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Debussy and Ravel featuring Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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This all-French program features pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet in Ravel's serious, single-movement Piano Concerto for the left hand. Closing the program is a work that's long been a staple of the BSO repertoire, Ravel's ballet score Daphnis et Chloé, a tourde- force of orchestral coloration and dramatic atmosphere the composer felt was one of his best works. Opening the program are Ravel's orchestrations of two contrasting Debussy piano pieces. These concerts mark the 90th anniversary of Ravel's conducting the BSO at Symphony Hall while visiting America in 1928.

Featured Performers & Ensembles

Jacques Lacombe, conductor
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Music Director of both the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre symphonique de Trois- Rivières, Jacques Lacombe is renowned as a remarkable conductor whose artistic integrity and rapport with orchestras have propelled him to international stature.

Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal from 2002 to 2006, Mr. Lacombe also served for three years as Music Director of the Philharmonie de Lorraine, Associate Conductor with the Orchestre Lyrique de Région Avignon Provence, and has been Music Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières since 2006. In September 2010, he succeeded Neeme Järvi as Music Director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, a contract that was recently extended through 2016. Since that appointment, Mr. Lacombe has garnered popular and critical praise for his creative programming and development of the NJSO. Under his leadership, the Orchestra's "Man & Nature" Winter Festivals have included highly renowned performances of Tan Dun's "Water Concerto", Scriabin's "Prometheus: The Poem of Fire"-with a realization of the composer's "color organ"-and the commissioning of the Francesca Harper Project to create original choreography for Beethoven's ballet "The Creatures of Prometheus". He also created the multi-year "New Jersey Roots Project," highlighting contemporary works by New Jersey composers.

In 2013/14 Mr. Lacombe spends guest weeks with the Montréal, Quebec and Columbus symphony orchestras. He conducts the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra throughout the season, with highlights including a "New World" themed season opener presenting the world premiere of the NJSO's commission by jazz pianist Geri Allen "Stones and Streams" (framed by works of Ellington and Dvořák); the world premiere of Lowell Liebermann's "Barcarolles for a Sinking City", and the North American premiere of Tan Dun's "Earth Concerto", as part of the annual NJSO Winter Festival.

For his debut at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York in 2012 as part of Spring for Music festival, Mr. Lacombe received national recognition when he led the NJSO and pianist Marc-André Hamelin in the epic Busoni Piano Concerto. Anthony Tommasini wrote for the The New York Times, "It was an honor to be in the hall for the astonishing performance of the Busoni concerto."

Mr. Lacombe's outstanding work with the Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières has also been recognized by being awarded the 2014 Juno Award given by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for Best Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral Performance for his recent recording of "Lettres de Madame Roy à sa fille Gabrielle" with renowned contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux written by André Gagnon and Michel Tremblay.

In recent seasons he has collaborated with other distinguished soloists including Frederica von Stade, Renée Fleming, Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna, Bryn Terfel, José Cura, Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham, Yo- Yo Ma, André Watts, Yefim Bronfman and Jean-Yves Thibaudet.

In addition to working with the Cincinnati, Toledo, Toronto and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras as wells as the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Ottawa, and several tours and recordings with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Mr. Lacombe has worked abroad with the Orchestre Lamoureux in Paris, the Orquesta Filarmonica de Malaga in Spain and with orchestras in Monte-Carlo, Nice, and Toulouse as well as throughout Eastern Europe. He has also led the Victoria Orchestra (Melbourne) and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

A seasoned operatic conductor, Mr. Lacombe returns to the Opéra de Monte Carlo in the 2013/14 season to lead performances of Donizetti's La Favorite, both in Monaco and at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, with tenor Juan Diego Flórez. He leads a new production of the rarely performed Le Roi Arthus by Ernest Chausson at the Opéra national du Rhin in Strasbourg as well as a new production of Poulenc's Dialogues des carmélites with the Angers Nantes Opéra will be recorded for broadcast on France 3.

