Concert Program Begins Second Half-Century with Festivals and Series Devoted to Steve Reich, Jordi Savall, André Watts, and Young Pianists and Violinists;
Appearances by Orpheus, New York Collegium, Juilliard String Quartet, Olga Borodina, Rolando Villazón,
and Anoushka Shankar; the Beaux Arts Trio's Beethoven, and Metropolitan Museum Artists in Concert
The Metropolitan Museum of Art launches its second half-century of presenting concerts in the 2004-2005 season with a diverse selection of world-renowned artists and young talent, upholding the Concerts & Lectures 50-year tradition.
"The success of the Museum's 50th anniversary concert season has renewed our dedication to excellence, continuity, and innovation in programming," said the Metropolitan's Director, Philippe de Montebello. "That these qualities are carried forward is evidenced by the dynamic combination of hand-picked artists and programs in our 51st season. The year's pianists, following the 50th anniversary's impressive piano roster, range from a festival of young competition winners to The Art of André Watts, while notable early-music events are complemented by a series devoted to contemporary composer Steve Reich."
Highlights of the 62 concerts comprising the 2004-2005 season, the 36th programmed by Hilde Limondjian, Concerts & Lectures General Manager since 1969, include two spring festivals – Celebrating Jordi Savall, three concerts in April presenting the viola da gamba artist and early music leader with his three acclaimed ensembles, and A Festival of International Competition Winners, also in April, of six young pianists, first-prize winners of major competitions, many in their U.S. debuts. The U.S. premiere of Steve Reich's 2003 work Dance Patterns highlights The Music of Steve Reich, a three-concert series performed by Steve Reich and Musicians. Continuing an initiative from the 50th anniversary season celebrating the multifaceted artistry of one musician, The Art of André Watts showcases the pianist in a recital, a chamber program, and an illustrated talk. Three major ensembles – Orpheus, New York Collegium, and Chanticleer – offer early-music programs in gallery spaces, and two singers make their Metropolitan Museum debuts at The Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing: soprano Olga Borodina and tenor Rolando Villazón, whose performance will also be his U.S. recital debut.
The Beaux Arts Trio, which celebrates its own 50th anniversary in 2004-2005, will begin a three-year Beethoven project that will present all of the composer's piano trios, sonatas for violin and piano, and sonatas for cello and piano. Complementing this is a series of six concerts, Surrounding Beethoven, of music that anticipated, mirrored, or followed this core repertoire, performed by a diverse roster of artists: Frederic Chiu and Windscape, Jonathan Biss and Miriam Fried, the Juilliard String Quartet with Heinz Holliger, the Prague Symphony Orchestra with Navah Perlman, the Borromeo String Quartet, and the Salzburger Kammerphilharmonie with Kate Dillingham. The chamber music of Dvorák is the anchor for the Guarneri String Quartet's five concerts, which feature eminent guest artists including Peter Serkin, Ida Kavafian, Anton Kuerti, and former member David Soyer. Paula Robison continues her exploration of The Great Vivaldi with two programs. And the artist roster of the season's Musicians from Marlboro series includes Kim Kashkashian and Samuel Rhodes.
In addition to the Festival of International Competition Winners, two series showcase some of today's finest young talent. The Accolades young artist series features four violinists: Stefan Jackiw, Giora Schmidt, Corey Cerovsek, and Jennifer Koh. Also, in its second season, the newest of the Museum's resident ensembles and the first to bear its name, Metropolitan Museum Artists in Concert, presents three programs of classic repertoire mirroring the new, which will be broadcast live on 96.3 FM WQXR.
Christmas concerts in the Medieval Sculpture Hall, a Museum tradition, will be performed by the Aulos Ensemble, Chanticleer, Quartetto Gelato, and the New York Philharmonic Brass Quintet. And in a special return engagement, sitarist Anoushka Shankar, with tabla player Tanmoy Bose, will perform at The Temple of Dendur.
The programs of the Concerts & Lectures series are held primarily in the Museum's Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium (opened in 1954), which seats 708, as well as in Museum galleries such as the Medieval Sculpture Hall and The Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing.
Tickets to the concert series are available by calling the Concerts & Lectures Department at (212) 570-3949. Updated schedules and programs are available on the Museum's Web site, www.metmuseum.org.
