LSM Newswire

Monday, January 5, 2009

The VSO proudly presents the Wall Centre Brahms Festival!

The VSO proudly presents the Wall Centre Brahms Festival

with world-renowned guest artists James Ehnes, Jan Vogler

and Peter Donohoe

Vancouver BC – The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is extremely proud to present the Wall Centre Brahms Festival, a musical celebration of one of history’s greatest composers. Firmly cast in the Romantic era, yet gracefully writing in the Classical style of Mozart and Haydn, Johannes Brahms wrote some of the most extraordinary music the world has ever known. The Wall Centre Brahms Festival consists of four concerts and will take place between January 17th and 26th at 8pm at the Orpheum Theatre. VSO Music Director Bramwell Tovey will conduct all four concerts.

January 17th features the VSO’s GRAMMY and JUNO partner, violinist James Ehnes performing one of the greatest works for violin ever written, Brahms Violin Concerto. Also featured in this concert is Symphony No. 1 and the Academic Festival Overture. James Ehnes is widely considered one of the most dynamic and exciting performers in classical music. He has performed in over 20 countries on five continents with many of the world’s most renowned orchestras and conductors. Recently, Ehnes paid tribute to the world’s most celebrated violin-makers with his recording and DVD, HOMAGE, released on the ONYX label in November in Canada and in early 2009 to the rest of the world. This unique project features performances on 12 of the greatest instruments ever made, all belonging to the Fulton collection, one of the most important private collections in the world.

January 19th showcases James Ehnes and cellist Jan Vogler performing the famous Brahms Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, in an evening that also features Brahms’s Second Symphony and Hungarian Dance No. 1. Jan Vogler is hailed for his “spiraling virtuosity” and “lyrical intuition”. A world-renowned cellist, Vogler plays with passion and the right amount of risk, unafraid of expanding his style and refining his musical language.

January 24th features internationally-renowned pianist Peter Donohoe performing the first of Brahms’s two monumental piano concertos. Also on the program is the beautiful Symphony No. 3 and the legendary Tragic Overture. January 26th also features pianist Peter Donohoe performing one of the greatest works for piano ever written, Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2. This concert will also feature Brahms’s final symphony, Symphony No. 4, and his Hungarian Dance No. 10. Peter Donohoe is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest British pianists alive today – acclaimed for his musicianship, stylistic versatility and commanding technique. Born in Manchester, he studied piano at the Royal Northern College of Music and later in Paris with Olivier Messiaen. Donohoe shot to fame after winning the 1982 International Tchaikovsky Competition and began touring the world as a soloist. Prior to appearing with the VSO, Mr. Donohoe will perform with the prestigious Czech Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Celebrate the music of one of history’s most important composers with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Bramwell Tovey and world-renowned guest artists in a festival that features all four Brahms Symphonies and all of his concertos. The VSO is proud to present the Wall Centre Brahms Festival Pass: purchase all four concerts and receive 25% off regular pricing!



Saturday, January 17, 8pm, Orpheum Theatre

Bramwell Tovey, conductor

James Ehnes, violin

Brahms Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80

Brahms Violin Concerto in D Major

Brahms Symphony No.1 in C minor

Monday, January 19, 8pm, Orpheum Theatre

Bramwell Tovey, conductor

James Ehnes, violin

Jan Vogler, cello

Brahms Hungarian Dance No.1

Brahms Concerto for Violin & Cello in A minor

Brahms Symphony No.2 in D Major

Saturday, January 24, 8pm, Orpheum Theatre

Bramwell Tovey, conductor

Peter Donohoe, piano

Brahms Tragic Overture, Op. 81

Brahms Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor

Brahms Symphony No.3 in F Major

Monday, January 26, 8pm, Orpheum Theatre

Bramwell Tovey, conductor

Peter Donohoe, piano

Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 10

Brahms Piano Concerto No.2 in B-flat Major

Brahms Symphony No.4 in E minor

Johannes Brahms was one of the world’s greatest composers. Firmly cast in the Romantic era, yet gracefully writing in the Classical style of Mozart and Haydn, Brahms wrote some of the most extraordinary music the world has ever known. Join the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Bramwell Tovey and world-renowned guest artists in a celebration of the music of one of history’s most important composers.

