Alexander Malofeev

Alexander Malofeev
Alexander Malofeev, pianist (b. 2001, Moscow). Photo by Liudmila Malofeeva

Friday, October 13, 2017

Conor Abbott Brown: How to Relax With Origami | Samuel Barber: Piano Concerto | Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.3 in E flat major "Eroica" – Olga Kern, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin – Saturday, October 14, 2017, 08:00 PM EDT (UTC-4) / Sunday, October 15, 2017, 03:00 AM EEST (UTC+3) – Live on Livestream

Olga Kern (Photo by Chris Lee)

Leonard Slatkin's 10th Season as DSO Music Director opens with Beethoven's transformational 3rd Symphony, a work that would redefine the scope of what a symphony could be, and called the "Eroica" for its wide range of emotion. Pianist Olga Kern returns to perform Barber's Piano Concerto, a famously challenging work that was made humanly possible to play only after a timely intervention by the mighty Vladimir Horowitz.

Saturday, October 14
Los Angeles: 05:00 PM
Detroit, New York, Toronto: 08:00 PM

Sunday, October 15
London: 01:00 AM
Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, Rome: 02:00 AM
Moscow, Kiev, Jerusalem, Athens: 03:00 AM
Beijing: 08:00 AM
Tokyo: 09:00 AM

Find in my time zone

Live on Livestream

Conor Abbott Brown (1988)

♪ How to Relax With Origami (2017) (World premiere)

Samuel Barber (1910-1981)

♪ Piano Concerto, Op.38 (1960-1962)

i. Allegro appassionato
ii. Canzone. Moderato
iii. Allegro molto

Olga Kern, piano

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

♪ Symphony No.3 in E flat major "Eroica", Op.55 (1804)

i. Allegro con brio
ii. Marcia funebre: Adagio assai in C minor
iii. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
iv. Finale: Allegro molto

Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Leonard Slatkin

(HD 720p)

Live from Orchestra Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit

Saturday, October 14, 2017, 08:00 PM EDT (UTC-4) / Sunday, October 15, 2017, 03:00 AM EEST (UTC+3)

Live on Livestream

Photo by Tatiana Borodina
Russian-American pianist Olga Kern is now recognized as one of her generation's great artists. With her vivid stage presence, passionately confident musicianship and extraordinary technique, the striking pianist continues to captivate fans and critics alike. Olga Kern was born into a family of musicians with direct links to Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov and began studying piano at the age of five. She jumpstarted her U.S. career with her historic Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas as the first woman to do so in more than thirty years.

Steinway Artist and First prize winner of the Rachmaninov International Piano Competition at the age of seventeen, Olga Kern is a laureate of many international competitions and tours throughout Russia, Europe, the United States, Japan, South Africa and South Korea. In 2016 she served as Jury Chairman of both the Seventh Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition and the first Olga Kern International Piano Competition, where she also holds the title of Artistic Director.

Kern serves as Artist in Residence to the San Antonio Symphony's 2017-2018 season, appearing in two subscription weeks as well as solo recital. She will also perform with Madison Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Copenhagen Philharmonic, Austin Symphony, New Mexico Philharmonic, Arizona Musicfest Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, and Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. Olga Kern will premiere her first American concerto Barber's Piano Concerto with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin. She will give recitals at the University of Arizona, the Lied Center in Lincoln, NE, the Sanibel Music Festival in Sanibel, FL, and abroad in Mainz and Turin. Additionally, Olga Kern will perform in the Huntington Estate Music Festival with Musica Viva in Australia.

Highlights of the previous season include her Chinese debut with the National Youth Orchestra of China tour, concerts with Pacific Symphony, Colorado Symphony, the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart Philharmonic, Tivoli Symphony Orchestra, and La Jolla Music Festival, and recitals in Santa Fe, New Haven, Scottsdale, and San Francisco. Olga Kern opened the Baltimore Symphony's 2015-2016 centennial season with Marin Alsop. Other season highlights included returns to the Royal Philharmonic with Pinchas Zukerman, Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice with Giancarlo Guerrero, a month-long tour of South Africa for concerts with the Cape and KwaZulu Natal philharmonics, an Israeli tour with the Israel Symphony, solo recitals at Sarasota's Van Wezel Hall, New York's 92nd Street Y, and the University of Kansas' Lied Center, and recitals with Renée Fleming in Carnegie Hall and Berkeley.

