The Vienna Philharmonic's four-concert residency opening week also includes performances with conductor Gustavo Dudamel and cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
Carnegie Hall first opened its doors on May 5, 1891. The 2010 _2011 season marks the 120th anniversary with two gala events: the first on April 12 with singer-songwriter James Taylor paying tribute to Carnegie Hall's history; and the second on May 5 with the New York Philharmonic and Music Director Alan Gilbert joined by vocalist Audra McDonald, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Gil Shaham, and pianist Emanuel Ax.
Between opening night and the spring anniversary celebrations, Carnegie Hall's programming includes an ambitious two-part citywide festival called JapanNYC. With more than 40 performances and events in December, March, and April, the festival explores traditional and contemporary Japan with artists who embrace the country's unique aesthetic sensibilities while continuing to revitalize and transform its cultural landscape. JapanNYC is led by Artistic Director Seiji Ozawa, who also conducts cornerstone festival performances by two major ensembles that he founded: the Saito Kinen Orchestra and the Seiji Ozawa Ongaku-juku (Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Orchestra).
In addition to the country's great classical music artists, the festival features Noh theater, Taiko drumming, manga, calligraphy, dance, art exhibitions, jazz, and traditional Japanese musical performances, with events extending throughout New York City through partnerships with 15 local cultural institutions. "I think many things have been successful in Japan: such as music, cinema, fashion, food, and animation," said Mr. Ozawa. "I want to bring all this in order to show what's happening in Japan today: not 20 or 50 years ago, but today."
Carnegie Hall's season also includes two Perspectives series of artist-curated programs,one by James Taylor and another by violinist Christian Tetzlaff. Mr. Taylor presents a four-concert residency, celebrating the songs that have made him an American icon and the significance of Carnegie Hall itself. "We want to emphasize Carnegie Hall as a cultural touchstone," Mr. Taylor said. "We're hoping that people will be entertained, and we're looking forward to the opportunity to play in that very special room: that singular place to play music."
Mr. Tetzlaff performs in programs that showcase his versatility as a soloist, chamber musician, and educator, as well as his commitment to a diverse selection of music. "The compositions I'm going to play are completely arbitrary. There's no real thread connecting them," Mr. Tetzlaff said, "but I hope they are interesting pieces: quite a few are not so well known. In recent years, I've been playing the core repertoire (Beethoven, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky) in this hall, and it's nice to be able to do very different music in a concentrated form."
Also in 2010 _2011, Carnegie Hall broadens the scope of the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair program with the appointment of composer-pianist Brad Mehldau to the position, marking the first time a jazz artist has held the post since its inception in 1995. Mr. Mehldau undertakes a season-long residency that includes premieres of new music and programs devoted to his unique exploration of the space between improvisation and notated composition.
Among other season highlights, musicians from Norway's acclaimed Risêªr Chamber Music Festival perform four programs at Carnegie Hall; conductor Riccardo Muti makes his New York debut as the new music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; a special Music of Steve Reich program celebrates the composer's 75th birthday year with an all-star lineup of today's leading contemporary music ensembles; world music stars Angelique Kidjo, Hugh Masekela, and Gal Costa perform in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage; and Carnegie Hall presents world, US, and New York premieres of commissioned works from such composers as Thomas Ads, Stephen Hartke, Christopher Rouse, Mark Grey, Jake Heggie, and Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Activities of the Weill Music Institute include a new creative learning project in which hundreds of New York City high school students explore and perform a gospel version of Handel's Messiah, entitled Too Hot to Handel, with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and conductor Marin Alsop.
"Collaboration is at the heart of our programming philosophy for the 2010 _2011 season," said Carnegie Hall Executive and Artistic Director Clive Gillinson. "We're focused on bringing the world's finest artists and ensembles to Carnegie Hall's stages, and giving them a platform on which to express themselves, developing interesting programs that stimulate, engage, and delight audiences."