Press Room

Gil Shaham’s 2009-10 Season

Shaham’s “Violin Concertos of the 1930s” project will occupy a central place in
his 2009-10 season as he joins a “who’s who” list of great conductors and
orchestras on three continents – including Dudamel and the Los Angeles
Philharmonic, Tilson-Thomas and the London Symphony Orchestra, Robertson and
the New York Philharmonic, and Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony
Orchestra – for performances of masterpieces by Barber, Berg, Prokofiev, Stravinsky,
and Walton.  These works are but
five of a remarkably long list of important violin concertos produced in the
same decade that Shaham will perform and, in some cases, record in coming
seasons.  Offering a striking sonic
contrast, he will also give a series of solo all-Bach recitals this season
throughout Europe, including performances in London (Wigmore Hall, October 22),
Istanbul (March 13, 2010), and Cologne (Philharmonie, March 17, 2010).  An important highlight for the fall
will be the release on Shaham’s own Canary Classics label of an album
celebrating the centenary of legendary Spanish composer and violinist Pablo de
Sarasate.  The recording teams
Shaham with violinist Adele Anthony, with whom he will launch the album with a
performance on September 29 of an all-Sarasate program at New York’s popular
new music club, (Le) Poisson Rouge. 
In December, Shaham and the New York-based Sejong will tour Asia with
Haydn’s violin concertos in C and G major and Mendelssohn’s Octet; an album
featuring these artists and this repertoire will also be released on Canary
Classics this season.

“Violin Concertos of the 1930s”

Shaham explains the idea behind his “Violin Concertos of the 1930s” project: 

“I love
playing these pieces and I love hearing these pieces.  As we entered the 21st century I started thinking
back to the great music of the last century – thinking specifically about
violin concertos – and I realized that many of my personal favorite concertos
were written in the 1930s.  I
wasn’t the only one struck by this idea, as I discovered when we played the
Stravinsky concerto in Cleveland earlier this year.  During an intermission interview I was asked – completely
unprovoked – what it was about the 1930s that produced these concertos.  Was it something in the air?  After another performance, this time
with the National Symphony Orchestra, a very eloquent patron posed this
question to me: ‘When this concerto was written, it was a time of great
turbulence and trepidation, and people felt they were standing on top of a
volcano that was starting to erupt.  How is this reflected in the music written at that time, and
how does it relate to the music and times that we live in today?’  Great question – and one that I’m not equipped to answer.  I’m hoping this project can lead to
some interesting conversations.”

incomplete list of violin concertos written in the 1930s would include
masterpieces by Stravinsky (1931), Szymanowski (No. 2, 1932-33), Milhaud (Concertino
de printemps
for violin,
1934), Berg (1935), Prokofiev (No. 2, 1935), Sessions (1935), Schoenberg
(1936), Bártok (No. 2, 1937-38), Bloch (1938), Britten (1939), Hindemith
(1939), Hartmann (Concerto funèbre, 1939), Piston (No. 1, 1939), Walton
(1939), and Barber (1939). 
Korngold’s concerto was written between 1935 and 1937, published in
1945, and first performed in 1947. 
Khachaturian’s violin concerto just missed the cut-off point, being
completed in 1940.

season, Shaham performed the Stravinsky and Berg concertos, and this season he performs
no fewer than five concertos from the 1930s, beginning on September 19 in San
Antonio, TX with a soaring masterpiece by American composer Samuel Barber.  Shaham gives additional performances of
the work with the Kansas City Symphony and Michael Stern (Jan 22-24, 2010), the
New York Philharmonic and David Robertson (Feb 25-27, 2010) and London’s
Philharmonia Orchestra with Kirill Karabits
(May 19-20, 2010).  Robertson
and Shaham will also team up with the BBC Symphony next summer for a
performance of the Barber at London’s BBC Proms (Aug 26, 2010).

