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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Utah Symphony program to feature French Impressionist works

SALT LAKE CITY— The Utah Symphony and guest conductor Jun Märkl will stamp their musical passports as they perform the colorful creations of French impressionist composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.

Märkl and the orchestra will first travel through the symphonic paintings of Debussy’s charming “Petite suite” and “Ibéria” No. 2, December 7 and 8, at 8 p.m. at Abravanel Hall. Then, French pianist Pascal Rogé will join the orchestra for Ravel’s enchanting Piano Concerto in G major. The concert will conclude with Ravel’s “Rhapsodie espagnole.”

These two Parisian orchestral music icons showed the world what it truly meant to “paint with sound.”

Debussy’s music is best known for its fluidity and sensory component. The notes float lyrically and do not often settle to form around a particular set of notes or key. He was an innovator who wove the joys and turbulence of his life into his music. The sweeping emotion in his passages glitters with melodic tonality, showcasing his poetic brilliance. 

Ravel was inspired by his mother’s Spanish heritage, and the influence of traditional Basque music can be heard in his works. In many ways, Ravel regarded himself as a classicist, yet he was not solely dependent on classical tradition. His intricate modulations, complex harmonies and avant-garde melodies have made him one of France’s most beloved composers.

Märkl, Rogé and Toby Tolokan, Utah Symphony Vice President of Artistic Planning, will present a free pre-concert chat each night, one hour prior to the start of the performance on the orchestra level of Abravanel Hall.

Single tickets for the performances range from $18 to $53 and can be purchased by calling (801) 355-ARTS (2787), in person at the Abravanel Hall ticket office (123 W. South Temple) or by visiting www.utahsymphony.org. Discounted student tickets will be available on the date of the performance. Season ticket holders and those desiring group discounts should call (801) 533-NOTE (6683). All ticket prices are subject to change and availability. Ticket prices will increase $5 when purchased on the day of the performance.

Jun Märkl, Conductor
Jun Märkl conducts the world’s leading orchestras, such as the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic and Tonhalle Orchester Zürich. He has long been a highly respected interpreter of the core Germanic repertoire from both the symphonic and operatic traditions, and more recently for his refined and idiomatic Debussy, Ravel and Messiaen.

He was Music Director of the Orchestre National de Lyon from 2005-11 and of the MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig until 2012. In recognition of his tenure in Lyon and his hugely successful nine-disc Debussy cycle with the orchestra on Naxos, in 2012 he was honoured by the French Ministry of Culture with the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He also toured with the orchestra to Japan and major European halls and festivals such as the Salle Pleyel, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, BBC Proms, Bad Kissingen, Rheingau and Lucerne. With MDR he toured to Spain and the Baltics, made regular appearances in the Berlin Konzerthaus and Cologne Philharmonie, and conducted Schumann’s rarely-heard opera “Genoveva” at the Rotterdam Opera Festival.

Märkl has conducted for many years at the state operas of Vienna, Munich and Semperoper Dresden, and was until 2006 Permanent Conductor of the Bavarian State Opera. He made his Royal Opera House, London, debut with “Die Götterdämmerung” in 1996 and at The Metropolitan Opera with “ in 1998, has conducted complete “Ring Cycle” at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and at the New National Theatre Tokyo, and toured to Japan in 2007 with the Semperoper Dresden (Tannhäuser). In 2014 he conducts “Fidelio” at the Hamburg State Opera.

Born in Munich, his (German) father was a distinguished Concertmaster and his (Japanese) mother a solo pianist. Märkl studied violin, piano and conducting at the Musikhochschule in Hannover, going on to study with Sergiu Celibidache in Munich and with Gustav Meier in Michigan. In 1986 he won the conducting competition of the Deutsche Musikrat and a year later won a scholarship from the Boston Symphony Orchestra to study at Tanglewood with Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa. Soon afterwards he had a string of appointments in European opera houses followed by his first music directorships at the Staatstheater in Saarbrücken (1991-94) and at the Mannheim Nationaltheater (1994-2000).

Pascal Rogé, Piano
Born in Paris, Pascal Rogé became an exclusive Decca recording artist at the age of 17. He has won many prestigious awards including two Gramophone Awards, a Grand Prix du Disque and an Edison Award for his interpretations of the Ravel and Saint-Saens concertos. For the Poulenc Edition in 1999 Rogé recorded both piano concertos, the Aubade and the Concerto Champêtre all under Charles Dutoit.

For Oehms Classics Rogé recorded, to unanimous acclaim, the Ravel G Major and Gershwin concertos with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra under Bertrand de Billy and has now recorded a second disc with the same forces which includes the Ravel Left Hand Piano Concerto, “Rhapsody in Blue” and “An American in Paris”. Rogé’s latest recording project is the Rogé Edition, released on the Onyx Classics label. The first CD release in May 2005 inaugurated his first complete Debussy cycle with the Préludes and was followed by a second disc including “Estampes” and “Children’s Corner” early in 2007. In March 2008 the third volume was released containing “Images” and “Pour le Piano” and in September 2010 the fourth volume with the Études. Also for Onyx he has released a disc of Mozart concertos with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra conducted by Raymond Leppard, “Poètes du Piano”, and “Wedding Cake”, music for Piano Duo with his wife Ami Rogé.

Rogé has performed in almost every major concert hall in the world. Some of the orchestras he has appeared with include the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony, L’Orchestre de Paris, L’Orchestre National de Radio France, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Leipzig Gewandhaus and all the major London orchestras.

He appears regularly in the United States and is a frequent guest artist in Australia, New Zealand, Latin America and especially Japan. Among his recent British engagements are recitals at Wigmore Hall, Symphony Hall Birmingham and the Queen Elizabeth Hall where he is a frequent guest of the International Piano Series.

Rogé was for two years the Artistic Director of Incontri in Terra di Siena, a summer festival that takes place each year in Tuscany. He is enjoying playing recitals of music for four hands/one piano with his wife, the pianist Ami Rogé.

Claude Debussy
Petite suite
I. En bateau
II. Cortège
III. Menuet
IV. Ballet

"Ibéria," No. 2 from Images
I. Par les rues et par les chemins [Through Streets and
II. Les parfums de la nuit [The Fragrances of the Night]
III. Le matin d'un jour de fête [Morning of a Feast-Day]


Maurice Ravel
Concerto in G major for Piano and Orchestra
I.  Allegramente
II.  Adagio assai
III.  Presto
Pascal Rogé, Piano

Rapsodie espagnole
I.  Prélude a la nuit
II.  Malagueña
III.  Habañera
IV.  Feria

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