CELEBRATING THE ARTIST
A spring festival and two season-long series celebrate the artistry and accomplishments of three individuals:
Celebrating Jordi Savall
, taking place in the Medieval Sculpture Hall and The Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing, explores the work of one of today's most prominent interpreters of early music. Savall is known both as a viola da gamba artist responsible for the renewed interest in the instrument, and as leader of the acclaimed ensembles Hesperion XXI, dedicated to Western European music – in particular that of Spain – written before the 19th century, and Le Concert des Nations and La Capella Reial de Catalunya, both period-instrument groups. He is particularly known for his performance on the soundtrack of the 1991 film Tous les matins du monde
, about the 17th-century viola da gambist and composer Marin Marais. Each of the festival's three concerts spotlights an aspect of Savall's work:
- "Les goûts reunis" features Savall as viola da gambist and conductor of Le Concert des Nations in a program of works by John Jenkins, Pachelbel, Biber, Couperin, and Purcell, in the Medieval Sculpture Hall. Monday, April 11, at 8:00 p.m
- "Folias and Romanescas" features Hesperion XXI, with Savall as viola da gambist, soprano Montserrat Figueras, percussionist Pedro Estevan, and members of Savall's family – singer and harpist Arianna Savall, and singer, guitarist, and tiorba (theorbo) player Ferran Savall – performing works by Diego Ortiz and Terquino Merula, in the Medieval Sculpture Hall. Wednesday, April 13, at 8:00 p.m.
- "Music of Love and War" presents Savall conducting La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Le Concert des Nations in works by Monteverdi, Andrea Falconier, Terquinio Merula, and Biagio Marini, at The Temple of Dendur. Monday, April 18, at 8:00 p.m,
- In addition, subscribers to the festival are invited to attend a special screening of Tous les matins du monde
in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. Sunday, April 10, at 2:00 p.m.
The Music of Steve Reich explores the acclaimed composer's oeuvre with three concerts by Steve Reich and Musicians, highlighted by the U.S. premiere of his 2003 work Dance Patterns, as well as performances of New York Counterpoint, Drumming: Part 1, Music for Pieces of Wood, Cello Counterpoint, Piano Phase/Video Phase, Electric Counterpoint, Triple Quartet, Nagoya Marimbas, and Different Trains. Reich's classic work Tehillim was given its New York premiere performance at the Metropolitan Museum in 1982. Saturdays, November 13, January 29, and April 2, at 8:00 p.m.
The Art of André Watts continues the tradition initiated in the 50th anniversary season of celebrating the multifaceted artistry of a musician with a long tradition at the Museum. Pianist André Watts first appeared at the Metropolitan in 1982, and has performed there a total of 13 times. This series features a chamber program with clarinetist David Shifrin, violist Paul Neubauer, and pianist Georg Schenk performing works by Mozart, Brahms, and Poulenc; a solo recital featuring Chopin's four Ballades and works by Bartók, Liszt, and Ligeti; and an illustrated talk on Beethoven's Sonata in D Major, Op. 10, No. 3. Saturdays, November 20, February 19, and April 30, at 8:00 p.m.
Single-composer themes in series by the Museum's distinguished resident ensembles, the Beaux Arts Trio and Guarneri String Quartet, have inspired collaborative appearances by an impressive roster of artists.
The Guarneri String Quartet – violinists Arnold Steinhardt and John Dalley, violist Michael Tree, and cellist Peter Wiley – spotlights chamber works by Dvorák on the five concerts of its annual series, supplemented by works by Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Dohnanyi, and welcomes a series of distinguished guest artists as collaborators for Dvorák works: pianist Peter Serkin, who joins the quartet for the Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81; double bassist Orin O'Brien for the String Quintet in G Major, Op. 77; violist Ida Kavafian and cellist and former quartet member David Soyer for the String Sextet in A Major, Op. 48; violist Steven Tenenbom for the Viola Quintet in E flat Major, Op. 97; and pianist Anton Kuerti for the Piano Quartet in E flat Major, Op. 87. The spring series of the Guarneri String Quartet is supported by the Grace Jarcho Ross and Daniel G. Ross Concert Fund. Saturdays, October 16, November 6, December 11, February 26, and March 19, at 8:00 p.m.
