Academy of St Martin in the Fields
Alisa Weilerstein, Director and Cello, and Inon Barnatan, Director and Piano
Friday, March 8, 2013
Mechanics Hall - 8:00 PM Performance, Pre-concert Talk Cancelled due to Pre-broadcast Event - link below for reservations.
Tickets: $49 Adults, $15 students, $5 under age 18
"They play with a sharp attack, a rhythmic punch and a new joy in living...a new golden age might be here." The London Times, 10 April 2012
"Poise, scrupulous balancing of instrumental textures and elegance of tone have always been trademark qualities of the Academy's playing, and the silken response of the strings and supple voicing of the winds heard on Friday reminded us of just how fine this orchestra is." - The Washington Post, 15 April 2012
Academy of St Martin in the Fields has an enthusiasm for fresh, brilliant interpretation of the world’s most loved classical music. It is one of the finest chamber orchestras in the world, renowned for its polished and refined sound. Formed in 1958 from a group of leading London musicians, it performs without a conductor. The Academy gave its first performance in 1959 in its namesake church.
"We are not reliant on any one venue. We travel the world to bring our vivid sound to a small music festival in Teignmouth, Devon, England, as well as to a huge concert hall in Tokyo, Japan. Our music is equally loved in New York and Nuremberg. Whilst our heritage and roots are in the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, our mission is to bring our unique interpretation of classical music to all parts of London, all parts of Britain, indeed all parts of the World.
We are known for our polished and refined sound, with performances rooted in outstanding musicianship. And whilst our focus is the Classical era, we are never afraid to perform something completely new. Our founder is Sir Neville Marriner, whose vision and inspiration have kept the Academy sound alive. Today we are led artistically by our Music Director, and the membership of the orchestra who create an annual programme of inspirational and inventive performances. Each year we also work with some of the world’s most talented soloists and directors. We re-invent ourselves from a large chamber orchestra to a small chamber group, so that we can display the music at its very best.
We also have a responsibility to the future. So we spend time with young musicians, in schools, in music colleges and with people who are less privileged because we truly believe our music can make a difference to their lives. We enjoy our work and want to enthuse our audiences, re-pay our supporters and partner our sponsors." - from the orchestra's own web site.
Benjamin Britten: Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, op.10 (26")
Franz Joseph Haydn: Cello Concerto No.1 in C Major (24")
- intermission -
J.S.Bach: Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor, BWV 1052 (24")
Franz Joseph Haydn: Symphony No.45 in F-sharp minor "Farewell" (25")
timings are estimates only
About the Artists
The Academy of St Martin in the Fields - one of the finest chamber orchestras in the world - is renowned for its polished and refined sound, rooted in outstanding musicianship. Formed in 1958 from a group of leading London musicians, and working without a conductor, the Academy gave its first performance in its namesake church on 13th November 1959. Today, the Academy performs some 100 concerts around the world each year, with as many as 15 tours each season. In 1993, the Academy became the first and only orchestra to be awarded the Queen’s Award for Export.
The Academy’s partnership with its founder Sir Neville Marriner remains the most recorded pairing of orchestra and conductor and, with over 500 recordings under its belt, the Academy is one of the most recorded chamber orchestras in the world. Originally directed by Sir Neville from the leader’s chair, the collegiate spirit and flexibility of the original small, conductorless ensemble remains an Academy hallmark. This tradition continues today with the appointment of virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell as its new Music Director with effect from September 2011.
Pianist Inon Barnatan has rapidly gained international recognition for engaging and communicative performances that pair insightful interpretation with impeccable technique. Described by London’s Evening Standard as “a true poet of the keyboard”, Mr. Barnatan performs a diverse range of repertoire, encompassing both classical and contemporary composers, with the variety of the pieces he performs reflected in his being equally valued as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician.
Since moving to the United States in 2006, Mr. Barnatan has made his orchestral debuts with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Houston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, and has performed in New York at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, the Metropolitan Museum and Alice Tully Hall. In 2009 he was awarded a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, an honor reflecting the strong impression he has made on the American music scene in such a short period of time.
In addition to his American appearances, Mr. Barnatan has appeared as a soloist with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, London Soloists Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of New Europe, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and a tour with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields as a conductor and soloist.
An avid chamber musician, Mr. Barnatan recently completed three seasons as a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program. In 2009 he curated a festival of Schubert’s late solo piano, songs and chamber music works for the Society. ‘The Schubert Project’ program has also been performed at the Concertgebouw, the Festival de México, and at the Library of Congress.