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

Wall Centre Brahms Festival Pass: Purchase all 4 concerts and receive 25% off regular pricing!

Tickets available by phone at 604.876.3434 or online at

Festival Sponsor:

Wall Centre


Bramwell Tovey, Conductor

A musician of striking versatility, Bramwell Tovey is acknowledged around the world for his artistic depth and warm, charismatic personality on the podium. Tovey’s career as a conductor is uniquely enhanced by his work as a composer and pianist, lending him a remarkable musical perspective.

Tovey garnered a 2008 Grammy Award and a 2008 Juno Award for his recording with violinist James Ehnes and the Vancouver Symphony. Recently named Principal Guest Conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, he works frequently with the Toronto Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Royal Philharmonic and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras, among many others. He has presided as host and conductor of the New York Philharmonic’s Summertime Classics series at Avery Fisher Hall since its founding in 2004.

As a composer, he was honored with the Best Canadian Classical Composition Juno Award in 2003 for his Requiem for a Charred Skull. New works include a co-commission for the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics’ 2008 summer seasons as well as a full-length opera for the Calgary Opera, The Inventor, to premiere in January of 2011.

Tovey has been awarded honorary degrees, including a Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Music in London, honorary Doctorates of Law from the universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba, and Kwantlen University College, as well as a Royal Conservatory of Music Fellowship in Toronto. In 1999, he received the M. Joan Chalmers National Award for Artistic Direction, a Canadian prize awarded to artists for outstanding contributions in the performing arts.

James Ehnes, Violin

James Ehnes has rapidly established a pre-eminent reputation among concert violinists. He has performed with such renowned conductors as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir Andrew Davis, Charles Dutoit, Ivan Fischer, Lorin Maazel, Michael Gielen, Hans Graf, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Richard Hickox, Paavo Järvi, Andrew Litton, Zdenek Macal, Sir Charles Mackerras, David Robertson, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Christian Thielemann, Bramwell Tovey, and Bobby McFerrin, appearing with orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, the United States, and Canada. Recent engagements include appearances in Europe with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Ulster Orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, the Orchestre de Lyon, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and the Finnish Radio Orchestra, in Asia with the NHK Symphony Orchestra (Tokyo), the Malaysian Philharmonic and the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and in North America with the major orchestras of New York, Cleveland, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Detroit, Minnesota, St. Paul, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montreal.

Recitals have taken Mr. Ehnes to major cities around the world including London, Paris, Prague, Washington D.C., Tokyo, Osaka, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. He has also appeared at major international festivals including Chicago's Ravinia Festival, the Marlboro Festival, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, the Tokyo Summer Music Festival, the Bermuda Festival, the Montreux Festival, the Festival de la Chaise-Dieu, the Festival Côte St. André, the Moritzburg Festival, and the Festival of the White Nights. As a chamber musician, he has performed in trio with cellist Jan Vogler and pianist Louis Lortie and has collaborated with such artists as Leif Ove Andsnes and Yo-Yo Ma.

Following a busy summer featuring appearances in Seattle and Vail, and his first tour to Australia and New Zealand, the 2008-2009 season takes James Ehnes to Malaysia, Western and Eastern Canada, as well as to Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, the UK, Detroit, Nashville, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa.

In Europe, James will be featured in concerts with l'Orchestre de la Swisse Romande in Geneva, the Duisberger Philharmoniker, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bournemouth Symphony, the Gürzenich Orchester Köln, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Göteborg Symfonieorkester, l'Orchestre philharmonique de Liège, the Munich State Opera Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Canada claims James for performances with the Winnipeg, Toronto, Edmonton, Montreal, Vancouver, St. John's and Timmins Symphony Orchestras, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa; in the US, he will appear with the Florida West Coast Symphony and at the San Diego Mostly Mozart Festival.

As well, James will return to Australia in November for performances with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and appear with the Malaysian Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his many concert appearances, James will appear in recital in Detroit, Toronto, Tilburg (Netherlands), London's Wigmore Hall, and undertake tours of Eastern and Western Canada.

