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  • Conductor James Conlon Leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Three Performances Featuring Violinist Sarah Chang
  • Feb. 26, 2009
  • The All-Mendelssohn Program Honors the Composer’s Bicentennial


    February 26 Media Sponsor: KUSC; The February 26 Concert is Generously Sponsored by UBS; The February 28 Concert is Generously Sponsored by Acura – All Acura Vehicles Park Free for the Evening

    James Conlon, music director of the Los Angeles Opera and one of today’s pre-eminent conductors, leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in three performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Thursday and Saturday, February 26 and 28, at 8 p.m., and Friday, February 27, at 11 a.m. The all-Mendelssohn concert honors the prodigy composer’s bicentennial and features another prodigy, Sarah Chang, in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64.

    Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, the darling of his time, was known for writing brilliant and appealing music, and his music continues to hold great appeal today. The program opens with Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 11, performed by the LA Phil for the first time. Though he’d already written 12 symphonies between the ages of 12 and 14, they were discounted and the official numbering began with this effort, which Mendelssohn wrote at 15. Following is his Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, which was written when he was 35, completely debunking the notion that the composer’s creative powers diminished later in his life. Chang performed the much-loved work at the age of 14 with the New York Philharmonic and recorded it in 1998 for EMI Classics. The program concludes with music from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Mendelssohn saw the play with his sister Fanny, and immediately wrote a piece for piano duet, which he referred to as an overture, for the two of them to play. Fifteen years later he was called upon by the King of Prussia to compose incidental music for a production of the Shakespeare comedy and append to the Overture. The main pieces, aside from the Overture, were four interludes; at these concerts we hear the Scherzo and Wedding March, the latter of which continues to be one of the most frequently used wedding marches to this day. Mendelssohn’s life was cut short at the age of 38, by a series of strokes.

    James Conlon is in his fourth season as Music Director of the Los Angeles Opera. He last appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in February of 2008.

    Sarah Chang, one of the most remarkable prodigies of any generation, has matured into a young artist noted for her musical insight, technical virtuosity, and emotional range. She most recently performed with the LA Phil and Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen during the orchestra’s tour to Asia in October of 2008.

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place on the Walt Disney Concert Hall stage one hour and 15 minutes prior to the Friday concert and in Walt Disney Concert Hall’s BP Hall one hour prior to the Saturday and Sunday concerts, and are free to all ticket holders. Dean Corey, president and artistic director of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, hosts.

    One of today’s preeminent conductors, JAMES CONLON has cultivated a vast symphonic, operatic and choral repertoire, and developed enduring relationships with many of the world's most prestigious symphony orchestras and opera houses. Since his New York Philharmonic debut in 1974, Conlon has appeared as guest conductor with virtually every major North American and European orchestra and has been a frequent guest conductor at the Metropolitan Opera for over 30 years. Conlon is Music Director of Los Angeles Opera, Music Director of the Ravinia Festival, the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and celebrates his 30th season as Music Director of the Cincinnati May Festival in 2009. Conlon served as Principal Conductor of the Paris National Opera (1995-2004); General Music Director of the City of Cologne, Germany (1989-2002); and Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic (1983-1991). During the 2008/09 season at LA Opera, Conlon conducts Wagner’s Das Rheingold and Die Walküre - the first two operas of his first Ring cycle in the U.S. which will be completed in 2010. He also continues his “Recovered Voices” series, a multi-year project during which he brings the music of composers suppressed by the Nazi regime to the LA Opera stage, with the company premiere of Walter Braunfels’ The Birds (Die Vögel). He conducted Puccini’s Il Trittico directed by Woody Allen and William Friedkin; Robert Wilson’s production of Madama Butterfly; and Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Conlon also continues his two-year residency at the Juilliard School, during which he works with the school’s young artists in a cross-genre educational project consisting of performances, symposia, master classes, and coaching. He will lead the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival where he is Music Director, and he will guest conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and Detroit Symphony in the U.S., and in Europe the NDR Sinfonieorchester in Hamburg, Rotterdam Philharmonic, and National Philharmonic of Russia in Moscow. In an effort to raise public consciousness to the significance of works of composers whose lives and compositions were suppressed by the Nazi regime, Conlon has devoted himself to extensive programming of this music in North America and Europe. At both the Ravinia Festival and L.A. Opera he continues to program works of these composers, including Alexander von Zemlinsky, Viktor Ullmann, Pavel Haas, Kurt Weill, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Karl-Amadeus Hartmann, Erwin Schulhoff, and Ernest Krenek. His residency at Juilliard also focuses in part on the study and performance of these works. Conlon has recorded extensively for EMI, Sony Classical, Erato, Capriccio, and Telarc, for which he has received numerous citations. He has been featured on DVDs for Decca, and has appeared in several television series on PBS. In 2009, Conlon won two Grammy Awards; Best Classical Recording and Best Opera Album, for conducting LA Opera’s production of Kurt Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, released on DVD on the EuroArts label. Conlon’s other recent awards include the Medal of the American Liszt Society for his distinctive performances of the composer’s works, Italy’s Premio Galileo 2000 Award for his significant contribution to music, art and peace in Florence, and the Crystal Globe Award from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for his efforts in championing the works of composers silenced by the Third Reich. He is one of five first recipients of the Opera News Award given in recognition for distinguished achievement in opera, and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Music degree by The Juilliard School. He received the Zemlinsky Prize for his efforts in bringing the composer’s music to international attention. He was named an Officier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 1996, and in 2004 was promoted to Commander. In 2002, James Conlon received France’s highest distinction from the President of the French Republic, Jacques Chirac—the Légion d’Honneur.

