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Giancarlo Guerrero conducts Tchaikovsky and Bernstein

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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Continuing this season's centennial celebration of the great Leonard Bernstein, Costa Rican conductor Giancarlo Guerrero returns to lead the BSO in Bernstein's Symphony No. 3, Kaddish, which is dedicated to the memory of John F. Kennedy. The Jewish "Kaddish" is the prayer chanted for the dead, a hymn of praise to God's name. Originally commissioned by the BSO for its 75th anniversary in 1955-56 but only finished in November 1963, this emotional, almost theatrical score was premiered under Bernstein's direction by the Israel Philharmonic. The BSO gave its only performances of the full score in early 1964 under Charles Munch. Opening the program is Tchaikovsky's masterful Pathétique Symphony, one of the composer's last works, full of intensely beautiful music, ending with a slow, quiet, and poignant finale.

 

Soprano Mary Wilson will replace Tamara Wilson for the Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts March 15-17.  Soprano Tamara Wilson is regretfully unable to perform this week due to a back injury.

Featured Performers & Ensembles

Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor
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Giancarlo Guerrero is a six-time GRAMMY® Award-winning conductor now in his tenth season as Music Director of the Nashville Symphony. Guerrero is also Music Director of the Wrocław Philharmonic at the National Forum of Music in Poland and Principal Guest Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon, Portugal. Guerrero is widely praised for his instinctive musicianship and for bringing to the podium “not only vitality and insight but also an appealing physical dynamism” (The Plain Dealer).

A passionate proponent of new music, Guerrero has championed the works of America's most respected composers through commissions, recordings, and world premieres. Guerrero’s advocacy has helped make Nashville a destination for contemporary orchestral music. He has presented nine world premieres with the Nashville Symphony, including the 2016 performance and recent GRAMMY®-winning recording of Jennifer Higdon’s All Things Majestic and the 2018 premiere and recording of Jonathan Leshnoff’s Symphony No. 4 “Heichalos,” written for the Nashville Symphony’s Violins of Hope initiative, which featured a collection of restored instruments that survived the Holocaust. As part of his commitment to fostering contemporary music, Guerrero developed and guided the creation of Nashville Symphony’s Composer Lab & Workshop initiative, together with composer Aaron Jay Kernis.

Fall of 2018 brings the Naxos release of John Harbison’s monumental Requiem with the Nashville Symphony and Chorus. The release marks both Guerrero’s first choral recording and the first time the work will be heard on record since its premiere by the Boston Symphony in 2003. In the spring of 2019, Naxos will release Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony’s recording of Leshnoff’s Symphony No. 4. Recent seasons have also seen the release of new albums with Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony dedicated to the music of Terry Riley, Michael Daugherty and Richard Danielpour, as well as a collection of wind concertos by Frank Ticheli, Brad Warnaar, and Behzad Ranjbaran. With the Harbison and Leshnoff releases, Guerrero’s rich discography with the Nashville Symphony will number 17.

Outside of Nashville, Wrocław and Lisbon, Guerrero enjoys relationships with orchestras around the world. His 2018/19 engagements will include the Dallas Symphony, Chicago Symphony, NDR in Hannover, OSESP São Paulo and Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia.

Maestro Guerrero has appeared with prominent North American orchestras, including those of Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Montréal, Philadelphia, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, and the National Symphony Orchestra. He has developed a strong international guest-conducting profile and has worked in recent seasons with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Brussels Philharmonic, Deutsches Radio Philharmonie, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Netherlands Philharmonic, Residentie Orkest, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Queensland Symphony and Sydney Symphony in Australia.

Guerrero made his debut with Houston Grand Opera in 2015 conducting Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Early in his career, he worked regularly with the Costa Rican Lyric Opera and has conducted new productions of Carmen, La bohème, and Rigoletto. In 2008 he gave the Australian premiere of Osvaldo Golijov's one-act opera Ainadamar at the Adelaide Festival.

Guerrero previously held posts as the Principal Guest Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra Miami (2011-2016), Music Director of the Eugene Symphony (2002-2009), and Associate Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra (1999-2004).

