Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
Press Release

Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony alongside Sibelius and Grieg in November

The concerts include Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony, Sibelius’s Symphony No. 7 and Jon Kimura Parker performing Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor.

By - Oct 23rd, 2015 04:04 pm

MILWAUKEE, WIS. 10/26/2015– The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra presents Schubert + Grieg on November 20 at 11:15am and November 21 at 8:00 p.m. at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. The concerts include Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony, Sibelius’s Symphony No. 7 and Jon Kimura Parker performing Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor.

Both concerts include Meet the Music, a free, interactive pre-concert discussion held one hour prior to concert start time, in Uihlein Hall on Friday and in the Anello Atrium on Saturday. Friday’s performance also includes a Pre-Concert Fashion Show in the Bradley Pavilion at 10:15 a.m. and offers a post-concert Meet the Artist Luncheon with artists from the performance in the Bradley Pavilion.

Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 is one of Grieg’s most popular works and is among the most often performed of all piano concertos. Set in three movements, it opens with a crescendo roll from the timpani, which culminates in a crashing chord from the full orchestra. The soloist enters with a flourish based on a motif that is typical of Norwegian folk music. Grieg, one of the most important Norwegian composers, was a master melodist whose compositions showed the influence of native folk idioms. The Milwaukee Symphony last performed this piece in October of 2011 with Edo de Waart as conductor and Simon Trpceski as soloist.

Schubert’s Symphony No. 7 in B minor, D. 759, “Unfinished” was written in 1822 by Schubert when he was 25 years old. The symphony, which is only two movements long, instead of the more customary four, has generated a great deal of disagreement amongst musicologists. Some speculated that he stopped after writing only a few bars of third movement because he was ill. Others suggest he was distracted by inspiration for another piece. Still others say the symphony was left incomplete because of the predominance of a triple meter, which rarely, if ever, is found in three consecutive movements of a work by a Viennese composer. Many believe Schubert regarded the work as complete because he wrote out a neat copy and gifted it to Anselm Hüttenbrenner in 1823. In 1865 it was given to the conductor of the orchestra of the Vienna Musikverein and performed for the first time in December of that year, 37 years after Schubert’s death. The MSO last performed this work in November of 2012 under the direction of Christoph König.

Sibelius’s Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 105 is a single movement piece that was composed in 1924. It has been said that Sibelius never approached the symphony challenge the same way twice. That maxim is nowhere more evident than in the Symphony No. 7, the composer’s final published symphony. At its Stockholm premiere, the work was referred to as a “Symphonic Fantasy.” Only when the piece was published a year later did Sibelius call it a symphony. The Seventh Symphony is unified by the key of C; every significant passage in the work is in C major or C minor. Variety is achieved by an almost constantly changing tempo, as well as by contrasts of mode, articulation, and texture. The Milwaukee Symphony last performed this piece in May of 1992 with Gerard Schwartz conducting.


Lawrence Renes

Having conducted many of the world’s greatest orchestras and opera companies in recent seasons, Dutch conductor Lawrence Renes took up the post of Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Royal Swedish Opera in August 2012. His first two seasons included performances of Die Walküre, Peter Grimes, Il trovatore, Tosca, Turandot, Salome, and La bohème. During the 2014/15 season he conducted the Swedish premiere of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin, new productions of Madama Butterfly and Idomeneo, and revivals of The Rite of Spring and Tristan und Isolde.

A champion of John Adams, Renes has conducted productions of Nixon in China at San Francisco Opera, and Doctor Atomic at English National Opera and De Nederlandse Opera. He has conducted Adams’s orchestral works with the London, Oslo, and Hong Kong Philharmonic orchestras, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Australian Youth Orchestra.

In the Unites States, Renes has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and with the Minnesota Orchestra and Seattle, Houston, Detroit, Indianapolis, New Jersey and Saint Louis Symphony orchestras. Further afield he has worked with the New Zealand Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, and West Australian Symphony orchestras as well as the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.

On the opera stage, Renes gave the US premiere of Tan Dun’s Tea with Sante Fe Opera to great critical acclaim in 2007 and has returned twice since – for Don Giovanni and Die Zauberflöte. He has also conducted at La Monnaie, Staatsoper Hamburg, De Nederlandse Opera, Teatro Nacional São Carlos, and Den Norske Opera in titles as diverse as Elektra, The Cunning Little Vixen, Eugene Onegin, The Rake’s Progress, Carmen, and the world premiere of Nuno Côrte-Real’s Banksters. The DVD of Doctor Atomic from the Netherlands Opera was named by Alex Ross as one of his Ten Best Classical Recordings of the Year for 2008 in The New Yorker.

