Press Room

Gil Shaham’s 2013-14: Korngold, Sheng premiere & more with 20 orchestras

The 2013-14 season takes Avery Fisher Prize-winner Gil Shaham around the globe for collaborations with the world’s foremost orchestras – from the National Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and San Francisco Symphony to the BBC Symphony, Vienna Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Singapore Symphony, and more. He’ll perform with such preeminent conductors as Zubin Mehta, Michael Tilson Thomas, Mariss Jansons, John Adams, and James Conlon, in repertoire ranging from the concertos of Brahms and Tchaikovsky to 20th-century classics by Bartók, Berg, Prokofiev, and Korngold; the film music of John Williams; and the world, Asian, and European premieres of a new commission from Bright Sheng. Beyond the concert hall, the master violinist – named Musical America’s “Instrumentalist of the Year” – gives his signature solo Bach recitals on tour in the U.S. and Italy in anticipation of his next recording project.
It was, in part, with Korngold’s Violin Concerto, which draws on the composer’s film scores from the Golden Age of Hollywood, that Shaham first cemented his post-prodigy reputation 20 years ago. His 1994 Deutsche Grammophon recording of the concerto, to which he brought “his trademark elegance and extreme precision to bear, digging under the work’s showy surface” (New York Times), remains a gold standard by which more recent examples are judged. In the coming season, Shaham revisits this signature work, building on his already “brilliant, almost ecstatic performance” (Los Angeles Times) in a host of prominent engagements. The virtuosic concerto serves as the vehicle for his collaborations with Zubin Mehta and the Vienna Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall (March 16); the Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst during their annual Miami residency (Jan 24-27); the Houston Symphony led by John Adams (Jan 31–Feb 2); the National Symphony under James Conlon at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC (April 10-12); the symphony orchestras of St. Louis (March 20-22) and Austin (April 4-5); and France’s Orchestre de Paris (Feb 19).
The coming season also sees Shaham debut an important new addition to the orchestral repertoire, when he gives the world, Asian, and European premieres of a new concerto by Chinese-American composer, MacArthur Fellow Bright Sheng.  Shaham launches the Detroit Symphony’s new season with the work’s first performances under the leadership of music director Leonard Slatkin (Oct 4-6), before reprising it with the Singapore Symphony and its Grammy Award-winning music director, Lan Shui (Jan 4), and again with London’s BBC Symphony and its chief conductor designate, Sakari Oramo (May 9). A staunch advocate for contemporary composition, Shaham recently premiered Richard Danielpour’s new concerto with the New Jersey Philharmonic, and succeeded in “transcending expectations” with his “soulful performance” (New Jersey Star-Ledger).
Recognized as “one of the most imaginative programming concepts in years” (Musical America), Shaham’s long-term exploration of “Violin Concertos of the 1930s” now enters its fifth season. He looks forward to performances of Bartók’s Second (1937-38) with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Stéphane Denève (April 24-27), with the Atlanta Symphony under Robert Spano (Nov 14-16), and with Yannick Nézet-Séguin leading the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (June 26-27). Shaham’s recording of the work with Pierre Boulez and the Chicago Symphony was greeted by Time magazine as a “soaring interpretation, at once fiery and nobly lyrical … [and] a near perfect realization of a modern masterpiece”; the magazine went on to christen Shaham “the outstanding American violinist of his generation.”
He returns to Carnegie Hall’s main stage for a second time in 2013-14, this time with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under chief conductor Mariss Jansons, for Berg’s concerto “To the Memory of an Angel” (1935) on May 18. This follows performances of the concerto with the same forces in Munich (Jan 16-17) and Paris (Jan 18), as well as with Marek Janowski leading Berlin’s Radio Symphony Orchestra (Jan 14). Shaham undertakes Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto of 1935 with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony (Feb 27–March 2), and he returns to Barber’s 1939 concerto, another signature work, with both the Louisiana Philharmonic (Sept 21) and Mexico National Symphony (Sept 6 & 8).
