The magnificent members of the Philharmonic light up the Vail Valley with a program of legendary masterworks filled with brilliant color and indelible imagery, culminating in the ecstatic climax of Ravel’s hugely popular Boléro.
NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC
DAVID ROBERTSON, CONDUCTOR
FRANK HUANG, VIOLIN
BERLIOZ: Le Corsaire Overture
LALO: Symphonie espagnole for Violin and Orchestra
DEBUSSY: La mer
BERLIOZ: LE CORSAIRE OVERTURE
Le Corsaire Overture, Op. 21 (1844)
HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
The Random House Dictionary defines “corsair” both as “a pirate” and as “a ship used for piracy.” Berlioz encountered one of the former on a wild, stormy sea voyage in 1831 from Marseilles to Livorno on his way to install himself in Rome as winner of the Prix de Rome. The grizzled, old buccaneer claimed to be a Venetian seaman who had piloted the ship of Lord Byron during the poet’s adventures in the Adriatic and the Greek archipelago, and his fantastic tales helped the young composer keep his mind off the danger aboard the tossing vessel. They landed safely, but the experience of that storm and the image of Lord Byron painted by the corsair stayed with him, and in 1844 Berlioz composed his concert overture Le Corsaire around his impressions of the event.
LALO: SYMPHONIE ESPAGNOLE FOR VIOLIN AND ORCHESTRA
Symphonie espagnole for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 21 (1875)
ÉDOUARD LALO (1823-1892)
Édouard Lalo was born in Lille in 1823. His early musical training was at the Lille Conservatory. Later he transferred to the Paris Conservatoire to study composition and violin. He started composing in the 1840s, but, discouraged by the lack of performances and publications of his music, he abandoned his creative work for almost a decade to play viola (and later second violin) in the Armingaud-Jacquard Quartet. His muse was rekindled in 1865 upon his marriage to Bernier de Maligny, a gifted contralto who performed many of his songs in recital and who also inspired his first opera, Fiesque. The Divertissement for orchestra (1872), based on ballet music from Fiesque, was his first important success as a composer. Encouraged by the formation of the Société Nationale de Musique in 1871 and the support of such conductors as Pasdeloup, Lamoureux and Colonne, Lalo produced a succession of instrumental works that brought him to the forefront of French music, including the Violin Concerto (1874) and Symphonie espagnole (1875), both premiered by the celebrated Spanish virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate.
The Sonata-form first movement has a main theme with bold upward leaps and a legato second theme. The dance-like Scherzando calls for both lyricism and flexibility from the soloist. The next movement is characterized by the extensive use of the Spanish rhythms. In the fourth movement, a somber introduction leads to the melancholy main theme for the soloist. The finale is a bubbling rondo in the style of a saltarello.
DEBUSSY: LA MER
La Mer, Trois Esquisses Symphoniques (“The Sea, Three Symphonic Sketches”) (1903-1905)
CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
“You may not know that I was destined for a sailor’s life and that it was only quite by chance that fate led me in another direction. But I have always held a passionate love for the sea.” With these lines written on September 12, 1903 to the composer-conductor André Messager, Debussy prefaced the notice that he had begun work on La Mer. Debussy’s father was a sailor and his tales of vast oceans and exotic lands held Claude spellbound as a boy. A family trip to Cannes when he was seven years old ignited his life-long fascination with the thoughts and moods evoked by moving water. Twenty years later, he discovered an aspect of the sea very different from the placid one he had seen on the resort beaches of the Mediterranean. In early June of that year, he was traveling with friends along the coast of Brittany. Their plans called for passage in a fishing boat from Saint-Lunaire to Cancale, but at the time they were scheduled to leave a threatening storm was approaching and the captain advised canceling the trip. Debussy insisted that they sail. It turned out to be a dramatic, storm-tossed voyage with no little danger to crew and passengers. Those experiences of the sea — one halcyon, the other threatening — were captured years later in La Mer.
