Christoph Von Dohnányi Leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Works of Dvořák, Bartók, and Martinů

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DATE: November 16, 2009




Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. (Open Rehearsal), Dec. 3 at 8 p.m., Dec. 4 at 1:30 p.m., and Dec. 5 at 8 p.m.

In concertsDecember 2-5,Christoph von Dohnányiconducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra in a provocative program of music that draws from Middle European folk influences. German violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann is soloist for Czech composer Bohuslav Martin?’s Violin Concerto No. 2, which was premiered by the BSO in 1943, performed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death. The program also includes Bartók’s 1939 Divertimento for String Orchestra and Dvo?ák’s Symphony No. 8, perhaps the composer’s most representative blending of the Czech musical spirit with the German symphonic tradition. The December 2 Open Rehearsal is sponsored by the Harvard University Extension School. Following the December 5 performance,Symphony +offers a Post-Concert Holiday Reception in Higginson Hall, free to all ticket holders.

Bohuslav Martin? (1890-1959) was the greatest Czech composer of his generation. Having spent many years in Paris, in 1941 he fled war-torn Europe for the United States, where he found a champion in Boston Symphony Orchestra music director Serge Koussevitzky. After commissioning and premiering the composer’s First Symphony, Koussevitzky led the world premiere of Martin?’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with the orchestra in 1943, with the great Mischa Elman as violin soloist.

Bartók wrote his Divertimento for String Orchestra in 1939. It was the last piece he completed before fleeing Europe for America. Modeled on the Baroque concerto grosso genre, it combines clarity of form with vivid Hungarian harmonies and tonalities.

After his grandly Brahmsian Symphony No. 7, Dvo?ák set out to write a new symphony that would be “different from other symphonies, with individual thoughts worked out in a new way.” Imaginatively scored, the Symphony No. 8’s considerable charms include a leisurely dance with a lyrical trio, a funeral march reminiscent of Beethoven, and a rousing finale infused with the flair of Czech national music, with a virtuoso flute variation and the colorful trills of French horns.

Photos and full artist biographies are available in the BSO’s online press kit at

Christoph von Dohnányi is recognized as one of the world’s pre-eminent orchestral and opera conductors. In addition to guest engagements with the major opera houses and orchestras of Europe and North America, his appointments have included opera directorships in Frankfurt and Hamburg; principal orchestral conducting posts in Germany, London, and Paris; as well as his legendary 20-year tenure as Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra, where he led a thousand concerts and fifteen international tours. Last season he became Honorary Conductor for life of London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, which he leads this season in Madrid, Cardiff, and in Paris, as well as at London’s Royal Festival Hall. Maestro von Dohnányi has also held the position of Chief Conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg since September 2004.

In addition to annual performances with the orchestras in Boston, Chicago, and New York, Maestro von Dohnányi recently made his first appearance with the Cleveland Orchestra since he assumed the title of Music Director Laureate of that orchestra in 2002. He also returned to the Chicago Symphony at Ravinia and the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, and led performances ofFidelioat the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Maestro von Dohnányi conducts frequently at the world’s great opera houses, including Covent Garden, La Scala, the Vienna State Opera, Berlin, and Paris. He has been a frequent guest conductor with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival, leading the world premieres of Henze'sDie Bassaridenand Cerha'sBaal.

Maestro von Dohnányi has made many critically acclaimed recordings with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic. With Vienna, he recorded a variety of symphonic works and a number of operas, including Beethoven’sFidelio, Berg’sWozzeckandLulu, Schoenberg’sErwartung, Strauss’sSalome, and Wagner’sThe Flying Dutchman. With the Cleveland Orchestra, his large and varied discography of over 100 works includes Wagner'sDie WalküreandDas Rheingold, the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms and Schumann, symphonies by Bruckner, Dvo?ák, Mahler, Mozart, Schubert and Tchaikovsky and, among many others, works by Bartók, Berlioz, Ives, Varèse and Webern.

Born in 1965 in Duisburg, Germany, Frank Peter Zimmermann started playing the violin when he was 5 years old, giving his first concert with an orchestra at the age of 10. Acclaimed for his virtuosic technique combined with musical insight and charm, he now performs with the world’s major orchestras, collaborating with the most renowned conductors around the globe. Recent appearances include engagements with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra with Bernard Haitink, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with Sir Simon Rattle, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the orchestra of the NDR Hamburg, the latter including a tour to China under Christoph von Dohnányi, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Pierre Boulez, and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra led by Alan Gilbert, with whom he toured to the Far East. In January 2009, Mr. Zimmermann gave the world premiere of the third violin concerto,Juggler in Paradise, of American composer Augusta Read Thomas with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Previously he gave world premiere of the violin concertoThe Lost Art of Letter Writingby Brett Dean with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Also an avid chamber musician and recitalist, Mr. Zimmermann gives numerous concerts worldwide. His regular recital and chamber music partners are pianists Enrico Pace and Christian Zacharias and cellist Heinrich Schiff. During the 2007/08/09 seasons, he presented his newly formed Trio Zimmermann, with violist Antoine Tamestit and cellist Christian Poltéra, to audiences in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Cologne, London, Milan, Munich and Paris. Mr. Zimmermann’s numerous recordings, many of which have won prestigious international awards, include virtually all the major violin concerti, from Bach to Weill, as well as many works from the recital repertoire and a CD with Heinrich Schiff of duo works for violin and cello by Honegger, Martin?, J.S. Bach, Ravel and Pintscher. He plays a Stradivarius from 1711 that once belonged to Fritz Kreisler.

