Bravo! favorite Yefim Bronfman channels the steely intensity of Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto, preceded by a perfect prelude of music from Beethoven’s only ballet. The second half of this electrifying program features an innovatively orchestrated “energy symphony,” and the powerful 1812 Overture provides a roof-raising finale for the Fabulous Philadelphians’ season.
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN, CONDUCTOR
YEFIM BRONFMAN, SOLOIST
BEETHOVEN: Selections from The Creatures of Prometheus
PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 2
MASON BATES: Alternative Energy
TCHAIKOVSKY: 1812 Overture
BEETHOVEN: SELECTIONS FROM THE CREATURES OF PROMETHEUS
Overture and Finale from The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43 (1801)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
The following description of the plot of Beethoven’s ballet appeared in the program for the premiere: “The foundation of this allegorical ballet is the fable of Prometheus. The philosophers of Greece allude to Prometheus as a lofty soul who drove the people of his time from ignorance, refined them by means of science and the arts, and gave them manners, customs and morals. As a result of that conception, two statues that have been brought to life are introduced in this ballet; and these, through the might of harmony, are made sensitive to all the passions of human life. Prometheus leads them to Parnassus, in order that Apollo, the god of the fine arts, may enlighten them.” Beethoven composed an overture, introduction and sixteen separate numbers for the two acts of his Prometheus.
PROKOFIEV: PIANO CONCERTO NO. 2
Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 16 (1913)
SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Prokofiev’s steely piano style was the perfect match for his athletic compositions and his strutting personality. The polite audience of gentry at the summertime premiere of the Second Piano Concerto in 1913 in the fashionable resort of Pavlosk, near St. Petersburg, was “puzzled” by the “mercilessly dissonant combinations,” according to one reviewer. The listeners, disdaining the decorum that they were convinced the young composer had already shattered, greeted the work with a sonorous round of hisses and catcalls. Prokofiev responded with his own characteristic rejoinder: he sat down and thundered through one of his noisiest solo works as an encore. It was not long, however, before his playing and his music gained a wide audience. The fascination and innate musicality of his style swept away all initial reservations.
The soloist presents the principal theme of the Second Concerto’s opening movement; a saucy melody in quicker tempo provides contrast. The development and recapitulation of the principal theme are combined into an enormous solo cadenza before the orchestra is recalled to provide a coda. Prokofiev cited the brilliant Scherzo as an example of his “motoric” style. The slower third movement is in his best nose-thumbing, wrong-note idiom. The finale is a dazzling showcase for the soloist.
MASON BATES: ALTERNATIVE ENERGY
Alternative Energy for Orchestra and Electronica (2011)
MASON BATES (B. 1977)
Philadelphia-born Mason Bates brings not only his own fresh talent to the concert hall but also the musical sensibilities of a new generation—he is equally at home composing “for Lincoln Center,” according to his web site (www.masonbates.com), as being the “electronica artist Masonic® who moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from New York City, where he was a lounge DJ at such venues as The Frying Pan—the floating rave ship docked off the pier near West 22nd Street.” Bates’s many honors include a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Guggenheim Fellowship, ASCAP and BMI awards, Rome Prize and Berlin Prize. In 2017-2018, he is the first-ever Composer-in-Residence at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Bates wrote that Alternative Energy is “an ‘energy symphony’ spanning four movements and hundreds of years. Beginning in a rustic midwestern junkyard in the late-19th century, the piece travels through ever greater and more powerful forces of energy—a present-day particle collider, a futuristic Chinese nuclear plant—until it reaches a future Icelandic rainforest, where humanity’s last survivors seek a return to a simpler way of life.
“The idée fixe [a recurring motto] that links these disparate worlds appears early in Ford’s Farm, 1896. This melody is heard on the fiddle—conjuring a figure like Henry Ford—and is accompanied by junkyard percussion and a ‘phantom orchestra’ that trails the fiddler like ghosts. The accelerandocranking of a car motor becomes a special motif in the piece, a kind of rhythmic embodiment of ever-more-powerful energy. Indeed, this cranking motif explodes in the electronics in the second movement, Chicago, 2012, where we encounter my recordings from the Fermilab particle collider.
