LSM Newswire

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kyoko Takezawa with the VSO!

The VSO Presents exciting violinist Kyoko Takezawa

performing Elgar’s Violin Concerto, in an epic concert

conducted by Andrew Litton

Vancouver BC – The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra presents world-renowned violinist Kyoko Takezawa with Music Director of the Bergen Philharmonic Andrew Litton on February 28 and March 2, 8pm, at the Orpheum Theatre. Kyoko Takezawa will perform Elgar’s epic Violin Concerto in B minor while Andrew Litton will lead the orchestra in Walton’s Crown Imperial and Rachmaninoff’s rare gem Symphony No. 3 in A minor.

Kyoko Takezawa is an operatic diva of the violin…”

- The Star Ledger

“[Andrew Litton is]…a leading conductor of his generation.”

- Gramophone

Kyoko Takezawa began her training in Japan as part of the Suzuki Method Association and later moved to the United States to continue her studies at the Julliard School under Dorothy DeLay. Ms. Takezawa graduated from Julliard in 1989 and went on to win the gold medal in the International Violin Competition in Indianapolis. Ms. Takezawa is always a favourite of Vancouver audiences.

Andrew Litton’s love of conducting began when he was ten years old, after attending a (Leonard Bernstein) New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concert. Litton studied music and conducting at both The Fieldston School and Julliard. He served as the Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra from 1988 to 1994; Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra from 1994 to 2006; and Music Director of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway since 2003. A celebrated conductor, Litton was awarded Yale University’s Sanford Medal in 2003, the BBC Critics Award in 2005, and the Elgar Medal in 2007. He was recently praised for his collaboration with the Bergen International Festival, the National Theatre in Bergen and Grieg Hall, Opera Vest, and Den Nye Opera’s in their joint production of Carmen.

Edward Elgar’s Violin Concerto in B minor has been described by David Dubal, author of The Essential Canon of Classical Music, as “the greatest English contribution to the treasury of Romantic violin concertos”. It was commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society in 1909, when Elgar was at the height of his fame. He dedicated the piece to Austrian virtuoso Fritz Kreisler who was the soloist at its first performance.


Masterworks Gold Series:

Epic Elgar and Rachmaninoff, with Kyoko Takezawa

Saturday & Monday, February 28 & March 2, 8pm, Orpheum Theatre

Andrew Litton, conductor

Kyoko Takezawa, violin

Walton Crown Imperial

Elgar Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61

Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44

Celebrated conductor Andrew Litton takes the reins in a concert featuring exciting violinist Kyoko Takezawa, and a rarely performed Romantic gem by Rachmaninoff.

Pre-Concert Talk with VSO bassoonist Sophie Dansereau at 7:05pm, FREE to ticketholders. Pre-concert talks take place in the auditorium, on the orchestra level.

Tickets $25 to $78.50 (Student, Senior and Subscriber discounts available)

Tickets available by phone at 604.876.3434 or online at

Generously Supported By:

Radio Sponsor: CKNW AM980


Andrew Litton, conductor

Andrew Litton is currently in his fifth season as the first American Music Director of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra of Norway and this summer, Litton brought the orchestra to Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, made the Norwegian orchestra's long awaited debut at the London BBC Proms, returned for his fifth season as Artistic Director of the Minnesota Orchestra Sommerfest, and appeared again with the Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival, before launching into an intensive fall guest conducting schedule throughout North America, Europe, and Japan. In November, Litton takes the Bergen Philharmonic on an 18 day, 12 concert American tour commemorating the Centenary of Grieg's death (Grieg was one of Litton's predecessors as head of the 242-year-old orchestra). The orchestra's first return to America in 41 years is capped with a Carnegie Hall appearance on November 6.

An orchestra builder, Litton in 2005 concluded an acclaimed 12-year tenure as Music Director of the Dallas Symphony, during which he produced 27 new recordings (one of the largest outputs of any American orchestras in the period), 6 nationally televised concerts (including an "Amazing Music" series in use in American schools), made 4 Carnegie Hall appearances and 3 major European tours, and raised the orchestra endowment from $17 million to $100 million. Now Dallas Music Director Emeritus, Litton returns regularly to conduct his former orchestra. At Minnesota's Sommerfest, where Litton performs as conductor, piano soloist, and chamber musician, he enjoys a close collegial relationship with musicians and staff, with ever increasing audiences. In 2006 Litton spearheaded Norwegian initiatives to create the New Bergen Opera company, premiering with a triumphant "Tosca". This season, Litton and the New Bergen Opera perform the David McVicar / Glyndebourne production of Bizet's "Carmen".

Recent additions to Litton's discography of over 75 CD's include a Deutsche Grammophon CD of new works for Violin and Orchestra by John Tavener featuring Nicola Benedetti and the London Philharmonic, and a complete opera recording of Ambroise Thomas' "La Cour de Célimène" with the Philharmonia Orchestra for Opera Rara. Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic record for Sweden’s BIS label and Britain’s Hyperion label. BIS' releases of Prokofieff's Romeo and Juliet and unusual contemporary works by Aho are garnering rave reviews. A BIS complete Mendelssohn Symphony cycle shortly will follow. A disc of the piano concerti by Sinding and Alnaes for Hyperion was number 2 on the Gramophone Magazine best seller list.

