Don’t miss the thunderous cascades and soaring melodies of this all-Tchaikovsky evening, featuring one of the most famous piano concertos of all time paired with the gorgeous plaintiveness and fateful optimism of the Fourth Symphony. This is great music made truly exceptional by Garrick Ohlsson’s larger-than-life artistry, Jaap van Zweden’s masterful pacing, and the powerhouse Dallas sound.
DALLAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: JAAP VAN ZWEDEN, CONDUCTOR
GARRICK OHLSSON, SOLOIST
TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1
TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 4
Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23 (1874-1875)
PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
At the end of 1874, Tchaikovsky began a piano concerto with the hope of having a success great enough to allow him to leave his irksome teaching post at the Moscow Conservatory. By late December, he had largely sketched out the work, and he sought the advice of Nikolai Rubinstein, Director of the Moscow Conservatory and an excellent pianist. Tchaikovsky reported the interview in a letter: “On Christmas Eve 1874, Nikolai asked me to play the Concerto. We agreed to it. After I played through the work, there burst forth from Rubinstein’s mouth a mighty torrent of words. It appeared that my Concerto was utterly worthless, absolutely unplayable; the piece as a whole was bad, trivial, vulgar.” Tchaikovsky was furious and made only one change in the score: he obliterated the name of the original dedicatee—Nikolai Rubinstein—and substituted that of the virtuoso pianist Hans von Bülow, who was performing Tchaikovsky’s piano pieces across Europe. Bülow gladly accepted the dedication and asked to program the premiere on his upcoming American tour. The Concerto created such a sensation when it was first heard, in Boston on October 25, 1875, that Bülow played it on 139 of his 172 concerts that season.
The Concerto opens with a sweeping introductory melody. Following a decrescendo and a pause, the piano presents the snapping main theme. (Tchaikovsky said that this curious melody was inspired by a tune he heard sung by a blind beggar at a street fair.) The clarinet announces the lyrical second theme. The outer sections of the second movement’s three-part structure (A–B–A) are based on a languid melody introduced by the flute; the central episode uses a swift, balletic melody. A crisp rhythmic motive presented at the beginning of the finale dominates much of the movement. To balance the vigor of this music, a romantic melody is given by the violins. The two themes contend until the Concerto comes to its rousing close.
Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36 (1877-1878)
PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
The Fourth Symphony was a product of the most crucial and turbulent time of Tchaikovsky’s life—1877, when he crossed paths with two women who forced him to evaluate himself as he never had before. The first was the sensitive, music-loving widow of a wealthy Russian railroad baron, Nadezhda von Meck, who became not only his personal confidante but also the financial backer who allowed him to quit his teaching job at the Moscow Conservatory to devote himself entirely to composition. Though they never met, her place in Tchaikovsky’s life was enormous and beneficial.
The second woman to enter Tchaikovsky’s life in 1877 was Antonina Miliukov, an unnoticed student in one of his large lecture classes at the Conservatory who had worked herself into a passion over her professor. Tchaikovsky paid her no special attention, and he had quite forgotten her when he received an ardent love letter professing her flaming and unquenchable desire to meet him. Tchaikovsky (age 37), who should have burned the thing, answered the letter of the 28-year-old Antonina in a polite, cool fashion, but did not include an outright rejection of her advances. He had been considering marriage for almost a year in the hope that it would give him both the stable home life that he had not enjoyed in the twenty years since his mother died, as well as to help dispel the all-too-true rumors of his homosexuality. He believed he might achieve both these goals with Antonina. What a welter of emotions must have gripped his heart when, a few weeks later, he proposed marriage to her! Inevitably, the marriage crumbled within days of the wedding amid Tchaikovsky’s searing self-deprecation.
It was during May and June that Tchaikovsky sketched the Fourth Symphony, finishing the first three movements before Antonina began her siege. The finale was completed by the time he proposed. Because of this chronology, the program of the Symphony was not a direct result of his marital disaster. All that—the July wedding, the mere eighteen days of bitter conjugal farce, the two separations—postdated the actual composition of the Symphony by a few months. What Tchaikovsky found in his relationship with this woman (who by 1877 already showed signs of approaching the door of the mental ward in which, still legally married to him, she died in 1917) was a confirmation of his belief in the inexorable workings of Fate in human destiny.
