The New York Philharmonic visits the Mondavi Center on Saturday, presenting one of the most eagerly awaited concerts of the season.
On the program will be three landmarks from the 19th century by Czech, German and Russian composers: the “Carnival” Overture by Antonin Dvorák (1891), the Piano Concerto No. 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven (1800-01) and the Symphony No. 4 by Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1877-78).
The occasion for the N.Y. Phil’s six-city California tour — the orchestra’s first extensive visit to California since 1999 — is the 100th anniversary of the San Francisco Symphony.
“Congratulations to the great San Francisco Symphony on their centennial,” said New York Philharmonic conductor Alan Gilbert. “After conducting them last fall, I can say unequivocally, they are fresh and powerful at 100!
“Their invitation to bring the New York Philharmonic to San Francisco as part of their celebration made it possible for us to return to California for the first time in many years. And Yefim Bronfman has been performing with the Philharmonic for more than 30 years.”
The tour marks the Philharmonic’s first performance in Davis, as well as the first visit to still relatively new Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and to Copley Symphony Hall in San Diego. The orchestra returns to Santa Barbara for the first time in more than 40 years, having last performed there in 1969 with conductor Seiji Ozawa.
The orchestra most recently performed in Costa Mesa in 2006, under the direction of then-Music Director Lorin Maazel, and was most recently in Los Angeles and San Francisco in 1999, with then-Music Director Kurt Masur. Its last San Diego visit was in 1981, under the direction of then-Music Director Zubin Mehta.
Conductor and music director Gilbert began his tenure at the New York Philharmonic in September 2009, launching what New York magazine called “a fresh future for the Philharmonic.” The first native New Yorker to hold the post, Gilbert is the son of two New York Philharmonic violinists.
In addition to his duties leading the New York Philharmonic, Gilbert is director of conducting and orchestral studies and holds the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies at The Juilliard School. He is also conductor laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of Hamburg’s NDR Symphony Orchestra, and he regularly conducts leading orchestras around the world.
Gilbert made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut conducting John Adams’s “Doctor Atomic” in 2008, the DVD of which received a 2011 Grammy Award for best opera recording.
Grammy Award-winning pianist Yefim Bronfman has received critical acclaim worldwide for his solo recitals, orchestral engagements and expanding catalogue of recordings. Highlights of his 2011-12 U.S. season includes performing the world premiere of the New York Philharmonic’s Composer-in-Residence Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in New York.
Bronfman’s other bookings this season include the Philadelphia, Chicago Symphony and Toronto Symphony orchestras; in a residency with The Cleveland Orchestra; and on a winter recital tour that culminated at Carnegie Hall.
In Europe, Bronfman performs in recital and with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra, with Michael Tilson Thomas and the London Symphony Orchestra, and on tour with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, also with Salonen.
Born in Tashkent in the Soviet Union in 1958, Bronfman immigrated to Israel with his family in 1973. Bronfman trained at The Juilliard School, Marlboro Music Center and The Curtis Institute of Music, with Rudolf Firkusńy, Leon Fleisher and Rudolf Serkin.
Bronfman appeared at the Mondavi Center in recital in March 2011; this is his first appearance in Davis with an orchestra.
The concert was listed as sold out several weeks ago, but a limited number of tickets have become available as some subscribers have indicated they cannot attend. Tickets are $75-$150 general, $37.50-$75 students, available at www.mondaviarts.org or (530) 754-2787.