Other chamber music performances include the complete Beethoven piano and violin sonatas at the Concertgebouw, the Bergen International Festival in Norway, the Vancouver Chamber Music Festival, the Delft and the Verbier Festivals and the Lyon Musicades. His rigorous U.S. festival schedule has included a broad range of concerts at the Spoleto Festival USA, the Aspen and Bridgehampton Music Festivals, and the Santa Fe and Seattle Chamber Music Festivals. He has collaborated with musicians such as Liza Ferschtman, Miriam Fried, Martin Fröst, Gary Hoffman, Janine Jansen, the Jerusalem String Quartet, Ralph Kirshbaum, Cho-Liang Lin, Paul Neubauer and Alisa Weilerstein. In 2008 he received the Andrew Wolf Memorial Award in Rockport, awarded every two years to an exceptional chamber music pianist.
Passionate about contemporary music, Mr. Barnatan regularly commissions and performs music by living composers, including works by Thomas Adès, George Benjamin, George Crumb, Avner Dorman, Kaija Saariaho and Judith Weir among others. Last season, he participated in Carnegie Hall’s “Making Music: James MacMillan” series, performing the composer’s Piano Sonata and chamber piece Raising Sparks.
Mr. Barnatan’s debut CD of Schubert piano works was released on Bridge Records in 2006. London’s Evening Standard wrote: “The young, Israeli born pianist Inon Barnatan is a true poet of the keyboard: refined, searching, unfailingly communicative… This is musicianship of the highest caliber.” Gramophone recommended the recording in its November 2006 award issue, calling Barnatan “a born Schubertian” and praising the CD’s “sensitivity, poise and focus.” His second CD of works for piano and violin by Beethoven and Schubert with violinist Liza Ferschtman was described by All Music Guide as “a magical listening experience.”
Born in Tel Aviv in 1979, Inon Barnatan started playing the piano at the age of three after his parents discovered he had perfect pitch, and he made his orchestral debut at eleven. His studies connect him to some of the 20th century’s most illustrious pianists and teachers: he studied with Professor Victor Derevianko, who himself studied with the Russian master Heinrich Neuhaus, and in 1997 he moved to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Maria Curcio – who was a student of the legendary Artur Schnabel – and with Christopher Elton. Leon Fleisher has also been an influential teacher and mentor and in 2004 he invited Mr. Barnatan to study and perform Schubert sonatas as part of a Carnegie Hall workshop, an experience that has had a lasting resonance for Mr. Barnatan. In 2006 Mr. Barnatan moved to New York City, where he currently resides in a converted warehouse in Harlem.
American cellist Alisa Weilerstein has attracted widespread attention worldwide for playing that combines a natural virtuosic command and technical precision with impassioned musicianship. The intensity of her playing has regularly been lauded, as has the spontaneity and sensitivity of her interpretations. Following her Zankel Hall recital debut in 2008, Justin Davidson of New York Magazine said: “Whatever she plays sounds custom-composed for her, as if she has a natural affinity with everything.” In September 2011 she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow and in 2010 she became an exclusive recording artist for Decca Classics, the first cellist to be signed by the prestigious label in over 30 years.
She has appeared with all of the major orchestras throughout the United States and Europe with conductors including Marin Alsop, Daniel Barenboim, Sir Andrew Davis, Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, Manfred Honeck, Marek Janowski, Paavo Järvi, Jeffrey Kahane, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Ludovic Morlot, Peter Oundjian, Matthias Pintscher, Yuri Temirkanov, Osmo Vänskä, Simone Young and David Zinman.
Ms. Weilerstein’s 2011-12 season included return engagements with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Minnesota and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics, and the Hamburg Philharmonic. In November and December 2011 she toured Australia, appearing with the Melbourne, West Australian and Sydney Symphonies with conductors Tadaaki Otaka (Tchaikovsky’s “Rococo” Variations), Paul Daniel (Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1) and Osmo Vänskä (Prokofiev’s Cello Concerto) respectively. During this tour period she made her debut with the Seoul Philharmonic in Korea. In May 2012 she made her debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London performing the Dvorák Cello Concerto with Juraj Valchau. She also undertook an eight-city recital tour of Europe with pianist Inon Barnatan.
In 2011 Ms. Weilerstein was appointed the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra’s Artist in Residence. Her residency included four orchestral concerts, beginning in October 2011 with performances of Walton’s Cello Concerto with Marin Alsop, and concluding in February 2012 with Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante with Paavo Järvi. The residency also features a chamber concert with Inon Barnatan and clarinetist Jochen Tschabrun.