An extremely prolific and multi-award-winning recording artist, with five JUNO Awards and the 2008 GRAMMY Award, James Ehnes recently added to his impressive discography of over 20 recordings with the release of Elgar's Violin Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis on the Onyx label and a disc of works by Paul Schoenfield with pianist Andrew Russo (Black Box). James's CD featuring the violin concertos of Korngold, Walton and Barber with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bramwell Tovey conducting (CBC) was widely considered a highlight of 2006 and won the 2008 GRAMMY and JUNO Awards.

In January 2006, he celebrated the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth with the release of a recording of Mozart's complete oeuvre for solo violin and orchestra. The five Violin Concertos and three single movement works- Adagio K 261, Rondo K 269, and Rondo K 373 - features an ensemble of extraordinary musicians which Ehnes gathered from around the world and directed himself (CBC Records) and has widely received top praise making it "a clear first choice in the field" (Classic FM).

James Ehnes has recorded repertoire ranging from Bach Violin Sonatas to John Adams Road Movies. His CBC recordings with l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal of Max Bruch's Concertos nos. 1 and 3 (with Charles Dutoit) and Concerto no. 2 with the Scottish Fantasy (with Mario Bernardi) won back-to-back Juno awards in 2001 and 2002 for Best Classical Recording. In January 2002, he was named Young Artist of the Year at the Cannes Classical Awards for his Six Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin by Bach (Analekta), which was also awarded a JUNO award in 2001.

James Ehnes was born in 1976 in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. He began violin studies at the age of four, at age nine he became a protégé of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin. He studied with Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School of Music, then in 1993 at The Juilliard School. He graduated from Julliard in 1997, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music. Mr. Ehnes first gained national recognition in 1987 as winner of the Grand Prize in Strings at the Canadian Music Competition. The following year he won the First Prize in Strings at the Canadian Music Festival, the youngest musician ever to do so. At age 13, he made his orchestral solo debut with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. He has won numerous awards and prizes, including the first-ever Ivan Galamian Memorial Award, the Canada Council for the Arts' prestigious Virginia Parker Prize, and a 2005 Avery Fisher Career Grant. In October 2005, James was honoured by Brandon University with a Doctor of Music degree (honoris causa) and in July 2007 he became the youngest person ever elected as a Fellow to the Royal Society of Canada.

James Ehnes plays the "Ex Marsick" Stradivarius of 1715 and gratefully acknowledges its extended loan from the Fulton Collection. He currently lives in Bradenton, Florida with his wife Kate.

Jan Vogler, Cello

Since he dedicated himself to his instrument he has constantly been working on expanding the spectrum of his cello sound and refines his musical language in an enduring dialogue with renowned contemporary composers and interpreters – with passion and the required dose of risk. The New York Times admires Jan Vogler’s “lyrical intuition”, the Gramophone Magazine praises his “spiraling virtuosity” and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung certified him the talent to be able to “let his cello speak like a singing voice”. „From Screaming to singing – Jan Vogler and his cello“ was the title of a 2004 Strad issue. In October 2006, Jan Vogler received the European Award for Culture.

Highlights of the 2007/08 season are concerts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Mark Elder and the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra in December. In February, Jan Vogler presents an extraordinary program together with the Camerata Bern in Dresden, in which he will also perform solo pieces. Also his successful cooperation with pianist Martin Stadtfeld will be continued in this season. The German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra has invited him for February, and in April he will perform Brahms’ double concerto together with violinist Mira Wang in the Cologne Philharmonie. In 2006/07, Jan Vogler has toured the USA, Asia and Europe. He performed together with Moritzburg Festival artists in Berlin Philharmonie, and he was guest of the Freiburg Philharmonic, Mecklenburgische Staatskapelle Schwerin, Staatsorchester Halle and the Munich Chamber Orchestra. Jan Vogler and the mdr Symphony Orchestra performed at the Leipziger Gewandhaus and at the Prague Autumn Festival, and in May 2007, Jan Vogler gave his debut with the Vienna Symphony.

Jan Vogler, who currently lives in Dresden and New York together with his wife and two daughters started as principal cellist of the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden only aged 20 but left the position in 1997 in order to fully concentrate on his already successful career as a soloist. Career highlights include his performances with the New York Philharmonic, one of them with Lorin Maazel during the reopening festivities of the Dresden Frauenkirche in 2005. Jan Vogler plays the precious Montagnana ‘Ex-Hekking’ cello from 1721.

