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Gil Shaham plays Prokofiev

Tanglewood

Koussevitzky Music Shed - Lenox, MA View Map

Juanjo Mena returns for a second BSO performance to conduct works by Haydn and Mozart, as well as Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1, with American virtuoso and frequent Tanglewood guest artist Gil Shaham as soloist. The concert begins with Haydn's Symphony No. 88, one of the composer's best-known works in the genre and a favorite of Bernstein's (including a Tanglewood performance in 1988), and completing the program is Mozart's dramatic Symphony No. 40 in G minor, one of Mozart's final trio of symphonies and one of only two that he wrote in a minor key.

Featured Performers

Juanjo Mena, conductor
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Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester, United Kingdom, Juanjo Mena is one of Spain's most distinguished international conductors.

Following his recent appearances with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, the Montreal and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras and the Cleveland Orchestra, Maestro Mena's North America 2015-6 season includes return visits to New York, Baltimore, Boston, Toronto and Cincinnati.

His worldwide highlights this season include his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic and a tour of China and South Korea with the BBC Philharmonic, as well return visits to the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the Oslo and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestras, the Spanish National Orchestra and the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra.

A guest of international festivals, Maestro Mena has appeared at the Stars of White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Hollywood Bowl, Grant Park (Chicago), Tanglewood and La Folle Journée (Nantes). He recently led the BBC Philharmonic on two tours of Europe and Spain, including performances in Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna and Madrid, and performs with them every year at the BBC Proms in London.

Throughout Europe, Juanjo Mena has worked with many prestigious orchestras such as the Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Oslo Philharmonic, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala in Milan, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI in Turin, Munich Radio Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as with all the major orchestras in Spain.

His operatic work includes The Flying Dutchman, Salome, Elektra, Ariadne auf Naxos, Duke Bluebeard's Castle and Erwartung and productions including Eugene Onegin in Genoa, The Marriage of Figaro in Lausanne and Billy Budd in Bilbao.

He has made several recordings with the BBC Philharmonic, including a disc of works by Manuel de Falla, which was a BBC Music Magazine Recording of the Month, Gabriel Pierné, which was a Gramophone Editor's Choice, and recent releases of music by Montsalvatge, Weber and Turina which have gained excellent reviews from the specialist music press. He has also recorded a collection of Basque symphonic music with the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra for Naxos, and a critically acclaimed rendering of Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony for Hyperion with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.  Juanjo Mena's Messiaen interpretation is said to "utterly redefine the terms under which past/current/future Turangalîlas need to be judged". (Gramophone, October 2012).

Juanjo Mena, conductor Gil Shaham, violin
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Avery Fisher Prize-winner Gil Shaham is one of the foremost violinists of our time, whose combination of flawless technique with inimitable warmth and generosity of spirit has solidified his legacy as an American master. Named Musical America's "Instrumentalist of the Year," he is sought after throughout the world for concerto appearances with leading orchestras and conductors, and regularly gives recitals and ensemble appearances on the great concert stages and at the most prestigious festivals.

The new season sees Shaham return to one of his signature works, reprising his "brilliant, almost ecstatic performance" (Los Angeles Times) of Korngold's Violin Concerto with Zubin Mehta and the Vienna Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, as well as with the Cleveland Orchestra during its annual Miami residency; John Adams and the Houston Symphony; James Conlon conducting the National Symphony; the symphony orchestras of St. Louis and Austin; and France's Orchestre de Paris. He also takes his long-term exploration of "Violin Concertos of the 1930s" - recognized by Musical Americaas "one of the most imaginative programming concepts in years" - into a fifth season, with performances of Bartók's Second with the Los Angeles and Atlanta symphonies, Prokofiev's Second with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, Barber's with the Louisiana Philharmonic and Mexico National Symphony, and Berg's with the Berlin Radio Symphony and the Bavarian Radio Symphony in Munich, Paris, and at Carnegie Hall. With the symphony orchestras of Detroit, Singapore, and London's BBC, Shaham gives the world, Asian, and European premieres of a new concerto by Bright Sheng. His other upcoming orchestral collaborations include dates with his longtime friend and musical partner John Williams at the Chicago Symphony. In anticipation of his next recording project, the master violinist also returns to Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, taking his singular approach to these beloved works to Baltimore, Cleveland, and Italy's Florence and Rome.