In recent seasons, Olga Kern has performed with Tokyo's NHK Symphony, Orchestre National De Lyon, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, the symphonies of Detroit for Tchaikovsky Piano Concertos 1, 2 & 3, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Nashville, Colorado, Madison, and Austin, and gave recitals in New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Louisville, and alongside Renée Fleming and Kathleen Battle. Olga Kern's performance career has brought her to many of the world's most important venues, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Salzburger Festspielhaus, La Scala in Milan, Tonhalle in Zurich, and the Châtelet in Paris.

Olga Kern's discography includes Harmonia Mundi recordings of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1 with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Christopher Seaman (2003), her Grammy Nominated recording of Rachmaninov's Corelli Variations and other transcriptions (2004), a recital disk with works by Rachmaninov and Balakirev (2005), Chopin's Piano Concerto No.1 with the Warsaw Philharmonic and Antoni Wit (2006), Brahms Variations (2007) and a 2010 release of Chopin Piano Sonatas Nos. 2 and 3 (2010). Most recently, SONY released their recording of Olga Kern performing the Rachmaninov Sonata for Cello and Piano with cellist Sol Gabetta. She was also featured in the award-winning documentary about the 2001 Cliburn Competition, Playing on the Edge, as well as Olga's Journey, Musical Odyssey in St Petersburg and in They Came to Play. In 2012, Olga and her brother, conductor and composer, Vladimir Kern, co-founded the "Aspiration" foundation whose objective is to provide financial and artistic assistance to musicians throughout the world.

In 2017, Olga Kern was gratified to receive the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, joining other honorees including Rosa Parks, Buzz Aldrin, Coretta Scott King, and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. This commendation recognizes Americans who "embody the spirit of America in their salute to tolerance, brotherhood, diversity, and patriotism".


Photo by Michelle Christiance

Conor Abbott Brown is a composer, clarinetist, and producer from Boulder, Colorado. His music is motivated by the sweeping prairies, big sky, and jagged peaks of the American West. His compositions often feature complex, driving rhythms, sustained tension, and colorful ornamentation inspired by folk music from around the world. Conor has had works commissioned by the Albany Symphony Orchestra, groundbreaking amplified chamber orchestra Dogs of Desire, clarinet virtuoso David Krakauer, the American Symphony Orchestra, New York City-based chamber orchestra Contemporaneous, the Da Capo Chamber Players, the Colorado Children's Chorale, and many others.Conor has performed as the guest principal clarinetist of the American Symphony Orchestra, as a concerto soloist with the Boston-based Cadenza Players, and with Contemporaneous. As part of the Carnegie Hall Professional Training Workshop Exploring Klezmer, Conor performed as both a clarinetist and as a sampling / laptop artist. Conor's Wordless Music Series performance of Osvaldo Golijov's The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind was featured on New York City radio station WNYC. Conor holds a B.A. in dance and a B.M. in music composition from Bard College and the Bard College Conservatory of Music. He has studied composition with Joan Tower, John Halle, Randy Woolf, and George Tsontakis, and clarinet with David Krakauer, Laura Flax, and Daniel Silver. Conor also has many credits as a freelance record producer and audio engineer and is a founding member of the progressive metal band Fifth Veil.


Olga Kern, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin

Samuel Barber: Piano Concerto, Op.38

Samuel Barber's Piano Concerto (1960-1962) served as the composer's final masterpiece, and arguably the zenith of his professional life. For its composition he received his second Pulitzer Prize (1963) and, one year later, the Music Critics' Circle Award; during this period, Barber was among the most honored and respected living American composers, both at home and abroad.

The Concerto was commissioned in 1959 by G. Schirmer, Inc. – Barber's publisher for most of his career – in honor of the company's upcoming 100th anniversary. The work was to be among the first performed at Lincoln Center's new Philharmonic Hall, which was under construction at the time; John Browning, Barber's favorite pianist at the time, would be the soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Erich Leinsdorf.

The Concerto is notable as an instance of the composer's self-borrowing; for the work's second movement, he orchestrated and elaborated upon the Elegy for Flute and Piano (1959). This movement, as well as the concerto's first, was complete by 1960, but the last movement was not completed until two weeks prior to the premiere, on September 24, 1962. Work was partly delayed by Barber's lengthy depression following the death of his sister; also, in the spring of 1962, Barber became the first American composer to attend the Congress of Soviet Composers.

