From Baroque to Bernstein
Honoring our tradition at The Philadelphia Orchestra means always looking towards the future. Since I came in as Music Director, we have expanded the repertoire of the orchestra with more baroque masterpieces, as well as more vocal and choral works, and have especially commissioned more of today’s greatest composers. I am very proud to have involved the broader Philadelphia community in some projects, notably, Bernstein’s Mass, which has just been released on Deutsche Gramophone.
Speaking of Bernstein, his Symphony No. 2's “Dirge” first premiered in Tel Aviv 70 years ago with the Israel Philharmonic – an orchestra with which Bernstein forged a close alliance after the war. Is this why you have chosen to perform his "Age of Anxiety" as part of the repertoire?
Of course Leonard Bernstein’s ties to the Israel Philharmonic make playing this piece on this tour even more special. I also think that his centennial this year is a great opportunity to get to know his symphonic music better, and to share it with the world.
While another piece in the Israel series, Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 in F minor, begins with moments of anxiety, it falls on a very different spectrum than Bernstein's. In your opinion, what connections can be made between these two symphonies (as well as the third composition by Brahms)?
A lot of the music we play deals with themes of destiny, fate, fear, etc. I see these three pieces as powerful expressions of an individual vs. the world.
Setting the tone
Yes, I’ve been looking forward to visiting Israel for many years, and am so glad that my first time is with The Philadelphia Orchestra.
How long have you been conducting Jean-Yves Thibaudet? What does his style add to the repertoire?
Jean-Yves has been a dear friend of mine and the Orchestra’s for many years, and is one of our most beloved guests. I love Jean-Yves’ style, and this combined with his faithful approach to the score makes it irresistible.
The life of a musician is all about variety and discovery. It is a privilege for me to be able to travel the world and get to experience so many different styles and traditions, and to incorporate them within my own personality and interpretation.