THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor
Yefim Bronfman, piano
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37
PRICE Symphony No. 1
World-renowned pianist Yefim Bronfman lends his legendary power to Beethoven’s dynamic Piano Concerto No. 3. Finally, the first symphony by a Black woman to be performed by a major American orchestra, Price’s First Symphony imbues classical forms with spirituals and West African rhythms and dance.
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37
Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 (1796-1803)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
A music-lover listening to Beethoven’s C-minor Piano Concerto may entertain recollections of an earlier C-minor Piano Concerto, the brooding, even despairing one that Mozart composed in 1786. During Mozart’s lifetime, however, it could be played only from manuscript parts. It was not published until 1800, the same year Beethoven brought the first movement of his own C-minor Piano Concerto into reasonably finished form. Beethoven was an admirer of the Mozart work. Walking with the pianist-and-composer Johann Baptist Cramer, he overheard an outdoor performance (or perhaps a rehearsal) of Mozart’s C-minor Concerto. He is reputed to have stopped in his tracks, called attention to a particularly beautiful motif, and exclaimed, with a mixture of admiration and despondency, “Cramer, Cramer! We shall never be able to do anything like that!” “As the theme was repeated and wrought up to the climax”—according to the account of Cramer’s widow—“Beethoven, swaying his body to and fro, marked the time and in every possible manner manifested a delight rising to enthusiasm.”
By the dawn of the 19th century, Beethoven was gaining considerable notice in Vienna. On April 2, 1800, at Vienna’s Burgtheater, he had undertaken his first benefit concert (in those days, a benefit concert being understood to mean “for the benefit of the composer”). He planned to unveil his C-minor Piano Concerto on that high-profile occasion but managed to complete only the stormy first movement and a detailed sketch of the second by the time the date arrived. He stopped working on the piece until the opportunity for another prominent concert arose, which it did in 1802. But for some reason that concert was cancelled, and again Beethoven devoted himself to other more immediately profitable projects rather than finish his concerto.
By the time he completed the noble second movement and the rather jaunty third, the composition of the C-minor Concerto stretched over some three and a half years, not including preliminary sketches, which reached back to 1796—plus a further year if you count the time it took him to actually write out the piano part, and yet another five beyond that until he wrote down the first-movement cadenza. Neither of these last two was necessary as long as Beethoven was the soloist; he knew how the piece should go, after all. Nonetheless, the fragmentary state of the piano score caused considerable stress for Beethoven’s colleague Ignaz von Seyfried, who served as page-tuner at the premiere. “He gave me a secret glance whenever he was at the end of one of the invisible passages,” Seyfried reported, “and my scarcely concealable anxiety not to miss the decisive moment amused him greatly and he laughed heartily during the jovial supper which we ate afterwards.”
PRICE: Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 1 in E minor (1931)
FLORENCE BEATRICE PRICE (1887-1953)
In 1943, Florence Price wrote to Serge Koussevitzky, the music director of the Boston Symphony and a champion of new American orchestral works, hoping to interest him in her symphonies, of which she had composed three and would shortly complete another. She opened bluntly: “To begin with I have two handicaps—those of sex and race. I am a woman; and I have some Negro blood in my veins. Knowing the worst, then, would you be good enough to hold in check the possible inclination to regard a woman’s composition as long on emotionalism but short on virility and thought content;—until you shall have examined some of my work?”
Such a letter would not be written today, thanks partly to people like Price who persevered against a background in which subjugation was assumed. She composed her Symphony No. 1 in 1931 and the following year it won first prize in the orchestral category of a competition sponsored by the National Association of Negro Musicians. (She also submitted her Piano Sonata, which took first prize in the keyboard division.) This caught the attention of Frederick Stock, music director of the Chicago Symphony, who led his orchestra in this work in 1933 at the Century of Progress International Exposition, the first time any major American orchestra performed a symphonic piece by an African-American woman.
Price’s Symphony No. 1 was inspired by and modeled on the Symphony From the New World by Antonín Dvořák, who had urged African-American musicians to create concert works that drew on vernacular traditions. Although Price does not quote specific pieces here, she does incorporate sounds of a readily recognizable African-American folk idiom. The first movement is an Allegro in sonata form with Dvořákian overtones. The second is a leisurely slow movement; the sonorous brass choir at its opening lends an ecclesiastical flavor, a reminder that Price often worked as a church organist. The vernacular spirit reaches its height in the spirited third movement. It offers a symphonic treatment of the vigorous antebellum folk dance known as the juba, which characteristically involved “body percussion”—stomping feet, perhaps, or drumming with the hands against the chest. Price uses more standard orchestral percussion but she also introduces “wind whistles” here; we don’t know exactly what she had in mind, but any sort of whistle could suggest the exuberance of onlookers at early juba gatherings. Wrote Price, “I have incorporated a juba as one of the several movements because it seems to me to be no more impossible to conceive of Negroid music devoid of the spiritualistic theme on the one hand than strongly syncopated rhythms of the juba on the other.” A vigorous Presto brings the symphony to a close.
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
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. There is a $2 fee per ticket. Tickets are delivered by mail or email, or may be picked up at Will Call.
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?
While our standard policy is that tickets are non-refundable, we understand the necessity to be flexible in these unprecedented times. Should you need to change your plans to attend a concert this summer, we ask that you consider donating the value of your tickets to help support Bravo! Vail's ongoing mission of enriching people’s lives through the power of music. If you prefer a refund rather than donating the value of your tickets, please contact the box office.
If we are forced to cancel an event in its entirety, you will have the option to donate the value of your tickets to help support Bravo's mission, place the value of your tickets on account for future use, or receive a refund.
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?
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).
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