As he had done in previous compositions intended for a soloist, Barber worked closely with Browning to shape the work around his style and technical skills – apparently listening to three days worth of the pianist's repertoire in the process (similar partnerships were formed during the composition of the Cello Concerto (1945), with Raya Garbousova, and the Piano Sonata (1949), with Vladimir Horowitz.

The resulting masterwork incorporates Barber's natural affinity for flowing melody and rather traditional compositional demeanor into an imposing structure. Eschewing any need for an orchestral introduction, the first movement ends with a declamatory recitative for the soloist – substantial enough to accommodate three distinct themes – that gradually gives way to a more lyrical strain in the full orchestra. Over the course of the movement, which is roughly in sonata form, these two elements – declamation and impassioned lyricism – are ever more intricately entwined.

The previously mentioned second movement is considerably calmer in mood, very much like a song; true to its origins, it features the solo flute as a main protagonist, while the piano occasionally assumes an accompanimental role. The finale, much more rhythmic and active, seizes obsessively on an ostinato figure in the piano that, within the movement's persistent 5/8 meter, takes on a sinuous, ambiguous quality.

Source: Chris Boyes (

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.3 in E flat major "Eroica", Op.55

Beethoven completed this work in 1804; it was introduced privately in Vienna, chez Prince Lobkowitz, to whom it is dedicated. Beethoven also conducted the public premiere on April 7, 1805, in the Theater-an-der-Wien. Despite everything written to the contrary, the Sinfonia eroica was never a "portrait" of Napoleon Bonaparte, although Beethoven did plan to dedicate it to the charismatic Corsican "First Consul of France". He went into a rage, however, when a pupil, Ferdinand Ries, brought news in May 1804 that Napoleon had crowned himself Emperor. According to Ries, Beethoven shouted that the General was only "an ordinary human being, [and] went to the table, took hold of the title page, tore it in two, and threw it on the floor".

A different story posits that Beethoven erased the Napoleonic dedication from a copy made in August 1804 and entitled Sinfonia grande. In fact, Sinfonia eroica did not appear as the work's title until publication in 1806.

What Beethoven never told Ries was that Prince Lobkowitz, before May 1804, had proffered a handsome fee in exchange for the dedication, which Napoleon's subsequent arrogance made possible. Or that Beethoven realized the advantage in bringing with him a Sinfonia Bonaparte when a Parisian trip was proposed later on (but never materialized). It was conductor Arturo Toscanini who put everything into perspective 50-odd years ago: "Some say Napoleon, some say Hitler, some say Mussolini; for me it is Allegro con brio".

The sheer length of the Eroica's first movement was revolutionary – an opening movement of 691 measures, plus an exposition repeat of 151 measures. No less revolutionary was Beethoven's jarring C sharp at the end of a main theme in E flat major – indeed it is an E flat arpeggio. Not until the recapitulation does that C sharp become D flat enharmonically. It is in this movement that the long-range harmonic connections explored over the course of the Romantic era have their real start; the movement is heroic mainly in the vastness of its reach.

A "Funeral March" slow movement was hardly revolutionary, but the span of his C minor slow movement, in rondo form, was unprecedented, and so was its range of emotions from outright grief to C major solace. Although "hunt" music in the third-movement Trio may have startled the Eroica's first audience after funerary tragedy on an unprecedented scale, hunting music in Beethoven's time was even more modish than funeral marches. However, he used it for more than mere surprise in the midst of an onrushing and sometimes raucous scherzo (thereby banishing minuets and Ländlers until the symphonies of Bruckner and Mahler). Psychologically he needed sunshine after so much weighty, solemn music.

He was also setting up a racy finale – a set of variations including a fugue that detractors ever since have called a falling-off of inspiration. This kind of argument ignores, however, not only what preceded the Eroica historically – Bach's Goldberg Variations for example – but also Beethoven's own ennoblement of the form. He had already used the legato second theme of his Eroica finale in The Creatures of Prometheus (ballet music of 1800), in an 1802 Contredanse, and as the subject of 15 keyboard variations that same year (Op.35), subtitled Eroica once the symphony had been published. A never-ending wonder is the viability of this subject after so much use. Beethoven's range of invention in the symphonic finale of 1804 – from hymnody to humor, from fugue to dance, culminating in a Presto coda – successfully freed the listener from the gripping, even shocking drama that has stalked his first and second movements.

Source: Roger Dettmer (

See also

Frédéric Chopin: Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor & other works – Olga Kern, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Antoni Wit (Audio video)

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