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Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
URL Copied
Parsifal, Wagner’s final opera, is a majestic work that reaches heavenly heights in its spiritually transcendent third act. Wagner was Bruckner’s idol, and the sweeping breadth and tonal language of the older composer inspired much of his music. At the time of his death, Bruckner had only completed three movements of his Ninth Symphony, but what he left is compelling and deeply touching. His symphony ascends from a musical primordial haze to a finale that explores new harmonies and peace in its quiet closing benediction.


Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Daniele Gatti, Chief Conductor


WAGNER Prelude to Act III and Good Friday Spell from Parsifal
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 9

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission. Please note that there will be no late seating before intermission.

The Trustees of Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledge the generosity of James Thurmond Smithgall in support of the 2017-2018 season.

At a Glance

This evening, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra presents two works of the late 19th century that are underpinned by profound spiritual themes. There is also a strong connection between their composers, Richard Wagner and Anton Bruckner. Although a symphonist and not an opera composer, Bruckner nevertheless worshipped Wagner and was deeply inspired by his music dramas. Wagner, in response, honored Bruckner’s then-controversial symphonies.

Both Wagner’s Parsifal and Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony are the composers’ last works. Wagner was lucky enough to be able to complete his opera, but Bruckner died before he could give his Ninth its fourth and final movement. Thus, the Ninth concludes with its magnificent Adagio, which makes for an extraordinarily effective ultimate statement.

Although Wagner was not a believing Christian, he filled Parsifal with religious themes and symbols, both Christian and Buddhist. A fervently devout Catholic, Bruckner made all his symphonies—and especially his Ninth—epic spiritual journeys toward union with God.


Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) is one of the very best orchestras in the world. Time and time again, critics have praised its unique sound. The orchestra’s strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion have all gained an international reputation for their timbre. The exceptional acoustics of the Concertgebouw play an important role in this reputation. Equally important, however, is the quality of the musicians themselves and the influence exerted on the orchestra by its chief conductors, of which there have been only seven since the orchestra was founded in 1888: Willem Kes (1888–1895), Willem Mengelberg (1895–1945), Eduard van Beinum (1945–1959), Bernard Haitink (1961–1988), Riccardo Chailly (1988–2004), Mariss Jansons (2004–2015), and now Daniele Gatti (since September 2016).

Leading composers such as Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss conducted the orchestra on more than one occasion. The orchestra still regularly collaborates with contemporary composers and contributes to the development of new music by regularly commissioning compositions.

In addition to some 90 concerts performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the RCO gives 40 concerts at leading halls around the world each year. The orchestra has made more than 1,100 recordings to date, many of which have won international accolades. Since 2004, the RCO boasts its own in-house label, RCO Live.

In celebration of its 125th anniversary, in 2013 the orchestra undertook a world tour, visiting six continents in a single year.
Between 2016 and 2018, all 28 member states of the European Union will be visited for the RCO Meets Europe tour. In each EU country, the orchestra will perform at least one work together with a local youth orchestra.

Daniele Gatti

Born in Milan, Daniele Gatti studied piano, composition, and conducting at the Conservatorio di Milano. He has been chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra since the 2016–2017 season.

Between 2008 and 2016, Maestro Gatti was the music director of the Orchestre National de France. Previously, he was music director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (London); principal conductor of the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (Rome); principal guest conductor at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (London); music director of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna; and principal conductor at the Opernhaus Zürich. In 2016, he was appointed artistic adviser of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

As a guest conductor, Maestro Gatti regularly leads the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and Filarmonica della Scala. He has conducted many new productions at leading opera houses all around the world and has close ties with the Teatro alla Scala in Milan and the Vienna State Opera. Maestro Gatti is one of the few Italian conductors ever invited to the Bayreuth Festival, where he conducted Wagner’s Parsifal in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. At the Metropolitan Opera in New York, he made his debut in a production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in 2004, and he returned in 2013 for an acclaimed new production of Parsifal, the DVD of which was released in 2014.

Since his debut in April 2004, he has been a regular guest with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Maestro Gatti is a Grande Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana and was awarded the prestigious Franco Abbiati Prize in both 2005 and 2016. The French Republic named him a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.

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