 20. On March 22, the composer is featured in a concert including Jessye Norman, her own vocal ensemble and turntablist DJ Spooky. That's at Zankel Hall. Ms. Monk and her Vocal Ensemble also celebrate her 50th annversary as a composer with a concert on May 2.
  • On April 2, Carnegie Hall unveils its spring festival programming. Titled Before Bach, this is an exploration of music by important composers like Thomas Tallis, Francisco Cavalli, Henry Purcell and others. The month-long music marathon includes period performance enembles L'Arpeggiata, Pomerium, Fretwork, Les Concerts de Nations and the Tallis Scholars. The month-long festival ends with two nights of music by Monteverdi under John Eliot Gardiner: the Vespri della beata Virgine and the earliest surviving example of opera: L'Orfeo.
  • The Boston Symphony Orchestra makes its first New York apperances under the baton of its new music director Andris Nelsons. The Latvian conductor brings scores by Shostakovich (the Tenth Symphony), Gustav Mahler (the Sixth) and Ludwig van Beethoven.
  • Finally no look at the schedule is complete without piano recitals. This year features the return of artists like Maurizio Pollini (Oct. 19), Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Nov. 13) Danil Trifonov (Dec. 9), Yuja Wang (Dec. 11), AndrĂ¡s Schiff (March 10, 12), Murray Perahia (April 1), Richard Goode (April 24), Stephen Hough (May 9) and Evgeni Kissin (May 16). Program details will be available on CarnegieHall.Org.

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.