Alice Sara Ott

Alice Sara Ott
Alice Sara Ott (Photo by Ester Haase)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.6 in B minor "Pathétique" | Chris Cerrone: Violin Concerto | Roshanne Etezady: Diamond Rain – Jennifer Koh, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Peter Oundjian – Saturday, May 26, 2018, 08:00 PM EDT (GMT-4) – Livestream

Jennifer Koh (Photo by Chris Lee)

Detroit, May 15, 2018. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) today announced that Peter Oundjian, Robert Spano, and Jader Bignamini will step in to conduct the final three weekends of concerts in the orchestra's 2017-2018 Classical Series. DSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin was forced to withdraw from these programs two weeks ago after tests revealed that he needed heart surgery. Maestro Slatkin underwent a successful triple bypass heart operation on May 8 and is expected to fully recover and return to conducting in about three months.

The three programs, which were to be Maestro Slatkin's final concerts as DSO music director following his tenth anniversary season, are unchanged and feature major symphonic works, opera in concert, and world premieres by three young American composers.

In the first week, Toronto Symphony Orchestra Music Director (and former DSO Principal Guest Conductor) Peter Oundjian will conduct Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.6 and two DSO-commissioned world premieres: Chris Cerrone's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, "Breaks and Breaks", written for featured soloist Jennifer Koh, and Diamond Rain by Roshanne Etezady, commissioned for Leonard Slatkin's season-long project to feature new concert opening works by young American composers.


Saturday, May 26
Los Angeles: 05:00 PM
Lima: 7:00 PM
Detroit, New York, Toronto: 08:00 PM
Brasília: 09:00 PM

May 27

London: 01:00 AM
Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, Warsaw, Stockholm: 02:00 AM
Athens, Kiev, Jerusalem, Moscow, Ankara: 03:00 AM
Beijing, Manila: 08:00 AM
Tokyo, Seoul: 09:00 AM

Find in my time zone

Live on Livestream

Roshanne Etezady (1973)

♪ Diamond Rain (2018) (World Premiere)

Chris Cerrone (1984)

♪ Violin Concerto "Breaks and Breaks" (2018) (World Premiere)*

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

♪ Symphony No.6 in B minor 
"Pathétique", Op.74 (1893)

i. Adagio – Allegro non troppo

ii. Allegro con grazia
iii. Allegro molto vivace
iv. Finale. Adagio lamentoso

Jennifer Koh, violin*

Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Peter Oundjian

(HD 720p)

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

Saturday, May 26, 2018, 08:00 PM EDT (GMT-4) / Sunday, May 27, 2018, 03:00 AM EEST (UTC+3)

Live on Livestream

Photo by Juergen Frank
Violinist Jennifer Koh is recognized for her intense, commanding performances, delivered with dazzling virtuosity and technical assurance. An adventurous musician, she collaborates with artists of multiple disciplines and curates projects that find connections between music of all eras from traditional to contemporary. She believes that all the arts and music of the past and present form a continuum and has premiered over 60 works written especially for her.

Ms. Koh is well known for curating projects that involve commissions from today's foremost composers, and among her many activities during the 2017-2018 season, she premieres new works written for her New American Concerto commissioning project, a multi-season project that explores the form of the violin concerto and its potential for artistic engagement with contemporary societal concerns and issues through commissions from a diverse collective of composers. New American Concerto launched in the summer of 2017 with Vijay Iyer's Trouble – a co-commission of the Ojai Music Festival, Cal Performances in Berkeley, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, this season, Ms. Koh will premiere a new concerto by Christopher Cerrone, commissioned by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

In recital, Ms. Koh launches Limitless: On Stage Together, a commissioning project that engages composer-performers to write new duo compositions and premiere them with Ms. Koh. The project is designed to explore the symbiotic relationship and blurred boundaries between composer and performer. Participating composers include Lisa Bielawa (voice), Zosha di Castri (piano), Vijay Iyer (piano), Missy Mazzoli (synthesizer), Qasim Naqvi (electronics and keyboard), Tyshawn Sorey (percussion), Lu Wang (electronics), Nina Young (electronics), and Du Yun (voice), and the premiere performances take place over two concert programs at National Sawdust in March 2018.

