Alan Gilbert leads off his farewell season in Vail as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic with Berlioz’s passionately inspired Symphonie Fantastique, a symphonic self-portrait of an artist in thrall to delirious desire. Opening the program, Concertmaster Frank Huang takes up Mozart’s delightful “Turkish” concerto, filled with gorgeous colors and hints of stylish exoticism.
Please Note: This program was updated as of July 17. The original soloist for July 22 and July 23, violinist Leonidas Kavakos, has cancelled both of his Bravo! Vail performances due to a family emergency.
Obsessions and Frights in Berlioz's Fantastique
Join Jack Sheinbaum of the University of Denver for a pre-concert lecture about the evening's performance. Free for Concert Ticket Holders.
MOZART: VIOLIN CONCERTO NO. 5, "TURKISH"
Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219, “Turkish” (1775)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Mozart’s five authentic violin concertos were all products of a single year — 1775. At nineteen he was already a veteran of five years experience as concertmaster of the archiepiscopal court in Salzburg, for which his duties included not only playing, but also composing, acting as co-director with the keyboard player (modern orchestral conducting was not to originate for at least two more decades), and soloing in concertos. It was for this last function that Mozart wrote these concertos. They are his earliest pieces now regularly heard in the concert hall, and the last one, No. 5 in A major, is the greatest of the set. The opening movement follows traditional sonata-concerto form, but with some curious structural experiments. After the orchestra’s initial presentation of the themes, the soloist is introduced with the surprising device of a brief, stately Adagio. When the fast tempo resumes, the soloist plays not the main theme already announced by the ensemble, but a new lyrical melody for which the original main theme becomes the accompaniment. More new material fills the remainder of the exposition. The development section is invested with passages of dark harmonic color that cast expressive shadows across the generally sunny landscape of the movement and lend it emotional weight. The recapitulation calls for restrained, elegant virtuosity from the soloist. The second movement is a graceful song in sonatina form (sonata without development). The finale is an extended rondo in the style of a minuet.
BERLIOZ: SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE
Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14a (1830)
HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
By 1830, when he turned 27, Hector Berlioz had won the Prix de Rome and gained a certain notoriety among the fickle Parisian public for his perplexingly original compositions. He was also madly in love. The object of his amorous passion was an English actress of middling ability, one Harriet Smithson, whom the composer first saw when a touring English theatrical company performed Shakespeare in Paris in 1827. During the ensuing three years, this romance was entirely one-sided since the young composer never met Harriet. He only knew her across the footlights as Juliet and Ophelia. He sent her such frantic love letters that she never responded to any of them, fearful of encouraging a madman.
Berlioz was still nursing his unrequited love for Harriet in 1830 when, full-blown Romantic that he was, his emotional state served as the germ for a composition based on this “Episode from the Life of an Artist,” as he subtitled the Symphonie Fantastique. In this work, the artist visualizes his beloved through an opium-induced trance, first in his dreams, then at a ball, in the country, at his execution and, finally, as a participant in a witches’ sabbath. She is represented by a musical theme that appears in each of the five movements, an idée fixe (a term Berlioz borrowed from the just-emerging field of psychology to denote an unhealthy obsession) which is transformed to suit its imaginary musical surroundings. Berlioz wrote of the Symphonie Fantastique, “PART I: Reveries and Passions. The young musician first recalls that uneasiness of soul he experienced before seeing her whom he loves; then the volcanic love with which she suddenly inspired him, his moments of anguish, his returns to loving tenderness, and his religious consolations. PART II: A Ball. He sees his beloved in the midst of the tumult of a brilliant fête. PART III: Scene in the Fields. One summer evening in the country he hears two shepherds playing a ranzdes-vaches in alternate dialogue; this pastoral duet restores calm to his heart; but if she were to betray him! ... One of the shepherds resumes his artless melody, the other no longer answers him. The sun sets ... the sound of distant thunder ... solitude ... silence ... PART IV: March to the Scaffold. He dreams that he has killed his beloved, that he is condemned to death, and led to execution. The procession advances to a march that is now somber and wild, now brilliant and solemn. At the end, the idée fixe reappears for an instant, like a last love-thought before the fatal stroke. PART V: Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath. He sees himself at the Witches’ Sabbath, amid ghosts, magicians and monsters of all sorts, who have come together for his obsequies. He hears strange noises, groans, shrieks. The beloved melody reappears, but it has become a grotesque dance-tune—it is she who comes to the Witches’ Sabbath.... Funeral knells, burlesque parody on the Dies Irae [the ancient ‘Day of Wrath’ chant from the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass for the Dead]. Witches’ Dance. The Witches’ Dance and the Dies Iraetogether.”
New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert began his tenure in September 2009. He simultaneously maintains a major international presence, making guest appearances with orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Royal Concertgebouw, London Symphony, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Boston Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Gilbert is Conductor Laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and former Principal Guest Conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg. He has led productions for the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Zurich Opera, Royal Swedish Opera, and Santa Fe Opera, where he served as the first appointed Music Director.