“Zoom a hundred years into the dark future of the Xinjiang Province, 2112, where a great deal of the Chinese energy industry is based. On an eerie wasteland, a lone flute sings a tragically distorted version of the fiddle tune, dreaming of a forgotten natural world. But a powerful industrial energy bubbles to the surface and drives the music to a catastrophic meltdown. As the smoke clears, we find ourselves even further into the future:Reykjavik, 2222—an Icelandic rainforest on a hotter planet. The occasional songs of future birds whip around us, a naturalistic version of the cranking motif. Distant tribal voices call for the building of a fire—our first energy source.”
TCHAIKOVSKY: 1812 OVERTURE
1812 Overture, Op. 49 (1880)
PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
The Russian penchant for myth-making extends, of course, to her warfare. It is therefore not surprising that Napoleon’s strategic withdrawal from Moscow in 1812 came to be regarded in Russia as a great military victory achieved through cunning and resourcefulness, conveniently ignoring the French General Ney’s report that “general famine and general winter, rather than Russian bullets, conquered the Grand Army.” Nearly seventy years later, the Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer was erected in Moscow to commemorate the events of 1812. For the Cathedral’s consecration, Nikolai Rubinstein, head of the Moscow Conservatory and director of the Russian Musical Society, planned a celebratory festival of music, and in 1880 he asked Tchaikovsky to write a work for the occasion. That 1812 Overture represents the conflict, militarily and musically, of Russia and France, and the eventual Russian “victory” over the invaders.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin is the music director for The Philadelphia Orchestra.
Internationally recognized as one of today's most acclaimed and admired pianists, Yefim Bronfman stands among a handful of artists regularly sought by festivals, orchestras, conductors and recital series.
Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will lead The Philadelphia Orchestra through at least the 2025-26 season, an extraordinary and significant long-term commitment. Additionally, he became the third music director in the history of the Metropolitan Opera, beginning with the 2018-19 season. This consolidates his professional activity around two of the world’s pre-eminent artistic organizations, concentrating and honing his musical future.
Nézet-Séguin, who holds the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Chair, is an inspired leader of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Widely recognized for his musicianship, dedication, and charisma, he has established himself as a musical leader of the highest caliber and one of the most thrilling talents of his generation. His intensely collaborative style, deeply rooted musical curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm, paired with a fresh approach to orchestral programming, have been heralded by critics and audiences alike. The New York Times has called him “phenomenal,” adding that under his baton, “the ensemble, famous for its glowing strings and homogenous richness, has never sounded better.”
Nézet-Séguin has taken The Philadelphia Orchestra to new musical heights in performances at home in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts; at the Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center; in Philadelphia neighborhoods; and around the world. His concerts of diverse repertoire attract sold-out houses, and he continues to make connections within Philadelphia’s rich arts community, showing his commitment to engaging music lovers of all ages across the region. In his seventh season as music director, he launches exciting artistic initiatives, including the culmination of a multi-year celebration of the centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth with a symphonically staged production of Candide; Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, featuring the athletic and inventive choreography of Philadelphia-based Brian Sanders; and the world premiere of Hannibal’s community commission Healing Tones.
Nézet-Séguin is embraced by the musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra and by audiences wherever they perform. He made his inaugural tour with the Orchestra during the 2014 Tour of Asia and the following year led the ensemble on their first European tour together. In September 2015, he conducted the Orchestra in two performances for Pope Francis as part of the World Meeting of Families, at the Festival of Families and the Papal Mass. In 2016 and 2017, NézetSéguin and the Orchestra returned to Asia. In 2018, they toured Europe and Israel to much critical acclaim. “Music director and orchestra were once again able to display their astonishing symbiosis,” said Der Standard. And Ynet commented, “The connection between The Philadelphia Orchestra and its conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, is truly incredible in its unmediated closeness.”
Under Nézet-Séguin’s leadership, the Orchestra returned to recording with a CD on the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Leopold Stokowski transcriptions of works by Bach. Their second disc for the label, Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with pianist Daniil Trifonov, was released in August 2015, and their third disc,
Bernstein’s MASS, was released in March 2018. In Nézet-Séguin’s inaugural season, the Orchestra returned to the radio airwaves, with weekly Sunday afternoon broadcasts on WRTI-FM. In 2017, they also began a national series on SiriusXM.