    Violinist SARAH CHANG is recognized the world over as one of classical music’s most captivating and gifted performers. One of the most remarkable prodigies of any generation, she has matured into a young artist whose musical insight, technical virtuosity, and emotional range continue to astonish. Appearing in the music capitals of Asia, Europe and the Americas, she has collaborated with most major orchestras and worked with the most esteemed conductors. Notable recital engagements have included her Carnegie Hall debut and performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Symphony Hall in Boston, the Barbican Centre in London, the Philharmonie in Berlin, as well as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. She has reached an even wider audience through her many television appearances, concert broadcasts and best-selling recordings for EMI Classics. The remarkable accomplishments of her career were recognized in 1999 when she received the Avery Fisher Prize, one of the most prestigious awards given to instrumentalists. Highlights of Chang’s 2008/09 season include a Far East tour with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen, and appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic both at the Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Pittsburgh Symphony (where she presented the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’ concerto commissioned for her by the orchestra), the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, the Puerto Rico Symphony, the Orquestra Sinfonica Estado de Sao Paulo, the London Philharmonia and Japan’s NHK Symphony. Chang records exclusively for EMI Classics. Her latest release, the widely lauded Vivaldi Four Seasons with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, has reached the Billboard charts in the U.S. and continues to top the best selling charts internationally. Other recordings include Prokofiev Violin Concerto No.1 and Shostakovich Violin Concerto No.1 live with the Berlin Philharmonic under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle, Fire and Ice, an album of popular shorter works for violin and orchestra with Plácido Domingo conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, the Dvorák concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Colin Davis, as well as several chamber music and sonata discs with artists such as Leif Ove Andsnes, Lars Vogt and members of the Berlin Philharmonic. Born in Philadelphia to Korean parents, Sarah Chang began her violin studies at age 4 and promptly enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music, where she studied with the late Dorothy DeLay. Within a year she had already performed with several orchestras in the Philadelphia area. Her early auditions, at age 8, for Zubin Mehta and Riccardo Muti led to immediate engagements with the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Chang has appeared on numerous television and radio programs throughout Europe, the Americas, and the Far East. Along with Pete Sampras, Wynton Marsalis, and Tom Brady, she has been a featured artist in Movado’s global advertising campaign “The Art of Time.” In March 2008, Chang was honored as a Young Global Leader for 2008 by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for her professional achievements, commitment to society and potential in shaping the future of the world. In 2005, Yale University dedicated a chair in Sprague Hall in Chang’s name. For the June 2004 Olympic games, she was given the honor of running with the Olympic Torch in New York, and that same month, became the youngest person ever to receive the Hollywood Bowl's Hall of Fame award. Also in 2004, Ms. Chang was awarded the Internazionale Accademia Musicale Chigiana Prize in Sienna, Italy. She is a past recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Gramophone’s “Young Artist of the Year” award, Germany’s “Echo” Schallplattenpreis, “Newcomer of the Year” honors at the International Classical Music Awards in London, and Korea’s “Nan Pa” award. In 2006, she was named by Newsweek as one of the Twenty Top Women on Leadership.

    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.


    THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2009, AT 8 PM

    FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2009, AT 11 AM

    SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2009, AT 8 PM

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

    JAMES CONLON, conductor

    SARAH CHANG, violin

    MENDELSSOHN Symphony No. 1

    MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto

    MENDELSSOHN Music from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

    February 26 Media Sponsor: KUSC

    The February 26 concert is generously sponsored by UBS.

    The February 28 concert is generously sponsored by Acura – all Acura vehicles park free for the evening.

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place on the Walt Disney Concert Hall stage one hour and 15 minutes prior to the Friday concert and in Walt Disney Concert Hall’s BP Hall one hour prior to the Saturday and Sunday concerts, and are free to all ticket holders. Dean Corey, president and artistic director of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, hosts.

    Tickets ($17 - $147) 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 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 information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Lisa White, 213.972.3408,; Photos: 213.972.3034