Sibelius’s visionary Fifth Symphony, plus the musical heroism of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto will feature in the Sunday Classics 2018-19 Season at the Usher Hall.
The Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra will play in the second concert in the series with an evening of varied music .
Japanese conductor Yutaka Sado and his Orchestra open with musical heroes not often referenced in the Usher Hall: the three wide-eyed sailors on shore leave in Bernstein’s foot-tapping musical On the Town. His feel-good Three Dance Episodes blend jazz, big band and classical to electrifying effect – and feature Bernstein’s hit tune ‘New York, New York’.
And the remarkable Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt joins Orchestra and conductor for one of the most heroic piano concertos of them all. Beethoven’s noble Emperor Concerto was the composer’s last for the piano, and is cast on a grand scale, but its brilliant, breathtaking virtuosity combines effortlessly with tenderness and exquisite beauty.
The piece is an ideal match for Hewitt’s fresh, elegant, powerful playing. Born into a musical family, Hewitt started her piano education at the age of three and has gone on to win awards and fans across the world. In 2018 she was awarded Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award – the highest honour for an artist in Canada, an achievement that sits comfortably next to her 2006 OBE from Queen Elizabeth II.
‘Today I saw 16 swans. Lord God, what beauty!’
That’s how Sibelius himself described the inspiration for his visionary Fifth Symphony, a majestic hymn of praise to the natural wonders of his Finnish homeland. Teeming with life, surging with optimism, it propels the listener along to the unmatched orchestral grandeur of its ecstatic finale.
Sibelius’s Fifth forms the towering climax to a heroic programme from the superb Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra, one of Austria’s most pioneering ensembles, who are making an eagerly awaited return under Chief Conductor Yutaka Sado following popular recent concerts at the Usher Hall.
With its residencies at the Musikverein Wien, Festspielhaus St. Pölten and in Grafenegg, the Tonkunstler Orchestra is one of Austria’s biggest and most important musical ambassadors. The focus of the orchestra’s artistic work is the traditional orchestral repertoire, ranging from the Classical to the Romantic periods through to the 20th century.
Yutaka Sado, one of the most important Japanese conductors of our time, has been the orchestra’s Music Director since the 2015-16 season.
The Tonkunstler’s unique approach to programming is appreciated by musicians, audiences and press alike. The inclusion of genres such as jazz and world music as part of the Plugged-In series, which has entered its eleventh year, keeps the orchestra in touch with the pulse of modern life. Performances of works by contemporary composers make the Tonkunstler a key player on the current music scene. Each year, a composer in residence collaborates with the orchestra for the Grafenegg Festival.
So far, these have included Brett Dean, HK Gruber, Krzysztof Penderecki, Jörg Widmann, Matthias Pintscher, Christian Jost and Brad Lubman. Composers including Arvo Pärt, Kurt Schwertsik, Friedrich Cerha and Bernd Richard Deutsch have written commissioned works for the orchestra.
Sunday 28 October 2018 at 7.30pm
Usher Hall, Lothian Road, Edinburgh
Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra
Yutaka Sado Conductor
Angela Hewitt Piano
Bernstein: Three Dance Episodes from On the Town
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5
Sibelius: Symphony No. 5
Tickets available at www.usherhall.co.uk
£35 | £29 | £24 | £18 | £13.50
Full time students are entitled to tickets for £10 which can be booked in advance
Under 16s are entitled to free tickets when booked with a paying adult
A £1.50 transaction fee applies on the overall booking when purchasing online or over the phone which is non-refundable.