The Beaux Arts Trio – pianist Menahem Pressler, violinist Daniel Hope, and cellist Antonio Meneses – will launch a three-year Beethoven project that spotlights its members in performance of all of the composer's trios, sonatas for violin and piano, and sonatas for cello and piano, with one work of each kind in each of the series' three programs, the trio's only New York concerts of the season.. Fridays, October 1, December 10, and April 1, at 8:00 p.m.
Surrounding Beethoven is a six-concert series that enhances the Beaux Arts Trio's project with performances by a diverse roster of artists with complementary repertoire:
- Pianist Frederic Chiu and the wind ensemble Windscape present a program including Bach's Toccata and Fugue in G Minor, Ravel's Mother Goose suite, and quintets for piano and winds by Mozart and Beethoven, in their only New York appearance of the season. Thursday, October 14, at 8:00 p.m.
- Pianist Jonathan Biss and violinist Miriam Fried – who are mother and son – perform a program of sonatas for piano and violin by Mozart. Thursday, November 18, at 8:00 p.m.
- The Juilliard String Quartet and oboist Heinz Holliger, in their only New York appearance together of the season, perform oboe quintets of Mozart and Elliott Carter, and Beethoven's String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2. Thursday, January 20, at 8:00 p.m.
- The Prague Symphony Orchestra, led by its music director, Serge Baudo, and pianist Navah Perlman perform an all-Beethoven program of the Leonore Overture No. 3, Piano Concerto No. 3, and Symphony No. 5 for their only New York concert of the season. Thursday, February 24, at 8:00 p.m.
- The Borromeo String Quartet, in its only New York appearance of the season, performs three quartets in D Minor – by Haydn (Op. 76, No. 2, "Fifths"), Mozart (K. 421), and Schubert (D. 810, "Death and the Maiden"). Thursday, March 3, at 8:00 p.m.
- The Salzburger Kammerphilharmonie, led by Yoon K. Lee, is joined by cellist Kate Dillingham for their only New York concert of the season, a program of Boccherini's Concerto in G Major for Cello and Orchestra, Jennifer Higdon's Soliloquy for Cello and Strings, and Mozart's Divertimentos in F Major and D Major. Friday, March 25, at 8:00 p.m.
TEMPLE OF DENDUR RECITALS
Three singular artists perform their only New York recitals of the season at The Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing.
- Tenor Rolando Villazón makes his United States recital debut and only New York appearance of the season. This young native of Mexico made his Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2003-2004 season as Alfredo in La Traviata. Monday, October 11, at 8:00 p.m.
- Soprano Olga Borodina performs her only New York recital of the season – also her Metropolitan Museum debut – joined by pianist Dmitri Yefimov, with a program of songs by Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky. This concert is supported by the estate of Kathryn Walter Stein. Saturday, April 9, at 8:00 p.m.
- Sitarist Anoushka Shankar
returns to The Temple of Dendur with her only New York appearance of the season, joined by tabla artist Tanmoy Bose, for a program of ragas composed by her father, Ravi Shankar. Sunday, May 1, at 8:00 p.m.
EARLY MUSIC – CHRISTMAS AND BEYOND
Metropolitan Museum Concerts has long been one of New York's prominent presenters of early music, highlighted by the annual series of Christmas concerts in the unique setting of the Museum's Medieval Sculpture Hall. In the 2004-2005 season, in addition to the Celebrating Jordi Savall
series, these events include special early-music programs by three distinguished ensembles in gallery spaces, in addition to the Christmas offerings.
- New York Collegium, led by Andrew Parrott, performs music of the Gonzaga court during the time that Peter Paul Rubens spent in Mantua: Monteverdi madrigals with Latin devotional texts, and violin music by Salamone Rossi, in the Medieval Sculpture Hall. Monday, February 28, at 8:00 p.m.
- Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
is joined by soprano Christine Brandes and mezzo-soprano Beth Clayton for two performances of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater in F Major for soprano, alto, strings, and organ in the Medieval Sculpture Hall. Sunday and Monday, March 20 and 21, at 8:00 p.m.
- Chanticleer, in its 14th season at the Museum, performs a program of works by Josquin, Monteverdi, Poulenc, Victoria, and others, titled "Women Saintly and Otherwise," at The Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing. Friday, April 22, at 8:00 p.m.
