Carl Herko
Vice President, Media & Public Relations

April 7, 2008



(PORTLAND, Ore.) – In what will surely be remembered as one of the high points of the 2007-08 concert season, Music Director Carlos Kalmar will lead the Oregon Symphony Apr. 26-28 in a rare performance of one of music’s most challenging masterworks, Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 9.

Mahler’s Ninth – the Viennese composer’s final completed symphony and, many say, his most intense – is also one of symphonic music’s lengthiest creations. A performance takes about 90 minutes. (NOTE: This concert is performed without intermission. Late arrivals will have no opportunity to be seated until after the first movement is completed, about 30 minutes into the program.)

These performances will mark the first time Kalmar has led the Oregon Symphony in the Mahler Ninth and the first time the orchestra has performed it since 1990. (It has become something of a tradition in Kalmar’s tenure as Music Director to “finish big” each season with a performance one of the major Mahler symphonies. Kalmar has previously performed the Second, Fifth and Seventh symphonies in Portland, and the Mahler Fourth is scheduled for the end of the 2008-09 season.)

Mahler’s Ninth is enormous in every imaginable way: length, breadth, depth and scope. Its topic is the very conflict between life and death itself. Written in 1909, it has for years carried with it an almost mystical aura because Mahler shared the popular belief at the time – fueled by the deaths of Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert and Anton Bruckner – that ninth symphonies were “composer killers.” And, in fact, Mahler did die before its premiere performance in 1912. As a result, scholars and music lovers have puzzled for decades over whether Mahler intended the Ninth to be his farewell statement to the world.

Whatever the truth, it is unquestionably one of the great works of the 20th century, with a first movement widely regarded as Mahler’s most accomplished symphonic writing.

“It is music coming from another world, it is coming from eternity,” the longtime conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, Herbert von Karajan, said of it. Conductor Otto Klemperer added: “I believe it to be not only his last but his greatest achievement.”
Three performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Apr. 26 and 27, and 8 p.m. Monday, Apr. 28, in downtown Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Tickets are available for $15 to $103 at the Oregon Symphony Ticket Office, 923 SW Washington St., in downtown Portland. Ticket office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Tickets may also be purchased by phone at (503) 228-1353 or (800) 228-7343 during the same hours, or online at any time from the orchestra’s web site,

Tickets are also available through or by calling (503) 790-ARTS. Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are available through the symphony’s group sales hotline, (503) 416-6380. Student rush tickets are also available for $10.

Presenting sponsor of the concert is The Oregonian, with additional support from Lufthansa. Media partners are KINK-FM and KBPS All Classical Radio.

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