Marin Alsop Leads Pianist Garrick Ohlsson and BSO in All-Rachmaninoff Program, Jan. 17 & 20, and Off the Cuff Program on January 18 & 19.

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The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO), led by Music Director Marin Alsop, welcomes back award-winning pianist Garrick Ohlsson to perform Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto as part of an all-Rachmaninoff program on the Classical Concert Series, which also includes Rachmaninoff’s Isle of the Dead and Cinq Etudes-tableaux on Thursday January 17, 2013 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Maestra Alsop and Mr. Ohlsson will also collaborate for a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto as part of the Off the Cuff Series on Friday, January 18, 2013 at 8:15 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore and Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 7 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

Pianist Garrick Ohlsson

Mr. Ohlsson dispatched the rippling passagework and crashing chords with authority and rhapsodic sweep.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO), led by Music Director Marin Alsop, welcomes back award-winning pianist Garrick Ohlsson to perform Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto as part of an all-Rachmaninoff program on the Classical Concert Series, which also includes Rachmaninoff’s Isle of the Dead and Cinq Etudes-tableaux on Thursday January 17, 2013 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Maestra Alsop and Mr. Ohlsson will also collaborate for a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto as part of the Off the Cuff Series on Friday, January 18, 2013 at 8:15 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore and Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 7 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Capitalizing on Marin Alsop’s charismatic way of illuminating classical music, Off the Cuff Series programs focus on one masterwork, allowing Maestra Alsop to discuss the back story of the piece and the composer’s life. Please see below for complete program details.

Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto is considered by many pianists to be one of the most technically challenging works ever written for the instrument. The work was composed while Rachmaninoff was staying on his family’s rural estate in 1909 in preparation for his first American tour. Determined to make a lasting impression on the Americans, Rachmaninoff made this work quite a showpiece. Its intricate passages, bold chords and relentless pacing give the pianist little rest and are deftly managed by audience-favorite Garrick Ohlsson. Moreover, it’s more than a vehicle of virtuosity, but also an expressive work that runs the gamut of emotions, from turbulent drama to tuneful lyricism. The New York Times had this praise for Ohlsson’s past performance of Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto: “Mr. Ohlsson dispatched the rippling passagework and crashing chords with authority and rhapsodic sweep. But this was an uncommonly elegant and lucid Rachmaninoff Third.”

Also on the Classical Concert Series program is Rachmaninoff’s tone poem, Isle of the Dead, inspired by the mysterious painting of the same title by artist Arnold Böcklin. The painting’s mood—with its ominous purple clouds that hover over a rowboat and two stark figures--is expressed musically with Rachmaninoff’s use of the downward motive, “Dies Irae,” or “Day of Atonement”—the traditional chant sung at Roman Catholic burials.

Another work on the Classical Concert Series program is Rachmaninoff’s Op. 33 and 39 or “Pictorial Etudes” are works that married Chopin’s elevation of the etude from a methodical study into a short work of musical value, with the Romantic ideas of program music. In 1929, conductor Koussevitzky and his publishers commissioned Respighi to orchestrate a set of Rachmaninoff’s etudes. Rachmaninoff called these works “tableaux” or “pictures,” as they were inspired by art or scenes in nature, such as swooping seagulls, a boisterous fair or a funeral on a rainy day.

Marin Alsop, conductor
Hailed as one of the world’s leading conductors for her artistic vision and commitment to accessibility in classical music, Marin Alsop made history with her appointment as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. With her inaugural concerts in September 2007, she became the first woman to head a major American orchestra. She also holds the title of conductor emeritus at the Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom, where she served as the principal conductor from 2002-2008, and is music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California. In February 2011, Marin Alsop was named the music director of the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo (OSESP), or the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, beginning in the current 2012-13 season.

In 2005, Ms. Alsop was named a MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive this prestigious award. In 2007, she was honored with a European Women of Achievement Award, in 2008 she was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2009 Musical America named her “Conductor of the Year.” In November 2010, she was inducted into the Classical Music Hall of Fame. Ms. Alsop was named to Guardian’s Top 100 Women list in March 2011. In 2011 Marin Alsop was named an Artist in Residence at the Southbank Centre in London, England.

A regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ms. Alsop appears frequently as a guest conductor with the most distinguished orchestras around the world. In addition to her performance activities, she is also an active recording artist with award-winning cycles of Brahms, Barber and Dvořák.

Marin Alsop attended Yale University and received her master’s degree from The Juilliard School. In 1989, her conducting career was launched when she won the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize at Tanglewood where she studied with Leonard Bernstein.

Garrick Ohlsson, pianist
Garrick Ohlsson has established himself worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess. Mr. Ohlsson commands an enormous repertoire, ranging over the entire piano literature. A student of the late Claudio Arrau, Mr. Ohlsson has become noted for his masterly performances of the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the Romantic repertoire. His concerto repertoire alone is unusually wide and eclectic – ranging from Haydn and Mozart to works of the 21st century – and to date he has at his command more than 80 concertos.

The 2012-13 season features performances of Busoni’s rarely performed piano concerto with the European Union Youth Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda at the Edinburgh International Festival. A return to the U.K. later in the season includes two concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra followed by a month-long tour in Australia and a live recording of both Brahms concerti. Mr. Ohlsson returns to New York in the spring as soloist with the Boston Symphony at Carnegie Hall conducted by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. Other US appearances include return visits to the orchestras of Minnesota, Dallas, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Baltimore, where he is a beloved regular.

A prolific recording artist, his 10-disc set of the complete Beethoven sonatas has garnered considerable critical praise, including a GRAMMY® for Vol. no. 3 of the compilation. His recording of Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 3 with the Atlanta Symphony and Robert Spano was released in fall 2011. Forthcoming releases in his ongoing plans with Bridge Records include a “20th Century Recital” and works of Franz Liszt.

COMPLETE PROGRAM DETAILS
Classical Concert Series: Ravishing Rachmaninoff
Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 8 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 3 p.m.—JMSH

Marin Alsop, conductor
Garrick Ohlsson, piano

Rachmaninoff: Isle of the Dead
Rachmaninoff (orch. Respighi): Cinq Études-tableaux
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3

Tickets range from $29 to $64 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.

COMPLETE PROGRAM DETAILS
Off the Cuff Concert Series: Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto
Friday, January 18, 2013 at 8:15 p.m.—The Music Center at Strathmore
Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.—JMSH

Marin Alsop, conductor
Garrick Ohlsson, piano

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3

Tickets range from $39 to $72 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.

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Laura Farmer
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
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