In other recent highlights, Mr. Lacombe's work in opera includes all-star productions of La Bohème and Tosca at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the world premiere of John Estacio'sLillian Alling with the Vancouver Opera, Le Cid and the world premiere of Marius et Fanny with l'Opéra de Marseille with Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu, and many productions with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, including Un Ballo in Maschera,Ariadne auf Naxos, Der fliegende Holländer, and Eugene Onegin. Mr. Lacombe has also led a number of operatic rarities with the Deutsche Oper, including Zemlinsky's Der Traumgörge, Die Dorfschule by Felix von Weingartner, Carl Orff's Gisei - Das Opfer, and Waltershausen's Oberst Chabert, which was produced by CPO in 2011 as a live CD. He has led productions with Opéra de Monte-Carlo, at the Teatro Regio in Turin, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, and with the Metropolitan Opera, where he led Jules Massenet's Werther and Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus.

He has recorded for the CPO and Analekta labels, and leads Janáček's Suite from "The Cunning Little Vixen" and Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" on a recent release from the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. His performances have been broadcast on PBS, the CBC, Mezzo TV in Europe, Arte TV in France and on Hungarian Radio-Television.

Born in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Québec, Jacques Lacombe received his musical training at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal and at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna. He received Québec's highest civilian honor in 2012, when he was named a Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Québec. That same year he received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2013, he was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada, one of the highest civilian honors in the country.

Jacques Lacombe, conductor Jean- Yves Thibaudet, piano
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For more than three decades, Jean-Yves Thibaudet has performed world-wide, recorded more than 50 albums, and built a reputation as one of today’s finest pianists. He plays a range of solo, chamber, and orchestral repertoire – from Beethoven through Liszt, Grieg, and Saint-Saëns; to Khachaturian and Gershwin, and to contemporary composers Qigang Chen and James MacMillan. From the very start of his career, he delighted in music beyond the standard repertoire, from jazz to opera, which he transcribed himself to play on the piano. His profound professional friendships crisscross the globe and have led to spontaneous and fruitful collaborations in film, fashion, and visual art.

Thibaudet begins the Seattle Symphony's season with Khachaturian's Piano Concerto. In the summer of 2018, he toured Taiwan, China, and South Korea with Michael Tilson Thomas and Carnegie Hall's National Youth Orchestra. He also expresses his passion for education and fostering young musical talent as the first-ever Artist-in-Residence at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, where he makes his home. The school has extended the residency for an additional three years and has announced the Jean-Yves Thibaudet Scholarships to provide aid for Music Academy students, whom Thibaudet will select for the merit-based awards, regardless of their instrument choice.

As one of the premiere interpreters of the solo part in Bernstein's Age of Anxiety, Thibaudet continues to perform the piece around the world as the composer's centennial year comes to a close. In addition to playing it with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop at the orchestra's first-ever appearance at the BBC Proms, he plays it with the Los Angeles and Brussels philharmonics and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

In 2018-19 he renews many longstanding musical partnerships, including touring a program of Schumann, Fauré, Debussy, and Enescu with Midori, touring the great concert halls of Europe with Lisa Batiashvili and Gautier Capuçon, and performing chamber music with brothers Renaud and Gautier Capuçon. With Gautier he also premieres Richard Dubugnon's Eros Athanatos, a fantaisie concertante for cello and piano, with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. They go on to perform it with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra across Belgium, at the Klavier-Festival Ruhr, and with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. With the Cleveland Orchestra and Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Thibaudet plays another piece that he introduced to the world: James MacMillan's Piano Concerto No. 3.

Other highlights include beginning 2019 with Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, then with Susanna Mälkki and the LA Phil. With Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, he takes Saint-Saëns' fifth piano concerto on tour to the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Philharmonie Essen, and the Berliner Philharmonie.

Thibaudet’s recording catalogue has received two Grammy nominations, the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the Diapason d’Or, the Choc du Monde de la Musique, the Edison Prize, and Gramophone awards. In 2017 he released to great acclaim Bernstein's Age of Anxiety with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop, with whom he previously recorded Gershwin, featuring big jazz band orchestrations of Rhapsody in Blue, variations on “I Got Rhythm,” and the Concerto in F. In 2016, on the 150th anniversary of Erik Satie's birth, Decca released a box set of Satie's complete solo piano music performed by Thibaudet – one of the foremost champions of the composer's works. On his Grammy-nominated recording Saint-Saëns, Piano Concerti Nos. 2&5, released in 2007, he is joined by Charles Dutoit and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Thibaudet's Aria–Opera Without Words, which was released the same year, features aria transcriptions, some of which are Thibaudet's own. His other recordings include the jazz albums Reflections on Duke: Jean-Yves Thibaudet Plays the Music of Duke Ellington and Conversations With Bill Evans.

