John Axelrod






April 20-21, 2017
Universal Brotherhood
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza, Sevilla
Program: GABRIEL PRÓKOFIEV: Beethoven 9 Symphonic remix / LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN: Sinfonía nº 9, en Re menor, Op. 125

After hearing much about young Gabriel Prokofiev, grandson of the leading same named Soviet composer, and then upon viewing Gabriel's much celebrated Concerto for Turntable and Orchestra, I was inspired to propose a commission applying his exploration of technology and topicality to the most famous work of all:  Beethoven's 9th Symphony.  As the ROSS and I continue our Beethoven cycle, this one work statnds better to the tests of time because it resonates as music of our collective humanity, not only the composition of one genius setting music to another's words.  There is something visceral to see how one simple melody in the Ode to Joy can exemplify the totality of an englightened, inclusive, non zero sum formula for mankind.  In the 21st century, there is another permanent relationship added to the equation amoung Brothers and Sisters.  It is Computers.  We are not quite yet to the predicted point before Artificial Intelligence takes over humanity.  Until then, Gabriel has shown how the union between electronical remix, with digital samplers and electronic percussive pads, and acoustic, organic instruments can create something alltogether new, a hyyrbid of the past and future, all within a collective frame of mutual cooperation.  The ideal community.   Indeed, humans and machines have never sounded so good.  When I premiered the work in France in 2011, I was overwhelmed by the audience's reaction, a multi-generational standing ovation of 10 minutes.  With Gabriel, our composer in residence, the ROSS, its superb choir, and a cast of soloists, including the immensely talented Wallis Giunta, who will appear later this season in Weill's 7 Deadly Sins, and Soprano Laura Claycomb, who sang Cunegonde for my Candide production at Maggio Musicale, and WIllard White, the legendary bass, with whom I made Mahagonny in Rome, this concert will be an unforgetttable moment in the history of classical music in Sevilla. Indeed, one big family- real and aritficial, but all very happy.



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April 28, 2017
Nuevo Mundo
Location: el Auditorio y Palacio de Congresos de Castellón, Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana.
Program: Barber: Adagio para cuerdas Piazolla: Aconcagua, concierto para bandoneón y orquesta, Dvorák: Sinfonía del Nuevo Mundo

Another debut, this time with the Orquesta de la Comunitat Valenciana in the Auditorio de Castellon, in a program that highlights the New World, north and south and influence on the composer's voice and the tragedies of these continents.  Terrorism, War, Occupation, Slavery: The American histories are not only about freedom and democracy.  The Barber Adagio, itself a piece of music from a string quartet, has become a symbolic memorial against war and intolerance, having been featured in the soundtrack to the movie Platoon and most famously as a musical prayer after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.  Piazzolla's Acongagua, his famous bandoneon concerto, is a masterpiece of tango in symphonic form.  Based on the name of the highest mountain in South America, it was the summit of Piazzolla's virtuosic composing for the Badoneon, while at the same time, simple in a 'Melancolico Final' statement to end the piece.  It was Piazzolla doing it his way, injecting the Tango when needed, finding his own voice the rest of the time.  Dvorak's New World Symphony needs little introduction, but it too is a strike of individuality and topicality.  Influenced by Native American and African-American songs and spirituals, the piece echos the melancholy of native and imposed people on this land and their strong story of survival.  The music ends in an American optimism, yet a final chord in fermata, sustained in color by the oboes in diminuendo, hints of the question mark that comes when a man takes from another what does not belong to him:  Land, freedom and dignity.



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May 4-5, 2017
The Life of Heroes
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza
Program: ANTONÍN DVORÁK: Canción de un héroe, Op. 111 * RICHARD STRAUSS: Don Quijote, Poema sinfónico, TrV 184, Op. 35 RICHARD STRAUSS: Una vida de héroe, TrV 190, Op. 4 Enrico Dindo, Violonchelo Jacek Policinski, Viola, Pacalin Pavaci, Concertino

ANTONÍN DVORÁK: Canción de un héroe, Op. 111 *

RICHARD STRAUSS: Don Quijote, Poema sinfónico, TrV 184, Op. 35

RICHARD STRAUSS: Una vida de héroe, TrV 190, Op. 4

Enrico Dindo, Violonchelo

Jacek Policinski, Viola

With the phenomenal Enrico Dindo as our gallant hero, with Jacek Policinski as his squire, Sancho Panza, and with real life hero Pacalin Pavaci as soloist in Ein Heldenleben, our Strauss Tone Poem cycle heroically continues.  With the world on the edge of a nervous breakdown, we need and we can be heroes.  I am proud of the ROSS who are the greatest of heroes, and even prouder to make music at this level with such virtuosi.  This is yet another example of this world class orchestra that against all odds rises to the level of greatness.




