Concert presented to an in-person audience and livestream.
DALLAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Fabio Luisi, conductor
James Ehnes, violin
BEETHOVEN Leonore Overture No. 1, Op. 138
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93
Beethoven and Mendelssohn are a match made in heaven in this joyful program. “Supreme virtuoso” (The Daily Telegraph) James Ehnes performs Mendelssohn’s beloved romantic masterpiece, and Beethoven reveals a genially inventive side with his Symphony No. 8.
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BEETHOVEN: Leonore Overture No. 1, Op. 138
Leonore Overture No. 1, Op. 138
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Beethoven weighed and discarded many potential projects for the lyric stage, but he completed only one opera. He unveiled it in 1805 under the title Leonore and transformed it by fits and starts into the piece known as Fidelio. Following the French Revolution, theatrical plots involving political oppression, daring rescues, and the triumph of humanitarianism grew popular in many European countries. Beethoven pounced on the opportunity to set this libretto about a wife (Leonore) who disguises herself as a boy (“Fidelio”), gets a job in the jail where her husband (Florestan) is a political prisoner, and frees him with much derring-do.
Leonore was poorly received at its 1805 premiere, and its run ended after three performances. Beethoven revised the piece for productions in 1806 and 1814 (when it was renamed Fidelio). Each version sported a different overture, and Beethoven composed yet another for a performance planned for Prague in 1807 that failed to take place. That is the piece performed here—the so-called Leonore Overture No. 1. It was played in a private try-out by the orchestra of Beethoven’s patron Prince Lobkowitz, but it was apparently deemed to be “too light” to be useful. It was published a decade after the composer’s death under the deceptively late, posthumous opus number of 138.
The least frequently played of the four, the Leonore Overture No. 1 deserves more performances than it gets. Like the familiar Leonore Overtures No. 2 and No. 3, it previews music from the opera itself. But where those two practically serve as a précis for the principal plot, the Leonore Overture No. 1 limits its foreshadowing to a quotation from the aria Florestan sings in his cell. This is a tight, dramatic piece, less extensively worked-out than its more famous companions but a fiery curtain-raiser all the same.
MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 (1844)
FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-47)
Felix Mendelssohn first met the violinist Ferdinand David in 1825, and the two became fast friends. They were frequent partners in chamber music, and when Mendelssohn settled in Leipzig to become conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, in 1835, he promptly appointed David concertmaster of that ensemble—a position he retained for the rest of his life. When Mendelssohn founded the Leipzig Conservatory, in 1843, David was one of the first musicians named to the faculty.
In March 1845, David played the premiere of Mendelssohn’s enduringly popular E-minor Violin Concerto, which the composer had developed over many years. “I’d like to do a violin concerto for you for next winter,” he had written to David in 1838. “One in E minor is running through my head, and the opening of it will not leave me in peace.” Curiously, ensuing sketches reveal that it was a piano concerto, rather than a violin concerto, that started taking form, one that matched the eventual violin concerto in both key and structure. By the time Mendelssohn focused definitively on the composition, in 1844, it had evolved with certainty into a violin concerto. He consulted closely with his soloist, mostly about technical issues but in some cases concerning general matters of structure and balance—and he took David’s suggestions to heart.
Mendelssohn was fond of dovetailing the separate movements of his large-scale pieces, a device he had used to great effect in the two piano concertos of his maturity. He maintained that preference in this last of his orchestral works, such that the three movements connect into a single overarching span. Subtle mirroring of tonal architecture and fleeting reminiscences of earlier themes at key moments of transition help invest a sense of the organic and inevitable in this most Classical of the great Romantic violin concertos.
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93
Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93 (1811-12)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
On several occasions Beethoven sketched a pair of works concurrently or presented pairs of them together on a program, tacitly inviting listeners to hear one in the context of the other. Each of his symphonies addresses its own musical issues—posing and solving specific conceptual problems—but when we consider these symphonic pairs as dyads we may decide that he truly intended them as studies in contrast. Before he completed his Seventh Symphony, Beethoven was already sketching his Eighth, which he completed in the fall of 1812. Where the Seventh is large-scaled and luxurious, the Eighth is compact. Each of its movements is significantly shorter than the corresponding movement of the Seventh. It is as if Beethoven let his fantasy run free in the Seventh but then, turning to a new page of his sketchbook, applied the brakes and reined himself in as much as possible when plotting his Eighth. Placed in the context of political history, the Seventh invites being heard as reflecting the Beethoven’s emotions when the tide turned against Napoleon, about whom the composer had held great hope and with whose imperialistic machinations he grew deeply disenchanted. The jovial Eighth is a blithe joyride in comparison.
