Carlos Kalmar leads the BSO in Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, May 23-25

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French pianist Jean-Philippe Collard performs Saint-Saens’ Third Piano Concerto

Carlos Kalmar leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) in selections of Prokofiev’s passionate Romeo and Juliet on Thursday, May 23 and Friday, May 24 at 8 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, May 25 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. The program also features Narong Prangcharoen’s Phenomenon and Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 3 performed by pianist Jean-Philippe Collard. Please see below for complete program details.

The most famous love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet, was written over four-hundred years ago, yet its heartrending passion lives on in the countless operas, ballets, poems and other works of art it has inspired. One of the most celebrated and accomplished interpretations of Shakespeare’s classic tale is Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet. Prokofiev, deeply moved by the tragic narrative of these two star-crossed lovers and eager to honor Russia’s tradition of full-length story ballets, quickly composed Romeo and Juliet in the summer and fall of 1935. The piece was commissioned by Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet, however the company eventually cut the production, first disagreeing with Prokofiev’s decision to close the performance with a happy ending and then rejecting the work as “undanceable.” Yet Prokofiev was not deterred and in 1936 he composed two concert suites, which showcased the brilliance of his ballet and led to its first successful performance in 1940 by Leningrad's Kirov Ballet.

Today, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet is one of the most recognized ballets in the world, but its musical score also stands as an incredible contribution to the concert repertory.

Also on the program is Saint-Saëns’ Third Piano Concerto, performed by pianist Jean-Philippe Collard, who is noted for his interpretations of Saint-Saëns in particular. The rarely-performed Third Piano Concerto is a spectacular virtuosic showpiece, and was premiered with the composer himself at the piano in 1869. Collard’s 1999 recording on EMI Classics of all five of Saint-Saëns’ piano concerti with Andre Previn and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is highly acclaimed.

The performance also features leading Thai composer Narong Prangcharoen’s Phenomenon, which premiered in Tokyo in 2004. Phenomenon, one of Prangcharoen’s most widely performed pieces, brims with energy and draws its inspiration from the power of nature and unexplainable natural phenomena. In particular, Phenomenon transports audiences to Northeast Thailand where the music unravels the mystery behind the Naga Fireballs.

Carlos Kalmar, conductor
Carlos Kalmar is in his 10th season as music director of the Oregon Symphony. He was appointed to the post in 2003 and his contract was extended until 2015. He is also chief conductor and artistic director of the Spanish Radio/Television Orchestra and Choir in Madrid, and artistic director and principal conductor of the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago.

In May 2011 he made his New York debut at Carnegie Hall with the Oregon Symphony as part of the inaugural Spring for Music festival. Both his imaginative program Music for a Time of War and the performance itself were hailed by critics in the New York Times, New Yorker magazine and Musical America, and the recording of the program (Music for a Time of War, PentaTone Classics) was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2012.

A regular guest conductor with major orchestras in America, Europe and Asia, Kalmar has conducted the symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Detroit, Milwaukee, Nashville, Seattle, Helsinki, Lahti and St. Louis; and also the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and the Minnesota Orchestra. He returns to Houston, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville, Seattle and Baltimore in 12-13 and 13-14.

His Cedille Records CDs include recordings with the Chicago Symphony of works by Joachim and Brahms. For the Hyperion label he has recorded concertos by Dohnanyi, Enescu and D'Albert with the BBC Scottish Symphony and cellist Alban Gerhardt.

Jean-Philippe Collard, piano
Jean-Philippe Collard’s repertoire knows no geographical boundaries. In addition to his complete mastery of French concerto literature, his interpretations of works by Bartok, Brahms, Gershwin, Haydn, Liszt, Mozart, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Strauss and Tchaikovsky have met with great acclaim.

In addition to recitals throughout Europe, North and South America, Russia and the Far East, Mr. Collard has appeared as soloist with the world's greatest orchestras, including the Zurich Tonhalle, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras; the Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de Lyon; London's Philharmonia Orchestra; the Orchestra of St. Luke's; the New York, BBC, Royal, Los Angeles and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestras; and the BBC, San Francisco, London, Vienna, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Boston, and Japan's NHK Symphony Orchestras. He has collaborated with such renowned conductors as Semyon Bychkov, Marek Janowski, Eugen Jochum, Seiji Ozawa, Andre Previn, Simon Rattle and Charles Dutoit. He has also performed at the London Proms Concerts, and the Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, Bad Kissingen, Salzburg, Bath, Caramoor, Newport, and Saratoga Festivals.

Mr. Collard’s discography includes the Rachmaninov Etudes-Tableaux and Brahms Hungarian Dances; the Ravel Concerti with Lorin Maazel and the Orchestre National de France, cited by Gramophone Magazine as Best Concerto Recording; and the Chausson Concert, Op. 21 which won the Grand Prix du Disque. He has recorded all five Saint-Saens Piano Concerti with Andre Previn and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the first recordings of Mozart’s arrangements of the six French melodies with baritone Jose van Dam.

Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 8 p.m. – Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Friday, May 24, at 8 p.m. – JMSH
Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 8 p.m. – Music Center at Strathmore

Carlos Kalmar, conductor
Jean-Philippe Collard, piano

Narong Prangcharoen: Phenomenon
Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 3
Prokofiev: Selections from Romeo and Juliet

Tickets range from $29 to $91 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or


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Alyssa Porambo
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
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