Ms. Koh also continues critically acclaimed series from past seasons, including Shared Madness, comprising short works for solo violin that explore virtuosity in the 21st century, written for the project by more than 30 of today's most celebrated composers; and Bach and Beyond, a recital series that traces the history of the solo violin repertoire from Bach's Six Sonatas and Partitas to 20th- and 21st-century composers. In addition to experiencing Shared Madness in the concert hall, listeners are also able to hear recordings of the premiere performances and interviews between Ms. Koh and the composers via the Shared Madness radio show, which originally aired on WQXR's Q2 Music during the summer of 2017 and remains available on demand at Ms. Koh and her frequent recital partner Shai Wosner continue Bridge to Beethoven, which pairs Beethoven's violin sonatas with new and recent works inspired by them to explore the composer's impact and significance on a diverse group of musicians; and she performs with the Variation String Trio – of which she is a founding member – and pianist Orion Weiss, in composer Nina C. Young's piano quartet Spero Lucem and works by Schubert, Beethoven, and Brahms presented by the People's Symphony in New York City.

She also performs a broad range of concertos that reflects the breadth of her musical interests, including Barber's Violin Concerto with the Marin Symphony Orchestra and Oklahoma City Philharmonic; Bernstein's Serenade with the Fresno Philharmonic; Unsuk Chin's Violin Concerto with the Melbourne Symphony; Anna Clyne's Rest These Hands with the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne; Lutoslawski's Chain 2 with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Kaija Saariaho's Graal théâtre with the Galicia Symphony Orchestra; Esa-Pekka Salonen's Violin Concerto with the Nashville and Tampere Symphony Orchestras; Sibelius' Violin Concerto with the Columbus and Williamsburg Symphony Orchestras; Szymanowski's Second Violin Concerto with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; and Charles Wuorinen's Spin5 with Ensemble Signal.

Ms. Koh has been heard with leading orchestras around the world including the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics; the Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, BBC Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Houston Symphony, Mariinsky Theatre, Milwaukee Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, Nashville Symphony, National Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, New World Symphony, NHK Symphony (Tokyo), Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philharmonia (London) Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, RAI National Symphony Orchestra (Torino), St Louis Symphony, Seattle Symphony and Singapore Symphony, among others. Conductors she has worked with include John Adams, Marin Alsop, James Conlon, Gustavo Dudamel, Christoph Eschenbach, Giancarlo Guerrero, Manfred Honek, Louis Langree, Carlos Kalmar, Lorin Maazel, Sakari Oramo, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Juraj Valčuha, Osmo Vänskä, Alexander Vedernikov, and Edo de Waart. She played the role of Einstein in the revival of Philip Glass' Einstein on the Beach from 2012-2014, and a particular highlight of her career was performing for former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama and former First Lady of South Korea Kim Yoon-ok in 2011.

Ms. Koh brings the same sense of adventure and brilliant musicianship to her recordings as she does to her live performances. Her latest album, Tchaikovsky: Complete Works for Violin and Orchestra with the Odense Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alexander Vedernikov, released in September 2016, is Ms. Koh's eleventh recording for the Cedille Records label. Ms. Koh first performed Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto conducted by Mr. Vedernikov in the final round of the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in 1992 and went on to win the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow with the concerto in 1994. In addition to her Bach & Beyond and Two x Four albums, her discography on Cedille Records also includes Signs, Games + Messages, a recording of violin and piano works by Janáček, Bartók, and Kurtág with Mr. Wosner; Rhapsodic Musings: 21st Century Works for Solo Violin; the Grammy-nominated String Poetic, featuring the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon's eponymous work, performed with pianist Reiko Uchida; Schumann's complete violin sonatas, also with Ms. Uchida; Portraits with the Grant Park Orchestra under conductor Carlos Kalmar with concerti by Szymanowski, Martinů, and Bartók; Violin Fantasies: fantasies for violin and piano by Schubert, Schumann, Schoenberg, and saxophonist Ornette Coleman, again with Ms. Uchida; and Ms. Koh's first Cedille album, from 2002, Solo Chaconnes, an earlier reading of Bach's Second Partita coupled with chaconnes by Richard Barth and Max Reger. Ms. Koh is also the featured soloist on a recording of Ms. Higdon's The Singing Rooms with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra led by Robert Spano for Telarc.