In seven years at the New York Philharmonic, Gilbert has succeeded in transforming the 175-year-old institution into a leader on the cultural landscape. He has led staged productions of Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre, Janácek's Cunning Little Vixen, Stravinsky's Petrushka, and Honegger's Joan of Arc at the Stake to great acclaim, and encouraged the development of two series devoted to contemporary music: CONTACT!, introduced in 2009, and the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, an exploration of today's music by a wide range of contemporary and modern composers, which was inaugurated in 2014 and returned in 2016.
Gilbert is Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies and holds the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies at the Juilliard School. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2008 conducting John Adams's Doctor Atomic, the DVD of which received a Grammy Award. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2014, honored with the Foreign Policy Association Medal and named an Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 2015, and nominated for Emmy Awards for Outstanding Music Direction of two New York Philharmonic productions: Sweeney Todd and a 100th-birthday gala tribute to Frank Sinatra, broadcast on PBS's Live from Lincoln Center in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Photo: David Finlayson
Frank Huang joined the New York Philharmonic as Concertmaster, The Charles E. Culpeper Chair, in September 2015. The First Prize Winner of the 2003 Walter W. Naumburg Foundation’s Violin Competition and the 2000 Hannover International Violin Competition, he has established a major career as a violin virtuoso. Since performing with the Houston Symphony in a nationally broadcast concert at the age of 11 he has appeared with orchestras throughout the world including The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra of Hannover, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, and the Genoa Orchestra. He has also performed on NPR’s Performance Today, ABC’s Good Morning America, and CNN’s American Morning with Paula Zahn. He has performed at Wigmore Hall (in London), Salle Cortot (Paris), Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), and the Herbst Theatre (San Francisco), as well as a second recital in Alice Tully Hall (New York), which featured the World Premiere of Donald Martino’s Sonata for Solo Violin. Mr. Huang’s first commercial recording — featuring fantasies by Schubert, Ernst, Schoenberg, and Waxman — was released on Naxos in 2003. He made his New York Philharmonic solo debut in June 2016 leading and performing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, as well as leading Grieg’s The Last Spring. In October–November 2016 he performed Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1, led by Pablo Heras-Casado.
Mr. Huang has had great success in competitions since the age of 15 and received top prize awards in the Premio Paganini International Violin Competition and the Indianapolis International Violin Competition. Other honors include Gold Medal Awards in the Kingsville International Competition, Irving M. Klein International Competition, and D’Angelo International Competition.
In addition to his solo career, Mr. Huang is deeply committed to chamber music. He is a member of the New York Philharmonic String Quartet, established in the 2016–17 season, and has performed at the Marlboro Music Festival, Ravinia’s Steans Institute, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, and Caramoor. He frequently participates in Musicians from Marlboro’s tours, and was selected by The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center to be a member of the prestigious CMS Two program. Before joining the Houston Symphony as concertmaster in 2010, Frank Huang held the position of first violinist of the Grammy Award–winning Ying Quartet and was a faculty member at the Eastman School of Music.
Frank Huang was born in Beijing, China. At the age of seven he moved to Houston, Texas, where he began violin lessons with his mother. He commenced study with Fredell Lack at the University of Houston and at 16 he enrolled in the pre-college program at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) where he studied with Donald Weilerstein. He continued studies with Weilerstein in college and earned his bachelor of music degree from CIM in 2002. He subsequently attended The Juilliard School in New York City, studying violin with Robert Mann. He is an alumnus of the Music Academy of the West, now a partner in the New York Philharmonic Global Academy, and serves on the faculties of The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, also a New York Philharmonic Global Academy partner, and the University of Houston.
Photo: Chris Lee
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Where are the orchestra concert performances held?
Bravo! Vail orchestral concerts take place at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater (GRFA) located at 530 S. Frontage Rd E Vail, CO 81657
What time do performances begin?
Concerts start promptly at 6:00PM (except for the movie screening which starts at 7:30PM). The GRFA lobby opens 90 minutes prior and gates open 60 minutes prior to performances. Give yourself plenty of time to park and get into the venue. Latecomers will be escorted by ushers at an appropriate interval.
Where do I park?
FREE concert parking is available at the Vail Parking Structure (241 South Frontage Road East, Vail) and the Lionshead Parking Structure (395 South Frontage Road West, Vail). A Town of Vail Special Event express bus provides continuous service from both parking structures to the GRFA before and after concerts. Limited $10 parking is available at Ford Park by the Tennis Center (500 South Frontage Rd). Additional $10 parking is available at the Vail Athletic/Soccer Field lot.
