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  • WDCH
  • Oct. 14, 2006
  • Concert is the First of Los Angeles Philharmonic's
    2006/2007 Visiting Orchestra Series

    SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2006, AT 2 PM

    Performance is generously sponsored by All Nippon Airways and
    Supported by a generous grant from the Aratani Foundation

    The NHK Symphony Orchestra, Japan's first professional orchestra, led by Music Director and Principal Conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy, performs as part of the 2006/2007 Visiting Orchestra Series in a program of Brahms, Elgar and Debussy, at Walt Disney Concert Hall on October 14 at 2:00pm. Acclaimed pianist Hélène Grimaud plays the grandiose and memorable Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor.

    Vladimir Ashkenazy has been Music Director of the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo since September 2004. In autumn 2005 he completed his second highly successful European tour with them, including a televised concert at the Vienna Musikverein which marked the orchestra's debut in this prestigious venue. The NHK Symphony on the U.S. tour, in celebration of its 80th Anniversary, continues to San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston and Carnegie Hall in New York, with Hélène Grimaud as soloist. Grimaud is one of today's most in-demand performers and highly praised by critics: "Her performance is superbly exhilarating. Grimaud is a tremendous pianist, and tremendously enjoyable" (Boston Globe); "If there is some of Martha Argerich in Ms. Grimaud's fire-breathing manner, there is also some of Murray Perahia in her underlying finesse" (New York Times).

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place one hour prior to each concert in BP Hall at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and are free to all ticket holders. Paul Romero, composer/pianist, is host.

    VLADIMIR ASHKENAZY was born in Gorky in the former Soviet Union. He began his studies at the age of six and was accepted at the Central Music School at eight. A graduate of the Moscow Conservatory, he won second prize in the prestigious International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1955 and shared first prize in the 1962 International Tchaikovsky Competition. As a pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy is renowned for his performances of Romantic and Russian composers. He has recorded the complete 24 Preludes and Fugues of Shostakovich, Scriabin's sonatas, Chopin and Schumann's entire works for piano, Beethoven's piano sonatas, as well as the piano concertos of Mozart, Beethoven, Bartók, Prokofiev, and Rachmaninoff - he continues to record and perform internationally. Midway through his pianistic career, Ashkenazy branched into conducting. He has been particularly praised for his recordings of orchestral works by Sibelius, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Scriabin. He was the principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from 1987 to 1994, and was principal conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra from 1998 to 2003 before his present position as Music Director of the NHK Symphony Orchestra. Besides these positions, Ashkenazy is Conductor Laureate of the Philharmonia Orchestra, Conductor Laureate of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and Music Director of the European Union Youth Orchestra, with whom he performs regularly.

    Born in Aix en Provence in 1969, pianist HÉLÈNE GRIMAUD was accepted by the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris at age 13, where she won the first prize in Jacques Rouvier's class in 1985. The year 1987 marked a turning point in her career with appearances at MIDEM in Cannes and at the piano festival La Roque d'Anthéron, her first solo recital in Paris and an invitation to perform with the Orchestre de Paris under Daniel Barenboim. In the U.S. she continues to appear with top-ranking orchestras from east to west coast including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics. From early on in her career she has worked with conductors of the highest caliber such as Kurt Sanderling, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and David Zinman. In 2002 Grimaud signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon; her latest recording, Reflection, which features works by Johannes Brahms and both Robert and Clara Schumann, with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting, was released to high acclaim in spring 2006. Her previous recordings on DG include Credo (orchestral and solo works by Beethoven and Pärt), a Chopin/Rachmaninoff recital disc, and Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 3 recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra and Pierre Boulez. A recording artist since the age of 15, her early catalog includes works by Brahms, Liszt, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Schumann, Strauss, and Gershwin. A recipient of numerous awards worldwide, Grimaud has also been appointed Officier dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministère de la Culture in 2002. More recently she was awarded the "Victoire d'honneur" at the French "Victoires de la Musique" in 2004. She is the author of two books, Variations Sauvages and Leçons Particulières, both published by Editions Robert Laffont.

    The NHK SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, began as the "New Symphony Orchestra" and Japan's first professional orchestra on October 5, 1926. After its name was changed to "Japan Symphony Orchestra", the orchestra received full financial support from NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai, i.e. Japan Broadcasting Corporation) in 1951, and changed its name to "NHK Symphony Orchestra." The Orchestra's performance standard vastly improved after appointing Joseph Rosenstock as chief conductor, and its subscription concerts, its core activities, continued even during the World War II. Up to the present day, the NHK Symphony Orchestra has had many historical performances by inviting world's leading conductors, such as Herbert von Karajan, Joseph Keilberth and, Ernest Ansermet, as well as the soloists of the time. Today the NHK Symphony Orchestra performs about 120 concerts a year, including 54 seasonal subscription concerts at the NHK Hall or Suntory Hall. All subscription program are broadcast nationwide on NHK television and over FM radio networks, as well as to Europe, North and South America, and Asia through the NHK World Service. Activities and performances of the NHK Symphony Orchestra such as regular overseas concerts since 1960, plans for semi-staged operas, complete range of commissioned works, CD recordings with major recording companies, etc., have earned its high reputation worldwide.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, presents the finest in orchestral and chamber music, recitals, new music, jazz, world music and holiday concerts at two of the most remarkable places 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 programs, community concerts and children's programming, ever seeking to provide inspiration and delight to the broadest possible audience.



    WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL, 111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles

    Visiting Orchestra Series




    BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 1

    DEBUSSY La mer

    ELGAR Enigma Variations

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place one hour prior to each concert in BP Hall at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and are free to all ticket holders. Paul Romero, composer/and pianist is host.

    Performance is generously sponsored by All Nippon Airways and Supported by a generous grant from the Aratani Foundation

    Tickets ($15-135) are on sale now online at, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. When available, choral bench seats ($15) will be released for sale to selected Philharmonic, Colburn Celebrity Recital, 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 all information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Adam Crane, 213.972.3408; Rachelle Roe, 213.972.7310; Photos: 213.972.3034