Alan Gilbert and Emanuel Ax in works by Mozart and Stravinsky

03 Apr 2011

Berliner Philharmoniker
Alan Gilbert

Christianne Stotijn, Emanuel Ax

  • Alban Berg
    Seven Early Songs (19 min.)

    Christianne Stotijn Mezzo-Soprano

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 22 in E flat major, K. 482 (43 min.)

    Emanuel Ax Piano

  • Igor Stravinsky
    L’Oiseau de feu (The Firebird), ballet (52 min.)

  • free

    Alan Gilbert on his work as a conductor and musician (15 min.)

Visitors from New York! Alan Gilbert, music director of the New York Philharmonic, and Emanuel Ax, who has also lived in ‘the Big Apple’ for many years, appear together in a concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker. Emanuel Ax has given many memorable performances with the orchestra: in 1999 at the European Concert in Krakow, the New Year’s Eve Concert in 2005 and in further concerts during the 2005/6 season when he was the Philharmoniker’s Pianist in Residence.

For this concert, Ax is the soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 – a work with a unique wealth of moods. Here you find not only that transcendental gracefulness with which Mozart took Viennese audiences by storm, but also the deep melancholy of his later years. In order to express these psychological states effectively, a pianist such as Emmanuel Ax is required, who – as the Independent once wrote – plays not only with unassailable technique and profound intelligence but also “with heart”.

Alan Gilbert on the other hand has shown himself to be a good friend to the Berliner Philharmoniker, one who can be relied upon in times of need. This was the case in 2006, when he made his debut, substituting for Bernard Haitink, and was again the case with this concert, which he took over from an indisposed Gustavo Dudamel. In the second half of the concert, Gilbert conducts Stravinsky’s Firebird, one of the most virtuoso scores of classical Modernism, whose colourfulness is already conveyed in the titles of the movements: “The enchanted garden”, “Appearance of the guardian monsters”, and “Infernal dance”.

Christianne Stotijn was born in Delft and initially learnt the violin, gaining a soloist’s diploma at the Amsterdam Conservatory in 2000, before studying singing in Metz, London and Amsterdam. Her teachers have included Udo Reinemann, Jard van Nes and Dame Janet Baker. In 2005 she was awarded the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award and joined the BBC’s New Generation Artist Scheme. In 2008 she won the Netherlands Music Prize. Among the opera companies where she has sung to date are major houses in Brussels, Paris, Amsterdam, London and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. She is particularly fond of lieder singing – with her regular piano partners Joseph Breinl and Julius Drake – and both in this capacity and as a concert singer she has appeared in leading concert halls all over the world. Among the orchestras with which she has appeared are the Boston and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées in Paris and Concerto Köln, while the conductors under whom she has worked include René Jacobs, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Philippe Herreweghe and Gustavo Dudamel. She has been particularly acclaimed for her performances of Mahler’s Rückert Lieder with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and the Orchestre National de France under the direction of Bernard Haitink, with whom she has worked closely since the start of her career. Christianne Stotijn made her debut with the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker in December 2008 and returned for concerts under the direction of Claudio Abbado in May 2010.

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