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ASO performs music of post-Stalin Soviet Union on Feb 24

On Wednesday, February 24 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, Leon Botstein and his American Symphony Orchestra will present a program entitled “After the Thaw”,  telling the fascinating tale of three composers who managed to survive Stalinist terror and stagnation only to be bypassed in the march of post-Cold War history. With the death of Josef Stalin in 1953, the dictator’s chilling grip on Soviet life finally began to loosen, after three decades. What became known as “the Thaw” resulted in, among other things, a flowering of new musical compositions, full of ideas and innovations that before might have resulted in a sentence to Siberia.  The concert highlights works by Alexander Lokshin, Boris Tchaikovsky and Boris Tishchenko and features two U.S. premieres.


Leon Botstein, music director of the ASO, writes in his program essay:


The politics of the Cold War, the passage of time and the erasure of memory have determined that most of the music written by Soviet composers born after the Revolution remains largely unknown to the West. The only exceptions are a few figures from the late 1970s and 1980s, émigrés such as Alfred Schnittke and Arvo Pärt. But there is a good deal of irony here. Those composers who remained in Soviet Russia and managed to balance official favor with independence and originality and created work of artistic merit may have succeeded at home, but they skillfully skirted domestic danger only to be derided in the West. And those who were censured at home were effectively silenced and are now forgotten . . .But today, absent the Cold War, surely these works need no longer suffer from the political notoriety of their Soviet composers. 


The ASO’s previous concert, “An American Biography: The Music of Henry Cowell”, which explored the under-performed work of American master Henry Cowell, won universal praise from both critics and audiences.  Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times was on hand and gave this account:


“In a concert devoted mainly to that late-orchestral Cowell, Leon Botstein, the ASO music director and missionary of musical underdogs, led engaging and idiomatic performances. A hoped-for Cowell revival has had several false starts in recent years. But Friday was a revelation, and this time I think we are finally in business.”


Click here for more information about the “After the Thaw” concert. 


Maestro Botstein’s pre-concert talks, which he began delivering last season starting 75 minutes before each concert, provide added insight into the rich and unusual programming that characterizes ASO’s Lincoln Center series. His illuminating talk on music ‘After the Thaw’ starts at 6:45 pm in Avery Fisher Hall, shortly before the concert program.


All tickets to the ASO’s Lincoln Center concerts are just $25 and are available by calling (212) 868-9276 (9ASO) or visiting All ticket sales are final.


The American Symphony Orchestra’s 2009-10 season and programs are made possible, in part, through support from National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.  Additional support is provided by Atlantic Philanthropies, Bay and Paul Foundation, Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, GG Group, Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, HBO, Carroll, Guido, & Groffman, LLP, DuBose & Dorothy Heyward Memorial Fund, Faith Golding Foundation, The Fan Fox and Leslie Samuels Foundation, Open Society Institute, Per Annum, Inc., Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Solon E. Summerfield Foundation, The David and Sylvia Teitelbaum Fund, and The Winston Foundation.



Wednesday, February 24, 8:00 pm

Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center

“After the Thaw”


Alexander Lokshin: Symphony No. 4 (1968) U.S premiere

Boris Tchaikovsky: Concerto for Cello and Symphonic Orchestra (1964) *

Boris Tishchenko: Symphony No. 5 (1976)

Boris Tchaikovsky: Music for Orchestra (1987) U.S. premiere  


American Symphony Orchestra

*Anita Leuzinger, cello

Leon Botstein, conductor


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