[ Concerts ]
Guest conductor James Conlon leads the Yale Philharmonia Oct. 18
The Yale School of Music presents the distinguished conductor James Conlon leading the Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale on Friday, October 18, 2013. Conlon, a specialist in the music of Benjamin Britten, will conduct Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. The concert takes place at 8 pm in Woolsey Hall (500 College Street, New Haven).
2013 marks the centenary of Benjamin Britten, and Conlon is engaged in a three-year project to mark the anniversary. Britten wrote the Sinfonia da Requiem in 1940, when he was 26 years old, as a protest against the Second World War. The piece’s use of the Latin titles from the Catholic Requiem, its somber mood, and its subtle militaristic allusions all contribute to the pacifist composer’s message.
Gustav Mahler composed his Symphony No. 5 in 1901 and 1902 at his summer cottage in Maiernigg, Austria. The piece, which lasts over an hour, traverses a broad scope of human emotion. Like the Britten piece, this symphony alludes to death; its opening movement is a funeral march; the famous fourth-movement Adagietto is a love song to Mahler’s wife, Alma. Conductor Herbert von Karajan said that when one hears Mahler’s Fifth, “you forget that time has passed. A great performance of the Fifth is a transforming experience.”
Admission to the concert is free, and no tickets are required. For more information, call the Yale School of Music concert office at 203 432-4158 or visit music.yale.edu.
About the Performers
The Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale, conducted by Shinik Hahm, is one of America’s foremost music school ensembles. The largest performing group at the Yale School of Music, the Philharmonia offers superb training in orchestral playing and repertoire. Performances include an annual series of concerts in Woolsey Hall, as well as Yale Opera productions in the Schubert Performing Arts Center. In addition to its season of six Woolsey Hall concerts, the Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale has performed on numerous occasions in Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York City and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In 2008 the Philharmonia undertook its first tour of Asia, with acclaimed performances in the Seoul Arts Center, the Forbidden City Concert Hall and National Center for the Performing Arts (Beijing), and the Shanghai Grand Theatre.
James Conlon, one of today’s most versatile and respected conductors, has cultivated a vast symphonic, operatic and choral repertoire. Since his 1974 debut with the New York Philharmonic, he has conducted virtually every major American and European symphony orchestra. Through worldwide touring, an extensive discography and videography, numerous essays and commentaries, frequent television appearances and guest speaking engagements, Mr. Conlon is one of classical music’s most recognized interpreters. Mr. Conlon is music director of Los Angeles Opera (since 2006), the Ravinia Festival (since 2005), and the Cincinnati May Festival (since 1979), America’s oldest choral festival. He has served as Principal Conductor of the Paris National Opera (1995–2004); General Music Director of the City of Cologne, Germany (1989–2002), where he was Music Director of both the Gürzenich Orchestra-Cologne Philharmonic and the Cologne Opera; and Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic (1983–1991).
Mr. Conlon is currently engaged in a three-year project to mark the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten culminating in 2013. A long-time devotee of Britten’s music, the project includes six different Britten operas, as well as symphonic and choral works performed in the U.S. and Europe.
In an effort to raise awareness of the significance of the lesser-known works of composers silenced by the Nazi regime, Mr. Conlon has devoted himself to extensive programming of this music throughout Europe and North America. Conlon received the Crystal Globe Award from the Anti-Defamation League in 2007 at Ravinia for championing these works and in 1999 he received the Zemlinsky Prize, for his efforts in bringing that composer’s music to international attention. His work on behalf of suppressed composers led to the creation of The OREL Foundation, a resource for music lovers, students, musicians and scholars. Committed to working with pre-professional musicians, Mr. Conlon has devoted his time to teaching at The Juilliard School, New World Symphony, Ravinia Festival, Aspen Music Festival and School, and Tanglewood Music Center.
Mr. Conlon was named Commandeur de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture, and in 2002, he received France’s highest distinction from then President of the French Republic Jacques Chirac: the Légion d’Honneur.