Piano Concerto No. 1
Romeo and Juliet
Benjamin Zander, conductor
George Li, piano
The BPYO has a history of presenting the most talented young musicians in the world as soloists in their concerts. George Li, a native of Lexington, won Second Prize in the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and has become an artist in demand around the world. He is a quiet, young man with a phenomenal technique and the sensitivity of a true poet of the keyboard. Many listeners in the audience will be able to recall his amazing first performances in Boston, when his feet could barely reach the pedals! The work that so stunned audience and jury in Moscow is the same one that he will be playing with us, the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto.
Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet is among the handful of greatest works to come from the composer’s pen. He made several suites from the ballet that is often heard in the concert hall. But Mr. Zander has put together his own suite from the ballet, longer than any one of Prokofiev’s own suites, which details the action of the ballet from beginning to end, so that one can follow the entire enthralling story. Ballet lovers with long memories may have indelible impressions of Nureyev and Fonteyn dancing the title roles in Boston, but even without the stage action, Prokofiev’s powerful and vivid score—which contains some of the most rapturous music he ever wrote—is an explosive and deeply moving experience in the concert hall.
The concert will open with the magnificent Overture to Wagner’s Tannhäuser, a dramatic, conflicted collision between idealized religion and idealized passion. Considerable heat is generated on both sides. It is debatable whether either side wins.
Make no mistake about it, this concert, with pianist George Li in his signature performance, is one of the most eagerly awaited musical events of the season.
All dates, repertoire, venues, and artists subject to change.