Thibaudet has also had an impact on the world of fashion, film and philanthropy. He played Aaron Zigman’s soundtrack for Wakefield, a drama by Robin Swicord, which was the first time that the composer had allowed a pianist other than himself to perform his film work. Thibaudet was soloist in Dario Marianelli’s award-winning scores for the films Atonement (which won an Oscar for Best Original Score) and Pride and Prejudice, and recorded Alexandre Desplat’s soundtrack for the 2012 film Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. He had a cameo in Bruce Beresford's film on Alma Mahler, Bride of the Wind, and his playing is showcased throughout. In 2004 he served as president of the prestigious charity auction Hospices de Beaune. His concert wardrobe is designed by Dame Vivienne Westwood. 

Jean-Yves Thibaudet was born in Lyon, France, where he began his piano studies at age five and made his first public appearance at age seven. At twelve, he entered the Paris Conservatory to study with Aldo Ciccolini and Lucette Descaves, a friend and collaborator of Ravel. At age fifteen, he won the Premier Prix du Conservatoire and, three years later, the Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York City. Among his numerous commendations is the Victoire d’Honneur, a lifetime career achievement award and the highest honor given by France’s Victoires de la Musique. In 2010 the Hollywood Bowl honored Thibaudet for his musical achievements by inducting him into its Hall of Fame. Previously a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Thibaudet was awarded the title Officier by the French Ministry of Culture in 2012.

Jean- Yves Thibaudet, piano
Tanglewood Festival Chorus
Tanglewood Festival Chorus
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Tanglewood Festival Chorus
James Burton, BSO Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus
John Oliver (1939-2018), Founder

Originally formed under the joint sponsorship of Boston University and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the all-volunteer Tanglewood Festival Chorus was established in 1970 by its founding conductor, the late John Oliver, who stepped down from his leadership position with the TFC at the end of the 2015 Tanglewood season. In February 2017, following appearances as guest chorus conductor at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood, and having prepared the chorus for that month’s BSO performances of Bach’s B minor Mass led by Andris Nelsons, the British-born James Burton was named the new Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, also being appointed to the newly created position of BSO Ch

The Tanglewood Festival Chorus joins the BSO this season for performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (October 25-30), Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (November 29-December 1), Puccini’s Suor Angelica (February 21 and 22), and Dvořák’s Stabat Mater (February 28-March 2) all under Andris Nelsons, and Estévez’s Cantata Criolla (April 11-13) with guest conductor Gustavo Dudamel. Also in October, the TFC performed Maija Einfelde’s Lux aeterna with James Burton, BSO Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, making his subscription-series conducting debut. Originally formed under the joint sponsorship of Boston University and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the all-volunteer Tanglewood Festival Chorus was established in 1970 by its founding conductor, the late John Oliver, who stepped down from his leadership position with the TFC at the end of the 2015 Tanglewood season. In February 2017, following appearances as guest chorus conductor at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood, and having prepared the chorus for that month’s BSO performances of Bach’s B minor Massled by Andris Nelsons, James Burton was named the new Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, also being appointed to the newly created position of BSO Choral Director. Mr. Burton occupies the Alan J. and Suzanne W. Dworsky Chair on the Boston Symphony Orchestra roster.

