The "ferociously talented" (Time Out New York) Conrad Tao makes his Vail debut with Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2, combining elegant charm and youthful vitality. Nearly 20 years in the making, the Symphony No. 1 by Brahms is dizzying, complex, and truly transcendent.
NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC
JAAP VAN ZWEDEN, CONDUCTOR
CONRAD TAO, PIANO
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 2
BRAHMS: Symphony No. 1
Pre-Concert Talk presented by Wall Street Insurance in partnership with Cincinnati Insurance held one hour prior to concert.
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 19
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 19 (1794-1795, revised 1798)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
In November 1792, the 22-year-old Ludwig van Beethoven, full of talent and promise, arrived in Vienna. So undeniable was the genius he had already demonstrated in a sizeable amount of piano music, numerous chamber works, cantatas on the death of Emperor Joseph II and the accession of Leopold II, and the score for a ballet that the Elector of Bonn, his hometown, underwrote the trip to the Habsburg Imperial city, then the musical capital of Europe, to help further the young musician’s career (and the Elector’s prestige). Despite the Elector’s patronage, however, Beethoven’s professional ambitions consumed any thoughts of returning to the provincial city of his birth, and when his alcoholic father died in December, he severed for good his ties with Bonn in favor of the stimulating artistic culture of Vienna.
The occasion of Beethoven’s first Viennese public appearance was a pair of concerts — “A Grand Musical Academy, with more than 150 participants,” trumpeted the program in Italian and German — on March 29, 1795 at the Burgtheater whose proceeds were to benefit the Widows’ Fund of the Artists’ Society. (It is likely that Antonio Salieri, Beethoven’s teacher at the time, had a hand in arranging the affair, since the music of one Antonio Cordellieri, another of his pupils, shared the bill.) Beethoven chose for the occasion a piano concerto in B-flat major he had been working on for several months, but which was still incomplete only days before the concert. In his reminiscences of the composer, Franz Wegeler recalled, “Not until the afternoon of the second day before the concert did he write the rondo, and then while suffering from a pretty severe colic which frequently afflicted him. I relieved him with simple remedies so far as I could. In the anteroom sat copyists to whom he handed sheet after sheet as soon as they were finished being written.” The work was completed just in time for the performance. It proved to be a fine success (“he gained the unanimous applause of the audience,” reported the Wiener Zeitung), and did much to further Beethoven’s dual reputation as performer and composer. For a concert in Prague three years later, the Concerto was extensively revised, and it is this version that is known today. The original one has vanished.
A traditional device — one greatly favored by Mozart — is used to open the Concerto: a forceful fanfare motive immediately balanced by a suave lyrical phrase. These two melodic fragments are spun out at length to produce the orchestral introduction. The piano joins in for a brief transition to the re-presentation of the principal thematic motives. The sweet second theme is sung by the orchestra alone, but the soloist quickly resumes playing to supply commentary on this new melody. The development is based largely on transformations of the principal theme. The recapitulation proceeds apace and includes an extended cadenza. The touching Adagio is less an exercise in rigorous, abstract form than a lengthy song of rich texture and operatic sentiment. The finale is a rondo based on a bounding theme announced by the soloist.
BRAHMS: Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Opus 68
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 (1862-1877)
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897)
In 1853, when Brahms was twenty, Robert Schumann wrote an article for the widely distributed Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (“New Journal for Music”) hailing his young colleague as the savior of German music, the rightful heir to the mantle of Beethoven. Encouraged by Schumann to undertake a symphony, Brahms made some attempts in 1854, but he was unsatisfied with the symphonic potential of the sketches and diverted them into the First Piano Concerto and German Requiem. He began again a year later and set down a first movement, but that music he kept to himself. Seven years passed before he sent that movement to Clara, Schumann’s widow, to seek her opinion. She was pleased with the sketch and encouraged him to finish the rest so that it could be performed. Brahms, however, was not to be rushed. Eager inquiries from conductors in 1863, 1864 and 1866 went unanswered. It was not until 1870 that he hinted about any progress beyond the first movement. The success of the superb Haydn Variations for orchestra of 1873 seemed to convince him that he could complete his initial symphony, and in the summer of 1874 he began two years of labor — revising, correcting, perfecting — before he signed and dated the score of the First Symphony in September 1876.
The first movement begins with a slow introduction energized by the heartbeat of the timpani. The violins announce the upward-bounding main theme in a faster tempo that launches a magnificent, seamless sonata form. The second movement starts with a placid, melancholy song led by the violins. After a mildly syncopated middle section, the bittersweet melody returns. The third movement, with its prevailing woodwind colors, is reminiscent of the pastoral serenity of Brahms’ earlier Serenades. The finale begins with an extended slow introduction based on several thematic ideas and concludes with a noble chorale intoned by trombones and bassoons. The finale proper starts with a new tempo and a hymnal theme, and progresses in sonata form, but without a development section. The work closes with a majestic coda in the brilliant key of C major featuring the trombone chorale of the introduction.
Jaap van Zweden is the music director for the New York Philharmonic.
Conrad Tao has appeared worldwide as a pianist and composer, performing to acclaim from critics and audiences alike. His accolades and awards include being a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, a YoungArts gold medal-winner in music, a Gilmore Young Artist, an Avery Fisher Career Grant-winner, and a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist.
