NEW YORK, NEW YORK (July 25, 2016) — Conducted by Semyon Bychkov in May 2016, the 13th annual Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn will be released on CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, and digital platforms by Sony Classical on August 12 and broadcast on PBS’s Great Performances on Friday, September 30 at 9 p.m. (check local listings.).
The Summer Night Concerts are presented free each year in the gardens of Vienna’s Imperial Schönbrunn Palace, and Mr. Bychkov—conducting the event for the first time—led the Vienna Philharmonic in front of its largest Summer Night Concert audience ever (102,000 spectators).
The performance reached an additional 585,000 people through TV and radio, having been broadcast by 83 stations on five continents.
Mr. Bychkov conducts an all-French program ranging from early Romantic Berlioz to Neoclassicist Poulenc, the latter in a concerto for two pianos with soloists Katia and Marielle Labèque.
The concert opens with a folk dance from Bizet’s second L’Arlésienne suite followed by the “Marche hongroise” from Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust.
Mr. Bychkov’s performance of the Berlioz was praised as “an example of precision” by Die Presse.
Continuing the program is Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra with the Labèque sisters. Mr. Bychkov also garnered acclaim for his interpretations of two works by Ravel: a suite from Daphnis et Chloé hailed as “a real feast of articulatory finesse and coloristic subtlety” (Die Presse), and Boléro, in which Mr. Bychkov “carefully built the dramaturgy of the work” (Der Standard).
Encores comprise Saint-Saëns’s finale from Le Carnaval des animaux, Offenbach’s Can-Can from Orphée aux enfers, and, in a Summer Night Concert tradition, Johann Strauss II’s famous Wiener Blut, Walzer Op. 354 (Blue Danube Waltz).
Mr. Bychkov has a history of collaboration with both the Vienna Philharmonic and the Labèque sisters. He made his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic in 2003 with a performance of Bach’s Mass in B minor, and has since conducted the orchestra in 45 programs including the Summer Night Concert. Recent highlights with the Vienna Philharmonic include the world premiere of Austrian composer Thomas Larcher’s Symphony No. 2 in June 2016 and a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 at the George Enescu Festival in September 2015. Among other engagements with the orchestra this season, Mr. Bychkov will conduct the 76th annual Vienna Philharmonic Ball in January 2017. He will also conduct the Vienna Opera Ball in February 2017. The Summer Night Concert release will mark Mr. Bychkov’s first recording with the Vienna Philharmonic.
For more than two decades, Mr. Bychkov and the Labèque sisters have explored the duo-piano concerto repertoire together on stage and on disc. Mr. Bychkov has released three recordings with the duo: the Mozart Concertos for Two and Three Pianos (Berlin Philharmonic), duo concertos by Mendelssohn and Bruch (Philharmonia Orchestra), and now the Poulenc concerto on the Summer Night Concert releases. Recent performances include the Mozart Concerto for Two Pianos at the 2015 BBC Proms and the same work with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. This season, Mr. Bychkov and the Labèque sisters will perform the Mozart Concerto for Two Pianos with the Czech Philharmonic and Cleveland Orchestra (February 16¬–18), as well as the Poulenc concerto with the Czech Philharmonic.
In 2016-17, Mr. Bychkov launches his international, multi-season Tchaikovsky project, Beloved Friend, which explores the composer’s music on stage and record. In the U.S. this season the project encompasses a three-week Tchaikovsky festival with the New York Philharmonic from January 24 to February 11, 2017 and a recording of Symphony No. 6 and the Romeo & Juliet Fantasy-Overture, the first in Mr. Bychkov and the orchestra’s complete recording cycle of Tchaikovsky’s orchestral works with the Czech Philharmonic, to be released on Decca in October 2016. Mr. Bychkov will also conduct the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 and Detlev Glannert’s Theatrum bestiarum at the Kennedy Center on November 29 and Carnegie Hall on November 30.
Described as “one of the world’s leading conductors” by the Sunday Telegraph, Semyon Bychkov is currently Gunter Wand Conducting Chair of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Otto Klemperer Chair of Conducting at London’s Royal Academy of Music. Trained in Russia as well as in the U.S., he is equally at home in the concert hall and opera house, having served as music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, Grand Rapids Symphony, and Orchestre de Paris, and chief conductor of both the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne and the Dresden Semperoper. He regularly returns to orchestras and opera companies from the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, and Gewandhaus Orchestra to the Vienna Staastoper and Royal Opera. In 2015, the International Opera Awards named him Conductor of the Year.
Katia and Marielle Labèque are sibling pianists who perform regularly with the most prestigious orchestras and conductors worldwide. Their musical ambitions started at an early age and they rose to international fame with their contemporary rendition of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. They are founders of record label KML Recordings and the KML Foundation, which furthers research and develops awareness of the duo piano repertoire through meetings between artists of all fields.
The Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concerts are annual, open-air events that have been held since 2004. Before 2008, each event was known as a “Concert for Europe,” though the setting of Schönbrunn Palace has remained a constant. In past years, the concert has been conducted by Bobby McFerrin (2004), Zubin Mehta (2005 and 2015), Plácido Domingo (2006), Valery Gergiev (2007 & 2011), Georges Prêtre (2008), Daniel Barenboim (2009), Franz Welser-Möst (2010), Gustavo Dudamel (2012), Lorin Maazel (2013), and Christoph Eschenbach (2014). The event has aired on PBS’s Great Performances since 2009.
Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn 2016
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Semyon Bychkov, conductor
Katia and Marielle Labèque, pianists
Georges Bizet (1838–75): L’Arlésienne – Suite No. 2
Hector Berlioz (1803–69): La Damnation de Faust op. 24
(2) Marche hongroise (Marche de Rákóczy)
Francis Poulenc (1899–1963): Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra in D minor FP 61
(3) I. Allegro ma non troppo
(4) II. Larghetto
(5) III. Finale. Allegro molto
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921): Le Carnaval des animaux
Maurice Ravel (1875–1937)
Daphnis et Chloé Fragments symphoniques – Suite No. 2
(7) I. Lever du jour
(8) II. Pantomime
(9) III. Danse générale
Jacques Offenbach II (1819–80): Orphée aux enfers
Johann Strauss II (1825–99)
(12) Wiener Blut Walzer op. 354
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