Last season Litton made debuts with Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, the Vienna Tonkunstler at the Musikverein, and with Finland’s Lahti Symphony. Highlights of the current season include return appearances with the London Philharmonic (Elgar's 150 Birthday celebrations), the English Chamber Orchestra, the Utah Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Bournemouth Symphony (where he continues as Conductor Laureate), the BBC Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra (regular season), Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the NHK Symphony, Japan. Litton makes debuts with the MDR Radio Symphony, Leipzig and the Orchestre National de Lille.

Long devoted to the development of young talent, Litton the past season conducted the Juilliard Symphony at Avery Fisher Hall, led a glorious Berlioz Requiem with Boston University students at Boston's Symphony Hall, and worked with students of the Royal College of Music in London.

In recognition of Litton's advocacy of Elgar's work, Britain's Elgar Society presented him its 2007 Award. Yale University previously awarded Litton its Sanford Medal on the occasion of his Walton Centennial performance of Walton's "Belshazzar's Feast", a work that had earned Litton a Grammy Award for a performance with Bryn Terfel and the Bournemouth Symphony.

Litton received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Bournemouth and many civic awards from the city of Dallas, including keys to the city, presented for his devotion to his adopted city during his Dallas Symphony tenure. He is a graduate of the Fieldston School, New York and holds Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from the Juilliard School. Litton, born in New York, began piano studies at age five and at ten decided to become a conductor. The youngest-ever winner of the BBC International Conductors' Competition, he served as assistant conductor at La Scala and Exxon/Arts Endowment Assistant Conductor for the Washington, DC National Symphony Orchestra under Mstislav Rostropovich.

Kyoko Takezawa, violin

Emotional power, musical sensitivity, flawless technique, and a tone remarkable for its singular beauty are the qualities that have established Kyoko Takezawa as one of today's foremost violinists. Ms. Takezawa's interpretive insight and virtuosity have made her a sought-after soloist with many of the world's leading orchestras. Ms. Takezawa has performed as soloist with such prominent ensembles as the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, and the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Cleveland, Baltimore, Saint Louis, Houston, Toronto, Dallas, Montreal, Detroit and Cincinnati. Abroad, she has been heard with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the London Symphony, the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the NHK Symphony and the New Japan Philharmonic. She has collaborated with many distinguished conductors, including Seiji Ozawa, Sir Colin Davis, Michael Tilson Thomas, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Kurt Masur, Sir Neville Marriner, Leonard Slatkin, Charles Dutoit, Marek Janowski and Sir Andrew Davis. She has performed at major venues around the world, notably Carnegie Hall in New York; the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; London's BBC Proms; Musikverain in Vienna and Suntory Hall in Tokyo.

Highlights of Ms. Takezawa's 2006/2007 season included performances in North America with the St.Louis, North Carolina Symphonies. She toured in Australia with the Queensland and Melbourn Symphonies, and in Asia she performed with the Singapore, NHK, and Kyoto Symphonies, China Philharmonic and Guangzhou Symphony, and gave a recital tour throughout Japan.. She performed at festivals in La Jolla, Busan Music Festival and Great Mountain Music Festival in Korea. In past seasons she performed in North America with the Vancouver, Tucson and Jacksonville, Charlotte, Toronto and Seattle Symphonies. She also performed with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Japan Philharmonic, Singapore, Nagoya and Osaka Symphony in Asia, and with Denmark's Aarhus Symphony, France's Orchestre National de Lille, and Manchester's Halle Orchestra. She also appeared as the feature soloist on the Hamburg NDR Symphony tour of Japan.

A highly accomplished chamber music performer, Ms. Takezawa has participated in the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, and La Jolla Music Festivals. Ms. Takezawa's chamber music performances have drawn high praise, and as co-director of the Suntory Festival Soloists of Suntory Hall in Tokyo, she has collaborated with the late Isaac Stern, Yo-Yo Ma, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Joseph Suk and many other distinguished artists. In recent seasons, she has performed at the Aspen Festival and at the first Taipei International Chamber Music Festival with Cho-Liang Lin. A former winner of the Indianapolis Violin Competition, Ms. Takezawa was also recently invited to serve as a juror at the competition.

A prolific recording artist, Ms. Takezawa can be heard on BMG's RCA Victor Red Seal label. Her most recent recording is a performance of the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 14, by Samuel Barber with Leonard Slatkin and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. Her other recordings include the Elgar Violin Concerto with Sir Colin Davis and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; the Violin Concerto No. 2 by Bartók with Michael Tilson Thomas and the London Symphony; and the Mendelssohn Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 with Klaus Peter Flor and the Bamberg Symphony. Ms. Takezawa's CD of French violin sonatas was selected as one of the best recordings of 1993 by Stereo Review.

Ms. Takezawa began violin studies at the age of 3 and at 7 toured the United States, Canada and Switzerland as a member of the Suzuki Method Association. In 1982 she placed first in the 51st Annual Japan Music Competition, and at 17 she entered the Aspen Music School to study with Dorothy DeLay, with whom Ms. Takezawa continued to study at The Juilliard School until graduating in 1989. In 1986 she was awarded the Gold Medal at the Second Quadrennial International Violin Competition in Indianapolis and, most recently, she received the prestigious Idemitsu Award for outstanding musicianship. Ms.Takezawa who performs on the Antonio Stradivarius"Camposelice"(1710), generously provided by the Nippon Music Foundation, lives in New York with her husband and daughter.

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