From Dawn to Noon on the Sea, built around the play of thematic and rhythmic fragments rather than conventional melodies, is perfectly suited to expressing the changing reflections of the morning sun in the air, clouds and water. The Play of the Waves is a brilliant essay in orchestral color, woven and contrasted with the utmost evocative subtlety. Dialogue of the Wind and the Sea reflects the awesome power of the sea as well as its majesty.
MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937)
Ravel originated what he once called his “danse lascive” at the suggestion of Ida Rubinstein, the famed ballerina who also inspired works from Debussy, Honegger and Stravinsky. Rubinstein’s balletic interpretation of Boléro, set in a rustic Spanish tavern, portrayed a voluptuous dancer whose stomps and whirls atop a table incite the men in the bar to mounting fervor. With growing intensity, they join in her dance until, in a brilliant coup de théâtre, knives are drawn and violence flares on stage at the moment near the end where the music modulates, breathtakingly, from the key of C to the key of E. Ravel wrote, “Boléro consists wholly of ‘orchestral tissue without music’ — one long, very gradual crescendo. There are no contrasts, there is practically no invention except the plan and the manner of execution. The themes are altogether impersonal ... folktunes of the usual Spanish-Arabian kind, and (whatever may have been said to the contrary) the orchestral writing is simple and straightforward throughout, without the slightest attempt at virtuosity.”
David Robertson – conductor, artist, thinker, and American musical visionary – occupies some of the most prominent platforms on the international music scene.
Frank Huang joined the New York Philharmonic as Concertmaster, The Charles E. Culpeper Chair, in September 2015.
David Robertson – conductor, artist, thinker, and American musical visionary – occupies some of the most prominent platforms on the international music scene. A highly sought-after podium figure in the worlds of opera, orchestral music, and new music, Robertson is celebrated worldwide as a champion of contemporary composers, an ingenious and adventurous programmer, and a masterful communicator whose passionate advocacy for the art form is widely recognized. A consummate and deeply collaborative musician, Robertson is hailed for his intensely committed music making.
Currently in his valedictory season as Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and his fifth season as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, he has served in artistic leadership positions at musical institutions including the Orchestre National de Lyon, and, as a protégé of Pierre Boulez, the Ensemble InterContemporain, which he led on its first North American tour. At the BBC Symphony Orchestra, he served as Principal Guest Conductor.
Robertson has served as a Perspectives Artist at Carnegie Hall, where he has conducted, among others, The Met Orchestra, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He appears regularly in Europe with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic, the Bayerische Rundfunk and the Dresden Staatskapelle, and at the Berlin Festival, the Edinburgh Festival, the BBC Proms, and the Musica Viva Festival in Munich.
In March and April 2018, Robertson returns to The Metropolitan Opera to conduct the premiere of Phelim McDermott’s new production of Così fan tutte. Since his Met Opera debut in 1996, with The Makropulos Case, he has conducted a breathtaking range of Met projects, including the Met premiere of John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer (2014); the 2016 revival of Janáček’s Jenůfa, then its first Met performances in nearly a decade; the premiere production of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys (2013); and many favorites, from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro to Britten’s Billy Budd. Robertson has frequent projects at the world’s most prestigious opera houses, including La Scala, Théâtre du Châtelet, Bayerische Staatsoper (orchestra), the San Francisco Opera, and the Santa Fe Opera.
During his 13-year tenure with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Robertson has solidified the orchestra’s standing as one of the nation’s most enduring and innovative. His established and fruitful relationships with artists across a wide spectrum is evidenced by the orchestra’s ongoing collaboration with composer John Adams. The 2014 release of City Noir (Nonesuch) – comprising works by Adams performed by the SLSO – won the Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance. Robertson is the recipient of numerous musical and artistic awards, and in 2010 was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Government of France.
Robertson is devoted to supporting young musicians and has worked with students at the festivals of Aspen, Tanglewood, Lucerne, at the Paris Conservatoire, the Juilliard School, Music Academy of the West, and the National Orchestra Institute. In 2014, he led the Coast to Coast tour of Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the USA.
Born in Santa Monica, California, Robertson was educated at London’s Royal Academy of Music, where he studied horn and composition before turning to orchestral conducting. He is married to pianist Orli Shaham.
Photo: Chris Lee
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 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).