Performance Wednesday, April 3, 2013 | 8 PM

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
From its atmospheric opening notes to its propulsive finale, Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra is among the composer’s most popular and best-known works, as well as one of the truly great pieces of the past 100 years. Also on this program is Rachmaninoff’s virtuosic Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, featuring pianist Garrick Ohlsson.


  • Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Conductor
  • Garrick Ohlsson, Piano


  • HINDEMITH Concert Music for Strings and Brass, Op. 50
  • RACHMANINOFF Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
  • BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra


  • Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos

    A regular guest with North America's notable orchestras, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos conducts the major ensembles of Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, and Toronto this season. He appears annually at Tanglewood, conducting both the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, and regularly with the Chicago and National symphony orchestras and The Philadelphia Orchestra. Born in Burgos, Spain, in 1933, Mr. Frühbeck de Burgos studied violin, piano, music theory, and composition at the conservatories in Bilbao and Madrid, and conducting at Munich's Hochschule für Musik, where he graduated summa cum laude and was awarded the Richard Strauss Prize. From 2004 to 2011, he was chief conductor and artistic director of the Dresdner Philharmoniker; this season he assumed his post as chief conductor of the Danish National Orchestra. He has made extensive tours with such ensembles as the Philharmonia of London, London Symphony Orchestra, National Orchestra of Madrid, and Swedish Radio Orchestra, and has toured North America with the Vienna Symphony, Spanish National Orchestra, and Dresdner Philharmoniker. Named Conductor of the Year by Musical America in 2011, he has received numerous other honors and distinctions, among them the Gold Medal of the City of Vienna, the Bundesverdienstkreuz of the Republic of Austria and Germany, the Gold Medal from the Gustav Mahler International Society, and the Jacinto Guerrero Prize, Spain's most important musical award, conferred in 1997 by the Queen of Spain. In 1998, Mr. Frühbeck de Burgos was appointed Emeritus Conductor by the Spanish National Orchestra. He has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Navarra in Spain, and since 1975 has been a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. Mr. Frühbeck de Burgos has recorded extensively for EMI, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Columbia (Spain), and Orfeo, including acclaimed releases of Mendelssohn's Elijah and St. Paul, Mozart's Requiem, Orff's Carmina Burana, Bizet's Carmen, and the complete works of Manuel de Falla. He made his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut in 1971, and since August 2000 has been a frequent guest leading the BSO both at Symphony Hall and at Tanglewood.


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  • Garrick Ohlsson

    Winner of the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition, Garrick Ohlsson commands an enormous repertoire that includes some 80 concertos. His 2012-2013 season includes performances of Busoni's Piano Concerto with the European Union Youth Orchestra; concerts with the London Philharmonic followed by a monthlong tour in Australia, where he records both Brahms concertos in performance; concerts with The Cleveland Orchestra in Florida; Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 3 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; a Kennedy Center appearance with the Iceland Symphony as part of the center's Nordic Festival; an East Coast tour with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra; and return visits to the orchestras of Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Houston, and Baltimore. Honoring the Franz Liszt bicentenary, his 2011-2012 season included Liszt recitals in Chicago, Hong Kong, London, and New York. A season earlier, marking the Chopin bicentenary, he presented a series of all-Chopin recitals that culminated at Lincoln Center. In conjunction with that project, a documentary, The Art of Chopin, was released in autumn 2010, followed by a DVD of both Chopin concertos. Also an avid chamber musician, Mr. Ohlsson has collaborated with the Cleveland, Emerson, Takács, and Tokyo string quartets. With violinist Jorja Fleezanis and cellist Michael Grebanier, he is a founding member of the San Francisco-based FOG Trio. A prolific recording artist, he can be heard on Arabesque, RCA Victor Red Seal, Angel, BMG, Delos, Hänssler, Nonesuch, Telarc, and Virgin Classics. A native of White Plains, New York, Mr. Ohlsson began his piano studies at eight, attended the Westchester Conservatory of Music, and entered The Juilliard School at 13. His distinguished teachers included, 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 Montreal Piano Competition, it was his winning of the Gold Medal at the 1970 International Chopin Competition in Warsaw that brought him worldwide recognition; he has since made nearly a dozen tours of Poland. He was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize in 1994 and received the 1998 University Musical Society Distinguished Artist Award in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Bartók's The Miraculous Mandarin (Pantomime in one act)
Boston Symphony Orchestra | Seiji Ozawa, Conductor
Newton Classics

At a Glance

This program begins and ends with two works given their world premieres by the Boston Symphony Orchestra: German composer Paul Hindemith's Konzertmusik for Strings and Brass, a BSO 50th-anniversary commission premiered under Serge Koussevitzky in April 1931; and Hungarian composer Béla Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, personally commissioned by Koussevitzky and premiered in December 1944.

Hindemith's masterfully conceived Konzertmusik is a two-movement work built on materials designed to showcase the strings and brass of the orchestra to telling effect, both separately and together. Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra is imbued with the melodic contours, harmonies, and rhythms of his country's indigenous music, which he studied intensively throughout his career. Premiered less than a year before his death, it marked Bartók's first real success with a broad audience and is now a staple of the orchestral repertoire.

In between comes Rachmaninoff's virtuosic Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, an extended set of variations on the theme of Paganini's 24th Caprice for solo violin. Rachmaninoff also introduces, as a second theme, the Dies irae chant from the Mass for the Dead, presumably to suggest the alleged bargain between Paganini and the devil that resulted in Paganini's own phenomenal virtuosity.
Program Notes
KPMG 124X46
Sponsored by KPMG LLP
This performance is part of Concertos Plus.