This past June, Shaham and
Tilson Thomas performed the Berg Concerto together in San Francisco to great
acclaim, with San Francisco Chronicle
critic Joshua Kosman calling it, “a
rendition that, quite rightly, focused all that energy on communication between
the performers and the listeners, [of which] the results were
transfixing.”  On November 5,
Shaham and Tilson Thomas encore the work, this time with the London Symphony
Orchestra at London’s Barbican Hall. 
Soon after, Shaham heads to Los Angeles to give four performances of the
Berg concerto with Gustavo Dudamel during his first season as the new Music
Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Nov 19-22).  Late in the spring, Shaham gives three more performances of
this hauntingly, sometimes harrowingly beautiful work with the Staatskapelle
Dresden and David Robertson (Jun 13-15, 2010).

other performances of concertos from the 1930s include six performances of
Prokofiev’s richly expressive Second – one with the Kansas City Symphony and
Michael Stern, the others with the Saint Louis Symphony and David Robertson, at
home in Missouri and on a California tour that includes performances in San
Francisco and Los Angeles; seven performances of Stravinsky’s sparkling neoclassical
Concerto in D (with Saint Louis and Robertson, Baltimore and Alsop, and the Bavarian
Radio Symphony Orchestra and Jansons); and two performances of Walton’s
Mediterranean-infused Concerto in B minor with the Philharmonia Orchestra and
Hugh Wolff.

Virtuoso Violin Works

This month, Shaham adds a
captivating new title to the catalog of Canary Classics, the label he founded
in 2004.  The new recording, Sarasate: Virtuoso Violin Works, teams
Shaham with violinist Adele Anthony, to whom he is married, in a celebration of
the music of legendary Spanish violinist and composer Pablo de Sarasate
(1844-1908).  The Pamplona-born
composer’s colorful dance- and song-inspired works are not only
enormously entertaining and irresistibly appealing, but also full of sometimes
hair-raising technical challenges.

Shaham and Anthony
both feel a deep connection to Sarasate’s music, and used the occasion of the
composer’s centenary in 2008 to pay tribute to his work.  One highlight of their activities included
a November concert at New York’s Lincoln Center, broadcast live on public
television, at which a much-surprised Shaham was awarded the prestigious Avery
Fisher Prize, presented to him by his friend and colleague, conductor Gustavo
Dudamel.  The season’s festivities
culminated in “¡Sarasateada!” – a series of Sarasate concerts in Valladolid,
Spain, which were recorded for this CD release.  Sarasate:
Virtuoso Violin Works
will be released in the U.S. on Tuesday, September
29, when Shaham and Anthony will also perform an all-Sarasate program at
the popular downtown music club (Le)
Poisson Rouge in New York City. 
Shaham discusses the album in a news release that also includes a full
track listing, available at this link:  Further details are also available at:

The new release marks the debut of
Adele Anthony on Canary Classics, for which she will contribute a concerto
album in the near future, pairing the popular Sibelius concerto with a work by
Australian composer Ross Edwards. 
Shaham’s previous release for the label showcased Elgar’s epic violin concerto
in a critically-acclaimed performance – with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
under David Zinman – that was also a surprise Billboard best-seller. 
Writing for the Denver Post,
Kyle MacMillan called it one of the best albums of 2008, noting, “In peak form, with typically responsive phrasing and fetching, natural
tone, Shaham receives forceful backing from Zinman and the orchestra.”  David Cairns called it a “fine account”
in London’s Times, observing, “Gil Shaham plays with a wonderfully pure, true, expressive tone, and
phrases like a master.”

Visit for additional
information about Shaham’s recordings. 
A list of Shaham’s 2009-10 engagements follows.