The Metropolitan's Christmas Concerts
are held in the Medieval Sculpture Hall in front of the Museum's annual display of its Christmas tree and Neapolitan Baroque crèche.
- Chanticleer performs a program of traditional carols, medieval and Renaissance sacred works, and spirituals. Sunday, December 5, at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.
- Quartetto Gelato, a vocal and instrumental ensemble, performs traditional and contemporary songs and carols: works by Corelli, Menotti, Holst, Gruber, and Irving Berlin. Sunday, December 12, at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.
- The Aulos Ensemble, with members Christopher Krueger, Marc Schachman, Linda Quan, Myron Lutzke, and Arthur Haas, joined by guest artist baritone Sanford Sylvan, performs "A Baroque Christmas" – traditional16th- and 17th-century carols, and works by Bach, Rameau, and Couperin. Monday, December 13, at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.
- The New York Philharmonic Brass Quintet, with members Philip Smith, Thomas V. Smith, Philip Myers, Joseph Alessi, and Alan Baer, performs a program of holiday classics. Monday, December 20, at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.
The presentation and nurturing of young artists has long been a Metropolitan Museum Concerts tradition, with the series featuring over the years many of today's most renowned artists in debut or early appearances. In the 2004-2005 season, a spring festival brings six pianists, and the annual Accolades
series bring four violinists, to the recital stage, and the newest of the Museum's resident ensembles, Metropolitan Museum Artists in Concert, continues in its second year with a three-concert series.
A Festival of International Competition Winners
features six young pianists who are first-prize winners of major international competitions, four in their United States debuts, who will perform in recital over four days. This series is made possible in part by the Alexis Gregory Foundation.
- Olga Kern, winner of the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, performs works by Haydn, Chopin, Prokofiev, and Rachmaninoff for her only New York appearance of the season. Thursday, April 14, at 8:00 p.m.
- Severin von Eckardstein, winner of the 2003 Queen Elisabeth Music Competition, performs Schubert's Moments musicaux
, Franck's Prélude, Choral, et Fugue, Op. 21, Messiaen's "Le courlis cendre" from Catalogue d'oiseaux
, and Prokofiev's Sonata No. 8 in B flat Major, Op. 84, in his U.S. debut and only New York appearance of the season. Friday, April 15, at 8:00 p.m.
- Boris Giltburg, co-winner of the 2003 Vendome Prize International Piano Competition, performs Beethoven's "Waldstein" Sonata, Franck's Prélude, Choral, et Fugue, Op. 21, two of Rachmaninoff's Etudes Tableaux, and Prokofiev's Sonata No, 8 in B flat Major, Op. 84, No. 8, for his U.S. debut and only New York appearance of the season. Saturday, April 16 at 3:00 p.m.
- Alexei Grynyuk, winner of the 2001 Shanghai International Youth Piano Competition, in his U.S. debut and only New York appearance of the season. Saturday, April 16, at 8:00 p.m.
- Giuseppe Albanese, co-winner of the 2003 Vendome Prize International Piano Competition, performs Mendelssohn's Sonata in B flat Major, Op. 106; Schubert's Fantasy, Op. 15, "Wanderer"; Bartók's Out of Doors
Suite for Piano, Sz. 81, and Liszt's Réminiscences de Norma
for his U.S. debut and only New York appearance of the season. Sunday, April 1,7 at 3:00 p.m.
- Antti Siirala, winner of the 2003 Dublin International Piano Competition and 2003 Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, performs Schumann's Three Romances, Op. 28; Janácek's Sonata 1.X.95, "From the Street"; Uljas Pulkkis's New York
(New York premiere); and Beethoven's Diabelli
Variations for his only New York appearance of the season. Sunday, April 16, at 8:00 p.m.
The 2004-2005 Accolades young artists series is devoted to the violin, featuring four young artists in their only New York recitals of the season. This series has been made possible by the Xerox Foundation.
- Stefan Jackiw makes his New York debut with a program of sonatas by Mozart and Copland, Chopin's Nocturne in C Minor transcribed for violin by Nathan Milstein, and Saint-Saëns' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso. Thursday, December 2, at 8:00 p.m.
