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Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra
Wagner, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky and Mahler

Symphony Hall

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The third program of the BPYO season takes its cue from the title that Mahler gave to the last movement of his Third Symphony, "What love tells me". In the first work on the program, Wagner's Meistersinger Overture, that love is specifically a love for community and society - a love for the social relations that bind us together and that are at once so strong and yet so fragile.

The aspects of love that are embodied in Tchaikovsky's great concert overture Romeo and Juliet certainly don't require pointing out. But the brilliance with which Tchaikovsky combined the three themes of young love, feudal rivalry and religiosity into one compact, super-charged, perfectly proportioned movement is one of music's true wonders.

The Finale of Mahler's Third Symphony is that long symphony's sixth movement, a lyrical outpouring of astonishing beauty that rises to a climax of true exaltation. It represents Mahler's attempt to depict in music the very highest spiritual state that man can achieve - absolute and unequivocal love. The grave beauty of the movement is unique in Mahler's output, and by any measure it is one of his most extraordinary achievements.

Something of an outlier in the program is Prokofiev's Second Violin Concerto. The gorgeous slow movement certainly exudes love from its every measure, but the troubled, darker outer movements speak in different accents. There is no doubt, however, that the whole audience is going to love the amazing young soloist, In Mo Yang, who so astonished everyone with his performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto a couple of years ago. He won first prize in the prestigious Paganini Competition several years ago, a competition so rigorous that the judges had refused to award a first prize to anyone for the preceding ten years!

Don't miss this concert - you'll love it!

Featured Performers

Benjamin Zander, Conductor
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Benjamin Zander started his early musical training in his native England, with cello and composition lessons under the guidance of his father. When he was nine, Benjamin Britten, England's leading composer, took an interest in his development and invited the family to spend three summers in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, where he lived. This led to a long association with Britten and lessons in theory and composition from Britten's close associate Imogen Holst, daughter of Gustav Holst.

Benjamin Zander left school when he was fifteen, moving to Florence at the invitation of the great Spanish cello virtuoso, Gaspar Cassadó, who became his teacher and mentor for the next five years. He completed his cello training at the State Academy in Cologne, traveling extensively with Cassado and performing recitals and chamber music. In 1964 Mr. Zander completed his studies at London University, winning the University College Essay Prize and a Harkness Commonwealth Fellowship for post-graduate work at Harvard University. Boston has been his home ever since.

Mr. Zander served on faculty of the New England Conservatory faculty from 1967-2012, where he taught an interpretation class, conducted the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, and regularly conducted the conservatory orchestras. In 1989 he also became the artistic director of the joint program between New England Conservatory's Preparatory School and The Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts in Natick, Massachusetts.

During his tenure as conductor of the New England Conservatory Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, Mr. Zander led them on fifteen international tours and made five commercial recordings, in addition to several documentaries for Public Broadcasting Service. 

In 1979, Mr. Zander became the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic. In their thirty-six seasons together they have performed an extensive repertoire, with an emphasis on late romantic and early twentieth-century composers, especially the symphonies of Gustav Mahler. In celebration of its 25th anniversary in 2003/2004, the Boston Philharmonic performed an all-Mahler season, including a concert in Symphony Hall.

Benjamin Zander has established an international reputation as a guest conductor. He has a unique relationship with the Philharmonia Orchestra (London), and is currently recording a series of Beethoven and Mahler symphonies for the Telarc and Linn Records. Beethoven's Fifth and Seventh Symphonies, and Mahler's First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Ninth Symphonies have been released thus far. Each of these recordings includes a full-length discussion disc with Benjamin Zander explaining the music.High Fidelitynamed the recording of Mahler's Sixth as "the best classical recording of 2002." The recording of Mahler's Third was awarded the "Critic's Choice" by the German Record Critics' Association in 2004, and the recordings of Mahler's Ninth and Second Symphonies, as well as Bruckner's Fifth Symphony, were each nominated for Grammy Awards. Many of these recordings are available in the lobby at this concert.

Benjamin Zander has traveled the world lecturing to organizations on leadership. He has appeared several times as a keynote speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he was presented with the Crystal Award for "Outstanding Contributions in the Arts and International Relations." The best-selling book,The Art of Possibility, co-authored with leading psychotherapist Rosamund Zander, has been translated into sixteen languages.

In 2002, Mr. Zander was awarded the Caring Citizen of the Humanities Award by the International Council for Caring Communities at the United Nations. In 2007 he was awarded the Golden Door award by the International Institute of Boston for his "outstanding contribution to American society as a United States citizen of foreign birth." In March of 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from New England Conservatory of Music, and in 2012 he was awarded Faculty Emeritus status there.

 

Benjamin Zander, Conductor
Program Notes Audio
WAGNER - Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Act III
PROKOFIEV - Violin Concerto No. 2 (27 min)
MAHLER - Symphony No. 3, Finale (“What love tells me”)