The violinist reprises two favorite masterworks of the concerto literature this season, undertaking the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Bavarian Radio Symphony and Stéphane Denève (Nov 28-29), and the Brahms with orchestras in Pennsylvania (Oct 26) and Washington state (Nov 3). Rounding out his orchestral season are dates with his longtime friend and musical partner John Williams. The two have been friends for more than 20 years, collaborating on countless concerts and recording projects together, and the legendary film composer has gone on record as admiring Shaham’s “gargantuan talent.” They team up again, this time with the Chicago Symphony, to play Williams’s Violin Concerto with the composer himself on the podium (Nov 8-9), as well as a program of favorite film scores, including the violin fantasy from Fiddler on the Roof and selections from Williams’s own Schindler’s List (Nov 10).
In anticipation of his next recording project, the master violinist also returns to Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, taking his singular approach to these beloved works to Cleveland (Feb 6), Baltimore (Feb 23), and Italy’s Rome (Feb 14) and Florence (Feb 15), as part of the busy solo and chamber recital schedule that completes his 2013-14 line-up. After one of his recent unaccompanied Bach recitals, OpusOneReview marveled:
“Mr. Shaham’s performance was encyclopedic – he seemed to pull it all together – the throbbing, human intensity; the serene, celestial overview; the devil in every technical detail. Personally, I felt humbled by the joy of this performance, and … the audience … went a bit out of their minds.”
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Last season, Shaham played “Violin Concertos of the 1930s” by Barber, Berg, Stravinsky, Britten, Bartók, and Prokofiev with the orchestras of New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Baltimore, Kansas City, and Montréal, as well as with the Orchestre de Paris and Japan’s NHK Symphony.  Of the New York Philharmonic concert, the New York Times observed:
“In [his] vivid and sensitive performance, the Barber sounded wonderfully fresh. Mr. Shaham played the main theme of the first movement, one of those soaring, majestic Barber melodies, with plush sound and affecting restraint. He brought warmth touched with impetuosity to the contemplative slow movement, and his dazzling account of the perpetual-motion finale had flawless precision and gleeful command.”
Shaham also returned to repertory favorites with renditions of the Brahms concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Cincinnati Symphony; the Beethoven with the symphony orchestras of Boston and St. Louis; and Mozart’s “Turkish” with the Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Toronto symphonies. During recital tours in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, he premiered a solo suite written for him by William Bolcom, and pioneered recent commissions from Avner Dorman and Julian Milone. Dorman’s work also forms the centerpiece of Nigunim: Hebrew Melodies, a new album that Shaham recorded with his sister, pianist Orli Shaham, and released on his own Canary Classics label in June 2013. According to the Buffalo News:
Shaham’s virtuosity on this disc is of such pyrotechnic flamboyance and ferocity and the impassioned beauty so openhearted that it bids fair to be one of the greatest of Shaham’s long career and one of the greatest intimate violin recordings anyone is likely to encounter in a while.”
The Shahams achieve overwhelming heights of expressiveness,” agreed the Strad magazine. “This is a lovingly produced and presented recording of some hauntingly beautiful music from the violinist’s own label.
A list of Shaham’s upcoming engagements follows, and additional information is available at his recently launched new website,
Gil Shaham: engagements, 2013-14
Sept 6 & 8
Mexico City, Mexico
Barber: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
Mexico National Symphony Orchestra / Carlos Miguel Prieto
Sept 21
New Orleans, LA
Barber: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra / Carlos Miguel Prieto
Oct 4-6
Detroit, MI
Bright Sheng: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (world premiere)
Detroit Symphony Orchestra / Leonard Slatkin
Oct 26
Erie, PA
Brahms: Violin Concerto
Erie Philharmonic / Daniel Meyer
Nov 1
Davis, CA
Presenter: University of California, Davis
Recital including William Bolcom’s Suite No. 2 for Violin
Nov 3
Bellingham, WA
Brahms: Violin Concerto in D
Whatcom Symphony Orchestra / Yaniv Attar
Nov 8-9
Chicago, IL
John Williams: Violin Concerto
Chicago Symphony Orchestra / John Williams
Nov 10
Chicago, IL
CSO At the Movies!
