Hilarie Ashton | Public Relations Manager
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 21, 2011
UTAH SYMPHONY BRINGS “LISZT FEVER” TO ABRAVANEL HALL
SALT LAKE CITY—The Utah Symphony and masterful young guest pianist Kirill Gerstein will present two classic works by Franz Liszt, the music world’s first piano superstar, heartthrob performer and cause of Europe's "Liszt fever."
Gerstein and the orchestra will perform Liszt’s “Totentanz” and Piano Concerto No. 2 under the direction of guest conductor Gilbert Varga on Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3 at 8 p.m. in Abravanel Hall (123 W. South Temple).
Varga, known for his commanding presence and elegant baton technique, will begin the program with Maurice Ravel’s “Mother Goose” Suite, originally written as a piano duet for the children of his close friends. Ravel later orchestrated the work, expanding it into a ballet. Concluding the concert is another Ravel ballet suite, which tells the passionate Greek romance of “Daphnis et Chloé.”
On Friday, December 2 at 10 a.m. the general public is also invited to attend a Finishing Touches dress rehearsal, where audience members can witness the diligence and dedication that goes into rehearsing for each performance. Tickets for the rehearsal are $15, and will increase $2 in price when purchased on the day of the performance.
Tickets for the evening performances range from $17 to $51 and can be purchased by calling (801) 355-ARTS (2787), in person at the Abravanel Hall ticket office or by visiting www.usuo.org. Students can purchase discounted tickets with a student ID. Season ticket holders and those desiring group discounts should call (801) 533-NOTE (6683). Ticket prices will increase $5 when purchased on the day of the performance.
Varga and Toby Tolokan, Utah Symphony Vice President of Artistic Planning, will present a free pre-concert lecture each night, 45 minutes prior to the start of the performance in the First Tier Room of Abravanel Hall.
Press photos available by logging in at http://www.utahsymphony.org/about/press-and-reviews/itemlist/category/35-media-kit. (Username: usuoimages, Password: media).
A University of Utah Red Carpet Affair”
University of Utah students will be adding glamour and school pride to the Saturday night performance as they host a “Red Carpet Affair,” with on-site photographers ready to snap photos of students and symphony enthusiasts in their finest red fashion as they walk the red carpet. $10 student tickets to this event are also available for purchase at the University of Utah’s Union Building Front Desk. $1 will be added to Union Building ticket purchases. Students can also “Like” the Utah Symphony on facebook.com/utahmusic for a chance to win two free tickets to the concert.
About Gilbert Varga, Conductor
Gilbert Varga, son of the celebrated Hungarian violinist Tibor Varga, studied under three very different and distinctive maestros: Franco Ferrara, Sergiu Celibidache and Charles Bruck. A commanding and authoritative figure on the podium, Varga is renowned for his elegant baton technique, and has held positions with and guest-conducted many of the major orchestras throughout the world.
Over recent seasons, Varga’s reputation in North America has grown swiftly; in the 2011-12 season he returns to the Philadelphia Orchestra with Yefim Bronfman, makes his debut with the Houston Symphony and returns to other orchestras, including the Indianapolis, Colorado, Utah and Nashville symphonies and the Minnesota Orchestra whom he conducts every season. Other ongoing relationships continue with the Atlanta, Saint Louis, Milwaukee and Baltimore symphony orchestras.
In the earlier part of his conducting career Varga concentrated on work with chamber orchestras, particularly the Tibor Varga Chamber Orchestra, before rapidly developing a reputation as a symphonic conductor. He was Chief Conductor of the Hofer Symphoniker between 1980 and 1985, and from 1985 to 1990 he was Chief Conductor of the Philharmonia Hungarica in Marl, conducting their debut tour to Hungary with Yehudi Menuhin. In 1991 Varga took up the position of Permanent Guest Conductor of the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra until 1995, and from 1997 to 2000 was Principal Guest of the Malmö Symphony. From 1997 to 2008, Varga was Music Director of the Basque National Symphony Orchestra, leading them through ten seasons, including tours across the UK, Germany, Spain and South America.
About Kirill Gerstein, Piano
Russian-born pianist Kirill Gerstein is one of today’s most intriguing young musicians. His masterful technique, musical curiosity, and probing interpretations have led to explorations of classical music and jazz, advanced degrees by the age of 20, a professorship in piano by the age of 27, and a full performance schedule at the world’s major music centers and festivals.
In January 2010 Gerstein was named the recipient of the 2010 Gilmore Artist Award, only the sixth musician to have been so honored. The Gilmore Artist Award is made to an exceptional pianist who, regardless of age or nationality, possesses broad and profound musicianship and charisma and who desires and can sustain a career as a major international concert artist.
Mr. Gerstein’s most recent engagements in North America include performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, and the San Francisco, Baltimore, Dallas, Indianapolis, Vancouver, Oregon, and Utah Symphonies; the Philadelphia Orchestra at Mann Music Center; the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music Festival and Chicago’s Grant Park Festival; and recitals in Boston, New York, Cincinnati, Detroit, Vancouver, Kansas City, Portland OR, and Washington’s Kennedy Center.
Born in 1979 in Voronezh, Russia, Mr. Gerstein attended one of the country’s special music schools for gifted children and taught himself to play jazz by listening to his parents’ extensive record collection. He came to the U.S. at 14 to continue his studies in jazz piano as the youngest student ever to attend Boston’s Berklee College of Music. However, he also continued working on the classical piano repertoire. Following his second summer at the Boston University program at Tanglewood, he decided to focus mainly on classical music and moved to New York City to attend the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Solomon Mikowsky and earned Bachelors and Masters of Music degrees. He continued his studies with Dmitri Bashkirov in Madrid and Ferenc Rados in Budapest.
Maurice RAVEL Ma Mère l’Oye : Five Pièces Enfantines (Mother Goose Suite)
I. Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty
II. Tom Thumb
III. Laideronette, Empress of the Pagodas
IV. Conversations of Beauty and the Beast
V. The Enchanted Garden
Franz LISZT Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major
I. Adagio sostenuto assai- Allegro agitato assai
II. Allegro moderato- Allegro deciso
III. Marziale un poco meno allegro
IV. Allegro animato- Stretto (molto accelerando)
Kirill Gerstein, Piano
Franz LISZT Totentanz
Kirill Gerstein, Piano
Maurice RAVEL Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2
I. Lever du jour
III. Danse générale
Public Relations Manager