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Just after winning the Avery Fisher Prize (an award he shared with Lynn Harrell), twenty-seven-year-old Murray Perahia made his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in January 1975 under the baton of Sir Georg Solti, performing Mendelssohn’s Second Piano Concerto. His program book biography is here.

In the Chicago Sun-Times, Perahia was praised for his “bravura in the most generous measure . . . perfectly suited to this repertory. . . . [he] has all the flair for color and phrasing, all the skill in nuance and expression needed to make a Mendelssohn concerto sound worthy of Mozart. It was a gracious, lyric performance for all its energy, and a very exciting debut.” And in the Chicago Tribune, “Perahia is no ordinary pianist. At 27, he has considerably more behind him than the customary string of awards. . . . [He is] an immensely talented musician who seemingly had everything.” The complete reviews are here, here, and here.

With Solti and the CSO at Orchestra Hall, Perahia also appeared in Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 20 on April 21, 22, and 23, 1977; in Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto on November 30, December 1, and 2, 1978; in Mendelssohn’s First Piano Concerto on October 9, 10, and 11, 1980; in Schumann’s Piano Concerto on September 24, 25, and 26, 1987; and in Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 24 on March 14, 15, and 18, 1997.

Out of town, he performed with Solti and the Orchestra in Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 20 on April 20 at the University of Chicago and April 25, 1977, in Milwaukee; and in Mendelssohn’s First Piano Concerto on October 13, 1980, also in Milwaukee.

Perahia also appeared on a special concert at Orchestra Hall celebrating Sir Georg’s seventy-fifth birthday on October 9, 1987, in Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos in E-flat major with the maestro conducting from the keyboard.

He also recorded with Solti on two occasions: in 1982 performing Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Haydn for Two Pianos, and in 1987 performing Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion (with Evelyn Glennie and David Corkhill). Both recordings were for CBS Records.

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After the Europe Tour 2020, Riccardo Muti joined the Orchestra again for a three-week CSO residency in February that included the Florida Tour 2020 and two programs at Symphony Center. In celebration of the Music Director’s time with the Orchestra during the past two months, please enjoy this video featuring Maestro Muti leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in an excerpt from Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana, featuring mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili as Santuzza. 🎥@toddrphoto
Opening with the most famous four notes in all of classical music, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is featured on this CSO program led by Riccardo Muti, along with the composer’s Second Symphony and the world premiere of Ophelia’s Tears, Concertante Elegy, a new work by Nicolas Bacri featuring the CSO’s own bass clarinet J. Lawrie Bloom as soloist. #Beethoven250 📸@toddrphoto
“In four years, I had been in five orchestras,” said CSO Bass Clarinet J. Lawrie Bloom about the beginning of his orchestral career. As a clarinetist, he never set out to play the bass clarinet, but there just happened to be orchestral positions for the instrument when he began seeking a job. “That is how fast the auditions were happening. But by then, I had really started to realize that the bass gave me a voice I’d never had.” J. Lawrie Bloom takes center stage this week in Orchestra Hall for the world premiere of Nicolas Bacri’s Ophelia’s Tears, Concertante Elegy for Bass Clarinet and Orchestra, led by Riccardo Muti. #MusicianMonday 📸@toddrphoto

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