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Bernard Haitink conducts an all-Brahms featuring pianist Emanuel Ax

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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BSO Conductor Emeritus Bernard Haitink leads the final series of the 2017-18 season, an all-Brahms program featuring beloved pianist Emanuel Ax in the composer's monumental Piano Concerto No. 2. The turbulent First, the Second Concerto is a magisterial, far-ranging work of symphonic proportions, in four movements rather than a typical concerto's three. Brahms's Symphony No. 2 was composed relatively quickly in 1877, following his extended, years-long effort to complete the long-awaited First. The lilting Second Symphony is generally regarded as the most genial and relaxed of Brahms's four great works in the genre.

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Bernard Haitink, conductor
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Bernard Haitink's conducting career began 60 years ago with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in his native Holland.   He went on to be Chief Conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra for 27 years, as well as Music Director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera, The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic, the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  He is Patron of the Radio Philharmonic, and Conductor Emeritus of the Boston Symphony, as well as an honorary member of both the Berlin Philharmonic and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

The 2014/15 season began with an anniversary concert with the Radio Philharmonic in the Concertgebouw, and will include return visits to the Symphony Orchestra of the Bayerischer Rundfunk, opening their season with the Missa Solemnis, four programmes with the London Symphony Orchestra in London, Madrid and Paris, and the conclusion of a Brahms cycle with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in Amsterdam and Paris.  He also conducts the Berlin Philharmonic in the Baden-Baden Easter Festival, and revisits the Chicago and Boston Symphony Orchestras.

He is committed to the development of young musical talent, and gives an annual Conducting Masterclass at the Lucerne Easter Festival.  This season in addition he gives conducting classes to students of the Hochschule der Kunst, Zurich in collaboration with the Musikkollegium Winterthur, and a workshop with students from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in conjunction with players from the London Symphony Orchestra. 

Bernard Haitink has an extensive discography for Phillips, Decca and EMI, as well as the many new live recording labels established by orchestras themselves in recent years, such as the London Symphony, Chicago Symphony and Bayerischer Rundfunk.  He has received many awards and honours in recognition of his services to music, including several honorary doctorates, an honorary Knighthood and Companion of Honour in the United Kingdom, and the House Order of Orange-Nassau in the Netherlands.

Bernard Haitink, conductor Emanuel Ax, piano
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Born in modern day Lvov, Poland, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. His studies at the Juilliard School were supported by the sponsorship of the Epstein Scholarship Program of the Boys Clubs of America, and he subsequently won the Young Concert Artists Award. Additionally, he attended Columbia University where he majored in French. Mr. Ax made his New York debut in the Young Concert Artists Series, and captured public attention in 1974 when he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists followed four years later by the coveted Avery Fisher Prize.

Always a committed exponent of contemporary composers with works written for him by John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng, and Melinda Wagner already in his repertoire, the 2016/2017 season will feature two newly commissioned works. With the New York Philharmonic conducted by Alan Gilbert, January will bring the world premiere of HK Gruber's Piano Concerto followed in March by the European premiere with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle. In recitals throughout the season his program will include works by Schubert and Chopin partnered with "Impromptus (2015-2016)" by Samuel Adams commissioned by Music Accord and inspired by Schubert. His ongoing relationship with the Boston Symphony will include visits with them to Carnegie Hall, Montreal, and Toronto; with the Cleveland Orchestra Mr. Ax will appear as the featured artist for their Gala opening concert of the season. As a regular visitor he will return to the orchestras of Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Toronto, Seattle, Milwaukee, and Detroit.

A Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987, recent releases include Mendelssohn Trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman, Strauss' Enoch Arden narrated by Patrick Stewart, and discs of two-piano music by Brahms and Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman. In 2015 Deutche Grammophon released a duo recording with Mr. Perlman of Sonatas by Faure and Strauss which the two artists presented on tour during the 2015/2016 season. Mr. Ax has received GRAMMY® Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn's piano sonatas. He has also made a series of Grammy-winning recordings with cellist Yo-Yo Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano. His other recordings include the concertos of Liszt and Schoenberg, three solo Brahms albums, an album of tangos by Astor Piazzolla, and the premiere recording of John Adams's Century Rolls with the Cleveland Orchestra for Nonesuch. In the 2004/05 season Mr. Ax also contributed to an International EMMY® Award-Winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust that aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In 2013, Mr. Ax's recording Variations received the Echo Klassik Award for Solo Recording of the Year (19th century music/Piano).

A frequent and committed partner for chamber music, he has worked regularly with such artists as Young Uck Kim, Cho-Liang Lin, Mr. Ma, Edgar Meyer, Peter Serkin, Jaime Laredo, and the late Isaac Stern.

Mr. Ax resides in New York City with his wife, pianist Yoko Nozaki. They have two children together, Joseph and Sarah. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates of music from Yale and Columbia Universities. For more information about Mr. Ax's career, please visit www.EmanuelAx.com.

Emanuel Ax, piano
Program Notes Audio
BRAHMS - Piano Concerto No. 2 (48 min)
BRAHMS - Symphony No. 2 (44 min)
Full Program Notes - Audio Concert Preview
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