As Lincoln Center continues to expand its vision through the White Light and Tully Scope festivals, the acclaimed Great Performers series remains firmly at the center of its programming. Since 1965 it has served as one of New York's brightest musical beacons, presenting the world's finest repertoire and industry's most extraordinary artists.
"Great Performers is the core from which the rest of our programming radiates," says Jane Moss, Lincoln Center's Vice President for Programming. "It illuminates everything we do, and gives us an amazing opportunity to connect with these especially insightful performers."
The 2011 _12 season opens with three performances by the London Symphony Orchestra, two of which will be led by Sir Colin Davis. To celebrate his 84th birthday: and his extraordinary LSO partnership dating to 1959: the maestro has programmed a robust selection particularly identified with his remarkable career: violinist Nikolaj Znaider joins Davis during an all- Sibelius evening (October 19) and soloists Carmen Giannattasio, Sarah Connolly, Paul Groves, and Matthew Rose are featured in Beethoven's Missa Solemnis (October 21). Ian Bostridge, Simon Keenlyside, Sabina Cvilak, and the London Symphony Chorus participate in Britten's spectacular War Requiem (October 23), conducted by Gianandrea Noseda.
The Vienna Symphony Orchestra will make its first New York appearances since Music Director Fabio Luisi became Principal Conductor in 2005. The highlight of the twoconcert visit is the rarely heard: and Luisichampioned: Symphony No. 4 by Austrian composer Franz Schmidt (November 13). Perhaps his most recognized work, it was written in 1933 to express the crushing sadness Schmidt felt after his daughter's death. The unforgettable creation is paired with Rachmaninoff's equally poignant Piano Concerto No. 2, played by rising young French pianist Lise de la Salle.
Each of the Bamberg Symphony's two programs, led by Music Director Jonathan Nott, places one of Schubert's symphonies in an unusual context by immediately preceding it with a twentieth century work. The first program (May 20) pairs Webern's brief Five Pieces for Orchestra: finished in 1913 and premiered ten years later: with Schubert's Symphony No. 4, "Tragic": from 1816, but not premiered until ten years after his death. The second (May 21) poses two queries: Ives' The Unanswered Question and Schubert's Unfinished symphony.
The series also features Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony with soloist Hilary Hahn (February 26); Raphael Frubeck de Burgos leading the Dresden Philharmonic with Gautier Capu‹on (March 11); and Joshua Bell conducting and performing an all-Beethoven program with the Academy of St. Marin in the Fields (April 11).
Chamber Orchestras will warm up winter in Alice Tully Hall with the New York debut of the Britten Sinfonia led by Thomas Ads (February 22). The groundbreaking British composer/ performer/conductor offers a fascinating look into his musical mind, sharing his passion for the intriguing sonic world of Baroque composer Fran‹ois Couperin (including Ads own transcriptions and studies and Ravel's Le tombeau de Couperin), leading works by Stravinsky, and presenting Ads's 2005 Concerto for Violin, Concentric Paths with violinist Pekka Kuusisto.
The remainder of the series is a three-concert period-performance celebration of the hugely influential: and much loved: Johann Sebastian Bach: Ton Koopman leads The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir in cantatas and the Magnificat (March 15), Philippe Herreweghe conducts the Collegium Vocale Ghent Choir and Orchestra in the St. Matthew Passion (March 31), and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra performs Bach's complete orchestral suites, BWV 1066 to 1069 (May 1).
The Emerson String Quartet returns to perform an unusual investigation of Mozart and Beethoven (March 21, April 4, and April 29). Known for their interpretations of the late Beethoven quartets, the Emersons will explore them alongside the less frequently played Mozart "King of Prussia" quartets, composed in 1789 _90: not long before his 1791 death. Through this juxtaposition, the Emersons hope to shed new light on both composers by contrasting works produced near the end of their lives.
The season's Virtuoso Recitals roster is as inspired as ever, beginning with violinist Christian Tetzlaff and pianist Lars Vogt (October 26), and pianist Murray Perahia (March 25). Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard returns for one of his trademark musical explorations (April 21), offering a fascinating study of Liszt by performing his works alongside pieces by Bart‹k, Stroppa, Ravel, and Messiaen. And as long as Mother Nature doesn't intercede again (their April 2010 appearance was thwarted by Iceland's Eyjafjallaj‹kull volcano), violinist Sergey Khachatryan and his sister, pianist Lusine, will make their much-anticipated Great Performers debut performing Beethoven and Bach (May 23).
Art of the Song offers vocal fans four recitals next season, featuring baritone Gerald Finley (February 27), soprano Christine Brewer (May 13), and a program of duos with tenor Michael Schade and baritone Thomas Quastoff, who returns for the first time since 2001 (March 25).
The series will also offer the New York recital debut of the extraordinary Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci (April 8). Known for her unusual, high-powered intensity, Antonacci's captivating character interpretations have earned her high praise and a dedicated following.
Some compare Antonacci to the celebrated American-born Greek Soprano Maria Callas, who will be the focus of a Great Performers Film Series at the Walter Reade Theater. Three programs will give fans the opportunity to view footage of Callas on the big screen,including a rare New York presentation of Alain Ferrari's 1978 documentary Vissi d'Arte.
"This is a bit of a departure for us," says Moss. "We don't usually focus on a vocal figure in this way; however, obviously she is the exception to every rule one can imagine, and we actually thought it would be interesting as a different kind of feature in the season."
Also in Walter Reade, Rob Kapilow returns for his enlighteningly entertaining What Makes It Great? series, exploring world music, Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, Beethoven's "Path_tique" Sonata, and Cole Porter songs. And the Sunday Morning Coffee Concerts showcase emerging artists in an unusually friendly: and hugely popular: setting. This year's roster features Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang, Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Jon Nakamatsu, German wind ensemble Ma'alot Quintet, France's acclaimed Parisii Quartet, Danish cellist Andreas Brantelid, and the innovative Brooklyn-based flutist Claire Chase, founder of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE).
By presenting these emerging talents: and established stars: Great Performers continues to convey the power of live performance, and reminds us how creatively nourishing new expressions of fabulous artworks can be.