Having studied violin at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, Lawrence Renes went on to study conducting at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and subsequently took up the position of assistant to Edo de Waart at the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. From 2001 to 2006 Renes held the post of Generalmusikdirektor of Bremer Theater and from 1998 to 2003 he was Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of Het Gelders Orkest, Arnhem.

Jon Kimura Parker

Known for his passionate artistry and engaging stage presence, pianist Jon Kimura Parker has performed as guest soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Wolfgang Sawallisch in Carnegie Hall, toured Europe with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Andre Previn, and shared the stage with Jessye Norman at Berlin’s Philharmonie. Conductors he has recently worked with include Teddy Abrams, Pablo Heras-Cassado, Claus Peter Flor, Hans Graf, Matthew Halls, Jeffrey Kahane, Peter Oundjian, Larry Rachleff, Bramwell Tovey, Xu Zhong, and Pinchas Zukerman. A true Canadian ambassador of music, Mr. Parker has given command performances for Queen Elizabeth II, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Prime Ministers of Canada and Japan. He is an Officer of The Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian honor.

As a member of the outreach project Piano Plus, Mr. Parker toured remote areas including the Canadian Arctic, performing classical music and rock’n’roll on everything from upright pianos to electronic keyboards. In commemoration of his special performances in war-torn Sarajevo in 1995, he was a featured speaker alongside humanitarians Elie Wiesel and Paul Rusesabagina at the 50th Anniversary of the relief organization AmeriCares.

An unusually versatile artist, Mr. Parker has also jammed with Audra McDonald, Bobby McFerrin, and Doc Severinsen, and this season performed tangos on two pianos with Pablo Ziegler. Mr. Parker also debuted his new project Off The Score in a quintet with legendary Police drummer Stewart Copeland, featuring both original compositions and fresh takes on music of Ravel, Prokofiev, and Stravinsky.

An active media personality, Mr. Parker hosted the television series Whole Notes on Bravo! and CBC Radio’s Up and Coming. His YouTube channel showcases the Concerto Chat video series, with illuminating discussions of the piano concerto repertoire.

A committed educator, Jon Kimura Parker is Professor of Piano at The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. His students have won international piano competitions, performed with major orchestras across the U.S., and given recitals in Amsterdam, Beijing, New York, and Moscow. He has lectured at The Juilliard School, The Colburn School, The Steans Institute, New York University, and Yale University. Mr. Parker is also Artistic Advisor of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, where he has given world premieres of new works by Peter Schickele and Jake Heggie.

“Jackie” Parker studied with Edward Parker and Keiko Parker privately, Lee Kum-Sing at the Vancouver Academy of Music and the University of British Columbia, Robin Wood at the Victoria Conservatory, Marek Jablonski at the Banff Centre, and Adele Marcus at The Juilliard School. He won the Gold Medal at the 1984 Leeds International Piano Competition. He lives in Houston with his wife, violinist Aloysia Friedmann and their daughter Sophie.


Schubert + Grieg

Lawrence Renes, conductor

Jon Kimura Parker, piano

Uihlein Hall, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Friday, November 20 | 11:15 a.m.

Meet the Music, Uihlein Hall | 10:15 a.m.

Meet the Artist Luncheon | Post-concert | Tickets $25

Saturday, November 21 | 8:00 p.m.

Meet the Music, Anello Atrium | 7:00 p.m.

Tickets range from $20-$110. For more information, please call 414.291.7605 or visit Tickets may also be purchased through the Marcus Center Box Office at 414.273.7206.

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, under the dynamic leadership of Music Director Edo de Waart, is among the finest orchestras in the nation and the largest cultural institution in Wisconsin. Now in his seventh season with the MSO, Maestro de Waart has led sold-out concerts, elicited critical acclaim, and conducted a celebrated performance at Carnegie Hall on May 11, 2012. The MSO’s full-time professional musicians perform over 135 classics, pops, family, education, and community concerts each season in venues throughout the state. Since its inception in 1959, the MSO has found innovative ways to give music a home in the region, develop music appreciation and talent among area youth, and raise the national reputation of Milwaukee.

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