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Moritz Gnann conducts Mendelssohn, Mozart and Dvořák featuring pianist Menahem Pressler

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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BSO Assistant Conductor Moritz Gnann, making his subscription series and Symphony Hall debuts, joins the eminent pianist Menahem Pressler for Mozart's autumnal Piano Concerto No. 27, his final work in the genre. Mendelssohn's restless, roiling portrait of the northern reaches of the British Isles, The Hebrides Overture, remains one of his most popular works. Dvořák's familiar New World Symphony takes its name from the circumstances of its composition: the Czech composer wrote it while a resident of the U.S. as director of a New York conservatory, and its themes are said to have been inspired by American folk and indigenous music.

Featured Performers

Moritz Gnann, conductor
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After three years as Kapellmeister and assistant to Music Director Donald Runnicles at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Moritz Gnann became the new assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in fall 2015. He made his successful Tanglewood debut with the BSO conducting Mahler's First Symphony. His November 2016 concerts mark his subscription series debut. In addition to his activities in Boston, Mr. Gnann continues to appear as a guest conductor with Deutsche Oper Berlin. He opened the 2015-16 season there with Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette and in the current season conducts revivals of L'elisir d'amore and Billy Budd. Following his successful debut in the 2015-16 season with the Staatskapelle Dresden, he has been reinvited to the Semperoper to lead The Magic Flute and Hansel and Gretel in 2016-17. Moritz Gnann's professional conducting career started in 2007, when he joined the Theater Aachen as a répétiteur and conductor. From 2009 to 2011 he was musical assistant to Julia Jones at the Teatro Nacional de Saõ Carlos in Lisbon, where he conducted such operas as Le nozze di Figaro, Gianni Schicchi, and Trouble in Tahiti, as well as concert programs. At Deutsche Oper Berlin, he conducted The Magic Flute, Così fan tutte, Hansel and Gretel, Madama Butterfly, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto, Billy Budd, and a critically acclaimed new production of Xenakis' Oresteia, for which he was nominated as "conductor of the year" by Opernwelt magazine. Mahlermania, a production that combines the biography of Gustav Mahler with his music, was recorded for the European TV channel Arte and was toured under the musical direction of Moritz Gnann to the Opéra de Rouen and to South Korea's Uijeongbu Music Theatre Festival. Born in Tübingen, Germany, Moritz Gnann studied conducting at the Berlin University of the Arts and Dresden School of Music, graduating with distinction. He gained further experience through active participation in master classes with Gianluigi Gelmetti, Sylvain Cambreling, Hartmut Haenchen, Bernard Haitink, and Diego Masson. He assisted Sir Simon Rattle on Wagner's Ring cycle at Deutsche Oper Berlin and Christian Thielemann on Der Rosenkavalier at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden. He has regularly assisted Andris Nelsons on Lohengrin and Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival since 2010.

Moritz Gnann, conductor Menahem Pressler, piano
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Menahem Pressler, founding member and pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio, has established himself among the world's most distinguished and honored musicians, with a career that spans almost six decades. Now, at 92 years old, he continues to captivate audiences throughout the world as performer and pedagogue, performing solo and chamber music recitals to great critical acclaim while maintaining a dedicated and robust teaching career.

Born in Magdeburg, Germany in 1923, Pressler fled Nazi Germany in 1939 and emigrated to Israel. Pressler's world renowned career was launched after he was awarded first prize at the Debussy International Piano Competition in San Francisco in 1946. This was followed by his successful American debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Eugene Ormandy. Since then, Pressler's extensive tours of North America, Europe and the Far East, have included performances with the orchestras of New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Dallas, San Francisco, London, Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Amsterdam, Brussels, Oslo, Helsinki and many others.

