DANIEL HARDING, CONDUCTOR
In 2011, Daniel Harding was designated lifetime Conductor Laureate of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the summation of a 14-year relationship with the orchestra as Principal Conductor. Harding shares the MCO’s adventurous spirit. He says, “I think the MCO is about quality, concentration, passion and a fanatical devotion to the music.” The same could be said about him. A protégé of Sir Simon Rattle and Claudio Abbado, Harding made his professional debut in 1994 and has led some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, the LSO, the Concertgebouw and LA Philharmonic, as well as maintaining a presence on the podiums of the world’s major opera houses. The 36-year-old already has the credentials and the maturity to be a consequential conductor and a leader for a new generation of musicians.
Harding explores the orchestral heartland in two magnificent Romantic symphonies. Dvořák’s New World Symphony is as vast and energetic as the wide-open spaces of the United States which inspired it. At its core is the hushed dignity of the famous Largo, which gave us the spiritual ‘Goin’ Home’. Robert Schumann’s Rhenish Symphony is a euphoric portrait Germany’s Rhineland in its many moods from quiet dawn on the river to the power and nobility of ancient cathedrals.
CHRISTIAN TETZLAFF, VIOLIN
“What ultimately moves people is the emotional openness and deep sincerity of Tetzlaff’s playing.” Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe
Beethoven Violin Concerto in D, Op.61
Christian Tetzlaff’s uncompromising approach to playing has made him one of the most fascinating and formidable musicians you’ll ever hear. Whether he’s performing solo sonatas by JS Bach or a Romantic warhorse concerto, he inhabits the music, perfectly realising the composer’s intentions, with flawless technique and impeccable taste. Of course, virtuosity is the norm among today’s musicians, but what distinguishes Tetzlaff is his nearly ego-less devotion to the music he performs - he’ll even avoid certain pieces that he regards as too flashy. Tetzlaff is a musician first and a virtuoso violinist second. This immersive approach to music-making has earned him a cult following of musicians and audiences, and international accolades.
Beethoven’s Violin Concerto is a piece that deserves Tetzlaff’s bracing combination of intellect and emotion. This trusty staple of the concert platform risks becoming dulled by over-familiarity, but Tetzlaff polishes it to gleaming newness, joining the threads of this massive work into a cohesive design. Unfolding in magisterial breadth, the concerto positions the violinist as hero in an epic drama – the one against the many. Tetlaff is the ideal protagonist, first subduing the orchestra, then dreaming with it in a central movement of aching loveliness before finally leading it in a joyous dance.
ALISA WEILERSTEIN, CELLO
Shostakovich Cello Concerto No.1 in E-flat Major, Op.107
“Her technical abilities serve a taste for sweep and intensity; she performs with soulful expression and physical abandon.” New York Times
Alisa Weilerstein has quickly become one of the most sought-after musicians of her generation, and the heir-apparent to the title of Great American Cellist. Intense, sensitive and spontaneous, Weilerstein is a natural communicator as well as a commanding virtuoso. In 2011, her accomplishments were recognised with a MacArthur Fellowship, the ‘Genius Grant’ which frees its recipients to pursue their art to its highest peaks. She’s just 30 years old and her CV already lists the accomplishments of an international soloist: the A-list orchestras and star conductors she’s worked with. But what quickly becomes apparent when watching her is that Weilerstein is that she is completely in love with the cello, with performing and with her fellow musicians.
Weilerstein performs the emotionally and technically demanding First Cello Concerto of Dmitri Shostakovich, one of the most searing musical statements in 20th century music. Sorrowful and sarcastic, bitter and biting, the cello concerto, like many of Shostakovich’s best works is a deeply, almost disturbing, personal utterance, embroidered with his own musical ‘monogram’. The Independent says it best: “Weilerstein was the complete musical actress whose orations from hushed and furtive and fearful to ferociously assertive were gripping in the extreme. We must cast our minds back to Rostropovich to remember an account of the slow movement as potent and technically accomplished as this.”