Bravo! favorite Yefim Bronfman channels the steely intensity of Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto, preceded by a perfect prelude of music from Beethoven’s only ballet. The second half of this electrifying program features an innovatively orchestrated “energy symphony,” and the powerful 1812 Overture provides a roof-raising finale for the Fabulous Philadelphians’ season.
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN, CONDUCTOR
YEFIM BRONFMAN, SOLOIST
BEETHOVEN: Selections from The Creatures of Prometheus
PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 2
MASON BATES: Alternative Energy
TCHAIKOVSKY: 1812 Overture
Overture and Finale from The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43 (1801)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
The following description of the plot of Beethoven’s ballet appeared in the program for the premiere: “The foundation of this allegorical ballet is the fable of Prometheus. The philosophers of Greece allude to Prometheus as a lofty soul who drove the people of his time from ignorance, refined them by means of science and the arts, and gave them manners, customs and morals. As a result of that conception, two statues that have been brought to life are introduced in this ballet; and these, through the might of harmony, are made sensitive to all the passions of human life. Prometheus leads them to Parnassus, in order that Apollo, the god of the fine arts, may enlighten them.” Beethoven composed an overture, introduction and sixteen separate numbers for the two acts of his Prometheus.
Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 16 (1913)
SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Prokofiev’s steely piano style was the perfect match for his athletic compositions and his strutting personality. The polite audience of gentry at the summertime premiere of the Second Piano Concerto in 1913 in the fashionable resort of Pavlosk, near St. Petersburg, was “puzzled” by the “mercilessly dissonant combinations,” according to one reviewer. The listeners, disdaining the decorum that they were convinced the young composer had already shattered, greeted the work with a sonorous round of hisses and catcalls. Prokofiev responded with his own characteristic rejoinder: he sat down and thundered through one of his noisiest solo works as an encore. It was not long, however, before his playing and his music gained a wide audience. The fascination and innate musicality of his style swept away all initial reservations.
The soloist presents the principal theme of the Second Concerto’s opening movement; a saucy melody in quicker tempo provides contrast. The development and recapitulation of the principal theme are combined into an enormous solo cadenza before the orchestra is recalled to provide a coda. Prokofiev cited the brilliant Scherzo as an example of his “motoric” style. The slower third movement is in his best nose-thumbing, wrong-note idiom. The finale is a dazzling showcase for the soloist.
Alternative Energy for Orchestra and Electronica (2011)
MASON BATES (B. 1977)
Philadelphia-born Mason Bates brings not only his own fresh talent to the concert hall but also the musical sensibilities of a new generation—he is equally at home composing “for Lincoln Center,” according to his web site (www.masonbates.com), as being the “electronica artist Masonic® who moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from New York City, where he was a lounge DJ at such venues as The Frying Pan—the floating rave ship docked off the pier near West 22nd Street.” Bates’s many honors include a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Guggenheim Fellowship, ASCAP and BMI awards, Rome Prize and Berlin Prize. In 2017-2018, he is the first-ever Composer-in-Residence at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Bates wrote that Alternative Energy is “an ‘energy symphony’ spanning four movements and hundreds of years. Beginning in a rustic midwestern junkyard in the late-19th century, the piece travels through ever greater and more powerful forces of energy—a present-day particle collider, a futuristic Chinese nuclear plant—until it reaches a future Icelandic rainforest, where humanity’s last survivors seek a return to a simpler way of life.
“The idée fixe [a recurring motto] that links these disparate worlds appears early in Ford’s Farm, 1896. This melody is heard on the fiddle—conjuring a figure like Henry Ford—and is accompanied by junkyard percussion and a ‘phantom orchestra’ that trails the fiddler like ghosts. The accelerando cranking of a car motor becomes a special motif in the piece, a kind of rhythmic embodiment of ever-more-powerful energy. Indeed, this cranking motif explodes in the electronics in the second movement, Chicago, 2012, where we encounter my recordings from the Fermilab particle collider.
“Zoom a hundred years into the dark future of the Xinjiang Province, 2112, where a great deal of the Chinese energy industry is based. On an eerie wasteland, a lone flute sings a tragically distorted version of the fiddle tune, dreaming of a forgotten natural world. But a powerful industrial energy bubbles to the surface and drives the music to a catastrophic meltdown. As the smoke clears, we find ourselves even further into the future: Reykjavik, 2222—an Icelandic rainforest on a hotter planet. The occasional songs of future birds whip around us, a naturalistic version of the cranking motif. Distant tribal voices call for the building of a fire—our first energy source.”
1812 Overture, Op. 49 (1880)
PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
The Russian penchant for myth-making extends, of course, to her warfare. It is therefore not surprising that Napoleon’s strategic withdrawal from Moscow in 1812 came to be regarded in Russia as a great military victory achieved through cunning and resourcefulness, conveniently ignoring the French General Ney’s report that “general famine and general winter, rather than Russian bullets, conquered the Grand Army.” Nearly seventy years later, the Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer was erected in Moscow to commemorate the events of 1812. For the Cathedral’s consecration, Nikolai Rubinstein, head of the Moscow Conservatory and director of the Russian Musical Society, planned a celebratory festival of music, and in 1880 he asked Tchaikovsky to write a work for the occasion. That 1812 Overture represents the conflict, militarily and musically, of Russia and France, and the eventual Russian “victory” over the invaders.
YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN, conductor
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.
YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN, conductor
In 2012, Montreal-born Yannick Nézet-Séguin added the Music Directorship of The Philadelphia Orchestra to his roles as Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and long-time Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain (Montreal), where he has served since 2000.