After nearly a decade of an illustrious and praised solo career, the 1955 Berkshire Music Festival saw Menahem Pressler's debut as a chamber musician, where he appeared as pianist with the Beaux Arts Trio. This collaboration quickly established Pressler's reputation as one of the world's most revered chamber musicians. With Pressler at the Trio's helm as the only pianist for nearly 55 years, The New York Times described the Beaux Arts Trio as "in a class by itself" and the Washington Post exclaimed that "since its founding more than 50 years ago, the Beaux Arts Trio has become the gold standard for trios throughout the world." The 2007-2008 season was nothing short of bitter-sweet, as violinist Daniel Hope, cellist Antonio Meneses and Menahem Pressler took their final bows as The Beaux Arts Trio, which marked the end of one of the most celebrated and revered chamber music careers of all time. What saw the end of a one artistic legacy also witnessed the beginning of another, as Pressler continues to dazzle audiences throughout the world, both as piano soloist and collaborating chamber musician, including performances with the Juilliard, Emerson, American, Cleveland , Pacifica and Ebène Quartets among many others. Of his recent solo performance in Austria, Die Presse wrote: "he struck a tone that was long believed lost already, a tone we perhaps last heard from Wilhelm Kempff." His recent solo concertizing engagements included six performances with the Berlin Philharmonic in 2014, the last three with Sir Simon Rattle for the 2014 New Year's Eve concerts televised worldwide, the Orchestre de Paris and the Concertgebow Orchestra, among many others. Nearing ninety he collaborated with Christoph Pregardien playing Schubert's Winterreise for the first time. Following lifesaving surgery and recuperation in 2015 he collaborated with Matthias Goerne in Schumann Lieder at Wigmore Hall and the Verbier Festival. Last Autumn saw him giving recitals and concerts with orchestras all over Europe including Hamburg with Kent Nagano, Dresden and Berlin Philharmonie with Christian Thielemann and Staatskapelle Dresden. In 2016 he will tour Europe, the States and Israel, giving recitals, playing chamber music and with orchestra and giving masterclasses. He will also  take part in major festivals including Ravinia and Tanglewood where he will perform with the Boston Symphony as well as performing with that orchestra in Boston during the regular subscription series.

For nearly 60 years, Menahem Pressler has taught on the piano faculty at the world-renowned Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he currently holds the rank of Distinguished Professor of Music as the Charles Webb Chair. Equally as illustrious as his performing career, Professor Pressler has been hailed as "Master Pedagogue" and has had prize-winning students in all of the major international piano competitions, including the Queen Elizabeth, Busoni, Rubinstein, Leeds and VanCliburn competitions among many others. His former students grace the faculties of prestigious schools of music across the world, and have become some of the most prominent and influential artist-teachers today. In addition to teaching his private students at Indiana University, he continuously presents master classes throughout the world, and continues to serve on the jury of many major international piano competitions.

Among his numerous honors and awards, Pressler has received honorary doctorates from the Manhattan School of Music, the University of Nebraska, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the North Carolina School of the Arts, six Grammy nominations (including one in 2006), lifetime achievement awards from Gramophone magazine and the International Chamber Music Association, Chamber Music America's Distinguished Service Award, the Gold Medal of Merit from the National Society of Arts and Letters. He has also been awarded the German Critics "Ehrenurkunde" award, and election into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2007 Pressler was appointed as an Honorary Fellow of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance in recognition of a lifetime of performance and leadership in music. In 2005 Pressler received two additional awards of international merit: the German President's Deutsche Bundesverdienstkreuz (German Cross of Merit) First Class, Germany's highest honor, and France's highest cultural honor, the Commandeur in the Order of Arts and Letters award. His more recent honors and awards include the prestigious Wigmore Medal (2011), the Menuhin Prize given by the Queen of Spain (2012), The ECHO Klassik 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award in Germany, inductions into the American Classical Music and Gramophone Magazine Halls of Fame (2012), and the Music Teachers National Association Achievement Award.

Having recorded practically the entire chamber repertoire with the Beaux Arts Trio - in 2015 Decca released a 60 CD set of the complete Beaux Arts Trio Philips Recordings comprising some 122 works, Menahem Pressler has compiled over thirty solo recordings, ranging from the works of Bach to Ben Haim. He has started recording the complete Mozart Sonatas for La Dolce Volta, and his DVDs include a live recital, concertos with Paavo Jarvi and the Orchestre de Paris, Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic's New Year Concert, and his own 90th Birthday Concert Live from the Salle Pleyel in Paris with the Ebène Quartet and Pregardien amongst others. The documentary "Pianiist Menahem Pressler: The Life I Love" won the Grand Prize at the Golden Prague International Television Festival in 2015. He has been the subject of books written to honor his life and legacy, including "Menahem Pressler: The Artistry of Teaching" and "Always Something New to Discover: Menahem Pressler and the Beaux Arts Trio."

Menahem Pressler, piano
Program Notes Audio
MENDELSSOHN - Overture, The Hebrides (Fingal's Cave) (10 min)
MOZART - Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat, K.595 (32 min)
DVOŘÁK - Symphony No. 9, From the New World (40 min)
Full Program Notes - Audio Concert Preview
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