Chicago Symphony Orchestra / John Williams
Nov 14-16
Atlanta, GA
Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra / Robert Spano
Nov 26
Munich, Germany
Chamber concert: Bach; Prokofiev
Nov 28 & 29
Munich, Germany
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Stéphane Denève
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
Jan 4
Singapore, Singapore
Bright Sheng: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (Asian premiere)
Singapore Symphony Orchestra / Lan Shui
Jan 14
Berlin, Germany
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra / Marek Janowski
Berg: Violin Concerto
Jan 16 & 17
Munich, Germany
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Mariss Jansons
Berg: Violin Concerto
Jan 18
Paris, France
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Mariss Jansons
Berg: Violin Concerto
Jan 24 & 25
Miami, FL
Korngold: Violin Concerto
Cleveland Orchestra / Franz Welser-Möst
Jan 27
Naples, FL
Korngold: Violin Concerto
Cleveland Orchestra / Franz Welser-Möst
Philharmonic Center for the Arts
Jan 31; Feb 1 & 2
Houston, TX
Korngold: Violin Concerto
Houston Symphony / John Adams
Feb 5
Kansas City, MD
Solo Recital
Harriman-Jewell Series of William Jewell College
Feb 6
Cleveland, OH
Solo recital: Bach
Cleveland Museum of Art
Feb 9
Denver, CO
Solo recital
Friends of Chamber Music
Feb 14
Rome, Italy
Solo recital: Bach; Bolcom
Feb 15
Florence, Italy
Solo recital: Bach; Bolcom
Feb 17
Munich, Germany
Chamber concert: Bach; Mendelssohn
Feb 19
Paris, France
Orchestre de Paris / James Gaffigan
Korngold: Violin Concerto
Salle Pleyel
Feb 23
Baltimore, MD
Bach: Sonatas and Partita for solo violin (BWV 1001, 1002, & 1003)
Shriver Hall Concert Series
Feb 27–March 2
San Francisco, CA
Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2
San Francisco Symphony / Michael Tilson Thomas
March 16
New York, NY
Korngold: Violin Concerto
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra / Zubin Mehta
Carnegie Hall – Isaac Stern Auditorium
March 20-22
St. Louis, MO
Korngold: Violin Concerto
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra / David Robertson
Powell Symphony Hall
April 4-5
Austin, TX
Korngold: Violin Concerto
Austin Symphony Orchestra / Peter Bay
April 10-12
Washington, DC
Korngold: Violin Concerto
National Symphony Orchestra / James Conlon
Kennedy Center Concert Hall
April 24-25, 27
Los Angeles, CA
Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2
Los Angeles Philharmonic / Stéphane Denève
Walt Disney Concert Hall
April 26
Costa Mesa, CA
Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2
Los Angeles Philharmonic / Stéphane Denève
May 9
London, UK
Bright Sheng: Violin Concerto (European premiere)
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Sakari Oramo
Barbican Centre
May 10
Ascona, Switzerland
Duo recital: Schubert, Prokofiev, Dorman, Beethoven
With Akira Eguchi, piano
May 11
L’Aquila, Italy
Duo recital: Schubert, Prokofiev, Dorman, Beethoven
With Akira Eguchi, piano
May 18
New York, NY
Berg: Violin Concerto
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Mariss Jansons
Carnegie Hall  – Stern Auditorium
June 23
Munich, Germany
Chamber concert: Bach; Brahms
June 24 & 25
Munich, Germany
June 26 & 27
Munich, Germany
Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Yannick Nézet-Séguin
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© 21C Media Group, September 2013


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