Tchaikovsky wrote of the Fourth Symphony: “The introduction [blaring brasses heard in a motto theme that recurs throughout the Symphony] represents Fate, which hinders one in the pursuit of happiness. There is nothing to do but to submit and vainly complain [the melancholy shadow-waltz of the main theme]. Would it not be better to turn away from reality and lull one’s self in dreams? [The second theme is begun by the clarinet.] But no—these are just dreams: roughly we are awakened by Fate. [A brass fanfare begins the development.] The second movement shows how sad it is that so much has already been and gone! In the third movement are capricious arabesques, vague figures that slip into the imagination when one is slightly intoxicated. Military music is heard in the distance. If you find no pleasure in yourself go to the people, so the finale [based on the traditional song A Birch Stood in the Meadow] pictures a folk holiday.”
JAAP VAN ZWEDEN, conductor
Jaap van Zweden is the music director for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
GARRICK OHLSSON, piano
Since his triumph as winner of the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition, pianist Garrick Ohlsson has established himself worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess.
JAAP VAN ZWEDEN, conductor
Jaap van Zweden has risen rapidly in the past decade to become one of today’s most distinguished conductors. He will become the New York Philharmonic’s next Music Director beginning in the 2018–19 season, after serving as Music Director Designate in 2017–18. Mr. van Zweden has been music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra since 2008, holding the Louise W. & Edmund J. Kahn Music Directorship, a role he will continue through 2017–18, after which he becomes conductor laureate. He also continues to serve as music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, a post he has held since 2012.
Highlights of his 2016–17 season include return visits to the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, as well as his debut with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. Jaap van Zweden has also appeared as guest conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra; Boston and London Symphony Orchestras; Vienna, Berlin, Munich, and Rotterdam philharmonic orchestras; Orchestre National de France; and Chamber Orchestra of Europe. In 2015 he launched the annual SOLUNA International Music & Arts Festival with the Dallas Symphony, and embarked on a four-year project with the Hong Kong Philharmonic to conduct the first-ever performances in Hong Kong of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, which are being released on Naxos Records.
Jaap van Zweden’s acclaimed recordings include Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Petrushka, Britten’s War Requiem, and complete cycles of the Beethoven and Brahms symphonies. He completed a cycle of Bruckner symphonies with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, recorded Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 with the London Philharmonic (LPO Live), and released Mozart piano concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra and David Fray (Virgin). His celebrated performances of Wagner’s Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Parsifal (the last of which earned him the Edison award for Best Opera Recording in 2012) are available on CD and DVD. On the Dallas Symphony’s own record label, he has released symphonies by Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Mahler, and Dvořák, as well as the World Premiere recording of Stucky’s August 4, 1964.
Born in Amsterdam, Jaap van Zweden was appointed at 19 as the youngest-ever concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and began his conducting career 20 years later in 1995. He remains honorary chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, where he served as chief conductor, 2005–13, and conductor emeritus of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra. He also held the post of chief conductor of the Royal Flanders Orchestra, 2008–11.
Mr. van Zweden was named Musical America’s 2012 Conductor of the Year. In 1997 Jaap van Zweden and his wife, Aaltje, established the Papageno Foundation to support families of children with autism. Papageno has helped music therapists and musicians train to use music as a major tool for working with autistic children. Papageno House, a new home for autistic young adults and children, was opened in Laren, The Netherlands, in August 2015, attended by Her Majesty Queen Maxima.
Photo: Bert Hulselmans
GARRICK OHLSSON, piano
Since his triumph as winner of the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition, pianist Garrick Ohlsson has established himself worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess. Although long regarded as one of the world’s leading exponents of the music of Frédéric Chopin, Mr. Ohlsson commands an enormous repertoire, which ranges over the entire piano literature. A student of the late Claudio Arrau, Mr. Ohlsson has come to be noted for his masterly performances of the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the Romantic repertoire. To date he has at his command more than 80 concertos, ranging from Haydn and Mozart to works of the 21st century, many commissioned for him. This season that vast repertoire can be sampled in concerti ranging from Rachmaninoff’s popular Third and rarely performed Fourth, to Brahms Nos. 1 and 2, Beethoven, Mozart, Grieg and Copland in cities including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas, Miami, Toronto, Vancouver, San Francisco, Liverpool, and Madrid ending with a spring US West Coast tour with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic conducted by Yuri Temirkanov. In recital he can be heard in LA’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, New York, New Orleans, Hawaii and Prague.