Alongside the standard pieces Jan Vogler’s orchestra repertoire includes exceptional works such as the cello concerto Dunkle Saiten by Jörg Widmann which is dedicated to Jan Vogler, and the cello concertos by Samuel Barber and Michael Haydn. Together with the New York Philharmonic he premiered English composer Colin Matthews’ Berceuse for Dresden in the Dresden Frauenkirche in 2005.

Vogler is also a passionate chamber musician. Co-founder of the Moritzburg Festival, he is its artistic director and also takes the festival ensemble on tours. He regularly performs with pianists such as Hélène Grimaud, Martin Stadtfeld, and Louis Lortie. Together with Lortie he offers special programs, for example a Lieder program with works by Wagner, Wolf and Liszt.

Vogler began his successful collaboration with Sony Classical in 2003/04 with a recording of Strauss’ Don Quixote and Romance with the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden and Fabio Luisi. Another Sony recording, titled The Secrets of Dvorak’s cello concerto with the New York Philharmonic and David Robertson, was awarded the Diapason d’Or, among others. Following a CD with Fauré and Ravel piano quintets, in 2006 two new CDs were released with musicians of the Moritzburg Festival, performing Mozart chamber works. One of them was awarded the ECHO Klassik 2006. His highly successful recordings for Berlin Classics include the cello concertos by Samuel Barber and Erich Wolfgang Korngold. His latest CD My Tunes, was released on Sony Classical in February 07. The next CD from September 07 includes cello concerti by Hasse, Graf, Michael Haydn (world premiere recordings), and C.P.E. Bach, recorded with the Munich Chamber Orchestra and Reinhard Goebel.

Peter Donohoe, Piano

Peter Donohoe was born in Manchester in 1953. He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Derek Wyndham and then in Paris with Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod. Since his unprecedented success as joint winner of the 1982 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, he has developed a distinguished career in Europe, the USA, the Far East and Australasia. He is acclaimed as one of the foremost pianists of our time, for his musicianship, stylistic versatility and commanding technique. In 2006 he was invited by the Netherlands to be Ambassador for Music in the Middle East.

During the 2007/8 season Peter Donohoe’s performances include the City of Birmingham Symphony and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestras, an extensive tour to South America and concerts in Moscow and St Petersburg. He will also take part in a major Messiaen Festival in the Spanish city of Cuenca, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth and performs solo recitals throughout the UK, including London’s Cadogan Hall. Last season Peter Donohoe’s engagements included the complete works for piano and orchestra by Tchaikovsky with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Peter Donohoe played with the Berliner Philharmoniker in Sir Simon Rattle’s opening concerts as Music Director. He has also recently performed with all the major London Orchestras, Royal Concertgebouw, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich Philharmonic, Swedish Radio, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Vienna Symphony and Czech Philharmonic Orchestras. He was an annual visitor to the BBC Proms for seventeen years and has appeared at many other festivals including six consecutive visits to the Edinburgh Festival, La Roque d’Anthéron in France, and at the Ruhr and Schleswig Holstein Festivals in Germany. In the United States, his appearances have included the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Detroit Symphony Orchestras. Peter Donohoe has worked with many of the worlds’ greatest conductors including Christoph Eschenbach, Neeme Jarvi, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Andrew Davis and Yevgeny Svetlanov.

Peter Donohoe is a keen chamber musician and performs frequently with the pianist Martin Roscoe. They have given performances in London and at the Edinburgh Festival and have recorded discs of Gershwin and Rachmaninov. Other musical partners have included the Maggini Quartet, with whom he has made recordings of several great British chamber works.

In 2001 Naxos released a disc of music by Finzi, the first of a major series of recordings which aims to raise the public's awareness of British piano repertoire through concert performance and recordings. Discs of music by Rawsthorne, Bliss, Darnton, Rowley, Ferguson, Gerhard, Alwyn, Pitfield and Harty have now also been released to great critical acclaim.

Peter Donohoe has made many fine recordings on EMI Records and has won awards for them including the Grand Prix International du Disque Liszt and the Gramophone Concerto award for the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto no. 2. His recordings of Messiaen with the Netherlands Wind Ensemble for Chandos Records and Litolff for Hyperion have also received widespread acclaim.

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