Nézet-Séguin has been artistic director and principal conductor of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain since 2000, and in summer 2017 he became an honorary member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He was music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic from 2008 to 2018 (he is now the ensemble’s honorary conductor) and was principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic from 2008 to 2014. He enjoys close collaborations with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony. He has also made wildly successful appearances with many of the world’s other most revered ensembles, including the Boston Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Staatskapelle Berlin, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and all the major Canadian orchestras. Throughout Europe and North America, his appearances have left indelible marks on the international classical music scene, making him one of the most sought-after conductors in the world.
Nézet-Séguin’s talents extend beyond symphonic music into the world of opera and choral music. His critically acclaimed performances at New York’s Metropolitan Opera (where he has appeared annually since his debut in 2009, including the opening of the 2015 season), Milan’s La Scala, London’s Royal Opera House, the Vienna State Opera, Netherlands Opera, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, and the historic Salzburg Festival demonstrate that he is an artist of remarkable versatility and depth.
Nézet-Séguin and Deutsche Grammophon (DG) embarked on a major long-term collaboration in July 2012; he signed an exclusive contract with the label in May 2018. His upcoming recordings will include projects with The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and the Orchestre Métropolitain, with which he will also continue to record for ATMA Classique. Additionally, he has recorded with the Rotterdam Philharmonic on DG, EMI Classics, and BIS Records, and the London Philharmonic for the LPO label.
A native of Montreal, Nézet-Séguin studied piano, conducting, composition, and chamber music at Montreal’s Conservatory of Music and continued his studies with renowned conductor Carlo Maria Giulini; he also studied choral conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt at Westminster Choir College.
Nézet-Séguin was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2012, one of the country’s highest civilian honors; Companion to the Order of Arts and Letters of Quebec in 2015; an Officer of the Order of Quebec in 2015; and an Officer of the Order of Montreal in 2017. His other honors include Musical America’s 2016 Artist of the Year, a Royal Philharmonic Society Award, Canada’s National Arts Centre Award, and the Prix Denise-Pelletier, the highest distinction for the arts awarded by the Quebec government. He has also received honorary doctorates from the University of Quebec in Montreal; the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia; Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, NJ; McGill University; the University of Montreal; and the University of Pennsylvania.
Photo credit: Hans Van Der Woerd
Internationally recognized as one of today's most acclaimed and admired pianists, Yefim Bronfman stands among a handful of artists regularly sought by festivals, orchestras, conductors and recital series. His commanding technique, power and exceptional lyrical gifts are consistently acknowledged by the press and audiences alike.
In celebration of the 80th birthday of Maestro Temirkanov, Mr. Bronfman’s 2018-19 season begins with a European tour with St. Petersburg Philharmonic. This is followed by a Scandinavian tour with The Royal Concertgebouw and Maestro Gatti with orchestral concerts in Europe during the season including Paris (Orchestre National de France), London (LPO), Cologne (WDR), Rome (Santa Cecilia), Berlin (Philharmonic), and Vienna Philharmonic on tour. In the US he will return to orchestras in Cleveland, New York, Los Angeles, Houston, St. Louis, Cincinnati, San Francisco and Dallas, and in recital can be heard in New York (Carnegie Hall), Berkeley, Stanford, Aspen, Madrid, Geneva, Cologne, Leipzig, Munich, Berlin, Naples, Rome and on tour in the spring with mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena.
He has also given numerous solo recitals in the leading halls of North America, Europe and the Far East, including acclaimed debuts at Carnegie Hall in 1989 and Avery Fisher Hall in 1993. In 1991 he gave a series of joint recitals with Isaac Stern in Russia, marking Mr. Bronfman's first public performances there since his emigration to Israel at age 15. That same year he was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, one of the highest honors given to American instrumentalists. In 2010 he was honored as the recipient of the Jean Gimbel Lane prize in piano performance from Northwestern University.
Born in Tashkent in the Soviet Union, Yefim Bronfman immigrated to Israel with his family in 1973, where he studied with pianist Arie Vardi, head of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. In the United States, he studied at The Juilliard School, Marlboro School of Music, and the Curtis Institute of Music, under Rudolf Firkusny, Leon Fleisher, and Rudolf Serkin. He is a 2015 recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music.
Yefim Bronfman became an American citizen in July 1989.
Photo: Dario Acosta
Need help planning your visit to the Vail Valley? We've got you covered- from travel recommendations, to lodging and dining options, we want your entire visit to be top notch.LEARN MORE
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 email@example.com
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).