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  • WDCH
  • Mar. 23, 2010
  • The Recital Continues the LA PHIL’s On Location Residency of Emanuel Ax Celebrating the Bicentennials of Chopin and Schumann and Also Features Stephen Prutsman’s
    LA Phil-Commissioned Piano Lessons

    Program Update: The Prutsman Work Replaces the Originally Scheduled Golijov New Work for Soprano, Hyper-Accordion and Piano

    TUESDAY, MARCH 23, 2010, AT 8 PM

    The Series is Endowed by a Generous Grant from the Colburn Foundation

    Soprano Dawn Upshaw joins pianist Emanuel Ax on the Walt Disney Concert Hall stage in a program of songs and piano works by Frédéric Chopin and Robert Schumann, Tuesday, March 23, at 8 p.m. In addition to the selected music by the Romantic-era composers, the program also includes an LA Phil co-commission from composer Stephen Prutsman, Piano Lessons, which replaces a previously scheduled new work from Osvaldo Golijov. The Colburn Celebrity Series event is the second of three recitals featured in the On Location: Emanuel Ax residency, which explores the dualbicentennials of Schumann and Chopin.

    Only 20 of the songs Chopin wrote throughout his career have survived, 17 of which were gathered by Julian Fontana for posthumous publication as Op. 74 in 1857. In the program, Upshaw sings seven of these songs. Three are settings of poems by Chopin’s older friend Stefan Witwicki – the light-hearted Zyczenie (The Wish), the melancholy ballad Smutna rzeka (The Sad Stream) and the flirtatious Gdzie lubi (Where She Loves). Additional songs performed by Upshaw include Chopin’s earliest song, Precz z moich oczu! (Out of My Sight!), his last, Melodya (Melody), as well as Nie ma czego trzeba (Sorrow) from two laments by Bohdan Zaleski, and Moja pieszczotka (My Darling), a mazurka on a love poem by Adam Mickiewicz. Also from Chopin on the program are Four Mazurkas, Op. 41, and Two Nocturnes, Op. 27, performed by Ax.

    The program also features Ax and Upshaw performing Stephen Prutsman’s Piano Lessons, an LA Phil co-commission. Prutsman, who has known Upshaw since they were students together at Tanglewood Music Center in the 1980s, has written and arranged music for many of the world’s leading concert artists and ensembles. A book of poetry by Billy Collins given to Prutsman from Upshaw that included a poem titled “Piano Lessons” inspired him to write the piece. Of it, the composer stated that he “…immediately envisioned in my own ‘mind-theatre’ a song cycle which would complement these poems. [Earlier this year] … Emanuel Ax and Dawn embraced this idea and welcomed the chance to explore this little vision of mine in recital.”

    Upshaw states, “I could not have imagined…that he [Prutsman] would be moved to set this evocative verse to music for me and pianist Emanuel Ax. We are grateful to Stephen and Mr. Collins for offering this work as a companion piece to music by Chopin and Schumann, whose anniversaries we celebrate this evening." 

    The program concludes with Upshaw performing 12 selected songs by Schumann, mostly written and published as cycles or collections. Three of the songs – the joyous Widmung (Dedication), the wistful Die Lotosblume (The Lotus Blossom) and Jemand (Someone), the passionate expression of a Robert Burns poem – are from a collection of 26 love songs that was to be a wedding present to Schumann’s wife, Clara. Upshaw also sings the folk-like In der Fremde (In Foreign Lands) and the lightly flirtatious Die Stille (Stillness) from the Op. 39 Liederkreis. Er ist’s (It Is) and Mignon come from the composer’s Lieder-Album für die Jungend, Op. 79 collection, which was written after a brief hiatus from composing songs. Also on the program are Die Blume der Ergebung (The Flower of Resignation) from the Op. 83 Three Songs; the last of the Op. 89 Six Songs, Röselein, Röselein! (Rosebud, Rosebud); Nachtlied (Night Song), the first of five Lieder und Gesänge, Op. 96; the dramatic Heiss mich nicht redden (Do Not Ask Me to Speak, No. 5) and Singet nicht in Trauertönen (Sing Not in Sad Tones, No. 7).

