James Levine, Gerald Finley, and the BSO Give World Premiere of Peter Lieberson's "Songs of Love and Sorrow"

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DATE: March 4, 2010


Performances to take place March 25, 27, and 30 at 8 p.m., and March 26 at 1:30 p.m., with an Open Rehearsal to take place March 24 at 7:30 p.m.

On March 25, James Levine, Canadian baritone Gerald Finley and the BSO give the world premiere of Peter Lieberson’s much-anticipated and BSO-commissionedSongs of Love and Sorrow, a tribute from the composer to his late wife, the internationally beloved and renowned mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. The program, which runs through March 30, also features a 19th-century Romantic masterpiece in Schubert’s “Great” Symphony No. 9 in C and Debussy’s playfulJeux, a dance-infused, rhythmically restless work from the early 20thcentury.

The American composer Peter Lieberson’sSongs of Love and Sorrowfollows in the footsteps of hisNeruda Songs, a BSO co-commission setting five of the Chilean poet’s love sonnets in a cycle written for his wife, the late mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, to sing; she was soloist in the BSO’s performances and subsequent recording of the piece. Peter Lieberson’s new song cycle,Songs of Love and Sorrow, is his response to her death of cancer in July 2006. The work sets five further poems from Neruda’s love sonnets, this time sung from a male perspective. Baritone Gerald Finley is soloist in the world premiere performances of this BSO-commissioned piece.

Schubert’s “Great” Ninth Symphony, which lives up to its nickname in both artistic accomplishment and duration, was the composer’s final work in the genre. Schubert (1797-1828) was only 29 at the time of its completion in 1826, and the piece was never performed publicly in his tragically abbreviated lifetime, which came to an end just two years later. From the opening French horn call to the relentless march of the closing pages, Schubert’s symphony is filled with turbulent, overpowering music that seems both an expansion on Beethoven and an anticipation of Brahms.

Another orchestral work from the twilight of its composer’s life,Jeux(Play) is ballet music commissioned by the legendary choreographer and impresario Serge Diaghilev, who also was responsible for the incubation of Stravinsky’sThe Rite of Spring, which premiered just two weeks afterJeuxand largely overshadowed the smaller, less controversial work. Described by Debussy (1862-1918) as a “danced poem,”Jeuxwas composed in 1912 and displays the composer at his most adventurous. Ever-changing, the music is rhythmically and harmonically complex, but always saturated with Debussy’s unmistakable impressionistic palette.

Photos and full artist biographies are available in the BSO’s online press kit atwww.bso.org/presskit.


Now in his sixth season as Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, James Levine is the BSO’s 14th music director since the orchestra’s founding in 1881 and the first American-born conductor to hold that position. Maestro Levine made his Boston Symphony debut in April 1972 and became music director in the fall of 2004, having been named music director designate in October 2001. Highlights of his 2009-10 BSO programs include the premieres of commissioned works from Peter Lieberson, Elliott Carter, John Harbison, and John Williams; the BSO’s first complete Beethoven symphony cycle in 75 years, and the first BSO performances of Mendelssohn’sElijahsince 1980, plus music of Berg, Berlioz, Brahms, Debussy, Mahler, Mozart, Ravel, Schubert, Strauss (Richard, Johann Sr., Johann Jr., and Josef), and Stravinsky. Mr. Levine’s programming each year balances orchestral, operatic, and choral classics with significant music of the 20th and 21st centuries, including newly commissioned works from such leading American composers as Babbitt, Carter, Harbison, Kirchner, Lieberson, Schuller, and Wuorinen. At Tanglewood each summer he leads performances with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, as well as TMC classes devoted to orchestral repertoire, Lieder, and opera. In February 2009, Mr. Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra released their first recordings together on the BSO Classics label, all taken from live performances—Brahms’sEin deutsches Requiem, Ravel’s completeDaphnis et Chloé, Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, and William Bolcom’s Eighth Symphony andLyric Concerto. James Levine is also Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera, where, in the thirty-eight years since his debut there, he has led nearly 2,500 performances of 85 different operas, including fifteen company premieres. This season at the Met he conducts new productions ofToscaandLes Contes d’Hoffmannand revivals ofSimon BoccanegraandLulu, as well as concerts at Carnegie Hall with the MET Orchestra and MET Chamber Ensemble. Also a distinguished pianist, Mr. Levine is an active chamber music


Canadian baritone Gerald Finley has become one of the leading singers and dramatic interpreters of his generation, with award-winning performances and recordings on CD and DVD with major labels and performances at the world’s major opera and concert venues in a wide variety of repertoire. In opera, he appears in a variety of leading roles at opera houses in London, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Salzburg, New York, Chicago and San Francisco. He has created the lead roles in major premieres, including J. Robert Oppenheimer (Doctor Atomic), Harry Heegan (The Silver Tassie), Mr. Fox (Fantastic Mr. Fox), and Jaufre Rudel (L’Amour de loin). His most recent engagements include Onegin (Eugene Onegin) at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Oppenheimer (Doctor Atomic) at the Metropolitan Opera; and the Count (Le nozze di Figaro) at the Salzburg Festival. His concert work is equally prestigious. In recent seasons, he has premiered new works by Mark-Anthony Turnage calledThe Torn FieldsandWhen I Woke,as well Kaija Saariaho’s recentReflections on L’Amour de loin. His recently released recordings include Mozart’s Requiem and Handel'sMessiahwith Nikolaus Harnoncourt for Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Britten’sWar Requiemwith Kurt Masur for Chandos, and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with Bernard Haitink on LSO Live. As a recitalist, Finley works regularly with pianist Julius Drake, appearing throughout Europe and North America, and he is a frequent guest at Wigmore Hall. He has appeared in recital in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, San Francisco, New York, Vienna, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Amsterdam and London. Finley began singing as a chorister in Ottawa, Canada, and completed his musical studies in the U.K. at the Royal College of Music, King’s College, Cambridge, and the National Opera Studio.


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 through SymphonyCharge (617-266-1200 or 888-266-1200), online through the BSO’s website

(www.bso.org), or in person at the Symphony 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, 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, www.bso.org 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 www.bso.org and on iTunes.

BSO concerts can be heard regularly on the radio. The Saturday-evening concerts are broadcast on 99.5 All Classical. WGBH also streams the concerts live through their website at www.wgbh.org.


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 www.bso.org.


The Boston Symphony Association of Volunteers offers free public tours of Symphony Hall Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. (through June 23, 2010), and the second Saturday of every month at 2:00

p.m. (through June 12, 2010) during the BSO season. Tours begin at the Massachusetts Avenue lobby entrance. Schedule subject to change. Please email bsav@bso.org, 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 617CONCERT (266-2378). For further information, call the Boston Symphony Orchestra at 617-266-1492. The Boston Symphony Orchestra is online at www.bso.org.

Bernadette Horgan, Director of Public Relations (bhorgan@bso.org) 617-638-9285
Kathleen Drohan, Associate Director of Public Relations (kdrohan@bso.org) 617-638-9286

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Wednesday, March 24, 7:30 p.m. (Open Rehearsal)

Thursday, March 25, 8 p.m. Friday, March 26, 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 27, 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 30, 8 p.m.

JAMES LEVINE, conductor

PETER LIEBERSONSongs of Love and Sorrow(world premiere; BSO commission)
SCHUBERTSymphony in C,The Great

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