OPENING CONCERT


NELSON FREIRE | PIANO

RAPHAEL OLEG | CONDUCTOR

ORQUESTRA GULBENKIAN

Opening concert

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SEPTEMBER 6th 2019 – 9.30PM

CENTRO CULTURAL OLGA CADAVAL

Nelson Freire is one of the greatest living piano legends in the world. Child prodigy, his respectability was built on an extraordinary artistic freedom and interpretive class that combines with rare technique and intelligence. Winner of the Vianna da Motta Contest in 1964, the then young 19-year-old Brazilian pianist starts an impressive international career, soon qualified as "one of the greatest pianists of this or any other generation" by Time Magazine.

He was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the “International Classical Music Awards”, which he adds to an impressive list of important official distinctions in several countries.

It will be with Grieg and Dvorak that we celebrate the complicity between the music and the styles in this concert, with composers who set their musical language in the traditions of their countries, Norway and Czechoslovakia.

NELSON FREIRE | PIANO

RAPHAEL OLEG | CONDUCTOR

ORQUESTRA GULBENKIAN

Piano concert – Grieg

Symphony No. 8 – Dvorjak

PROGRAMA


EDVARD GRIEG (1843-1907)

Peer Gynt Suite nº 1, op. 46

  1. Morning Mood
  2. Death of Åse
  3. Anitra's Dance
  4. In the Hall of the Mountain King

 

Concerto para Piano em Lá m, op. 16

  1. Allegro molto moderato
  2. Adagio

III. Allegro moderato molto e marcato

Intervalo

ANTONIN DVORAK (1841-1904)

Sinfonia nº 8, op. 88

  1. Allegro con brio  
  2. Adagio  
  3. Allegretto grazioso – Molto Vivace 

Allegro ma non troppo

NELSON FREIRE

“In the age when overt showmanship reaps big rewards and grabs lots of attention, the Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire offers a gentle reminder that decorous piano playing and interpretive depth have an irresistible power all their own.”

The New York Times (London)

Nelson Freire has long been seen as a connoisseur’s pianist, but a series of superb recordings have raised his profile to the extent that he is now thought of as one of today’s universally recognised great musicians. Whether playing the great warhorses of the repertoire or the gentlest miniatures, he brings to his performances a level of quiet thoughtfulness that puts him in a class of his own.

Born in Boa Esperança, Brazil, he began piano lessons at the age of three with Nise Obino and Lucia Branco, who had worked with a pupil of Liszt. He made his first public appearance at the age of five playing Mozart’s Sonata K. 331. In 1957, after winning a grant at the Rio de Janeiro International Piano Competition with Beethoven’s Emperor concerto, he went to Vienna to study with Bruno Seidlhofer, teacher of Friedrich Gulda. Seven years later he won the Dinu Lipatti Medal in London and first prize at the International Vianna da Motta Competition in Lisbon.

Since his international career began in 1959, Freire has appeared at virtually every important musical centre, in recital and working with countless distinguished conductors and orchestras.  A great musical collaborator, he has toured extensively with Martha Argerich, with whom he shares a long-time musical collaboration and friendship. They have recorded several discs together, including a live recital from the Salzburg Festival.

He has an extensive discography and was included by Philips in its historic series Great Pianists of the 20th Century, released in 1999. He has been an exclusive Decca artist since 2001, his releases including major works by Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Debussy, Liszt, as well as the two Brahms Concertos with the Gewandhaus Orchestra under Riccardo Chailly. The Chopin bicentenary year of 2010 saw two new releases by Freire: his recording of the complete Nocturnes and a recital album. In the Liszt bicentenary year of 2011 Decca released his recital album Harmonies du Soir. An album of his compatriot Villa-Lobos, Brasileiro, was released in summer 2012.

In October 2014 he celebrated his 70th birthday with the first release in a Beethoven concerto cycle with Riccardo Chailly and the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, coupling the Emperor concerto with the Sonata Op 111. It was followed by a recording of the Chopin F minor concerto with the Gurzenich Orchestra Köln under Lionel Bringuier, prompting BBC Music Magazine to say: “. . . it would be a rare connoisseur not to recognise a major master in the lyrical, rhythmically buoyant, spiritually abundant playing here”. Radio Days, a two-CD collection of concerto radio broadcasts from 1968 to 1979, included repertoire Freire had never recorded commercially, as well as his legendary Paris debut in Tchaikovsky’s first concerto with Masur in 1969. In March 2016 comes his first recorded recital of the music of Bach, featuring four great keyboard works and a collection of shorter pieces and arrangements.

Freire will be including Bach in recitals during spring 2016 in Lyon, Paris, Berlin, Perugia, Baltimore, San Francisco, Palo Alto and Vancouver. His diary also has two recitals in his native Brazil and dates in Finland, Luxembourg, France and Germany, with Beethoven and Brahms concertos featuring prominently.

In March 2007, Nelson Freire was appointed a Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres by the French government and in January 2011 he was made a Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion de’Honneur, the French government’s highest award to a foreigner.

“Few pianists alive convey the sheer joy and exhilaration of being masters of their craft more vividly and uncomplicatedly than Nelson Freire.”The Guardian

RAPHAËL OLEG

During his long international career as a violinist, Raphaël Oleg had the opportunity to collaborate with many conductors like Lorin Maazel, Daniel Barenboïm,  Jeffrey Tate, Riccardo Chailly, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Armin Jordan, Paavo Berglund, Michel Plasson, Semyon Byshkov, Günther Herbig, Libor Pešek, Vernon Handley, Sir Neville Mariner, Evgueni Svetlanov Kazushi Ono, Tadaaki Otaka, Marek Janowsky, Mark Wigglesworth, Ronald Zollman... This priviledged situation allowed him to observe these great artists at work but it is only after deciding to put his violinistic activities aside that he decided to commit himself fully to conducting.

The call of the repertoire, an urge to keep serving the music but through new means and the support of his family, friends and colleagues decided Raphaël Oleg to enter the Hochschule der Künste in Berne to study with Dominique Roggen (ex-assistant of Rudolf Kempe in Munich) the subtle art of the German Kappelmeister.  In 2015, at the invitation of Théophanis Kapsopoulos, he became first guest conductor of the Youth Orchestra of the Friburger canton (l’orchestre de Jeunes du Canton de Fribourg) (Switzerland). His position at the Basler Hochschule für Musik, gave him the opportunity to conduct various repertoire, Bartok Concerto for orchestra, Verdi Overture of La Forza del Destino, Strauss Fledermaus overture, Brahms Academic Overture, Kodaly’s Hary Janos, Dvorak 7th symphony, Schumann 1st Symphonie, Strawinsky’s Firebird, Strauss Death and Transfiguration… He also collaborated with Heinz Holliger and Gábor Takacs-Nagy on several orchestral projects. In 2018, Ronald Zollman invited Raphaël Oleg to take part in a huge project in Belgium, involving students from all around the country and beyond, working on Mahler 6th Symphony and conducting Richard Strauss Metamorphoses.

Winner of the notorious Tchaikovsky competition in 1986 Raphaël Oleg remains until today the only French violinist to have won the Gold Medal.

Since1995, he teaches at the Musik Akademie of Basel and since 2014 at the Institut Supérieur des Arts de Toulouse. In 1997, l'Académie des Beaux Arts awarded him the Del Duca Price. Raphaël Oleg is Chevalier des Arts et Lettres.