WALKING DIRECTIONS FROM THE VAIL VILLAGE PARKING STRUCTURE:
Via Gore Creek Trail: 15-minute scenic walk
1. Exit the parking garage by following the Pedestrian Exit signs towards “Vail Village” / “Golden Peak”
2. Turn left out of the parking garage onto East Meadow Drive and head east
3. At the end of the road turn right on Vail Valley Drive and cross the road
4. Turn left on the walking path before the bridge, following the street signs towards "Ford Park"
5. Continuing east, follow the walking path along Gore Creek until reaching the GRFA
Via Frontage Road: 15-minute walk
1. From the top level of the parking garage, exit onto the South Frontage Road
2. Turn right and follow the sidewalk east along the south side of the frontage road
3. Cross East Meadow Drive and continue east along the sidewalk
4. Turn right after passing The Wren at Vail on the right
5. Continue down the path down to the GRFA
How long do concerts last?
Concerts generally last 2 hours including intermission. Please call the box office 877.812.5700 for exact running times.
How do I buy tickets?
Tickets, passes, and gift certificates may be ordered in the following ways:
1. Online: bravovail.org
2. By phone: 877.812.5700
3. In person: Bravo! Vail 2271 N Frontage Rd W Suite C, Vail, CO 81657
Bravo! Vail accepts American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover credit cards, cash, and checks. There is a $2 fee per ticket. Tickets are delivered by mail or email,or may be picked up at the Box Office.
What are the Box Office hours?
Bravo! Vail Box Office hours are Monday-Friday from 9AM to 4PM. During the Festival, hours include Saturday & Sunday from 10AM to 4PM. The Bravo! Vail Box Office can be reached at 877.812.5700.
The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater box office is open from 11AM until concert start time (5PM on days with no concerts) during the Festival. Tickets for upcoming performances may be purchased on-site at the GRFA before concerts and during intermission.
Where is the Will Call window?
Will Call tickets may be picked up at the Box Office located to the right of the main GRFA entrance lobby. The Box Office is open 11AM to concert start time during the Festival.
Does Bravo! Vail offer group pricing?
Discounts for groups of 15 or more are available for select concerts. Please call 970.827.4316 for more information.
What if I buy tickets and cannot attend?
Tickets are non-refundable. You may exchange your tickets ($7 fee per ticket) by calling the Box Office at 877.812.5700 up to 2 days before the concert. You may release your tickets or leave them for a friend at Will Call by calling the Box Office.
What if I misplace or forget to bring my tickets?
There is no charge to reprint tickets. Please call 877.812.5700 before 3PM on the day of the performance or allow extra time to request new tickets at the Will Call window.
Where are seating options for people with disabilities?
Per the American Disability Act (ADA), the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater is accessible to individuals with disabilities. ADA seating is available in Section 1 Row L and Section 4 Row O in all reserved seating zones and prices (Premium Aisle, Premium, Reserved, and Saver). A limited number of ADA General Admission Lawn seats are available for sale behind Section 2. You must have a designated ADA lawn seat ticket to sit in this area. By purchasing an ADA seat, you are stating that you require an ADA seat. If purchased fraudulently, you may be subject to relocation. If you need assistance purchasing ADA seating, please call the Box Office at 877.812.5700.
What if it rains?
Concerts take place rain or shine. The GRFA is an open-air venue. Refunds are not given due to weather unless a concert is canceled in its entirety with no performance rescheduled.
What should I wear?
There is no dress code for concerts. Please be prepared for rain and cooler temperatures.
What should I bring to the concert?
If you will be on the lawn, a blanket, sunglasses, and a hat are recommended. If rain is predicted, please bring appropriate rain gear. Food, commercially sealed non-alcoholic beverages, low-profile lawn chairs, and umbrellas are permitted at concerts. All backpacks, bags, purses, picnic baskets, and coolers will be checked upon entry.
The following articles are not allowed at the venue: cameras, audio/video recording devices, standard-height lawn chairs, baby strollers, alcoholic beverages, firearms, pets, smoking, skateboards, bicycles, scooters, and skates.
What food and beverages are available for purchase at the GRFA?
Concessions are offered for purchase inside the venue. Menu items include snacks, burgers, sandwiches, and salads. A full bar is also available. All major credit cards and cash are accepted for payment. If you have a pavilion seat, please eat prior to the concert or at intermission.
Are lawn chairs available to rent?
Low-profile lawn chairs are available at the GRFA to rent for $10. You may also rent a lawn chair with your lawn ticket purchase online or by calling the Bravo! Vail Box Office at 877.812.5700. To reserve a lawn chair in advance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
What are some general rules of concert etiquette?
Please allow time for parking and seating. Concert attendees must silence all mobile devices prior to performances to not disrupt musicians and other patrons. Please limit conversations and other noisy activities during the performance. In the pavilion seating, we recommend eating prior to the concert or at intermission. Parental supervision is required for all children attending Bravo! Vail concerts.
What else should I know?
Vail’s high elevation requires adequate hydration and sun protection. Visitors from lower elevations may experience altitude sickness.
What if I lose something at the concert?
Check with the GRFA box office for lost items at intermission or call 970.748.8497.
What if I still have questions?
Please contact the Box Office at 877.812.5700 Mon–Fri 9AM–4PM (and Sat–Sun 10AM-4PM during the Festival).