Guest conductor Bernhard Gueller and guest soloist Giora Schmidt (violin). A program featuring works by Johannes Brahms, Ludwig van Beethoven and Arvo Pärt.
October 16, 2017
Moncton: Capitol Theatre
October 17, 2017
Fredericton: The Playhouse
October 18, 2017
Saint John: Imperial Theatre
Bravo series concerts are preceded by a pre-concert talk at 6:30pm. Performance begins at 7:30pm.
BERNHARD GUELLER, Guest Conductor
Bernhard Gueller has been music director of Symphony Nova Scotia since 2002.
Well known to audiences internationally for the passion, mastery, and drama he brings to the concert hall, Gueller has been acclaimed for his “profound interpretations” and the “stunning responses he gets from musicians.” He is praised by musicians, critics, and audiences alike for his musical purity and fresh approach to the podium.
With a reputation for his mastery of contemporary works, Gueller has commissioned several concerti for Symphony Nova Scotia. These include a concerto for accordion, for oboe, and one for piano. In February 2012, he premiered a piece for tabla and orchestra by Canadian composer Dinuk Wijeratne; other Canadian composers he has worked with include Derek Charke and Tim Brady. He has also given the first performance of works by composers such as the German composer Werner Egt, as well as Peter Klatzow’s I Am an African, a setting of words by Thabo Mbeki, which was premiered in May 2012.
Gueller has served as music director and principal conductor with various orchestras, including the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra. His career has taken him to top concert halls in America, Australia, Russia, Japan, China, Korea, South Africa, and Brazil, as well as across Europe in Spain, Italy, France, Norway, Sweden, and his native Germany. Festivals he has conducted include Schwetizinger in Germany, Scotia Music Festival in Halifax, and Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival in South Africa. He has conducted several orchestras in Canada, most frequently the Victoria Symphony.
Gueller has collaborated with many leading soloists, such as cellists Daniel Mueller-Schott, Wolfgang Schmidt, Maria Kliegel, Claudio Bohorquez, and David Geringas; pianists Anton Kuerti, Ivo Pogorelich, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Lars Vogt, Peter Donohoe, John Kimura Parker, and Wayne Marshall; violinists James Ehnes, Antje Weithaas, and Giora Schmidt; trumpeter Maurice Andre; and entertainers Lionel Ritchie and David Foster. He also collaborated with soprano Elza van den Heever in a Strauss/Wagner concert for South African television.
Beginning his career as a cellist, Gueller won the United German Radio Conducting Competition in 1979 and for nearly 20 years ran tandem careers. He studied conducting under the mentorship of legendary conductor Sergiu Celibidache, who regarded Gueller as his best student. Gueller also attracted the attention of the renowned American arts administrator Ernest Fleischman who “was deeply impressed by his extraordinary musicianship, his marvellous ability to communicate with the musicians, and … his charismatic impact on the audience.”
Gueller has made many recordings for national and international broadcast. His CD with Symphony Nova Scotia, Dancing in the Light, was released to critical acclaim. This followed a CD with mezzo soprano Hanneli Rupert and the Cape Town Philharmonic, and other recordings with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart, German Brass, and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra.
About Giora Schmidt
Giora Schmidt was born into a family of musicians in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents emigrated from Israel in 1978, and played with the Philadelphia Opera Company Orchestra. His mother, Michal Schmidt is a cellist and pianist and is on the faculty of Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges and the University of Pennsylvania. His father, Dov Schmidt, is a violinist and businessman.
Schmidt began his violin studies at the age of four,and by 12 was commuting between Philadelphia and New York to study with Patinka Kopec and Pinchas Zukerman at the Manhattan School of Music. Schmidt did not truly become serious until the age of 14 when he began spending summers at the Perlman Music Program in Shelter Island, NY. There he met Itzhak Perlman who invited Schmidt to study with him and the late violin pedagogue Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard Pre-College.
In between his lessons in New York, Schmidt worked intensely with violinist Geoffrey Michaels on scales, etudes and the Sonatas and Partitas of Johann Sebastian Bach – in the tradition of Efrem Zimbalist and Oscar Shumsky.
At 18, Schmidt entered the Juilliard School where he continued his studies with Perlman and DeLay, graduating in 2004. From 2004-2006 he was chosen to be a Starling Fellow where he taught as Itzhak Perlman’s assistant at the Juilliard School.
He has appeared as soloist with numerous symphony orchestras around the globe including Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Vancouver, National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM (Mexico City), Orquesta Sinfonica de Chile, Sendai Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic. In February 2003, he made his Carnegie Hall debut performing the Barber Violin Concerto with the New York Youth Symphony
In recital and chamber music, Schmidt has performed at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, San Francisco Performances, the Louvre Museum in Paris, and Tokyo’s Musashino Cultural Hall. His festival appearances include the Ravinia Festival, the Santa Fe and Montreal Chamber Music Festivals, Bard Music Festival, Scotia Festival of Music and Music Academy of the West. He has collaborated with such acclaimed musicians as Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Yefim Bronfman, Lynn Harrell, Anne Sofie von Otter, Ralph Kirshbaum and Michael Tree.
Committed to education and sharing his passion for music, Schmidt regularly seeks out new ways of reaching young violinists and music lovers around the world through technology and social media.
His Facebook page Violinist Giora Schmidt, has over 70,000 global followers
Brahms Violin Concerto
The Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77, was composed by Johannes Brahms in 1878 and dedicated to his friend, the violinist Joseph Joachim. It is Brahms’s only violin concerto, and, according to Joachim, one of the four great German violin concerti.
The Germans have four violin concertos. The greatest, most uncompromising is Beethoven’s. The one by Brahms vies with it in seriousness. The richest, the most seductive, was written by Max Bruch. But the most inward, the heart’s jewel, is Mendelssohn’s.
The Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, Op. 60, is a symphony in four movements composed by Ludwig van Beethoven in the summer of 1806. It was premièred in March 1807 at a private concert at the home of Joseph Franz von Lobkowitz.
The work was dedicated to Count Franz von Oppersdorff, a relative of Beethoven’s patron, Prince Lichnowsky. The Count met Beethoven when he traveled to Lichnowsky’s summer home, where Beethoven was staying. Von Oppersdorff listened to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 in D major, and liked it so much that he offered a large amount of money for Beethoven to compose a new symphony for him. Beethoven undertook the new work during the summer of 1806 and completed it in roughly a month, while also working on the Fourth Piano Concerto and revising his opera Fidelio, then still known as Leonore. The dedication was made to “the Silesian nobleman Count Franz von Oppersdorf’. Hector Berlioz was so enamoured of the symphony’s 2nd movement that he claimed it was the work of the Archangel Michael, and not that of a human. Robert Schumann called Beethoven’s graceful Fourth Symphony “a slender Greek maiden between two Norse giants” (i.e., the 3rd and 5th).
Fratres: Avro Pärt
Fratres, meaning “brothers” in Latin, is a composition by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt exemplifying his tintinnabuli style of composition. It is three-part music, written in 1977, without fixed instrumentation — a “mesmerising set of variations on a six-bar theme combining frantic activity and sublime stillness that encapsulates Pärt’s observation that ‘the instant and eternity are struggling within us.” The version chosen by Maestro Gueller is for Strings and Percussion.