In its externals, the Eighth Symphony seems to retreat to an earlier time, and we may be tempted to wonder if Beethoven is picking up where he left off way back in his Second Symphony. But Beethoven never really turned back in his music. We will be closer to the truth imagining him conceiving something that, in its way, is as vast as the immediately preceding symphonies—and then editing it down to its essentials, packaging it as tightly as possible, and ending up with what looks at first glance like a Classical symphony, and a particularly good-spirited one at that.
GRAMMY® Award winner Fabio Luisi is a maestro of major international standing and the current Louise W. & Edmund J. Kahn Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
James Ehnes has established himself as one of the most sought-after violinists on the international stage. Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism and an unfaltering musicality, Ehnes is a favorite guest of many of the world’s most respected conductors
GRAMMY® Award winner Fabio Luisi launched his tenure as Louise W. & Edmund J. Kahn Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) at the start of the 2020/21 season. In January 2021, the DSO and Luisi announced an extension of the Music Director contract through the 2028/29 season. A maestro of major international standing, the Italian conductor is set to embark on his fifth season as Principal Conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and in September 2022 will assume the role of Principal Conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo. He previously served for six seasons as Principal Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera and nine seasons as General Music Director of the Zurich Opera.
Fabio Luisi’s 2021/22 programs in Dallas and for the DSO’s NEXT STAGE Digital Concert Series will feature performances of the music of beloved classical composers, a continued examination of American music, and a full opera-in-concert. Luisi will open the Texas Instruments Classical Series with Aaron Copland’s Organ Symphony, The Mystic Trumpeter by American composer Frederick Converse, and Brahms’s Symphony No. 1, which will be recorded for a future album release of all of Brahms’s symphonies. He will lead his first DSO Gala on September 25 with a performance of Strauss’s Don Juan and the Dallas premiere of John Williams’s Violin Concerto No. 2, with Anne-Sophie Mutter making her DSO debut as soloist. In the fall, Luisi will conduct Richard Strauss’s Aus Italien and Metamorphosen, lead the Dallas Symphony Chorus in Mozart’s Requiem and welcome Renée Fleming in American composer Kevin Puts’s The Brightness of Light. Six concerts in 2022 will feature a wide range of expression and a diverse group of composers. Luisi will return in January with performances of Adolphus Hailstork’s Epitaph for a Man Who Dreamed and the Symphony No. 4 by Franz Schmidt, a composer whose works the conductor has long championed and extensively recorded. In April, the DSO will mount Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin with an internationally renowned cast, and in May Luisi will present the Dallas premiere of Bruce Adolphe’s Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt! (This Kiss to the Whole World!) along with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
Beyond Dallas this season, Luisi will return to conduct the NHK Orchestra (Tokyo) and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and he will lead the New Year’s Concert in Venice, to be broadcast worldwide. Luisi will conduct Strauss’s Eine Alpensinfonie with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in December and will accompany the same orchestra on tour. In July 2022, Luisi will return to the Festspiele at the Munich Bayerische Staatsoper for a production of Verdi’s Macbeth with Anna Netrebko as Lady Macbeth. With the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Luisi will embark on a recording cycle of Carl Nielsen’s symphonies for the renowned Deutsche Grammophon label.