- Giora Schmidt makes his New York recital debut with a program featuring sonatas by Handel, Franck, and Hindemith, Falla's Suite populaire espagnole, and works by Kreisler. Thursday, February 3, at 8:00 p.m.
- Corey Cerovsek, joined by pianist Paavali Jumppanen, makes his only New York appearance of the season with this all-Beethoven recital program, including the "Kreutzer" Sonata. Thursday, March 24, at 8:00 p.m.
- Jennifer Koh's only New York recital features sonatas by Schumann and Ravel, Schubert's Fantasie in C Major, D. 934, Salonen's Lachen verlernt, and Adams's Road Movies. Thursday, April 28, at 8:00 p.m.
In 2003-2004, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Metropolitan Museum Concerts, Metropolitan Museum Artists in Concert was created as a young resident ensemble, and it is the first ensemble to bear the Museum's name. The ensemble continues into its second season, with three programs, each featuring two contemporary works mirrored in classic repertoire – in the 2004-2005 season, Mendelssohn string quintets and piano sextet – with commentary from the musicians. The three Friday evening programs will be introduced onstage by WQXR Midday Host Jeff Spurgeon and both broadcast live on 96.3 FM WQXR and streamed online on www.WQXR.com.
Cellist Edward Arron, the artistic coordinator of the series, is joined by pianists Andrew Armstrong and Jeremy Denk, violinists Colin Jacobsen, Jennifer Frautschi, Laura Frautschi, and Yosuke Kawasaki; violists Nicholas Cords and Max Mandel, and bassist Kurt Muroki. Programs will feature Yang Yong's River Songs for Erhu and Cello, and Chen Yi's Fiddle Suite for Erhu and String Quartet (with erhu player Xu Ke); Arvo Pärt's Adagio for Piano Trio and Alfred Schnittke's Piano Quintet; Giya Kancheli's time…and again for String Trio and Pärt's Summa for Violin, Two Violas, and Cello; along with works by Haydn, Schubert, Rossini, and one Mendelssohn work per program. Fridays, January 7, February 18, and March 18, at 7:00 p.m.
Metropolitan Museum Concerts features a distinguished roster of artists and ensembles in annual appearances.
Flutist Paula Robison continues in her second year of celebrating The Great Vivaldi at The Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing, with two programs with chamber orchestra of concertos and Venetian songs. Saturdays, October 23 and February 12, at 7:00 p.m.
Pianist Ruth Laredo continues in her 17th season of Concerts with Commentary with three programs devoted to The Russian Spirit,, featuring works by Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, and Scriabin, for which she will be joined by soprano Courtenay Budd and the St. Petersburg Quartet. Fridays, November 5, November 21, and May 6, at 7:00 p.m.
Musicians from Marlboro: In a tradition that began in 1970, both prominent and recent alumni of this venerable school and festival will offer a series of three concerts of repertoire by Bach, Brahms, Franck, Hindemith, Kirchner, Kurtag, and Mozart performed by musicians including pianist Jeremy Denk; violinists Frank Huang, Colin Jacobsen, and Tai Murray; violists Maurycy Banaszek, Kim Kashkashian, Samuel Rhodes, and Jonathan Vinocour; cellists Efe Baltacigil, Mickey Katz, Yumi Kendall, and Nicholas Tzavaras; and soprano Hyunah Yu. Fridays, November 19, December 17, and February 25, at 8:00 p.m.
The Philharmonia Virtuosi, led by Music Director and Conductor Richard Kapp, performs a two-concert series featuring guest soloists violinist Mela Tenenbaum and pianist Dubravka Tomsic in a program of Weber, Schubert, and Schumann, and pianist Natasha Paremski in a program of Offenbach, Ravel, Chabrier, and Bizet. Saturdays, October 23 and February 12, at 7:00 p.m.
The Blue Hill Troupe returns to the Metropolitan Museum for the ninth year, presenting a program featuring Gilbert & Sullivan favorites from almost every opera in the canon, including The Pirates of Penzance, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Gondoliers, and Iolanthe. Sunday, February 13, at 5:00 p.m.
Over the years, the Museum has supported its concert series with a series of lectures, which in the 2004-2005 season will include:
- "He's the Top: The Music and Times of Cole Porter" – The lead-off event in the "Charmed Life of New York in the Thirties" illustrated lecture series by cultural historian and author David Garrard Lowe on the special bond, forged by a penchant for glittering sophistication, between New York and France, features cabaret artist Steve Ross in a tribute to Cole Porter. Tuesday, October 5, at 6:00 p.m.
