Showcase Sep-Nov 2014 - page 60

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Courtney Lewis
, conductor
Belfast native Courtney Lewis, who this
past summer concluded a four-year
tenure as the Minnesota Orchestra’s
associate conductor, took up two major
appointments this fall—music director
of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra
and assistant conductor of the New York
Minnesota Orchestra:
During his time
in Minnesota, Lewis led more than
160 performances on a variety of the
Orchestra’s series, from Young People’s
Concerts and classical subscription
concerts to Common Chords and tour
programs around the state.
Recent, upcoming:
In 2011 he debuted
with the Los Angeles Philharmonic while
serving as a Dudamel Fellow. His current
engagements include debuts with the
Vancouver Symphony, Lausanne Chamber
Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony,
Jacksonville Symphony, Kitchener-
Waterloo Symphony and Memphis
Symphony, as well as returns to the
Alabama Symphony and RTÉ National
Symphony Orchestra of Ireland.
Of interest:
Lewis, once a student
of music composition and clarinet at
the University of Cambridge, founded
and was director of the Boston-based
Discovery Ensemble.
Kirill Gerstein
, piano
Russian-born American pianist Kirill
Gerstein, now welcomed for his
one-minute notes
Tchaikovsky: Selections from
The Snow Maiden
Lilting folk melodies—including a “Tumblers’ Dance”—are at the heart of Tchaikovsky’s incidental music for a play
based on a Russian fairy tale, music the composer felt was “imbued with the joys of spring.”
Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 2
Writing for his 18-year-old son Maxim, Dmitri Shostakovich produced a high-spirited concerto that cleverly
incorporates elements of piano students’ practice sessions, from scales and arpeggios to classic five-finger exercises.
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1
Notable features of this concerto include a grandly soaring theme for piano and orchestra in unison and, in the final
movement, a thrilling display of energy and wit as piano and orchestra seem pitted against each other. Prokofiev,
himself a sensational pianist, performed this exhilarating work as his final exam at the Moscow Conservatory.
Stravinsky: Divertimento: Symphonic Suite from
The Fairy’s Kiss
Stravinsky’s fondness for Tchaikovsky shines through in his fairy tale-based ballet: the younger composer interwove
bits of the elder’s piano and vocal works with distinctive passages of his own, yielding lyrical and tender music.
Minnesota Orchestra debut, has rapidly
ascended into classical music’s highest
ranks since earning one of the top prizes
for pianists, the Gilmore Artist Award,
becoming only the sixth pianist to be so
Recent, upcoming:
During the current
season he appears with such prestigious
ensembles as the Boston Symphony,
Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco
Symphony, Vienna Philharmonic, London
Philharmonia, BBC Symphony Orchestra,
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and São
Paulo Symphony Orchestra. In addition,
he appears in recital on Carnegie Hall’s
Keyboard Virtuosos series.
Contemporary music:
Gerstein is active
in commissioning new music by such
composers as Oliver Knussen, Chick
Corea, Brad Mehldau, Timothy Andres
and Alexander Goehr.
His recordings include
a disc of recital works that was named
one of the 10 best recordings of 2010 by
The New York Times
. Newly released is
an album of Mussorgsky and Schumann
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