Shaham kicked off the 2012-13 season with a summer of appearances at Aspen, Tanglewood, Caramoor, the Blossom Music Festival, and the Hollywood Bowl. He went on to play "Violin Concertos of the 1930s" by Barber, Berg, Stravinsky, Britten, Bartók, and Prokofiev with the orchestras of New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Baltimore, Kansas City, Montreal, the Orchestre de Paris, and Japan's NHK Symphony. He also returned to repertory favorites with renditions of the Brahms concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Cincinnati Symphony; the Beethoven with the symphony orchestras of Boston and St. Louis; and Mozart's Turkish with the Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Toronto symphonies. During recital tours in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, the American master gave the world premiere of a solo suite written for him by William Bolcom, and pioneered recent commissions by Avner Dorman and Julian Milone.

Dorman's work also forms the centerpiece of Nigunim: Hebrew Melodies, a new album that Shaham recorded with his sister, pianist Orli Shaham, and released on his own Canary Classics label in June 2013. According to the Buffalo News, "Shaham's virtuosity on this disc is of such pyrotechnic flamboyance and ferocity and the impassioned beauty so openhearted that it bids fair to be one of the greatest of Shaham's long career and one of the greatest intimate violin recordings anyone is likely to encounter in a while." "The Shahams achieve overwhelming heights of expressiveness," agreed the Strad magazine. "This is a lovingly produced and presented recording of some hauntingly beautiful music from the violinist's own label."

Gil Shaham already has more than two dozen concerto and solo CDs to his name, including bestsellers that have appeared on record charts in the U.S. and abroad. These recordings have earned prestigious awards, including multiple Grammys, a Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d'Or, and GramophoneEditor's Choice. His recent recordings are produced on the Canary Classics label, which he founded in 2004. They comprise Haydn Violin Concertos and Mendelssohn's Octet with Sejong Soloists; Sarasate: Virtuoso Violin Works with Adele Anthony, Akira Eguchi and Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León; Elgar's Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and David Zinman;The Butterfly Loversand Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with the Singapore Symphony; Tchaikovsky's Piano Trio in A with Yefim Bronfman and cellist Truls Mork;The Prokofiev Album and Mozart in Paris, both with Orli Shaham; and The Fauré Album with Akira Eguchi and cellist Brinton Smith. Upcoming titles include Bach's complete works for solo violin and several installments of the "Violin Concertos of the 1930s" project.

Gil Shaham was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in 1971. He moved with his parents to Israel, where he began violin studies with Samuel Bernstein of the Rubin Academy of Music at the age of seven, receiving annual scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. In 1981, while studying with Haim Taub in Jerusalem, he made debuts with the Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Philharmonic. That same year he began his studies with Dorothy DeLay and Jens Ellermann at Aspen. In 1982, after taking first prize in Israel's Claremont Competition, he became a scholarship student at Juilliard, where he worked with DeLay and Hyo Kang. He also studied at Columbia University.

Shaham was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990, and in 2008 he received the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. In 2012, he was named "Instrumentalist of the Year" byMusical America, which cited the "special kind of humanism" with which his performances are imbued. Shaham plays the 1699 "Countess Polignac" Stradivarius, and lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, and their three children.

Gil Shaham, violin
Program Notes Audio
HAYDN - Symphony No. 88 (23 min)
PROKOFIEV - Violin Concerto No. 1 (23 min)
MOZART - Symphony No. 40 (29 min)
Full Program Notes - -
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