    Emanuel Ax, in recognition of the bicentenaries of Chopin and Schuman, and in partnership with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, London’s Barbican, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall and the San Francisco Symphony, has commissioned new works from composers Thomas Adès and Peter Lieberson for a series of recital programs to be presented in each of the cities with colleagues Yo-Yo Ma and Dawn Upshaw. The Los Angeles recital featuring Ma and Lieberson’s Remembering Schumann took place at Walt Disney Concert Hall January 27.

    Dawn Upshaw and Stephen Prutsman have performed a wide range of music together – as recital partners, including a concert at the White House; with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in music from Dowland to Bartok, and at Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke's (Mozart) and with the ACJW Ensemble. Mr. Prutsman has also created several arrangements for Ms. Upshaw, including works with piano and with the Kronos Quartet.  

    The 2009/10 Colburn Celebrity recitals present virtuoso performances by world-renowned artists. Featured are two four-concert series, which includes three recitals anchoring the On Location: Emanuel Ax residency. Remaining recitals for the season feature Emanuel Ax, piano (April 20, 2010); and Christine Brewer, soprano (June 1, 2010). Additionally, Ax’s On Location concerts feature Ax playing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the orchestra under the direction of LA Phil Associate Conductor Lionel Bringuier (March 25 – 27, 2010), and also presents a new work from composer Thomas Adès (April 20, 2010).

    For full artist biographies, please visit:

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under the vibrant leadership of Gustavo Dudamel, presents the finest in orchestral and chamber music, recitals, new music, jazz, world music and holiday concerts at two of the most remarkable locations anywhere to experience music – Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to a 30-week winter subscription season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil presents a 12-week summer festival at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the Association’s involvement with Los Angeles extends to educational concerts, children's programming and community concerts, ever seeking to provide inspiration and delight to the broadest possible audience.

    TUESDAY, MARCH 23, 2010, at 8 PM
    Walt Disney Concert Hall
    111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles

    Colburn Celebrity Series

    On Location Artist: Emanuel Ax

    EMANUEL AX, piano
    DAWN UPSHAW, soprano

    CHOPIN Four Songs from Op. 74
    Zyczenie (The Wish), No. 1 
    Smutna rzeka (The Sad Stream), No. 3
    Gdzie lubi (There Where She Loves), No. 5
    Precz z moich oczu! (Out of My Sight!), No. 6
    CHOPIN Four Mazurkas, Op. 41
    CHOPIN Three Songs from Op. 74
    Melodya (Melody), No. 9
    Nie ma czego trzeba (Sorrow), No. 13
    Moja pieszczotka (My Darling), No. 12
    PRUTSMAN Piano Lessons (LAPA co-commission)
    CHOPIN Two Nocturnes, Op. 27
    SCHUMANN Selected Songs  
    In der Fremde, Op. 39, No. 1
    Nachtlied, Op. 96, No. 1
    Die Lotosblume, Op. 25, No. 7
    Heiss mich nicht reden, Op. 98a, No. 5
    Singet nicht in Trauertönen, Op. 98a, No. 7
    Die Stille, Op. 39, No. 4
    Die Blume der Ergebung, Op. 83, No. 2
    Jemand, Op. 25, No. 4
    Röselein, Röselein, Op. 89, No. 6
    Mignon (Kennst du das Land), Op. 79, No. 28/Op. 98a, No. 1
    Er ist's, Op. 79, No. 23
    Widmung, Op. 25, No. 1

    This series is endowed by a generous grant from the Colburn Foundation.

    Tickets ($17 - $95) are on sale now at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office, online at, or via credit card by phone at 323.850.2000. When available, choral bench seats ($17) will be released for sale to selected Philharmonic, Colburn Celebrity Series, and Baroque Variations performances beginning at noon on the Tuesday of the second week prior to the concert. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For information, please call 323.850.2000.

  • Contact:

    Sophie Jefferies,, 213.972.3422; Lisa White,, 213.972.3408; Photos: 213.972.3034