Symphony No. 3
Rhapsody in Blue
Benjamin Zander, conductor
kevin cole, piano
The Boston Philharmonic opens the 2017/2018 season with a great American symphony, followed by two favorite works of its composer that typify two of the major influences on his development as a composer—Stravinsky and jazz. John Harbison, one of Boston’s musical luminaries for the fifty odd years that he has lived here, is the composer of a large, extraordinarily varied body of work. Many of music’s highest honors have come his way—the Pulitzer Prize for music and a commission from the Metropolitan Opera (The Great Gatsby) among them. At the heart of his orchestral output are his six symphonies. The Third Symphony, which is starting to take its place as a central work in the American repertory, is a work of fascinating indirections and changes of mood, never going quite to the place where you expect it to be.
The orchestra is truly delighted to welcome back the famed Gershwin specialist Kevin Cole after too long an absence. His performances of George Gershwin’s music have won accolades everywhere that he has performed. In fact, when Mr. Cole was still a young boy Irving Berlin famously said to him "Kid, if I could play like that, I would never have become a songwriter!" Likewise, many people who knew Gershwin personally commented on the uncanny similarity of Cole’s playing to Gershwin’s own. This performance of the Rhapsody in Blue is going to be very special indeed!
Stravinsky’s dynamic Petrushka is one of the twentieth century’s greatest ballets and a seminal work in the history of music. The story of the lovelorn puppet is wistful, dramatic, sad and funny—sometimes all of those things at the same time—and Stravinsky’s music, ironic one moment, utterly gorgeous the next, is an enthralling experience from first note to last.
All dates, repertoire, venues, and artists subject to change.