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May 18-21? 2017
Gianni Schicchi Concertante
Location: Auditorium di Milano
Program: Puccini: Gianni Schicchi

There is one family comedy above all others in the realm of opera.  That of Puccini’s one act masterpiece, Gianni Schicchi.  With the young opera stars of tomorrow from the Accademia della Voce in Bologna and LaVerdi, I am grateful to finally make this opera concertante in what will surely be an unforgettable and even historic series of concertante performances.

Giacomo Puccini Gianni Schicchi (esecuzione in forma di concerto)

Accolta trionfalmente fin dal suo debutto americano nel 1918 come uno dei più originali capolavori di Giacomo Puccini, Gianni Schicchi, complice anche un acuto libretto di Giovacchino Forzano, non ha mai smesso di mostrare al grande pubblico la sua vitalità teatrale e musicale, animata ora dalla simpatica irriverenza del protagonista (Monologo: Ah che zucconi!), ora dalla genuina dolcezza della figlia Lauretta (Aria: O mio babbino caro). Dopo quasi cento anni di vita il capolavoro pucciniano riprende vita, in forma di concerto con l’Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, guidata dalla bacchetta di John Axelrod, e le voci della Scuola dell'Opera del Comunale di Bologna.

laVerdi dedica l’esecuzione e parte dell’incasso della rappresentazione di giovedì 18 maggio al Comitato Lombardia AIRC grazie ad una collaborazione con l’Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca.

INTERPRETI

Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi

  • Gianni SchicchiAlex Martini
  • ZitaMarina Ogii
  • CiescaLuisa Tambaro
  • NellaErika Tanaka
  • LaurettaMarta Torbidoni
  • RinuccioRosolino Claudio Cardile
  • GherardoJiangmin Kong
  • Betto di SignaTommaso Caramia
  • MarcoAbraham Gonzalez
  • Ser Amantio di NicolaoGiovanni Maria Palmia
  • SimonePaolo Porfiri
  • PinellinoMarcandrea Mingioni
  • GuccioRaffaello Bellavista
  • Direttore/John Axelrod


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May 27, 2017
"Over Hurdles" Music of Russian-american composers
Location: Tchaikovsky Conservatory Hall, Moscow
Program: Works by Bernstein, Gershwin, Stravinsky, Rachmaninov, Raykhelson

With great pleasure I return to the New Russia Orchestra, with their Music Director, Yury Bashmet, as soloist in an important and topical concert.  A program connecting Bernstein and Gershwin's music and their russian connections, with the music of Russia's great composers. This is certainly to be an event to be remembered.

 

Orchestra – State Symphony orchestra Novaya Rossiya + Moscow Jazz Band orchestra

«Over hurdles» - music of Russian-american composers

Special event will be supported by USA Embassy in Moscow.

Soloists

– Yura Lee (viola, USA) - first prize of ARD competition and Yury Bashmet viola competition

- Vadim Kholodenko (piano, Ukrainian-USA) winner of last Forth Worth Van Cliburn competition

- Yury Bashmet (viola)

L.Bernstein:  Slava! A Political Overture

S.Rakhmaninov            Paganini Rhapsody – soloist  Vadim Kholodenko

I.Stravinsky Suite No 2 for Small orchestra

I.Raykhelson Adagio for viola and strings – soloist Yury Bashmet

—break----

I.Raykhelson                 Viola concerto - soloist  Yura Lee

Gershwin:                      Cuban Overture





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June 1, 2017
Concerto per la Repubblica
Location: Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa
Program: Inno by Mameli Verdi "Patria oppressa" from Macbeth Verdi "Va pensiero" Paganini 4th Violin Concert (sol. Sergej Krilov), Mendelssohn Italiana Symphony

My dedication to Italy is more than music. My taste is autenticoitaliano, wine and food.   My debut was Candide laScala.  My destiny was Fenice and Venice.  My Eugene Onegin opera in Napoli, Mahagonny in Roma and Schoenberg in Spoleto. My musical family grew with laVerdi in Milano, RAI Torino, Toscanini in Parma.  My mentoring with the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana. My memories are without limit in so many other great cities, festivals and towns of this country that is so a part of who I am.   Therefore, it is with great honor that I celebrate the anniversary of the Repubblica with an Italiana Concert, and my debut in Genoa at the beautiful Teatro Carlo Felice.

