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Anna Rakatina

Music in Changing Times: New Beginnings
Prokofiev, Pärt, Stravinsky and Missy Mazzoli

Boston Symphony Orchestra


Watch the video here

Available January 28 - February 27

BSO Assistant Conductor Anna Rakitina makes her debut with the orchestra leading works representing the distinctive voices of three composers. Violinist Gil Shaham is soloist for Arvo Pärt’s atmospheric, ceremonial Fratres (“Brothers”), one of his best-known and most characteristic pieces. With Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony, we find that talented but deliberately provocative young composer broadening his range to embrace music of grace, clarity, and charm. The first of Stravinsky’s three great ballet scores, The Firebird, composed when he was 27, was far more ambitious and imaginative than anything he had written previously. Closing this episode is celebrated American composer Missy Mazzoli’s Set That On Fire for chamber ensemble, which takes its title from a phrase used by the painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. The energy and precision of the piece demand virtuosic performances from the BSO musicians. Magazine elements in Episode 3 include a feature on "arrivals" in terms of a composer’s musical style, as well as a conversation between BSO Assistant Conductor Anna Rakitina and BSO bassoonist Suzanne Nelsen.


Featured Performers

Anna Rakitina, Conductor
Anna Rakitina, Conductor View biography in full page >

Anna Rakitina has been the BSO’s Assistant Conductor since September, 2019. Recent second-prize winner at the Malko Conducting Competition in Denmark, Anna Rakitina has degrees from the Moscow Conservatory in both musicology and conducting, with a graduate diploma in conducting from the Hochschule Hamburg, received in 2018. She won third prize in both the Taipei and Deutscher Dirigentenpreis (Cologne) competitions, and participated in a 2016 master class with Alan Gilbert in Lucerne and a 2017 master class with Bernard Haitink. Since 2015 she has conducted a number of orchestras, including the WDR Sinfonieorchester, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra di Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Lucerne Festival Strings, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra, Bucharest George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, Hamburger Symphoniker, Meiningen Court Orchestra, National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia, Das Kritische Orchester, Concert Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, and Royal Northern College of Music Chamber Orchestra, among others. Ms. Rakitina is also a current Dudamel Fellow at the L.A. Philharmonic.


Anna Rakitina, Conductor Gil Shaham, violin
Gil Shaham, violin View biography in full page >

Gil Shaham is one of the foremost violinists of our time: his flawless technique combined with his inimitable warmth and generosity of spirit has solidified his renown as an American master. The Grammy Award-winner, also named Musical America's "Instrumentalist of the Year," is sought after throughout the world for concerto appearances with leading orchestras and conductors, and regularly gives recitals and appears with ensembles on the world's great concert stages and at the most prestigious festivals.

Highlights of recent years include the acclaimed recording and performances of J.S. Bach's complete sonatas and partitas for solo violin. In the coming seasons in addition to championing these solo works he will join his long time duo partner pianist, Akira Eguchi in recitals throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

Appearances with orchestra regularly include the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, and San Francisco Symphony as well as multi-year residencies with the Orchestras of Montreal, Stuttgart and Singapore.  With orchestra, Mr. Shaham continues his exploration of "Violin Concertos of the 1930s," including the works of Barber, Bartok, Berg, Korngold, Prokofiev, among many others.  

Mr. Shaham has more than two dozen concerto and solo CDs to his name, earning multiple Grammys, a Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d'Or, and Gramophone Editor's Choice. Many of these recordings appear on Canary Classics, the label he founded in 2004. His CDs include 1930s Violin ConcertosVirtuoso Violin Works, Elgar's Violin ConcertoHebrew Melodies, The Butterfly Lovers and many more. His most recent recording in the series 1930s Violin Concertos Vol. 2, including the Prokofiev's Violin Concerto and Bartok's Violin Concerto No. 2 was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Mr. Shaham was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in 1971. He moved with his parents to Israel, where he began violin studies with Samuel Bernstein of the Rubin Academy of Music at the age of 7, receiving annual scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. In 1981, he made debuts with the Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Philharmonic, and the following year, took the first prize in Israel's Claremont Competition. He then became a scholarship student at Juilliard, and also studied at Columbia University.

Mr. Shaham was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990, and in 2008, received the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. In 2012, he was named "Instrumentalist of the Year" by Musical America. He plays the 1699 "Countess Polignac" Stradivarius, and lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, and their three children. 

Gil Shaham, violin
Program Notes Audio
PROKOFIEV - Symphony No. 1, Classical (16 min)
Arvo PÄRT - Fratres
STRAVINSKY - Suite from The Firebird (1919 version) (21 min)
Missy MAZZOLI - Set That on Fire
Full Program Notes - Available Here