Though first established for performances at the BSO’s summer home, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus was soon playing a major role in the BSO’s subscription season as well as BSO concerts at Carnegie Hall; the ensemble now performs year-round with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops. It has performed with the BSO on tour in Hong Kong and Japan, and on two European tours, also giving a cappella concerts of its own on those two occasions. The TFC made its debut in April 1970 at Symphony Hall, in a BSO performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Leonard Bernstein conducting. Its first recording with the orchestra, Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust with Seiji Ozawa, received a Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance of 1975. The TFC has since made dozens of recordings with the BSO and Boston Pops, with Seiji Ozawa, Bernard Haitink, James Levine, Leonard Bernstein, Sir Colin Davis, Keith Lockhart, and John Williams. In August 2011, with John Oliver conducting and soloist Stephanie Blythe, the TFC gave the world premiere of Alan Smith’s An Unknown Sphere for mezzo-soprano and chorus, commissioned by the BSO for the ensemble’s 40th anniversary. Its most recent recordings on BSO Classics, all drawn from live performances, include a disc of a cappella music marking the TFC’s 40th anniversary; Ravel’s complete Daphnis et Chloé (a 2009 Grammy-winner for Best Orchestral Performance), Brahms’s German Requiem, and William Bolcom’s Eighth Symphony for chorus and orchestra (a BSO 125th Anniversary Commission). On July 4, 2018, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus joined Keith Lockhart for the “Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular” on the Charles River Esplanade.

Besides their work with the BSO, TFC members have also performed with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic and in a Saito Kinen Festival production of Britten’s Peter Grimes under Seiji Ozawa in Japan. The ensemble had the honor of singing at Sen. Edward Kennedy’s funeral; has performed with the Boston Pops for the Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtics; and can be heard on the soundtracks of Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River, John Sayles’s Silver City, and Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. TFC members regularly commute from the greater Boston area and beyond to sing with the chorus in Boston and at Tanglewood. For more information about the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and upcoming auditions, please visit www.bso.org/tfc.

 

 

James Burton
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James Burton was appointed Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and to the newly created position of BSO Choral Director, in February 2017. He made his BSO subscription-series conducting debut in October 2018, leading the Tanglewood Festival Chorus in Maija Einfelde’s Lux aeterna. Born in London, Mr. Burton holds a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Frederik Prausnitz and Gustav Meier. He began his training at the Choir of Westminster Abbey, where he became head chorister, and was a choral scholar at St. John’s College, Cambridge. He has conducted concerts with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Hallé, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, Royal Northern Sinfonia, BBC Concert Orchestra, and Manchester Camerata. He made his debut with the Boston Pops in December 2017 and returns to the Pops podium this coming December. He is a regular guest of the Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional of Mexico and returns this season to lead performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Opera credits include performances at English National Opera, English Touring Opera, Garsington Opera, and the Prague Summer Nights Festival, and he has served on the music staff of the Metropolitan Opera and Opéra de Paris. Mr. Burton’s extensive choral conducting has included guest invitations with professional choirs including the Gabrieli Consort, the Choir of the Enlightenment, Wrocław Philharmonic, and the BBC Singers, with whom he performed in the inaugural season of Dubai’s Opera House in 2017. From 2002 to 2009 he served as choral director at the Hallé Orchestra, where he was music director of the Hallé Choir and founding conductor of the Hallé Youth Choir, winning the Gramophone Choral Award in 2009. He was music director of Schola Cantorum of Oxford from 2002 to 2017. Mr. Burton is well known for his inspirational work with young musicians. In 2017 he was director of the National Youth Choir of Japan; he has recently conducted the Princeton University Glee Club, Yale Schola Cantorum, and University of Kentucky Symphony. In 2018 he founded the Boston Symphony Children’s Choir. Mr. Burton has given conducting master classes at the Royal Academy of Music in London and at the Tanglewood Music Center, and founded a scholarship for young conductors at Oxford. His growing composition portfolio contains works for commissioners including the National Portrait Gallery in London, the 2010 World Equestrian Games, the Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge, and the Exon Festival, where he was composer-in-residence in 2015. In July 2019, Mr. Burton will conduct the Boston Symphony Children’s Choir and Boston Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of his The Lost Words, as part of next summer’s gala Tanglewood on Parade concert. His works are published by Edition Peters. As BSO Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, James Burton occupies the Alan J. and Suzanne W. Dworsky chair, endowed in perpetuity.

 

Program Notes Audio
DEBUSSY (orch. RAVEL) - Sarabande et Danse (12 min)
RAVEL - Piano Concerto for the left hand (19 min)
RAVEL - Daphnis et Chloé (complete) (53 min)
Audio Concert Preview - Full Program Notes
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