Conductor Jaap van Zweden has become an international presence on three continents over the past decade. The 2018-19 season marks his first as the 26th Music Director of the New York Philharmonic. He continues as Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, a post he has held since 2012. Guest engagements this season include the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, San Francisco Symphony, and Dallas Symphony Orchestra where he is Conductor Laureate.
He has appeared as guest conductor with many other leading orchestras around the globe, among them the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics, Orchestre national de France, and London Symphony Orchestra.
In his inaugural season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, Jaap van Zweden conducts repertoire ranging from five World Premieres to symphonic cornerstones. He also presides over three major season pillars that contextualize music through a variety of programs complemented by citywide collaborations. Music of Conscience explores composers’ responses to the social issues of their time, with music by Beethoven, Shostakovich, John Corigliano, and David Lang. New York Stories: Threads of Our City looks at musical expressions of the immigrant experience in New York, with music by Julia Wolfe. The Art of Andriessen spotlights the music of Dutch composer Louis Andriessen. Maestro van Zweden also welcomes New Yorkers to Phil the Hall — special concerts for the community — and to the Annual Free Memorial Day Concert, as well as the Concerts in the Parks.
Jaap van Zweden has made numerous acclaimed recordings, the most recent of which are live New York Philharmonic performances of Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7 released on CD and for streaming and download in February 2018; this release launches the Philharmonic’s partnership with Decca Gold, Universal Music Group’s newly established U.S. classical music label. In 2018 with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, he completed a four-year project conducting the first-ever performances in Hong Kong of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, which have been recorded and released on Naxos Records. His highly praised performances of Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger and Parsifal, the latter of which earned Maestro van Zweden the prestigious Edison award for Best Opera Recording in 2012, are available on CD/DVD.
The Amsterdam-born van Zweden was appointed at age nineteen as the youngest concertmaster ever of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and began his conducting career nearly twenty years later in 1996. He remains Honorary Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, where he served as Chief Conductor from 2005-2013. He also held the Chief Conductor post of the Royal Flanders Orchestra from 2008-11. Van Zweden was named Musical America's 2012 Conductor of the Year in recognition of his critically acclaimed work as Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and as guest conductor with the most prestigious US orchestras.
In 1997, Jaap van Zweden and his wife Aaltje established the Papageno Foundation, the objective being to support families of children with autism. Now, 20 years later, the Foundation has grown into a multi-faceted organization which, through various initiatives and activities, focuses on the development of children and young adults with autism. These initiatives include: providing music therapy to children in their own homes via a national network in The Netherlands of qualified music therapists; opening the Papageno House, in August 2015 with Her Majesty Queen Maxima in attendance, for young adults with autism to live, to work and to participate in the community; creating a research center at the Papageno House for early diagnosis and treatment of autism and for analyzing the effects of music therapy on autism; developing funding opportunities to support autism programs; and most recently launching a new app, TEAMPapageno, which allows children with autism to communicate with each other through music composition.
Photo: Bert Hulselmans
Conrad Tao has appeared worldwide as a pianist and composer, performing to acclaim from critics and audiences alike. His accolades and awards include being a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, a YoungArts gold medal-winner in music, a Gilmore Young Artist, an Avery Fisher Career Grant-winner, and a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist. The former prodigy continues to emerge as a mature, thoughtful and thought-provoking artist, confidently pushing boundaries as a leading performer, composer, curator, and commissioner, championing new music while continuing to present core repertoire in a new light.
His 2018-19 season begins with the World Premiere of Everything Must Go, commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic, as well as the inauguration of their new Nightcap series. He makes his LA Opera debut in the West Coast premiere of David Lang's, the loser, where he plays the onstage role of the apparition and memory of Glenn Gould. In January 2019, Tao and dancer-choreographer Caleb Teicher continue to develop More Forever as part of Guggenheim’s Works & Process series.
Tao continues to perform concertos with orchestras around the world including returns to the Swedish Radio, San Diego, Baltimore, Pacific, and Colorado symphonies, as well as with the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa. Conrad also performs duo chamber music concerts with violinist Stefan Jackiw, including a debut performance at 92Y, ensemble engagements with the JCT Trio around the world, as well as solo recital programs.
Tao's career as composer has garnered eight consecutive ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and the Carlos Surinach Prize from BMI, and he has been commissioned by the Dallas Symphony, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Washington Performing Arts Society, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, and others. Tao is Warner Classics recording artist, and his first two albums Voyages and Pictures have been praised by NPR, The New York Times, The New Yorker’s Alex Ross, and many more.
Wednesday, July 24 | 6:00PM
The New York Philharmonic's season finale features music bursting with exquisite beauty and torrential virtuosity: "Rach 3," perfectly suited for Yefim Bronfman's "technical brawn and glittery grace" (LA Times), and Tchaikovsky's thrilling exploration of humanity, happiness, and the inevitable forces of fate.
Tuesday, July 16 | 6:00PM
Rock-and-roll energy meets classical sophistication with the Bravo! Vail debut of the St Lawrence String Quartet, joined by Anne-Marie McDermott for a tenderly expressive Piano Quintet by America's first truly successful female composer.
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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 and non-exchangeable. 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).