Gil Shaham: 2009-10 season engagements

Sep 19, 2009

Barber: Violin Concerto

San Antonio Symphony / Ken-David Masur (San Antonio, TX)

Sep 23, 2009

Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto

National Arts Centre Orchestra / Zukerman (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)

Sep 29, 2009

Sarasate program with Adele Anthony

(Le) Poisson Rouge (New York, NY)

Oct 3, 2009

Bach: Double Violin Concerto with Adele Anthony; Sarasate: Carmen Fantasy

Buffalo Philharmonic / Falletta (Buffalo, NY)

Oct 8, 2009

Solo Bach recital

Mike Lazaridis Theatre (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)

Oct 18, 2009

Solo Bach recital

Teatro Comunale (Florence, Italy)

Oct 19, 2009

Solo Bach recital

Sala Grande del Conservatorio G. Verdi (Milan, Italy)

Oct 21, 2009

Solo Bach recital

Church of St. Anne (Prague, Czech Republic)

Oct 22, 2009

Solo Bach recital

Wigmore Hall (London, UK)

Nov 5, 2009

Berg: Violin Concerto

London Symphony Orchestra / Tilson Thomas

Barbican Hall (London, England)

Nov 19, 20, 21, and 22, 2009

Berg: Violin Concerto

Los Angeles Philharmonic / Dudamel (Los Angeles, CA)

Dec 11-18, 2009

Asian tour with Sejong

(Seoul, South Korea: Dec 11; Shanghai, China: Dec 13;
Beijing, China: Dec 15; Kaohsiung City, Taiwan: Dec 16; Taipei City, Taiwan:
Dec 18)

Jan 9, 2010

Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2

Singapore Symphony Orchestra / Shui (Singapore, Singapore)

Jan 22-24, 2010

Barber: Violin Concerto; Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2

Kansas City Symphony / Stern (Kansas City, MO)

Jan 29 and 31, 2010

Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 2; Haydn: Violin Concerto No. 2

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra / Honeck (Pittsburgh, PA)

Feb 25-27, 2010

Barber: Violin Concerto

New York Philharmonic / Robertson (New York, NY)

Mar 13, 2010

Solo Bach recital

(Istanbul, Turkey)

Mar 15, 2010

Solo Bach recital

Teatro Comunale (Bologna, Italy)

Mar 16, 2010

Solo Bach recital

Sala Napoleonica (Varese, Italy)

Mar 17, 2010

Solo Bach recital

Kölner-Philharmonie (Cologne,

Apr 9 and 10, 2010

Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2

Saint Louis Symphony / Robertson (St. Louis, MO)

Apr 11, 2010

Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 2; Stravinsky: Violin Concerto

Saint Louis Symphony / Robertson (St. Louis, MO)

Apr 14, 2010

Stravinsky: Violin Concerto

Saint Louis Symphony / Robertson

Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles, CA)

Apr 15, 2010

Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2

Saint Louis Symphony / Robertson

McCallum Theatre (Palm Desert, CA)

Apr 16, 2010

Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2

Saint Louis Symphony / Robertson

Mondavi Center, UC-Davis (Davis, CA)

Apr 17, 2010

Stravinsky: Violin Concerto

Saint Louis Symphony / Robertson

Davies Symphony Hall (San Francisco, CA)

Apr 18, 2010

Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2

Saint Louis Symphony / Robertson

Davies Symphony Hall (San Francisco, CA)

Apr 24, 2010

Program includes music by Sarasate

Richmond Symphony / conductor TBA

Carpenter Center (Richmond, VA)

Apr 29 and 30, 2010

Stravinsky: Violin Concerto

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra / Alsop (Baltimore, MD)

May 12 and 13, 2010

Walton: Violin Concerto

Philharmonia Orchestra / Hugh Wolff (London, UK)

May 19 and 20, 2010

Barber: Violin Concerto

Philharmonia Orchestra / Karabits (London, UK)

Jun 13-15, 2010

Berg: Violin Concerto

Staatskapelle Dresden / Robertson (Dresden, Germany)

Jun 24 and 25, 2010

Stravinsky: Violin Concerto

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Jansons

Aug 26, 2010

Barber: Violin Concerto

BBC Symphony Orchestra / Robertson

Royal Albert Hall (London, UK)

# # #

© 21C Media Group, September 2009

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