Maestro Thierry Fischer conducts the Utah Symphony and Yefim Bronfman in two of Beethoven’s most challenging piano pieces. While most concert pianists typically play one piano concerto per concert, Mr. Bronfman, a super star in his own right, will perform the rare feat of playing both Beethoven’s Piano Concerti No. 3 & 4 at each evening performance.
A recent February 2017 review in the Chicago Sun Times described Mr. Bronfman’s intensity on the piano. “He can roar, but he also can whisper. He can conjure a multitude of dynamics, shifting quickly from one extreme to another – making little fuss with the simple opening chords of that first movement, and later grabbing hold of great solo interludes with such force that by the end of the first movement even the CSO’s sophisticated audience broke an unspoken taboo and erupted into spontaneous applause.”
Musicologist and Beethoven specialist Hand-Werner Küthen describes the first piece of the night, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, “as a gateway between the Classical concerto tradition and the revolution that began with Beethoven’s fourth and fifth concertos, and that continued in the Romantic era.” This cautious departure from his early concertos is Beethoven preparing to break away from the formal constraints of the Classical era and exploring a new kind of thinking about the concerto form.
The second piece of the night “Drei Orchesterstücke, Opus 6”composed by Alban Berg is sure to delight the audience. Mr. Berg’s compositions have paved the way for popular sci-fi movies and television soundtracks. According to one old troupe, “The better part of Schoenberg is Berg,” a saying that is still with us because Berg’s once-newfangled music richly conveys old-fashioned emotion and dramatic effect.
Though Beethoven was acutely conscious of the long shadow Mozart cast, the final work on the program, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, represents the confidence of the great composer as he looked ahead. His most ardent admirers feel that with this concerto he fully found his compositional voice and worked with musical themes that were uniquely his own, developing them in ways no other composer had ever dared. In a CD booklet of his recording with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Mr. Bronfman said this concerto had “the broadest emotional spectrum, and at the same time possibly the most dramatic.”
Yefim Bronfman is internationally recognized as one of today’s most acclaimed and admired pianists. Having been awarded the Avery Fisher Prize and honored as the recipient of the Jean Gimnel Lane Prize in Piano Performance from Northwestern University Mr. Bronfman works regularly with an illustrious group of conductors, including Gustavo Dudamel, Charles Dutoit, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Constantly sought out by festivals, orchestras, conductors, and recital series his commanding technique, power, and gifts are worth seeing in person.
A pre-concert lecture, free to all ticket holders, will take place at all Masterworks Series performances in Abravanel Hall’s First Tier Room 45 minutes prior to the performance.
The Utah Symphony presents
“Bronfman Plays Beethoven Piano Concerti 3 & 4”
April 14 & 15 | 7:30 PM
Abravanel Hall, 123 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah
Thierry Fischer, Conductor
Yefim Bronfman, piano
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3
Berg “Three Pieces for Orchestra”
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4
Symphony Season Sponsor: George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation
Beethoven Concerto Cycle Sponsor: Kem & Carolyn Gardner
Conductor Sponsor-Thierry Fischer: Richard K. and Shirley S. Hemingway Foundation
Tickets, priced from $21-$88, are available for purchase through utahsymphony.org or by calling (801) 533-6683. Tickets increase $5 on the day of the performance.
About the Utah Symphony
Founded in 1940, the Utah Symphony performs more than 175 concerts each season and offers all Utahns easy access to world-class live musical performances of the world’s greatest music in the state’s top venues. Since being named the orchestra’s seventh music director in 2009, Thierry Fischer has attracted leading musicians and top soloists, refreshed programming, drawn increased audiences, and galvanized community support. In addition to numerous regional and domestic tours, including the Mighty 5® Tour of Utah’s National Parks, the Utah Symphony has embarked on seven international tours and performed at Carnegie Hall in 2016 coinciding with the orchestra’s 75th anniversary celebrations. The Utah Symphony has released more than 100 recordings, including, most recently, two albums for Reference Recordings: Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 and Dawn to Dust, which features three Utah Symphony-commissioned works by Nico Muhly, Andrew Norman, and Augusta Read Thomas. With its many subscription, education, and outreach concerts and tours, the Utah Symphony is one of the most engaged orchestras in the nation. For more information visit www.utahsymphony.org.
Season Sponsor for Utah Symphony | Utah Opera is the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.