Guerrero was born in Nicaragua and immigrated during his childhood to Costa Rica, where he joined the local youth symphony. He quickly proved to be a promising young percussionist and came to the United States to study percussion and conducting at Baylor University in Texas and at Northwestern. Given his beginnings in civic youth orchestras, Guerrero is particularly engaged with conducting training orchestras and works regularly with the Curtis School of Music, Colburn School in Los Angeles, and Yale Philharmonia, as well as with the Nashville Symphony’s Accelerando program, which provides music education to promising young students from underrepresented ethnic communities. In recent years, he has developed a relationship with the National Youth Orchestra (NYO2) in New York, created and operated by the Weill Institute of Music at Carnegie Hall. 

Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor Mary Wilson, soprano
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Soprano Mary Wilson is acknowledged as one of today's most exciting young artists.  Cultivating a wide-ranging career singing chamber music, oratorio and operatic repertoire, her "bright soprano seems to know no terrors, wrapping itself seductively around every phrase." (Dallas Morning News) Receiving consistent critical acclaim from coast to coast, "she proves why many in the opera world are heralding her as an emerging star. She is simply amazing, with a voice that induces goose bumps and a stage presence that is mesmerizing. She literally stole the spotlight…" (Arizona Daily Star)

In high demand on the concert stage, she has most-recently appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Detroit Symphony, Delaware Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Jacksonville Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, VocalEssence, and at the Hollywood Bowl. She has worked with conductors including Nicholas McGegan, Bernard Labadie, Martin Pearlman, Martin Haselböck, JoAnn Falletta, Michael Stern, Anton Armstrong, Philip Brunelle and Leonard Slatkin. An exciting interpreter of Baroque repertoire, especially Handel, she has appeared with Philharmonia Baroque, Musica Angelica, American Bach Soloists, Boston Baroque, Grand Rapids Bach Festival, Bach Society of St. Louis, Baltimore Handel Choir, Florida Bach Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Casals Festival, and the Carmel Bach Festival. With the IRIS Chamber Orchestra, she sang the world premiere of the song cycle "Songs Old and New" written especially for her by Ned Rorem. She was named an Emerging Artist by Symphony Magazine in 2004 in the publication's first ever presentation of promising classical soloists on the rise

On the opera stage, she is especially noted for her portrayals of Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Susannah in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Gilda in Rigoletto. She has created leading roles in North American and World premiere performances of Dove's Flight, Glass' Galileo Galilei, and Petitgirard's Joseph Merrick dit L'Elephant Man. She has appeared most recently with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Minnesota Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Dayton Opera, Arizona Opera, Tulsa Opera, Mississippi Opera, Southwest Opera, Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Goodman Theatre.

An accomplished pianist, Ms. Wilson holds performance degrees from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. . She currently resides in Memphis, Tennessee, with her husband and son.

Mary Wilson, soprano
Laila Robins, speaker
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Laila Robins will next be seen as a regular on the ABC series Deception which will premiere on March 11th.  She was recently seen in season 2 of the TNT series Murder In the First and on Showtime's Homeland as Martha Boyd, the smart no-nonsense US ambassador to Pakistan. She has appeared in many films including Eye In the Sky, Side Effects, Blumenthal, Concussion, Multiple Sarcasms, The Good Shepherd, An Innocent Man, Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael, True Crime and Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Laila's television credits include Quantico, the HBO pilot The Money opposite Brendan Gleeson, Person of Interest, Blue Bloods, Damages, Too Big to Fail, Bored To Death, God in America, In Treatment, The Sopranos, Law And Order, and the series lead in Gabriel's Fire opposite James Earl Jones. 

She appeared on Broadway in Heartbreak House, the Tony-nominated play Frozen, The Herbal Bed and The Real Thing. Off-Broadway credits include the quartet of Richard Nelson plays performed in repertory at The Public to rave reviews: Regular Singing, Sorry, Sweet & Sad, That Hopey Changey Thing; The Lady From Dubuque,  Antony And Cleopatra, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Sore Throats, Tiny Alice, Mrs. Klein and The Merchant Of Venice. Recently, Laila was seen starring in the Guthrie Theater production of The Lion In The Winter, the George Street Playhouse's production of The Second Mrs. Wilson where she received rave reviews and The Chinese Room at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Laila Robins, speaker
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.

 

The Choir of St. Paul's Harvard Square
Program Notes Audio
TCHAIKOVSKY - Symphony No. 6, Pathétique (48 min)
BERNSTEIN - Symphony No. 3, Kaddish (43 min)
Audio Concert Preview - Full Program Notes
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