- "The Sound of Broadway: The Words and the Music" – June LeBell's semi-annual series offers informal and impromptu conversations focusing on how the great lyrics of Broadway were set to music. This series is made possible by Mrs. Vivian Milstein. Tuesdays, October 5 and 12, at 2:30 p.m.
- "First Night: Beethoven's Ninth Symphony" – Thomas Forrest Kelly, the Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music at Harvard, offers a talk that re-creates, in pictures and sound, the scene of the first performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in 1894. Tuesday, October 12, at 8:00 p.m.
- "Act One Plus 99": A Moss Hart Centennial Celebration – The 100th birthday of the legendary playwright/director is celebrated in an evening of reminiscences, film clips and songs, featuring Moss Hart's widow, Kitty Carlisle Hart, and hosted by the Museum's Vice President for Communications and Marketing, Harold Holzer. Wednesday, November 3 at 8:00 p.m.
- "Opera in the French Court" – WQXR Overnight Host Nimet Habachy's annual series of illustrated lectures focuses this season on opera at the extravagant 17th- and 18th- century French courts. This series is supported by Mrs. Donald Oenslager. Wednesdays, November 3 and 10, at 2:30 p.m.
- "Mozart's Murder Trial: Piano Quartet in G Minor" – Composer, author, educator, and actor Bruce Adolphe compares courtroom procedure with the sonata form in a phrase-by-phrase, blow-by-blow commentary of the first movement of Mozart's Piano Quartet in G Minor as murder trial, with performers providing musical illustrations. Tuesday, January 25, at 6:00 p.m.
[For full program information, see the season chronological listing.]
A HALF-CENTURY OF METROPOLITAN MUSEUM CONCERTS & LECTURES
The Origin of the Series
: Although the Museum had a long tradition of presenting occasional musical events in various galleries and in the Great Hall, it was not until 1954 that the Concerts & Lectures series made its debut. Setting the tone for future seasons, the inaugural series included concerts by such luminaries as Isaac Stern, Marian Anderson, Artur Rubinstein, the Budapest String Quartet, and Burl Ives, among others. The oldest continuously offered major concert series of its kind in New York, Metropolitan Museum Concerts has, since its inception, stood proudly alongside Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center as a vital presence in New York's cultural community.
Debuts and Early Appearances: The series introduced dozens of now-famous concert artists in their New York debuts – among them, Peter Serkin (1965), Elly Ameling (1970), Garrick Ohlsson (1970), Richard Stoltzman (1972), the Emerson String Quartet (1978), András Schiff (1982), Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra (1985), Les Arts Florissants (1986), and Cecilia Bartoli (1991). The series also championed many performers early in their careers – including Glenn Gould (1956), Daniel Barenboim (1965), Richard Goode (1965), Itzhak Perlman (1969), Murray Perahia (1969), Martha Argerich (1972), Pinchas Zukerman (1972), Emanuel Ax (1975), and Yo-Yo Ma (1979).
Metropolitan Museum Concerts has been privileged to present a roster of world-renowned musicians, including the singers Kathleen Battle, Marilyn Horne, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Christa Ludwig, Birgit Nilsson, Joan Sutherland, and Frederica von Stade; the string virtuosi Jacqueline du Pré, Gidon Kremer, Yehudi Menuhin, Mischa Maisky, David Oistrakh, and Janos Starker; the guitarists Julian Bream and Andrés Segovia; distinguished ensembles, including the Beaux Arts Trio, and the Budapest, Guarneri, Juilliard, and Tokyo string quartets; the keyboard artists Claudio Arrau, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jorge Bolet, Clifford Curzon, Annie Fisher, Mikhail Pletnev, Sviatoslav Richter, Alicia de Larrocha, Rudolf Serkin, Mitsuko Uchida, and André Watts; the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; and the Orchestra of St. Luke's. The eminent conductors James Levine and Daniel Barenboim have also appeared on the Museum's stage in piano recitals.