Tickets for the regular-season Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, as well as Friday afternoons, are priced from $29 to $105; concerts on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons are priced from $30 to $115. Open rehearsal tickets are priced at $19 each (general admission). Tickets may be purchased by phone throughSymphonyCharge (617-266-1200or888-266-1200), online through the BSO’s website (, or in person at theSymphony Hall Box Office(301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston). There is a $5.50 service fee for all tickets purchased online or by phone through SymphonyCharge.

American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Diners Club, and Discover, as well as personal checks (in person or by mail) and cash (in person only) are all accepted at the Symphony Hall Box Office. A limited number of rush tickets for Boston Symphony Orchestra subscription concerts on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Friday afternoons are set aside to be sold on the day of a performance. These tickets are sold at $9 each, one to a customer, at the Symphony Hall Box Office on Fridays beginning at 10 a.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning at 5 p.m. Gift certificates are available in any amount and may be used toward the purchase of tickets (subject to availability) to any Boston Symphony Orchestra or Boston Pops performance at Symphony Hall or Tanglewood. Gift certificates may also be used at the Symphony Shop to purchase merchandise.

Patrons with disabilities can access Symphony Hall through the Massachusetts Avenue lobby or the Cohen Wing on Huntington Avenue. An access service center, accessible restrooms, and elevators are available inside the Cohen Wing entrance. For ticket information, call the Disability Services Information Line at 617-638-9431 or TDD/TTY 617-638-9289.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra offers 30-minute Pre-Concert Talks in Symphony Hall before all BSO subscription concerts, beginning at 6:45 p.m. prior to the 8 p.m. evening concerts and at 12:15 p.m. prior to Friday-afternoon concerts. Open Rehearsal Talks begin one hour before the start of all Thursday-morning and Wednesday-evening Open Rehearsals. These informative talks, which include recorded musical examples, enhance the concert going experience by providing valuable insight into the music being performed.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s extensive website, is the largest and most-visited orchestral website in the country, receiving more than 7.5 million visitors annually and generating $50 million in revenue since its launch in 1996. The BSO’s website offers fans information and music beyond the concert hall, providing interactive new media that includes “Classical Companion,” an interactive supplement of special BSO concerts that provides interviews with composers and performers, archival images, and video and sound clips. BSO Concert Preview Podcasts, focusing on each of the programs of the BSO’s 2009-2010 season, are available through and on iTunes.

BSO concerts can be heard regularly on the radio. The Friday-afternoon concerts are broadcast on WGBH 89.7 FM, and the Saturday-evening concerts are broadcast on WCRB 99.5 FM. WGBH also streams the concerts live through their website at

Symphony Café offers buffet-style dining from 5:30 p.m. until concert time for all evening Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts. In addition, Symphony Café is open for lunch prior to Friday afternoon concerts. Patrons enjoy the convenience of pre-concert dining at the Café in the unique ambiance of historic Symphony Hall. The cost of dinner is $32.50 per person; the cost of lunch is $19.00. The Café is located in Higginson Hall; patrons enter through the Cohen Wing entrance on Huntington Avenue. Please call 617-638-9328 for reservations.

The Symphony Shop, located in the Cohen Wing on Huntington Avenue, is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., and from one hour before concert time through intermission. A satellite shop, located on the first-balcony level, is open only during concerts. Merchandise may also be purchased by visiting the BSO website at

The Boston Symphony Association of Volunteers offers free public tours of Symphony Hall Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. (September 30 – December 9, 2009 and January 1 – June 23, 2010), and the second Saturday of every month at 2:00 p.m. (October 10 – December 12 and January 9 – June 12, 2010) during the BSO season. Tours begin at the Massachusetts Avenue lobby entrance. Schedule subject to change. Please email, or call 617-638-9391 to confirm specific dates and times.

UBS will continue its partnership with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as its exclusive season sponsor, building on the mutually successful partnership that began in 2003. EMC Corporation is the supporting partner of the 2009-10 BSO season. Pre-concert Talks and the Symphony Cafe are supported by New England Coffee, official coffee of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston, together with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, is the official hotel of the BSO. Commonwealth Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation is the official chauffeured transportation provider of the BSO.

All programs and artists are subject to change. For current program information, dial 617-CONCERT (266-2378). For further information, call the Boston Symphony Orchestra at 617-266-1492. The Boston Symphony Orchestra is online at

Bernadette Horgan, Director of Public Relations ( 617-638-9285
Kathleen Drohan, Associate Director of Public Relations ( 617-638-9286

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Wednesday December 2, 7:30 p.m. (Sponsored by Harvard University Extension School)
Thursday December 3, 8 p.m.
Friday December 4, 1:30 p.m.
Saturday December 5, 8 p.m.


Divertimento for String Orchestra
Violin Concerto No. 2
Symphony No. 8 in G, Op. 88

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