The conductor received his first GRAMMY® Award in March 2013 for his leadership of the last two operas of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, when Deutsche Grammophon’s DVD release of the full cycle, recorded live at the Met, was named Best Opera Recording of 2012. In February 2015, the Philharmonia Zurich launched its Philharmonia Records label with three Luisi recordings: Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique; a double album surveying Wagner’s Preludes and Interludes, and a DVD of Verdi’s Rigoletto. Subsequent releases include a survey of Rachmaninov’s Four Piano Concertos and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with soloist Lise de la Salle, and a rare recording of the original version of Bruckner’s monumental Symphony No. 8. Luisi’s extensive discography also includes rare Verdi operas (Jérusalem, Alzira and Aroldo), Salieri’s La locandiera, Bellini’s I puritani and I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Anna Netrebko and Elīna Garanča for Deutsche Grammophon, and the symphonic repertoire of Honegger, Respighi and Liszt. He has recorded all the symphonies and the oratorio Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln by neglected Austrian composer Franz Schmidt, several works by Richard Strauss for Sony Classical, and an award-winning account of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony with the Staatskapelle Dresden.
Born in Genoa in 1959, Luisi began piano studies at the age of four and received his diploma from the Conservatorio Niccolò Paganini in 1978. He later studied conducting with Milan Horvat at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Graz. Named both Cavaliere della Repubblica Italiana and Commendatore della Stella d’Italia for his role in promoting Italian culture abroad, in 2014 he was awarded the Grifo d’Oro, the highest honor given by the city of Genoa, for his contributions to the city’s cultural legacy. Off the podium, Luisi is an accomplished composer whose Saint Bonaventure Mass received its world premiere at New York’s St. Bonaventure University, followed by its New York City premiere in the MetLiveArts series, with the Buffalo Philharmonic and Chorus. As reported by the New York Times, CBS Sunday Morning and elsewhere, he is also a passionate maker of perfumes, which he produces in a one-person operation, FLPARFUMS.COM.
James Ehnes has established himself as one of the most sought-after violinists on the international stage. Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism and an unfaltering musicality, Ehnes is a favourite guest of many of the world’s most respected conductors including Ashkenazy, Alsop, Sir Andrew Davis, Denève, Elder, Ivan Fischer, Gardner, Paavo Järvi, Mena, Noseda, Robertson and Runnicles. Ehnes’s long list of orchestras includes, amongst others, the Boston, Chicago, London, NHK and Vienna Symphony Orchestras, the Los Angeles, New York, Munich and Czech Philharmonic Orchestras, and the Cleveland, Philadelphia, Philharmonia and DSO Berlin orchestras.
Recent and future orchestral highlights include the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall with Noseda, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig with Shelley, Orchestre National de France with Gardner, San Francisco Symphony with Janowski, Frankfurt Radio Symphony with Orozco-Estrada, Hong Kong Philharmonic with van Zweden and Gothenburg Symphony with Nagano, as well as his debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Lincoln Center in spring 2019 and a residency with the Minnesota Orchestra throughout 2017/18. In 2017, Ehnes premiered the Aaron-Jay Kernis Violin Concerto with the Toronto, Seattle and Dallas Symphony Orchestras, and gave further performances of the piece with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Ehnes was awarded the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Award in the Instrumentalist category.
Alongside his concerto work, James Ehnes maintains a busy recital schedule. He performs regularly at the Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Center Chicago, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Ravinia, Montreux, Chaise-Dieu, the White Nights Festival in St Petersburg, Verbier Festival, Festival de Pâques in Aix, and in 2009 he made a sensational debut at the Salzburg Festival performing the Paganini Caprices. In 2016, Ehnes undertook a cross-Canada recital tour, performing in each of the country’s provinces and territories, to celebrate his 40th birthday.
As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with leading artists such as Andsnes, Capucon, Lortie, Lugansky, Yo-Yo Ma, Tamestit, Vogler and Yuja Wang. In 2010, he formally established the Ehnes Quartet, with whom he has performed in Europe at venues including the Wigmore Hall, Auditorium du Louvre in Paris and Théâtre du Jeu de Paume in Aix, amongst others. Ehnes is the Artistic Director of the Seattle Chamber Music Society.
Ehnes has an extensive discography and has won many awards for his recordings including a Gramophone Award for his live recording of the Elgar Concerto with Sir Andrew Davis and the Philharmonia Orchestra. His recording of the Korngold, Barber and Walton violin concertos won a Grammy Award for ‘Best Instrumental Soloist Performance’ and a JUNO award for ‘Best Classical Album of the Year’. His recording of the Paganini Caprices earned him universal praise, with Diapason writing of the disc, “Ehnes confirms the predictions of Erick Friedman, eminent student of Heifetz: ‘there is only one like him born every hundred years’.” Ehnes’s recent recording of the Bartók Concerti was nominated for a Gramophone Award in the Concerto category. Recent releases include sonatas by Beethoven, Debussy, Elgar and Respighi, and concertos by Britten, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Walton, as well as the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrew Manze, which was released in October 2017 (Onyx Classics).
