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Brahms and Schumann featuring Christian Zacharias as both conductor and pianist

Brahms and Schumann featuring Christian Zacharias as both conductor and pianist

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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The German pianist and conductor Christian Zacharias returns to Symphony Hall as both conductor and pianist in a rarity for piano and orchestra by Robert Schumann, his Introduction and Allegro appassionato, which his wife Clara premiered with the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig in 1850. The BSO has only played it on two occasions, both at Tanglewood more than 50 years ago. Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 was actually the second symphony he wrote. He completed its original version in 1841, just after finishing his Symphony No. 1, but was dissatisfied with it, publishing its revised, final form only a decade later. Schumann’s use of recurring thematic ideas creates an innovative, interconnected overall form. Opening the program is Brahms’ five-movement Serenade No. 2, substantial in length but generally light in mood, like the Classical-era serenades that were the composer’s models. Brahms omits violins from the orchestra for this piece, resulting in a mellow, dark-hued tone.

Featured Performers

Christian Zacharias, conductor and piano
Christian Zacharias, conductor and piano View biography in full page >

Christian Zacharias has established himself not only as a world-class pianist and conductor but also as a musical thinker whose interpretations reveal his interest in what lies behind the notes. Since the 2017-18 season, Mr. Zacharias has held the position of principal guest conductor of the Orquesta y Coro de la Comunidad de Madrid; beginning in 2020 he will hold the same position with the Orquestra Sinfoníca do Porto Casa da Música. After a significant focus on the music of Robert Schumann last season, his focus returns in 2019-20 to themes of “Europe” and to the music of Beethoven, which he explores in his programs in Paris, Munich, Stuttgart, Bergen, and Verona, as well as in Asia. Mr. Zacharias was a long-term artistic partner of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and is still deeply connected to that orchestra. He also maintains close ties with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Kammerorchester Basel, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, and Bamberger Symphoniker. In addition, he performs recitals in major musical centers worldwide and collaborates with likeminded musicians such as Frank Peter Zimmermann, the Leipziger Streichquartett, and Baiba Skride. Mr. Zacharias is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, including the 2007 Midem Classical Award “Artist of the Year.” Honored in 2009 for his contributions to culture in Romania, he has more recently been awarded the honorary title of Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, was appointed a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 2016, and in 2017 received an honorary doctorate from the University of Gothenburg. During his time as artistic director and principal conductor of the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, his recordings with that orchestra garnered widespread critical acclaim among the international press. His most recent recordings feature the four Schumann symphonies and C.P.E. Bach’s Berlin symphonies. Mr. Zacharias chaired the jury of the Clara Haskil Competition in 2015 and 2017 and in 2018 was president of the jury of the Géza Anda Competition and conducted its final concert. Christian Zacharias made his BSO debut in November 1979 as soloist in Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and his Tanglewood debut in July 1994 in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2. He has since appeared with the orchestra on multiple occasions as piano soloist in concertos of Mozart and Beethoven. He has also appeared with the BSO on numerous occasions in the dual role of conductor-pianist, at Symphony Hall in November 2010, November 2012, and October 2014, and at Tanglewood in August 2012 and for two concerts there in July 2015, his most recent engagement with the orchestra.

Christian Zacharias, conductor and piano
Program Notes Audio
BRAHMS - Serenade No. 2 (34 min)
SCHUMANN - Introduction and Allegro appassionato, for piano and orchestra (16 min)
SCHUMANN - Symphony No. 4 (30 min)
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