Jun Märkl Leads BSO and Violinist Arabella Steinbacher in Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, April 26-28

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German conductor Jun Märkl will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and violinist Arabella Steinbacher in Beethoven’s majestic Violin Concerto on Thursday, April 26 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore, and Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28 at 8 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

Violinist Arabella Steinbacher

German conductor Jun Märkl will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and violinist Arabella Steinbacher in Beethoven’s majestic Violin Concerto on Thursday, April 26 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore, and Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28 at 8 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. In this program showcasing the works of early-Romantic German composers, fellow Munich natives Jun Märkl and Arabella Steinbacher join for a performance of Beethoven’s only violin concerto. Also on the program is Overture to Euryanthe, a piece by the “father of German Romantic opera,” Carl Maria von Weber. The evening will close with Schumann’s warm and embracing Symphony No. 3 “Rhenish,” which celebrates the composer’s early happiness working in the city of Düsseldorf on the Rhine. Please see below for complete program details.

While Der Freischütz drastically changed the future of opera, Weber’s Euryanthe remains obscure, primarily due to the inexperience of the opera’s librettist. Even so, Weber’s score boasts all the musical beauty and harmonic adventurousness that would influence the next generation of Romantic composers. Unmarred by the librettist’s pen, the overture has become a staple of orchestral repertoire, epitomizing Weber’s sweeping Romantic style.

Beethoven’s Violin Concerto is considered the touchstone of the violinist’s art, and for good reason. From the time it was premiered until long after Beethoven’s death, it was considered “unplayable” by the music community. It was not until violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim resurrected it in 1844 that it gained the artistic clout it warranted. It was also with Beethoven’s Violin Concerto that Arabella Steinbacher made her public debut in 2004, after she stepped in on short notice for an ailing colleague in a performance with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Since then, Ms. Steinbacher has established herself as a leading, internationally-recognized violinist, having performed with the London Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Philharmonia Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, to name a few.

Schumann’s third symphony portrays the beauty, joy and optimism that he and his family experienced after relocating to Rhineland in 1850 for the composer’s new position as Municipal Music Director of Düsseldorf. It seemed like a new beginning for Schumann, who had been battling a series of emotional and artistic crises. However, it was just four years later he suffered a complete mental breakdown, attempted suicide and was admitted to an asylum, where he would reside until his death. In spite of this tragic ending, the “Rhenish” symphony remains a testament to the true joy he certainly felt during his first years at Düsseldorf.

Jun Märkl, conductor
Jun Märkl is currently Chief Conductor of the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony, and from 2005-2011 was music director of the Orchestre National de Lyon.

He has guest conducted many distinguished orchestras worldwide, including in 2011: Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Gurzenich Orchester Cologne, Oslo Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Residentie Orkest, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Scottish National, Mito Chamber and NHK Symphony (Tokyo), where he returns every season.

Märkl was Permanent Conductor of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich until 2006. He conducted a complete Ring Cycle at the Deutsche Oper and at the New National Theatre in Tokyo (directed by Keith Warner). He has also been a regular guest at the Berlin State Opera, Vienna State Opera and the Semper Oper Dresden, made his Royal Opera House debut with Götterdämmerung in 1996 and at the Metropolitan Opera with Il Trovatore in 1998.

Born in Munich, his German father was a distinguished Concertmaster and his Japanese mother a solo pianist. Märkl studied violin, piano and conducting at the Musikhochschule in Hannover, going on to study with Sergiu Celibidache in Munich and with Gustav Meier in Michigan. In 1986 he won the conducting competition of the Deutsche Musikrat and a year later won a scholarship from the Boston Symphony Orchestra to study at Tanglewood with Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa. Soon afterwards, he held a string of appointments in European opera houses followed by his first music directorships at the Staatstheater in Saarbrücken (1991-1994) and at the Mannheim Nationaltheater (1994-2000).

Arabella Steinbacher, violin
Violinist Arabella Steinbacher, a native of Munich, has firmly established herself as one of today's leading violinists on the international concert scene, performing with the world's major orchestras. The New York Times reports that she plays with, "Balanced lyricism and fire - among her assets are a finely polished technique and a beautifully varied palette of timbres."

Arabella Steinbacher is appearing with the leading international orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Philharmonia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, WDR Symphony Orchestra and NHK Symphony Orchestra; she has worked with the world's leading conductors including Riccardo Chailly, Sir Colin Davis, Christoph von Dohnányi, Charles Dutoit, Herbert Blomstedt, Marek Janowski, Lorin Maazel, Sir Neville Marriner and Yannick Nezet-Seguin, among others.

Highlights of the 2010-11 season included Ms. Steinbacher's Carnegie Hall debut with the conductor-less Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and her subscription debuts with both the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, as well as her debut at Maggio Musicale in Florence under Zubin Mehta and her debut with the Israel Philharmonic. Highlights of her 2011-12 season include appearances with the Dresdner Philharmonie, Orchestre de Paris, the Philadelphia and San Francisco Symphony orchestras and her debuts with the Baltimore Symphony and Cleveland orchestras.

Born in Munich in 1981 to a German father and a Japanese mother, Ms. Steinbacher began studying the violin at the age of three. She currently plays the "Booth" Stradivari (1716) generously provided by the Nippon Music Foundation.

COMPLETE PROGRAM DETAILS
BSO Classical Concert: Beethoven’s Violin Concerto
Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 8 p.m. –Music Center at Strathmore
Friday, April 27, 2012 at 8 p.m. – Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 8 p.m. – JMSH

Jun Märkl, conductor
Arabella Steinbacher, violin BSO DEBUT

Weber: Overture to Euryanthe
Beethoven: Violin Concerto
Schumann: Symphony No. 3, “Rhenish"

Tickets range from $38 to $98 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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