A frequent guest with the orchestras in Australia, Mr. Ohlsson has recently visited Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Hobart as well as the New Zealand Symphony in Wellington and Auckland. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Ohlsson has collaborated with the Takacs, Cleveland, Emerson, and Tokyo string quartets, among other ensembles. Together with violinist Jorja Fleezanis and cellist Michael Grebanier, he is a founding member of the San Francisco-based FOG Trio. Passionate about singing and singers, Mr. Ohlsson has appeared in recital with such legendary artists as Magda Olivero, Jessye Norman, and Ewa Podles.
Mr. Ohlsson can be heard on the Arabesque, RCA Victor Red Seal, Angel, BMG, Delos, Hänssler, Nonesuch, Telarc, Hyperion and Virgin Classics labels. His ten-disc set of the complete Beethoven Sonatas, for Bridge Records, has garnered critical acclaim, including a GRAMMY® for Vol. 3. His recording of Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 3, with the Atlanta Symphony and Robert Spano, was released in 2011. In the fall of 2008 the English label Hyperion re-released his 16-disc set of the Complete Works of Chopin followed in 2010 by all the Brahms piano variations, “Goyescas” by Enrique Granados, and music of Charles Tomlinson Griffes. Most recently on that label are Scriabin's Complete Poèmes, Smetana Czech Dances, and ètudes by Debussy, Bartok and Prokofiev. The latest CDs in his ongoing association with Bridge Records are “Close Connections,” a recital of 20th-Century pieces, and two CDs of works by Liszt with Scriabin complete sonatas due for release this season. In recognition of the Chopin bicentenary in 2010, Mr. Ohlsson was featured in a documentary "The Art of Chopin" co-produced by Polish, French, British and Chinese television stations. Most recently, both Brahms concerti and Tchaikovsky's second piano concerto were released on live performance recordings with the Melbourne and Sydney Symphonies on their own recording labels, and Mr. Ohlsson was featured on Dvorak's piano concerto in the Czech Philharmonic's live recordings of the composer's complete symphonies & concertos, released July of 2014 on the Decca label.
A native of White Plains, N.Y., Garrick Ohlsson began his piano studies at the age of 8, at the Westchester Conservatory of Music; at 13 he entered The Juilliard School, in New York City. His musical development has been influenced in completely different ways by a succession of distinguished teachers, most notably Claudio Arrau, Olga Barabini, Tom Lishman, Sascha Gorodnitzki, Rosina Lhévinne and Irma Wolpe. Although he won First Prizes at the 1966 Busoni Competition in Italy and the 1968 Montréal Piano Competition, it was his 1970 triumph at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, where he won the Gold Medal (and remains the single American to have done so), that brought him worldwide recognition as one of the finest pianists of his generation. Since then he has made nearly a dozen tours of Poland, where he retains immense personal popularity. Mr. Ohlsson was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize in 1994 and received the 1998 University Musical Society Distinguished Artist Award in Ann Arbor, MI. He is also the 2014 recipient of the Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance from the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music. He makes his home in San Francisco.
Photo: Paul Body
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 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 generally start promptly at 6pm (except for movie screenings which start at 7:30 or 8pm). The GRFA lobby opens 90 minutes prior to performances and gates open 60 minutes prior to performances. Please be sure to give yourself plenty of time to park and get into the venue; latecomers will be admitted at an appropriate interval, escorted by volunteers from the Bravo! Vail Guild.
How long do concerts last?
Concerts generally last under two hours. Please check performance pages beginning in April for specific running times.
How do I buy tickets?