Ehnes began violin studies at the age of four, became a protégé of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin aged nine, made his orchestral debut with Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal aged 13 and graduated from The Juilliard School in 1997, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 2010 was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.
James Ehnes plays the “Marsick” Stradivarius of 1715.
Photo: Benjamin Ealovega
Dvořák draws on the striking vitality of Slavic folklore and lyricism for this spirited concerto, perfectly paired with the sublime struggle and transcendence of Beethoven’s "Eroica" Symphony, heralding the Romantic era.
Mozart’s last completed major work truly makes the instrument sing, especially in the hands of Philadelphia’s renowned principal clarinetist. Mendelssohn’s musical postcard of his travels through Italy is widely beloved and considered one of the best examples of his genius.
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. Gates open 60 minutes prior to performances. GRFA 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 appropriate intervals.
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. We expect that bus capacity for each bus will be limited to 40 or fewer people. 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 instructions 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 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. Fees apply. Tickets are delivered by mail, mobile app, email, or may be picked up at Will Call.
What are the Box Office hours?
Bravo! Vail Box Office hours are Monday-Friday from 9:00AM to 4:00PM. During the Festival, hours include Saturday & Sunday from 10:00AM to 4:00PM. The Bravo! Vail Box Office can be reached at 877.812.5700.
The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater box office is open from 11:00AM until concert start time (5:00PM 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 GRFA amphitheater box office located to the right of the main entrance lobby. The box office is open 11:00AM to concert start time during the Festival.
What is your vaccination policy?
The health and safety of our patrons, musicians, staff, and community are Bravo! Vail's top priorities. After careful consideration and in compliance with our venue partners, as well as local, state, and federal guidelines, we will not require proof of vaccination to attend Bravo! Vail events for the 2022 summer season. Face coverings at all events will be optional and encouraged for anyone who wishes to wear them. We will continue to stay in close communication with Eagle County Public Health and Environment, and we may change our policy at any time in the interest of the health and safety of our guests, artists, employees, and volunteers.
This policy may be revised or changed at any time. We thank you for your understanding, cooperation, and flexibility.
What if I misplace or forget to bring my tickets?
There is no charge to reprint tickets. Please call 877.812.5700 before 3:00PM 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. 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.
How can I learn more about the music?
Find more on the website, Bravo! Vail Music Festival App, or program book!
What should I bring to the concerts?
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 (4-inch legs), and umbrellas are permitted at concerts.
All bags are subject to search (please help us by packing your bag with this in mind).
No oversized bags will be allowed (for example: duffle bags, large backpacking bags, suitcases).
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.
Are lawn chairs available to rent?
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.
Any forms of audio or video recording (mobile phone, camera, video camera, iPad) are prohibited at these events.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 877.812.5700 Mon–Fri 9:00AM–4:00PM (and Sat–Sun 10:00AM-4:00PM during the Festival).
Do you charge service fees?
Bravo! Vail enriches people's lives through the power of music by producing the finest performances by the greatest artists; fostering music education; and promoting a lifelong appreciation of the arts. We strive to provide the best experience for all audiences. As we continue to maintain this high level of service, our in-house box office happily manages the ticketing and seating process for our patrons. The price of each ticket helps offset production costs, artist fees and housing, and other expenses associated with the performance. However, ticket sales revenue covers less than half of what it costs to present world-class music in Colorado's most beautiful mountain setting.
Service fees help offset the cost associated with processing, printing, and selling tickets. Costs include:
A five percent service fee is applied to tickets sold through BravoVail.com and an eight percent fee for tickets sold by phone, and in-person through official Bravo! Vail ticketing sources. These fees are proportionate to the ticket's listed price. Additional venue fees may apply. To make our pricing clear to ticket buyers, we do not fold ticketing fees into base ticket prices. All service fees are non-refundable.
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