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  • Pianist Kirill Gerstein Joins Conductor Hans Graf and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a Program of Kodály, Liszt and Dvorák
  • Apr. 30, 2009
  • THURSDAY, April 30, 2009, at 8 PM
    FRIDAY, May 1, 2009, at 8 PM
    SUNDAY, May 3, 2009 at 2 PM

    April 30 Media Sponsor: KUSC

    Austrian conductor Hans Graf returns to Walt Disney Concert Hall to lead the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a program featuring works of the Hungarian composers Zoltán Kodál and Franz Liszt and the Bohemian Antonín Dvořák, Thursday and Friday, April 30 and May 1, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, May 3, at 2 p.m. Russian pianist Kirill Gerstein joins the orchestra for Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in A, a piece the composer revised several times over 13 years.

    The program opens with Kodaly’s Concerto for Orchestra, which was completed in 1940 for the 50th anniversary of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Following is Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major, which, like the Kodály work, is in a single large-scale plan of three connected movements. The program concludes with Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88, once labeled the “English” Symphony due to the fact that the first publisher of the piece was Novello of London. The piece was first performed by the National Theater Orchestra in Prague in 1890, with the composer as conductor.

    Graf is one of the most active conductors of his generation, simultaneously holding the positions of music director of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and of the Bordeaux Aquitaine National Orchestra before taking on his current role as music director of the Houston Symphony. He is also a busy guest conductor in America and Europe. Thirty-year-old Gerstein has quickly gained acclaim for his incredible range and is a much sought-after soloist throughout the world.

    An opportunity to learn more about the program is free to all ticket holders at Upbeat Live, which takes place in BP Hall one hour prior to each concert. Alan Chapman, KUSC-FM radio host, composer-lyricist and pianist, hosts.

    Known for his wide range of repertoire and creative programming, the distinguished Austrian conductor HANS GRAF is one of today's most highly respected musicians. Graf was chosen to be the Music Director of the Houston Symphony in 2000 and began his tenure with the orchestra in September 2001. Prior to his appointment in Houston, he was the music director of the Calgary Philharmonic for eight seasons and held the same post with the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine for six years. He also led the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra from 1984 to 1994. Graf is a frequent guest with all of the major North American orchestras, and his recent and upcoming guest engagements include appearances with the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, and the San Francisco, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Atlanta and National symphonies among others. Over the past decade he has developed a close relationship with the Boston Symphony and appears regularly with the orchestra during the subscription season and at the Tanglewood Music Festival. Graf made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Houston Symphony in January 2006 and returned to Carnegie leading the Orchestra of St. Luke's in March 2007. Internationally, Graf conducts in the foremost concert halls of Europe, Japan and Australia, and has appeared with the Vienna Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra as well as with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic. He has participated in such prestigious European festivals as the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Bregenz, Aix en Provence, Orange and Savonlinna in Finland and appeared at the Salzburg Festival for 12 consecutive seasons. An experienced opera conductor, Graf first conducted the Vienna State Opera in 1981 and has since led productions in the opera houses of Berlin, Munich, Paris and Rome. His extensive opera repertoire includes several world premieres. Recent opera engagements include Parsifal at the Zurich Opera and Boris Godunov at the Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg. Born in 1949 near Linz, Graf studied violin and piano as a child. He earned diplomas in piano and conducting from the Musikhochschule in Graz and continued his conducting studies with Franco Ferrara in Siena, Sergiu Celibidache in Bologna and Arvid Jansons in Weimar and Leningrad. Graf served as the Music Director of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra in Baghdad for the 1975/76 season and the following year began coaching at the Vienna State Opera. His international career was launched in 1979 when he was awarded first prize at the Karl Böhm Competition. Graf's discography includes the complete symphonies of Mozart and Schubert and the premiere recording of Zemlinsky's opera Es war einmal. He has recorded for the EMI, Orfeo, CBC, Erato, Capriccio and JVC labels and recent releases include the complete works of Dutilleux for BMG Arte Nova, and with the Houston Symphony works by Bartók and Stravinsky for Koch International and Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony for Naxos. Graf has been awarded the Chevalier de l'ordre de la Légion d'Honneur by the French government for championing French music around the world as well as the Grand Decoration of Honor in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria.

    Recognized for his masterful technique and probing interpretations, Russian pianist KIRILL GERSTEIN is quickly proving to be one of today's most promising and intriguing young artists. Born in 1979 in Voronezh, Russia, where he attended one of the country's special music schools for gifted children, Gerstein came to the U.S. at the age of 14 as the youngest student ever to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston to continue his studies in jazz piano. During his years at Berklee he continued to practice the classical piano repertoire and also attended the Boston University summer program at Tanglewood in 1995 and 1996. It was following his second summer at Tanglewood that he decided classical music would be his main focus. He moved to New York City to attend the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Solomon Mikowsky and earned both his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees by the age of 20. Gerstein continued his studies in Madrid with the famed piano pedagogue Dmitri Bashkirov and currently coaches with Ferenc Rados in Budapest. Gerstein’s recent and upcoming engagements in North America include appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and the San Francisco, Detroit, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Vancouver, Oregon and Utah symphonies; the Ravinia Festival with the Chicago Symphony, the Mann Music Center and Saratoga Festival with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Blossom Festival with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chicago’s Grant Park Festival; chamber music performances at Zankel Hall at Carnegie and the 92nd St. Y; and recitals in Boston, New York, Cincinnati, Detroit, Vancouver, Kansas City, Portland, OR and the Kennedy Center. Equally active internationally, Gerstein has worked with many of Europe’s most prominent orchestras including the Munich, Rotterdam, Royal Liverpool and London philharmonics, Dresden Staatskapelle, Zurich Tonhalle, the Finnish and Swedish Radio orchestras and the Deutsches Symphony Orchestra Berlin. He also appears in recital in Paris, Prague, Hamburg, London’s Wigmore Hall and the Liszt Academy in Budapest and makes his debut at the Salzburg Festival performing with András Schiff. Gerstein received the First Prize at the 2001 Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition in Tel Aviv and was a recipient of a 2002 Gilmore Young Artist Award. He was also selected as Carnegie Hall’s “Rising Star” for the 2005/06 season. He became an American citizen in 2003 and is currently professor of piano at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart.

    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, APRIL 30, 2009, AT 8 PM

    FRIDAY, MAY 1, 2009, AT 8 PM

    SUNDAY, MAY 3, 2009, AT 2 PM


    111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles


    HANS GRAF, conductor


    KODALY Concerto for Orchestra

    LISZT Piano Concerto No. 2

    DVORÁK Symphony No. 8

    April 30 Media Sponsor: KUSC

    An opportunity to learn more about the program is free to all ticket holders at Upbeat Live, which takes place in BP Hall one hour prior to each concert. Alan Chapman, KUSC-FM radio host, composer-lyricist and pianist, hosts.

    Tickets ($42 - $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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    Sophie Jefferies,, 213.972.3422; Lisa White,, 213.972.3408; Photos: 213.972.3034