April 18, 2003

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JAMES DEPREIST FINISHES CLASSICAL SEASON WITH
“EMPEROR” PIANO CONCERTO PERFORMED BY PIANIST HORACIO GUTIÉRREZ
AND BRAHMS’ SYMPHONY NO. 4


Portland, Ore. … James DePreist conducts his final Classical Concert as Music Director of the Oregon Symphony as he leads the orchestra in Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 in E minor and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat “Emperor,” performed by pianist Horacio Gutiérrez on May 17, 18 and 19 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, with an additional performance on May 20 at Salem’s Smith Auditorium. This concert is funded by a grant from the E. Nakamichi Foundation and the Jackson Foundation, with media support provided by The Oregonian.

DePreist completes his 23rd and final season as Music Director in June. In August he assumes the title of Laureate Music Director; he will conduct four concerts during the 2003-2004 season and one concert annually thereafter, in addition to continuing to record with the orchestra.

Considered among today’s foremost pianists, Gutiérrez will conclude the Symphony’s Beethoven Piano concerto cycle with his performance of the “Emperor.” He is consistently praised by critics and audiences alike for the poetic insight and technical mastery he brings to a diverse repertoire, and is especially known for his interpretations of Beethoven’s piano concertos. His performance of the “Emperor” concerto was described by the Miami Herald as “deeply satisfying…a performance of utter security…he coaxed a glistening tone in which every note had its full and unique value…he also knows about the poetry of mood in the slow movement.”

Gutiérrez’s 2002-03 season includes appearances with the Seattle, Detroit, Milwaukee and Montreal Symphonies, and the Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras. He also maintains an active recital schedule, and has given recitals at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Berlin’s Philharmonie, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival and New York’s Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, as well as in Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Cleveland.

The concert opens with Beethoven’s best-known and most popular concerto, which musicologist Michael Steinberg describes as “a magnificent affirmation asserted in terrible times.” The origins of the title “Emperor” are not clear; it is popularly assumed to refer to Napoleon, but Beethoven himself rejected both association and title. As with the Fourth Concerto, in which Beethoven introduces the piano in an unexpected manner, in the Fifth the piano also begins playing with unconventional opening music, not melodic or thematic material but what Steinberg calls “a series of cadenza-like flourishes.”

DePreist and the Symphony devote the second half of the concert to Brahms’ towering final Fourth Symphony in E minor, which conductor Hans von Bülow described as “gigantic, altogether a law unto itself, quite new. It exudes unparalleled energy from first note to last.” The work, unlike Brahms’ First Symphony, which was universally derided as “Beethoven’s Tenth Symphony,” was well received by the public, although musicians and critics found it somewhat problematic and unsettling.

Oregon Symphony Classical concerts regularly include additional opportunities for listeners to learn more about the music and the orchestra. These activities include:

Pre-concert talks

Oregon Symphony violinist Gregory Ewer will lead a discussion one hour before the concert of the works to be performed. Media support for “Pre-Concert Talks” is provided by Classical Millennium.

Saturday

Music Director James DePreist will speak briefly from the podium in “Saturday Interactive.” Media support for “Saturday Interactive” is provided by KINKfm102.

Sunday

Audience members are invited to stay for a 15-20 minute panel discussion with Symphony staff and guest artists. Media support for “Sunday Post-Concert Discussion” is provided by KBPS Classical 89.9 FM.

Performances are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, May 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Monday, May 19 at 8 p.m. at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, with an additional performance on Tuesday, May 20 at Salem’s Smith Auditorium. Tickets range in price from $16 to $72 and may be purchased at the Oregon Symphony Ticket Office (923 S.W. Washington), Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or charged by phone at 503-228-1353 or (800) 228-7343. Tickets also may be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets (503-790-ARTS) or through Ticketmaster Online, via the Symphony’s Web site at www.orsymphony.org. Service fees may apply.


HORACIO GUTIÉRREZ

Considered among today’s foremost pianists, Horacio Gutiérrez is consistently praised by critics and audiences alike for the poetic insight and technical mastery he brings to a diverse repertoire. Since his professional debut in 1970 with Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mr. Gutiérrez has appeared regularly with the world’s greatest orchestras and on its major recital series.

In addition to his annual summer festival appearances including Tanglewood, Blossom and Chautauqua, recent and upcoming highlights include performances with the Seattle, Detroit, Milwaukee and Montreal Symphonies, and the Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras. Mr. Gutiérrez’s 2002-2003 recital season includes an appearance at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall.

In recent seasons, in addition to his appearances with the world’s major orchestras, Mr. Gutiérrez has given recitals at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Berlin’s Philharmonie, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival and New York’s Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, as well as in Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Cleveland. He also toured Japan with Mstislav Rostropovich and the National Symphony Orchestra and has appeared with Lorin Maazel and the Bavarian Radio Orchestra in performances of the two Brahms piano concertos.

A favorite of New York concertgoers, Mr. Gutiérrez has performed on numerous occasions at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall and Carnegie Hall in recital and with orchestra. He is also a frequent soloist at the Mostly Mozart Festival and has appeared on its season-opening Live from Lincoln Center telecast. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with the Guarneri, Tokyo and Cleveland quartets as well as the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. In 1982, he was the recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize.

Mr. Gutiérrez is a strong advocate of contemporary American composers. Of special importance was his performance of William Schuman’s Piano Concerto in honor of the composer’s 75th birthday at New York’s 92nd Street Y, as well as Andre Previn’s Piano Concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony with Mr. Previn conducting. He frequently includes George Perle’s Phantasyplay on his recital programs and Mr. Perle has recently written a set of nine bagatelles for Mr. Gutiérrez.

Mr. Gutiérrez’s Telarc recordings include Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3 with Lorin Maazel and the Pittsburgh Symphony, nominated for a Grammy Award. Also available on that label are separate discs of the two Brahms Concertos, both with Andre Previn and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini with David Zinman and the Baltimore Symphony. For the Chandos label he has recorded Prokofiev’s Concertos No. 2 and 3 with Neeme Jarvi and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. His television performances in Great Britain, the United States and France have been widely acclaimed, and won him an Emmy Award for his fourth appearance with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He has also been welcomed three times by Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. A great film and theater fan, he has performed in recital with Irene Worth and Mariette Hartley.

Born in Havana, Cuba, Horacio Gutiérrez appeared at the age of 11 as guest soloist with the Havana Symphony. He became an American citizen in 1967. A graduate of the Juilliard School, he resides in New York City with his wife, pianist Patricia Asher.

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