Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony kick off the 2018/19 Aegis Sciences Classical Series on September 13-15 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center with Ax Plays Brahms, welcoming back GRAMMY®-winning pianist Emmanuel Ax and showcasing a moving contemporary piece by American composer John Corigliano.
Widely regarded as one of the preeminent interpreters of Johannes Brahms’ music for piano, Ax will be the featured soloist on the composer’s Second Piano Concerto, a work of breathtaking scope that sparkles with brilliance and intensity. The program opens with John Corigliano’s powerful First Symphony, which the composer penned in the 1980s as a response to the AIDS epidemic and a tribute to those lost to the disease.
Great seats starting at only $20 are available through the Nashville Symphony’s Classical Cornucopia promotion, and the Symphony’s Soundcheck program offers $10 tickets to students in K-12, college and grad school. Date night packages – which include two tickets, two glasses of wine and Goo Goo chocolates – are also available.
About the Program
Born in Poland, Emanuel Ax immigrated to Canada with his family when he was a young boy and later studied at both The Juilliard School and Columbia University. He first gained notoriety in the mid-1970s by winning both the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv and Young Concert Artists’ Michaels Award, which he followed up in 1979 with the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize.
Ax has since enjoyed an expansive career, appearing with leading symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles around the globe, championing the work of an array of contemporary composers and compiling an impressive discography as a recording artist. He earned GRAMMY® Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas, as well as his recordings of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano with cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
Joining the orchestra on Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto, Ax will be performing a work that demands an almost superhuman level of artistry from the soloist, requiring both inexhaustible technical resources and intellectual power.
Though titled a concerto, Brahms’ Second resembles a symphony by virtue of the fact that it is cast in four movements like a traditional symphony rather than the conventional three used in a concerto. The piece, which premiered in 1881 with Brahms himself as the soloist, also builds on the legacy Beethoven created with his own final piano concerto, “Emperor,” which similarly paved new ground with its epic and symphonically conceived design.
Corigliano, who will be in Nashville for these performances, is the son of violinist John Corigliano, who served as concertmaster for the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein. The 80-year-old composer, whose instrumental work has long been marked by an instinctively dramatic sensibility, has played a central role in the revitalization of contemporary concert music, as well as the ongoing renaissance in American opera.
Written during his tenure as the Chicago Symphony’s first-ever composer-in-residence, the First Symphony “was generated by feelings of loss, anger and frustration” prompted by the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, according to Corigliano. Inspired to memorialize those lost to the disease through music, Corigliano adapted the traditional symphony format by devoting each of the three main movements to an associate who died of AIDS and rounded out the work with a brief epilogue. Commissioned for the Chicago Symphony’s centennial season, the work has garnered several GRAMMY® awards, as well as the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition.
Tickets for Ax Plays Brahms may be purchased:
- Online at NashvilleSymphony.org/Ax
- Via phone at 615.687.6400
- At the Schermerhorn Symphony Center Box Office, One Symphony Place in downtown Nashville
Additional information, including program notes, audio of Giancarlo Guerrero discussing the program, a Spotify playlist and Emanuel Ax’s full biography can be found at: www.nashvillesymphony.org/Ax.
The GRAMMY® Award-winning Nashville Symphony has earned an international reputation for its innovative programming and its commitment to performing, recording and commissioning works by America’s leading composers. The Nashville Symphony has released 29 recordings on Naxos, which have received 24 GRAMMY® nominations and 13 GRAMMY® Awards, making it one of the most active recording orchestras in the country. The orchestra has also released recordings on Decca, Deutsche Grammophon and New West Records, among other labels. With more than 140 performances annually, the orchestra offers a broad range of classical, pops and jazz, and children’s concerts, while its extensive education and community engagement programs reach 60,000 children and adults each year.