 

Concerto per la Repubblica

Inno by Mameli

Verdi "Patria oppressa" from Macbeth

Verdi "Va pensiero"

Paganini 4th Violin Concert (sol. Sergej Krilov)

****

Mendelssohn Italiana Symphony



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June 10-11, 2017
Veronica Franco
Location: Teatro Malibran, Venezia
Program: Fabio Vacchi: Veronica Franco

Fabio Vacchi Veronica Franco

per voce recitante, soprano e orchestra

versi Veronica Franco

testo Paola Ponti

soprano Silvia Regazzo

attrice Giovanna Bozzolo

Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice

direttore John Axelrod

Since I was 15, after my first voyage to Europe, my dream was always Venice.  I knew it would be my destiny.  I traveled to Venice often, promising myself that upon reaching 50, I would have a home in this most beautiful of cities.  I have been blessed to regularly conduct the wonderful orchestra and opera of Teatro la Fenice..  And I have had the privilege to conduct many works and premieres by Italy’s great composer Fabio Vacchi.   As fate would have it, Veronica Franco, the famous Venetian courtesan and poet of the late 16th century, has brought it all together.

The work is called Veronica Franco by Fabio Vacchi.  For soprano, recitante and orchestra.

The orchestra is the Orchestra del Teatro la Fenice.

The home is called Santa Maria del Soccorso.  This little church was part of a charitable institution founded in 1580 by famous Venetian courtesan and poet, Veronica Franco (1546-1591), who is the subject of the book, The Honest Courtesan by Margaret Rosenthal, and the 1998 film, Dangerous Beauty.

“Soccorso” means succor, relief, rescue, and assistance, and this church was part of a larger complex dedicated to providing all of these to former and/or reformed prostitutes. The complex included housing (Casa del Soccorso), a cloister, and gardens along with this church. Veronica Franco petitioned the Venetian government and also recruited her wealthy noble friends to provide funding to aid these women. The first location was a small house close to the church of the Tolentini and then they moved to this location in Dorsoduro not far from the church of Angelo Raffaele.

Veronica Franco died before the larger hospice opened in 1601. There’s a legend that she was the model for a painting on the main altar of the church, but I’m not sure if that’s true. The complex was closed in 1807, and the residents moved to Cannaregio to a similar refuge connected to the church of  Santa Maria dei Penitenti.

Today it is my home.  And in June, Veronica will be out patron for our concerts in Teatro Malibran.

Fate works in mysterious yet marvelous ways.



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June 22-23, 2017
When the Sum is Greater than the Parts
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza , Sevilla
Program: SERGUÉI PROKÓFIEV: Sinfonía nº 1, Op. 25 “Clásica” GABRIEL PROKÓFIEV: When the City Rules ** (Encargo conjunto con la Orquesta Sinfónica de Seattle) LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN: Sinfonía nº 5, en Do menor, Op. 67

After the enormous success of Gabriel Prokofiev's Orchestral Remix of Beethoven 9, we are very proud to make the European Premiere of his new work, in a co-commission with the Grammy award winning Seattle Symphony, of When the City Rules, a Concerto Grosso for orchestra and its soloists.  The  music of Gabriel is vibrant, witty, and very appealing.  Just as is the music of his grandfather, Sergei Prokofiev, whose Classical Symphony will brighten the atmosphere, as much as Beethoven's immortal Symphony 5, as part of our continuing Beethoven Symphony cycle, will put the program into context and into our memories forever.

SERGUÉI PROKÓFIEV: Sinfonía nº 1, Op. 25 “Clásica”

GABRIEL PROKÓFIEV: When the City Rules **

(Encargo conjunto con la Orquesta Sinfónica de Seattle)

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN: Sinfonía nº 5, en Do menor, Op. 67

*    Primera vez por la ROSS   **  Estreno en España/Europa

Gabriel Prokófiev, compositor en residencia para la temporada 16/17

John Axelrod Director

Sasha Crisan Violonchelo

Lucian Ciorata Contrabajo

Vicent Morelló Broseta Flauta

José Forte Ásperez Trompeta

Ignacio Martín García Percusión





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July 1, 2017
American Rhapsody
Location: Grafenegg Festival, Tonkünstler Orchester Niederösterreich
Program: Gershwin: Cuban Overture Gershwin: «I got rhythm» Variationen für Klavier und Orchester George Gershwin: «Rhapsody in Blue» für Orchester - Pause - Ellington: «The Nutcracker Suite» für Orchester nach dem Ballett von Pjotr Iljitsch Tschaikowski (in Zusammenarbeit mit Billy Strayhorn, Überarbeitung für Orchester: Jeff Tyzik)

Gershwin: Cuban Overture

Gershwin: «I got rhythm» Variationen für Klavier und Orchester George

Gershwin: «Rhapsody in Blue» für Orchester

- Pause -

Ellington: «The Nutcracker Suite» für Orchester nach dem Ballett von Pjotr Iljitsch Tschaikowski (in Zusammenarbeit mit Billy Strayhorn, Überarbeitung für Orchester: Jeff Tyzik)

Avenues of skyscrapers and fairy-tale worlds: Music from the USA gives an enthusiastic, ebullient and entertaining outlook on our world. In his «Rhapsody in Blue», George Gershwin combined European classical music with jazz, while Duke Ellington reworked Tchaikovsky’s «Nutcracker» suite. Two men who crossed boundaries, and in whose rhythmic footsteps the Tonkunstler Orchestra, joined by French pianist Shani Diluka and conductor John Axelrod, now follow. Axelrod’s credo: «It’s about communicating with the audience. » Alright then!