Vanguard Events: Uniqueness in programming has long been a hallmark of Metropolitan Museum Concerts. It was in the series, in 1961, that Isaac Stern, Eugene Istomin, and Leonard Rose made their performing debut as a trio. Here, too, Artur Rubinstein gave his only chamber music performance in the United States, playing music by Brahms, Schumann, and Fauré with the Guarneri String Quartet during the Museum's Centennial in l970.
Another notable event, in 1985, was the four-day film retrospective and panel discussion, "Glenn Gould: An Homage," consisting of films, videos, and recordings made by and about the brilliant Canadian piano virtuoso, which were presented for the first time in New York, along with an evening of appreciation and reminiscence by people who had known and worked with him. Two subsequent tributes were scheduled - one in 1987, and one in 1992 that included a performance of Gould's string quartet.
Also in 1985 the series presented the United States debut of Gidon Kremer's Lockenhaus Festival of Austria. Reflecting their unique style of music-making, the musicians played Strauss waltzes in the Great Hall to greet concertgoers, provided a slide presentation to escort them to the "festival grounds," and performed the U.S. premieres of works by Arvo Pärt and Alfred Schnittke.
And, during the 1985-86 season, the series offered three concerts featuring the Orchestra of St. Luke's, for which were created the exceptional pairings of conductors Alexander Schneider, Leon Fleisher, and James Levine with, respectively, pianists Peter Serkin, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, and Rudolf Serkin.
Thematic Programming: Thematic programming, which has since become the norm in concert halls across the country, was once a rarity. As early as 1969, Concerts & Lectures began presenting individual series devoted to the music of Stravinsky, Purcell, and Bach, among others. Moreover, the series has become known for its "counter-programming" – including a presentation of the music of Brahms's predecessors, contemporaries, and followers during the Brahms 150th anniversary year, and a week-long spring festival devoted to the music of Joseph Haydn during Mozart bicentennial season. The latter was hailed by the New Yorker magazine as "the best concerts so far in the Mozart year."
Gallery Concerts and Exhibition-Related Events: A pioneer among art museums in presenting concerts, the Metropolitan Museum utilizes some of its galleries as performance venues from time to time. Most notably, since 1969, Christmas concerts have been presented annually in the Medieval Sculpture Hall and, since its opening in 1978, myriad programs have been presented at The Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing. Concerts have also been performed in The Astor Court, the Carroll and Milton Petrie European Sculpture Court, the Vélez Blanco Patio, and the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing for modern art. Concerts and lectures that complement and illuminate the Museum's special exhibitions and, on occasion, objects from its permanent collection, are another regular feature of the series.
Commissions and Premieres: In the early 1960s, the Metropolitan Museum collaborated with the Ford Foundation on a two-year commissioning program that linked composers to performers. Partnerships included Virgil Thomson for Betty Allen, Milton Babbitt for Bethany Beardslee, Norman Dello Joio for Sidney Harth, Benjamin Lee for Gary Graffman, and Quincy Porter for Oscar Shumsky.
Most recently, in the 2001-2002 season the Museum commissioned 20 songs for the tenor Robert White by composers including David Del Tredici, Lowell Liebermann, Gian Carlo Menotti, and Lukas Foss. That same season, the Museum co-commissioned John Tavener's Grammy Award-winning Lamentations and Praises, performed by the male a cappella group Chanticleer. Other works that premiered at the Museum include La Monte Young's Dream House, a weeklong 'sound environment,' Steve Reich's Tehillim, Philip Glass's Etude #3, and Paul Moravec's The Time Gallery.
Master Classes and Lectures: On April 12, 1982, Andrés Segovia gave his first New York master class in the Museum's Vélez Blanco Patio. Subsequently, other master classes were given by Leon Fleisher (1984), André Watts (1985), and Janos Starker (1988). Music lectures, first included in the series in 1958, have been enormously popular ever since, and lectures on art, architecture, and world culture are another mainstay of the series – mirroring and illuminating the Museum's special exhibitions and permanent collection.
Series Management: The Concerts & Lectures series was created in 1954 by the Museum's board of trustees and was headed by Dr. William Kolodney from its inception until 1968. He was succeeded in 1969 by Hilde Limondjian, who scheduled her first season in commemoration of the Museum's Centennial Anniversary in 1970 and has led the department ever since. From its inaugural season of 16 events in 1954, the series has grown to an average of 200 events each year.
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