Tickets, subscriptions, passes,and gift certificates may be ordered in the following ways:
• Phone 877.812.5700 or Fax 970.827.5707
• Mail or in-person Bravo! Vail 2271 N Frontage Rd W Suite C, Vail, CO 81657
• Email email@example.com
Ticket delivery methods are Mail, Print at Home, and Will Call. Bravo! Vail accepts all major credit cards (Amex, Visa, MasterCard and Discover), cash, and checks with proper identification. There is a $2 order fee per ticket.
What are the Box Office hours?
Bravo! Vail Box Office hours are Monday through 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) beginning mid-June. Tickets for upcoming performances may be purchased on-site during concert intermissions.
Where is the Will Call window?
Will Call tickets may be picked up at the Box Office located to the right of the main entrance lobby. The Box Office is open 11am to concert start time beginning mid-June. Will Call tickets may also be picked up during concert intermissions.
Does Bravo! Vail offer group pricing?
Group sales discounts of up to 15% for groups of 15 or more are available to select concerts. Please call 970.827.4316 for more information, or view the Group Sales page.
What if I buy tickets and cannot attend?
All sales are final. If you are unable to attend your concert, please call the Box Office at 877.812.5700 at least two hours prior to the concert to donate the tickets for resale or drop them off at the venue so seats can be filled by another music lover. You will receive a ticket release receipt in the mail. If you wish to give tickets to a friend, you may call the Box Office to leave them in your friend's name at Will Call.
What if I misplace or forget to bring my tickets?
The Box Office can reprint your tickets if needed.
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 Premium Aisle, Premium, Reserved, and Saver sections which reflect 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 in order to sit in this area.
By purchasing an ADA seat, you are stating that you require an ADA seat and if purchased fraudulently, you may be subject to relocation.
If you need further assistance purchasing ADA seating, please call the Box Office at 877.812.5700.
What should I bring to the concert?
If you have lawn seating at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, you should plan to bring a blanket to sit on, sunglasses, and a hat or visor. Lawn chairs with legs under 4 inches tall are allowed. Vail weather can be unpredictable so rain gear and a jacket are recommended. Concessions are available at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, but you are welcome to bring food and non-alcoholic sealed drinks. Per Colorado State Law, you may not bring outside alcoholic beverages into any Bravo! Vail venue. For your safety and the safety of all of our guests, backpacks, bags, purses, picnic baskets, and coolers will be checked upon entry to Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. The following articles are not allowed:
• Alcoholic beverages (picnics and commercially sealed non-alcoholic beverages are permitted, and concessions with food and alcohol sales are available at the venue)
• Bikes, inline skates, scooters, and skateboards
• Cameras and recording devices
• Lawn chairs with legs higher than 4 inches (lawn chair rentals are $10)
What food and beverages are available for purchase at GRFA?
Popcorn, candy, burgers, sandwiches, and salads are available for purchase at concessions inside GRFA. A full bar is also available to purchase beer, wine, and alcohol. All major credit cards and cash are accepted for payment. In the pavilion seating, we recommend eating prior to the concert or at intermission.
Food and commercially sealed non-alcoholic beverages may be brought into the GRFA.
What if it rains?
Concerts take place rain or shine. 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 — wear what makes you most comfortable! You can dress formally, or opt for jeans and a t-shirt, or anything in between. Just one word of advice: while the summers in Colorado are perfect, the evenings often bring rain showers and cooler temps. We recommend being prepared for both.
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 are some general rules of concert etiquette?
Above all, we want you to have a beautiful, musically rich concert experience. We ask that all concertgoers help to ensure a mutually enjoyable evening by silencing all devices such as cell phones and watch alarms. Please take time to turn these off prior to performances, so they don’t disrupt musicians and other patrons. Likewise, please limit conversations and other noisy activities during the music, so everyone can enjoy the concert undisturbed. In the pavilion seating, we recommend eating prior to the concert or at intermission.
What else should I know?
Vail is at high elevation so don’t forget to hydrate and use sun protection. Visitors from lower elevations may experience altitude sickness when traveling to and visiting Vail. Be sure to drink water to allow your body to acclimate to the change in oxygen levels.
What if I still have questions?
Please don’t hesitate to contact the Box Office at 877.812.5700 Monday–Friday 9am–4pm MST with any questions you have.