Ms. Koh is the Artistic Director of arco collaborative, an artist-driven nonprofit that fosters a better understanding of our world through a musical dialogue inspired by ideas and the communities around us. The organization supports artistic collaborations and commissions, transforming the creative process by engaging with specific ideas and perspectives, investing in the future by cultivating artist-citizens in partnership with educational organizations. A committed educator, she has won high praise for her performances in classrooms around the country under her innovative "Music Messenger" outreach program. Ms. Koh is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Foundation for the Advancement for the Arts, a scholarship program for high school students in the arts.

Born in 1976 in Chicago of Korean parents, Ms. Koh began playing the violin by chance, choosing the instrument in a Suzuki-method program only because spaces for cello and piano had been filled. She made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11. Ms. Koh is Musical America's 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year, a winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and a recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Oberlin College and studied at the Curtis Institute, where she worked extensively with Jaime Laredo and Felix Galimir.


Peter Oundjian is one of a growing number of highly successful instrumentalists who largely abandon their chosen instrument in favor of a conducting career. In Oundjian's case the change was necessitated by a repetitive motion injury. He began as a violinist, a high-profile one at that, serving as the first violinist with the famed Tokyo String Quartet. From 1995, he turned his focus to the baton and soon was guest-conducting performances with some of the leading American orchestras, including the Saint Louis (1998) and Houston Symphony (1999). As the music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra since 2004, he is among the leading Canadian conductors. On the podium his repertory has been broad, encompassing works by composers from Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Mahler to Rachmaninov, Ravel, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and the moderns. As a member of the Tokyo String Quartet he played a similarly broad range of works, including the complete quartets of Beethoven and Brahms. Oundjian's many recordings are available from RCA, Vox, DG, EMI, and Harmonia Mundi.

Peter Oundjian was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1955. From age seven, he studied violin with Manoug Parikian in England, where he received his general education. He had later studies there with Béla Katona, and following work on several recordings with Benjamin Britten, Oundjian developed an interest in conducting. Nevertheless, he kept his focus on the violin and enrolled at London's Royal College of Music earning a gold medal for most distinguished student. He had further studies at Juilliard with Itzhak Perlman, Dorothy Delay, and Ivan Galamian.

In 1980 Oundjian won the Vina Del Mar International Violin Competition in Chile. The following year he joined the Tokyo String Quartet and served as the first violinist until 1995, when his injury forced a change. In 1995 he debuted at the Caramoor Festival leading the Orchestra of St Luke's. From 1998-2003 Oundjian served as artistic director of the Amsterdam Sinfonietta (initially known as the Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam).

After assuming duties in Toronto in 2004, Oundjian was instrumental in helping resolve the orchestra's existing financial woes. Oundjian was appointed principal guest conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2006. The following year he and the Toronto Symphony management signed an agreement extending his contract to 2012, then to 2017. He also became music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in 2012. Among Oundjian's more acclaimed recordings is a 2002 BIS CD of arrangements of Beethoven's Grosse Fuge and Op.131 Quartet, with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta.