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July 6-7, 2017
Saints and Sinners
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza
Program: KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI: El paraíso perdido, Adagietto ** PIOTR ILICH CHAIKOVSKI: Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32 KURT WEILL: Los siete pecados capitales *

The voice of Today, the Diva of tomorrow.  That is how I can describe my dear friend Wallis Guinta.  After her success with the Beethoven 9, this rising star of opera and stage returns for what is certain to be an historic performance of daring dimensions and sinful sensuality.   Weill’s 7 Deadly Sins is paired with Paradise Lost.

KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI: El paraíso perdido, Adagietto **

PIOTR ILICH CHAIKOVSKI: Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32

KURT WEILL: Los siete pecados capitales *

*    Primera vez por la ROSS   **  Estreno en España

John Axelrod Director

Wallis Giunta Mezzosoprano

Cuarteto masculino del Coro de la A.A. del Teatro de la Maestranza

KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI: El paraíso perdido, Adagietto **

PIOTR ILICH CHAIKOVSKI: Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32

KURT WEILL: Los siete pecados capitales *

*    Primera vez por la ROSS   **  Estreno en España

John Axelrod Director

Wallis Giunta Mezzosoprano

Cuarteto masculino del Coro de la A.A. del Teatro de la Maestranza



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July 13-14, 2017
Poems of Love and the Sea
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza
Program: CLAUDE DEBUSSY: La mer ERNEST CHAUSSON: Poema del amor y del mar, Op. 19 CLAUDE DEBUSSY: Nocturnos 3: Sirenas * MAURICE RAVEL: Daphnis et Chloé, Suite nº 2

The ROSS 16-17 Subscription series concludes with a concert certian to nourish the summer heat of Sevilla.  The theme of spirtuality and sensuality is summed up in this symbolic tribute to water, to the fertility and spirituality of the sea.  My dear friend Maria José Montiel returns to the ROSS for this extroadinary program, sining the effervescent and elegant masterpiece by Ernest Chausson.  Muchas gracias la ROSS for another wonderful season.


CLAUDE DEBUSSY: La mer

ERNEST CHAUSSON: Poema del amor y del mar, Op. 19

CLAUDE DEBUSSY: Nocturnos 3: Sirenas  *

MAURICE RAVEL: Daphnis et Chloé, Suite nº 2

*    Primera vez por la ROSS

John Axelrod Director

María José Montiel Mezzosoprano

Coro de la A.A. del Teatro de la Maestranza



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August 8, 2017
Tokyo Metropolitan JAZZ with NHK Symphony Orchestra
Location: Tokyo Metropolitan Theater
Program: Shostakovich: Jazz Suite No. 1 C. Corea: New Crystal Silence (version for Piano,Vibraphone and Orchestra)  -intermission- Bernstein: 3 Dance Episodes from On The Town Bernsrtein: Symphonic Dances

Tokyo Metropolitan JAZZ with NHK


I am delighted to return and continue my long time collaboration with the world famous NHK Symphony Orchestra and our Jazz at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theater series.  Each year it gets more and more successful.  My love of jazz has found its voice with this unique format and program in this wonderful concert hall, famous for its innovative presentations.  And this year, we combine classical and jazz with Shostakovich and Bernstein, anticipating his 2018 Centennial, and also featuring the work New Crystal Silence by jazz legend, Chick Corea. This is surely a program for all aficionados of music.

Shostakovich: Jazz Suite No. 1

C. Corea: New Crystal Silence (version for Piano,Vibraphone and Orchestra)

-intermission-

Bernstein: 3 Dance Episodes from On The Town

Bernsrtein: Symphonic Dances




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September 2-3, 2017
Death and Resurrection
Location: Kyoto Concerto Hall
Program: Toru Takemitsu: Death and Resurrection ― from "Black Rain" R.Strauss : "Death and Transfiguration" symphonic poem op.24 Berlioz : Symphonie fantastique op.14

Returning to Kyoto and my dear friends at the Kyoto Symphony is more than an honor.  It is a transfiguration.  Together we have achieved remarkable depth and understanding of the repertoire.  The Kyoto Concert Hall is also one of the best in the country (and there are many). And Kyoto itslef is full of wonder, mystery, histor, and death and resurrection.   This marvelous program will be a musical be like a musical reincarnation.

 

Toru Takemitsu: Death and Resurrection ― from "Black Rain"

R.Strauss : "Death and Transfiguration" symphonic poem op.24

Berlioz : Symphonie fantastique op.14



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