2017/18 will be his tenth and final season with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and will draw to a close with the orchestra’s centenary celebrations in Rotterdam and round Europe. In 2020/2021 he succeeds James Levine as the third Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera, New York and remains in post with The Philadelphia Orchestra until at least summer 2026.
Mr. Nézet-Séguin has worked with many leading European ensembles and enjoys close collaborations with the Berlin Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker, Bayerischer Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester and Chamber Orchestra of Europe; between 2008 and 2014 he was also Principal Guest Conductor of London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has appeared three times at the BBC Proms and at many European festivals, among them Edinburgh, Lucerne, Salzburg and Grafenegg. North American summer appearances include New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Lanaudiere, Vail and Saratoga.
He made his Salzburg Festival opera debut in 2008 with a new production of Roméo et Juliette, returning in 2010 and 2011 for Don Giovanni. In the 2009/10 season, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut with their new production of Carmen and has returned each season (Otello, Don Carlo, Faust, La Traviata and Rusalka). Next season, he conducts Wagner there for the first time (Der Fliegende Holländer).
He has conducted for Teatro alla Scala (Milano), Royal Opera House (Covent Garden, London), Netherlands Opera (Amsterdam) and Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna). In 2011 began a cycle of seven Mozart operas for Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, all recorded live by Deutsche Grammophon. Le Nozze di Figaro, the fourth of the titles, is scheduled for release later this year.
In addition to Le Nozze di Figaro, recent Deutsche Grammophon releases include the Complete Schumann symphonies and Enführung aus dem Serail with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe; The Rite of Spring and Rachmaninov Variations with Daniil Trifonov and The Philadelphia Orchestra; and Tchaikovsky with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Lisa Batiashvili. Nézet-Séguin’s discography also includes recordings with the Rotterdam Philharmonic (EMI Classics, BIS and DG); London Philharmonic (LPO label); Bayerischer Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester (BR Klassik) and Orchestre Métropolitain (ATMA Classique).
Mr. Nézet-Séguin studied piano, conducting, composition, and chamber music at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec in Montreal, and choral conducting at the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey before going on to study with renowned conductors, most notably the Italian maestro Carlo Maria Giulini. His honours include Musical America’s Artist of the Year (2016), Royal Philharmonic Society Award; Canada’s National Arts Centre Award, the Prix Denise-Pelletier awarded by the Quebec government, and the Medal of Honour from the National Assembly of Quebec (2015). He holds honorary doctorates from the University of Quebec in Montreal (2011), Curtis Institute in Philadelphia (2014) and Westminster Choir College of Rider University (2015). He has received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres du Québec (2015). He was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada (2012) and Officer of the Order of Québec (2015).
Photo: Chris Lee
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.
Mr. Bronfman will be performing Bartok concerti with the London Symphony Orchestra and Valery Gergiev in Edinburgh, London, Vienna, Luxembourg, and New York. Recital performances will capture audiences with the cycles of the daunting complete Prokofiev sonatas over three programs in Berlin, New York's Carnegie Hall, and Cal Performances, Berkeley. As a regular guest, Mr. Bronfman will return to the Vienna, New York and Los Angeles philharmonics, Mariinsky, Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras, as well as the symphonies of Boston, Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco and Seattle.
Following the success of their first US tour last spring, Mr. Bronfman will rejoin Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lynn Harrell in May for a European tour that takes them from Madrid to Berlin, Moscow and Milan. Always keen to explore chamber music repertoire, his partners have also included Martha Argerich, Magdalena Kožená, Emmanuel Pahud, Pinchas Zukerman and many others.
Mr. Bronfman works regularly with an illustrious group of conductors, including Daniel Barenboim, Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Riccardo Chailly, Christoph von Dohnányi, Gustavo Dudamel, Charles Dutoit, Daniele Gatti, Valery Gergiev, Alan Gilbert, Mariss Jansons, Vladimir Jurowski, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Andris Nelsons, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Franz Welser-Möst, and David Zinman. Summer engagements have regularly taken him to the major festivals of Europe and the US.
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.
Widely praised for his solo, chamber and orchestral recordings, Mr. Bronfman was nominated for a GRAMMY® Award in 2009 for his Deutsche Grammophon recording of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s piano concerto with Salonen conducting, and in 1997 he won a GRAMMY® Award, again with Salonen, for his recording of the three Bartók Piano Concerti and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His prolific catalog of recordings includes works for two pianos by Rachmaninoff and Brahms with Emanuel Ax, the complete Prokofiev concerti with the Israel Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, a Schubert/Mozart disc with the Zukerman Chamber Players and the soundtrack to Disney's Fantasia 2000. His most recent CD releases are the 2014 GRAMMY® nominated Magnus Lindberg's Piano Concerto No. 2 commissioned for him and performed by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Alan Gilbert on the Da Capo label; Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.1 with Mariss Jansons and the Bayerischer Rundfunk; a recital disc, Perspectives, complementing Mr. Bronfman’s designation as a Carnegie Hall ‘Perspectives’ artist for the 2007-08 season; and recordings of all the Beethoven piano concerti as well as the Triple Concerto together with violinist Gil Shaham, cellist Truls Mørk, and the Tönhalle Orchestra Zürich under David Zinman for the Arte Nova/BMG label.
Now available on DVD are his performances of Liszt's second piano concerto with Franz Welser-Möst and the Vienna Philharmonic from Schoenbrunn, 2010 on Deutsche Grammophon; Beethoven’s fifth piano concerto with Andris Nelsons and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra from the 2011 Lucerne Festival, and Rachmaninoff’s third concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle on the EuroArts label. Scheduled for DVD release later this year are both Brahms Concerti with Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.