Source: Robert Cummings (

Leonard Slatkin (Photo by Delphine Warin)
The 2017-2018 season marks Leonard Slatkin's tenth and final year as Music Director of the DSO before he transitions to the new role of Music Director Laureate. Maestro Slatkin's commitment to new music, reaching audiences in new ways, and the American orchestral tradition has had a transformational effect on the DSO. On Friday, May 4, Slatkin announced that he would need to undergo heart surgery and withdraw from conducting the final Classical Series concerts of his tenth anniversary season. As Music Director Laureate, Leonard will conduct eight programs in the 2018-2019 season, including Opening Weekend, the February American Festival, and the season finale in June.

On June 23, the DSO will honor Slatkin at its eighth annual Heroes Gala alongside philanthropists and longtime DSO supporters Penny and Harold Blumenstein. Additional details about the Heroes Gala will be announced in the near future.

The DSO Classical Series is generously sponsored by PVS Chemicals, Inc. The May 31 - June 2 Rite of Spring performances are additionally supported by Honigman LLP.


Jennifer Koh (Photo by Juergen Frank)

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.6 in B minor "Pathétique", Op.74

Tchaikovsky composed the Symphony No.6 in B minor between February and August 1893, and conducted the first performance on October 28 of that year in St Petersburg. Already in 1890 Tchaikovsky had written to his patroness of 13 years, Nadezhda von Meck, about a possible "Program Symphony". By 1893 he was ready to follow through on the idea, dedicated to his nephew Vladimir Davidov, the "Bobyk" (or "Bob") of many diary-entries and letters during the 1880s. After a successful premiere, however, he was not satisfied with Program Symphony (No.6) on the title page. Several days later Modest suggested "patetichesky", which in Russian means "(1) enthusiastic, passionate, (2) emotional, and (3) bombastic" (rather than "pathetic" or "arousing pity," as in English). Pyotr Ilyich was delighted by the suggestion: "Excellent, Modya, bravo, patetichesky!". He wrote this onto the score, and sent it the same day to his publisher, Jurgenson. Two days later, however, he had qualms and asked Jurgenson to suppress subtitles – to issue the work simply as Symphony No.6, dedicated to Bobyk. One week later, he was dead. As for Jurgenson, he could not resist the opportunity in 1893 to publish No.6, in elegant Lingua Franca, as Symphonie pathétique. The sobriquet has stuck ever since.

During the work's incubation Tchaikovsky was in rare good spirits, pleased with his boldness and fluency, especially in the trailblazing finale, a drawn-out Adagio of funereal character. Where others still wrote conventional slow movements, he hit on the idea of "a limping waltz" in 5/4 time. And he made the scherzo a march that builds to such a pitch of excitement that audiences ever since, everywhere, applaud at the end.

A lugubrious Adagio prologue begins with a bassoon solo in E minor that makes its way upward through the murk of divisi string basses, followed by a nervous little motif that blossoms into the main theme of an Allegro ma non troppo sonata-structure in B minor. The memorably sighing, mauve-hued melody that dominates this movement is actually its secondary subject. A crashing orchestral tutti sets up the passionately agitated development section, followed by a condensed reprise and a brief, calmed coda.

Tchaikovsky's marking for this D major "waltz" movement is Allegro con grazia – a song and trio with extended coda whose mood may be wistful, even melancholic midway, but whose spirit is balletic, to the extent of echoing Nutcracker's "Waltz of the Flowers", composed a year earlier.

The March-Scherzo, Allegro molto vivace in common time, has an elfin character at the start. It is a sonatina (exposition and reprise without development) that quick-steps to an explosive climax but always returns to tonic G major.

Another sonatina (symphonic developments were Tchaikovsky's bête noire) is anchored in B minor, although the tragic second theme enters in D major. The overall mood is inconsolably grieving, but not "pathetic". Ultimately, the music returns to those murky depths in which the symphony was born some 40 minutes earlier – without, however, benediction or hope.

Source: Roger Dettmer (

Jennifer Koh

More photos

See also

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No.21 in C major – Fazıl Say, hr-Sinfonieorchester, Peter Oundjian (HD 1080p)

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