New York.- Bernard Haitink will return to the New York Philharmonic to conduct two weeks of performances highlighting works by Austrian composers — Berg, Webern, and Mahler — and Beethoven, who spent much of his career in Austria. In the first program, Mr. Haitink will conduct Webern’s Im Sommerwind, Berg’s Violin Concerto with Leonidas Kavakos, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, Eroica, on Thursday, May 8, 2014, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, May 9 at 8:00 p.m.; and Saturday, May 10 at 8:00 p.m. Bernard Haitink’s appearances are part of an international, season-wide celebration of the 60th anniversary of his conducting debut with the Netherlands Radio Union Orchestra (now the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra) and his 85th birthday.
The following week, Mr. Haitink will lead the Orchestra in Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, with mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink in her Philharmonic debut, women of the New York Choral Artists directed by Joseph Flummerfelt, and Brooklyn Youth Chorus directed by Dianne Berkun-Menaker, on Thursday, May 15, 2014, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, May 16 at 8:00 p.m.; and Saturday, May 17 at 8:00 p.m.
Webern and Berg were members of the Second Viennese School, though both were influenced by Mahler. Webern composed Im Sommerwind and Berg composed his Violin Concerto on the shores of the Austrian lake Wörthersee, where Mahler also established a composing studio, though he composed his Third Symphony at a different lakeside composing studio in Austria; Beethoven composed the Eroica Symphony at Oberdöbling, a retreat outside of Vienna.
Since his debut conducting the Netherlands Radio Union Orchestra 60 years ago, Bernard Haitink has served as chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for 27 years; music director of the Glyndebourne Opera and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; and principal conductor of the London Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestras. When Mr. Haitink most recently appeared with the New York Philharmonic in 2011, The New York Times wrote, “Mr. Haitink, with his unerring sense of shape, transition and flow, lets the music speak for itself, with results that can approach the supernatural and often did here.”
Composer Victoria Bond will introduce the concerts May 8–9; New York Philharmonic Audio Producer Mark Travis will introduce the concert May 10. New York Philharmonic Program Annotator James M. Keller, The Leni and Peter May Chair, will introduce the program May 15–17. Pre-Concert Talks are $7; discounts available for multiple talks, students, and groups. They take place one hour before each performance in the Helen Hull Room, unless otherwise noted. Attendance is limited to 90 people. Information: nyphil.org/preconcert or (212) 875-5656.
The May 8–10 program will be broadcast the week of June 1, 2014, and the May 15–17 program will be broadcast the week of June 8, 2014, on The New York Philharmonic This Week, a radio concert series syndicated weekly to more than 300 stations nationally, and to 122 outlets internationally, by the WFMT Radio Network.
Leonidas Kavakos gained international recognition in his teens when he won the Sibelius Competition in 1985 and, three years later, the Paganini and Naumburg Competitions. He has developed close relationships with the world’s major orchestras and conductors, such as the Berlin Philharmonic and Simon Rattle, London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) and Valery Gergiev, and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Riccardo Chailly. In 2012–13 he was artist-in-residence with the LSO and Berlin Philharmonic, and performed with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw and Mariss Jansons on its Jubilee tour. In the 2013–14 season Mr. Kavakos makes his Vienna Philharmonic debut, led by Mr. Chailly. In the U.S., he performs regularly with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras; Chicago and Boston Symphony Orchestras; and The Philadelphia Orchestra. Mr. Kavakos has appeared as conductor/soloist with orchestras including the Boston, Atlanta, St. Louis, Finnish Radio, Berlin’s German, and Gothenburg symphony orchestras; Royal Stockholm, Vienna, and La Scala philharmonic orchestras; and Accademia nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Budapest Festival Orchestra. He makes conducting debuts this season with the LSO and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. As a chamber musician and recitalist, he often appears at the top European festivals, and for 15 years he curated a chamber music cycle at the Athens Megaron Concert Hall in his native Greece. Since 2012 Leonidas Kavakos has been an exclusive Decca recording artist. His first release on the label, Beethoven’s complete violin sonatas with Enrico Pace, was nominated for a 2014 Grammy award and garnered him the 2013 ECHO Klassik Instrumentalist of the Year award. He has presented the cycle of Beethoven’s violin sonatas in London and Vienna with Emanuel Ax; and in Amsterdam, Milan, Carnegie Hall, at the Salzburg Festival, and in the Far East with Mr. Pace. His second disc, released in October 2013, is Brahms’s Violin Concerto with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Mr. Chailly. Later this year Mr. Kavakos will record Brahms’s violin sonatas with pianist Yuja Wang, with whom he will subsequently perform them in a series of recitals. In November 2013 the New England Conservatory awarded him an honorary doctor of music degree. He plays the “Abergavenny” Stradivarius violin of 1724. Mr. Kavakos made his Philharmonic debut in 2002 performing Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy conducted by Bramwell Tovey on Central Park’s Great Lawn; his most recent performance with the Orchestra was of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in June 2013, led by Lionel Bringuier.