A major milestone in Ms. Weilerstein’s career took place in May 2010 when she performed Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Daniel Barenboim in Oxford, England for the orchestra’s 2010 European Concert. This concert was televised live to an audience of millions worldwide and also released on DVD by EuroArts. This performance, which followed her Berliner Philharmoniker debut with Mr. Barenboim days earlier, was described by Tom Service of The Guardian as “…the most technically complete and emotionally devastating performance of Elgar’s Cello Concerto that I have ever heard live…”. Ms. Weilerstein will record this concerto with Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Staatskapelle in April 2012, pairing this work with Elliott Carter’s Cello Concerto, for her debut Decca Classics release.
In 2009, Ms. Weilerstein was one of four artists invited by the First Lady, Michelle Obama, to participate in a widely-applauded and high profile classical music event at the White House that included student workshops hosted by the First Lady, and playing for guests including President Obama and the First Family. A month later she was the soloist on a tour of Venezuela with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, led by Gustavo Dudamel. She has subsequently made numerous return visits to Venezuela to teach and perform with the orchestra as part of its famed El Sistema program of music education.
In August 2010 she made her BBC Proms debut with the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä performing Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1. She subsequently performed this work on a 15-city U.S. tour with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic led by Yuri Temirkanov and Nikolai Alexeev in 2011 that included the country’s major concert venues such as Walt Disney Concert Hall, Davies Symphony Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall and Carnegie Hall, cementing her reputation as an impassioned and insightful interpreter of this work.
Committed to expanding the cello repertoire, Ms. Weilerstein is a fervent champion of new music. She has performed Osvaldo Golijov’s Azul for cello and orchestra around the world. This piece, originally premiered by Yo-Yo Ma, was rewritten for Ms. Weilerstein for the New York premiere at the opening night of the 2007 Mostly Mozart Festival. She also frequently performs Mr. Golijov’s Omaramor for solo cello. In 2011, Ms. Weilerstein gave the world premiere of a new song cycle for cello and piano by Gabriel Kahane, Little Sleep's-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight, with Mr. Kahane at the University of California in Santa Barbara and subsequently toured this work to Vancouver, Minneapolis and Bethesda. Ms. Weilerstein and Mr. Kahane will perform the New York City premiere of this piece for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in April 2012. In 2008 she gave the world premiere of Lera Auerbach’s 24 Preludes for Violoncello and Piano with Ms. Auerbach at the Caramoor International Music Festival. The duo has subsequently performed this work, juxtaposing it with Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes for Piano arranged for cello and piano by Ms. Auerbach, at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, the Kennedy Center and for San Francisco Performances.
Ms. Weilerstein has appeared at major music festivals throughout the world, including Aspen, Bad Kissengen, Delft, Edinburgh, Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Summerfest, Mostly Mozart, Schleswig-Holstein, Tanglewood and Verbier. In addition to her appearances as a soloist and recitalist, Ms. Weilerstein performs regularly as a chamber musician. She has been part of a core group of musicians at the Spoleto Festival USA for the past eight years and she also performs with her parents, Donald and Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, as the Weilerstein Trio, which is the Trio-in-Residence at the New England Conservatory in Boston.
In 2008 Ms. Weilerstein was awarded Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal prize for exceptional achievement and she was named the winner of the 2006 Leonard Bernstein Award. She received an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2000 and was selected for two prestigious young artists programs in 2000-01; the ECHO (European Concert Hall Organization) “Rising Stars” recital series and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two.
Alisa Weilerstein’s love for the cello began when she was just two-and-a-half after her grandmother assembled a makeshift set of instruments out of cereal boxes to entertain her when she was ill with the chicken pox. Alisa, who was born in 1982, was instantly drawn to the Rice Krispies box cello but soon grew frustrated that it didn’t make a sound. After convincing her parents to buy her a real cello when she was four, she showed a natural affinity for the instrument and performed her first public concert six months later. Her Cleveland Orchestra debut was in October 1995, at age 13, playing the Tchaikovsky “Rococo” Variations. She made her Carnegie Hall debut with the New York Youth Symphony in March 1997. Ms. Weilerstein is a graduate of the Young Artist Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Richard Weiss. In May 2004, she graduated from Columbia University in New York with a degree in Russian History. In November 2008 Ms. Weilerstein, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was nine, became a Celebrity Advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Worcester Arts Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.