Letter from Maestro

Each year our team ponders, struggles, and dreams together to come up with a menu of programs that is intended to delight, amaze, and enlighten our audiences.  In this brochure you will find the result of our considerable efforts, the 36th version of the “menu” for the Boston Philharmonic and the third for the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. 
We hope, of course, that you will decide to subscribe to the whole series, all seven concerts, so that you can experience the entire range of what we are offering. 
There are certain givens.  Each concert has at least one major symphonic work that is universally regarded as a timeless masterpiece. But we will only program such examples of the great repertoire when we know we can offer some insight or some aspect of the performance that is revelatory. 
Another given is that the soloists are all extraordinary artists willing to collaborate to find new meaning and expression in the works. Some of them you may know that Kim Kashkashian is the reigning queen of the viola world and Miriam Fried one of America’s finest violinists. Imagine experiencing these two great artists together in the Sinfonia Concertante of Mozart!
Natalia Gutman, who carries on the golden-age of Russian virtuosi, is now familiar to Boston audiences through her previous appearances with us, but we haven’t yet heard her play that jewel of the repertoire, the Dvořák Cello Concerto. We are all bursting with excitement at the prospect!  
HaeSun Paik, now an eminent figure on the international concert circuit, spent her youth in Boston at the Walnut Hill School, and at the New England Conservatory. What a thrill it will be to join forces with her again in what I consider to be the greatest work for piano and orchestra: Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto. 
Some of the soloists you will almost certainly not know:  we searched far and wide to find a soprano who could meet the vocal challenges of Strauss’s Four Last Songs and Mahler’s 4th. The great Polish soprano Aga Mikolaj, already famous in Europe, will melt your heart with her breathtaking artistry and the radiant beauty of her voice. All four singers for the performance of the Third Act of Siegfried have established great reputations on the international stage, though none has yet sung Wagner in Boston. 
And let’s not forget those treasured soloists from within the two orchestras: the Boston Philharmonic’s first oboist, Peggy Pearson, will repeat her ravishing performance on the English Horn of The Swan of Tuonela from a few seasons ago and Rafael Popper-Keizer, our nonpareil first cellist, will undoubtedly create a lasting memory with his rendition of the solo in the slow movement of Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto. Jonah Ellsworth, one of the leaders of the youth orchestra, will step into the soloist’s chair in the final Boston Philharmonic concert with the Saint-Saens Cello Concerto; and the concerto winners’ concert of the BPYO will present several astonishing young players showing how tomorrow’s stars are emerging from within our midst.
I will act as your guide in the Boston Philharmonic pre-concert talks, sharing insights about the music and suggesting ways to listen more intently and knowingly as the music unfolds. We have put together a sumptuous feast of music, which is certain to appeal to everyone.
Join us for this lavish banquet! 
Benjamin Zander