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Anna Rakitina conducts Tchaikovsky, Ellen Reid and Sibelius featuring pianist Alexandre Kantorow

Anna Rakitina conducts Tchaikovsky, Ellen Reid and Sibelius featuring pianist Alexandre Kantorow

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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Having made her Symphony Hall debut in the BSO’s streamed concerts of 2020–21, Assistant Conductor Anna Rakitina conducts her first live-audience Symphony Hall program featuring the BSO debut of French pianist Alexandre Kantorow. The grand prix winner in the 2019 Tchaikovsky Competition performs Tchaikovsky’s rarely heard Piano Concerto No. 2, an attractive work long overshadowed by the composer’s immensely popular Concerto No. 1. Tennessee-born composer Ellen Reid won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her opera p r i s m. Her 2019 orchestral score When the World as You’ve Known it Doesn’t Exist revels in energy and pure orchestral sound; the instrumental ensemble is enhanced by the earthy sounds of three soprano voices. Sibelius’s one-movement Symphony No. 7, one of his last completed works, was an entirely personal reinvention of the genre that had occupied him for almost forty years and which was closely tied to landscape and culture of Finland.

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 Alexandre Kantorow, piano
Alexandre Kantorow, piano View biography in full page >

At 22 years old, Alexandre Kantorow is the first French pianist to win the gold medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition as well as the Grand Prix, awarded only three times before in the competition's history. Already hailed by critics as the "young tsar of the piano" (Classica) and "Liszt reincarnate" (Fanfare), he has received numerous other awards and is already being invited at the highest level worldwide.

Even before the competition, Kantorow had already been attracting attention. He began his career at an early stage and at 16 made his debut at La Folle Journée festival in Nantes. Since then he has played with many of the world's major orchestras, including regularly the Mariinsky Orchestra with Valery Gergiev, and highlights in this and future seasons include the Orchestre de Paris, Staatskapelle Berlin, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and tours with the Orchestre National de Toulouse, Budapest Festival Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic.

In recital he appears at major concert halls such as the Concertgebouw Amsterdam in their Master Pianists series, Konzerthaus Berlin, Philharmonie de Paris, BOZAR in Brussels, Stockholm Konserthus and at the most prestigious festivals including La Roque d’Anthéron, Piano aux Jacobins, Verbier Festival and Klavierfest Ruhr. In March 2020 Kantorow was invited to step in for Murray Perahia with a recital at Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium).

Kantorow records exclusively with BIS, to great critical acclaim. His two most recent recordings (Saint-Saëns concerti 3-5 and solo works by Brahms, Bartók and Liszt) both received the Diapason d’Or and Choc Classica of the year in 2019 and 2020 respectively, with Gramophone magazine choosing the solo disc as Editor’s Choice and describing his performance as “a further remarkable example of his virtuosity and artistry, showing both skill and sensitivity throughout”. His à la Russe recital recording also won numerous awards and distinctions in 2017, including Choc de l’Année (Classica), Diapason découverte (Diapason), Supersonic (Pizzicato) and CD des Doppelmonats (PianoNews).

Alexandre Kantorow is a laureate of the Safran Foundation and Banque Populaire, and in 2019 was named ‘Musical Revelation of the Year’ by the Professional Critics Association. In 2020 he won the Victoires de la Musique Classique in two Powered by TCPDF ( categories: Recording of the Year and Instrumental Soloist of the Year.

Born in France and of French-British heritage, he has studied with Pierre-Alain Volondat, Igor Lazko, Franck Braley and Rena Shereshevskaya.

Alexandre Kantorow, piano
Program Notes Audio
TCHAIKOVSKY - Piano Concerto No. 2
Ellen REID - When the World as You’ve Known It Doesn’t Exist
SIBELIUS - Symphony No. 7 (22 min)
Full Program Notes - Coming soon