Program and Artist Change: Conrad Tao to Perform Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Utah Symphony

Adjusted Program To Include Works By Tchaikovsky and Schoenberg

Soloist Conrad Tao To Perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1
Conducted by Music Director Thierry Fischer

SALT LAKE CITY – Conrad Tao will replace guest pianist Louis Lortie, who had to withdraw due to illness, at this weekend’s Utah Symphony performances. Tao will perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

The Utah Symphony and Music Director Thierry Fischer will conclude a two week Tchaikovsky celebration, April 19 and 20 at 8 p.m. in Abravanel Hall. Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Suite and Capriccio Italien replace Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerti Nos. 2 and 3 on the first half of the program. The program will also include the originally planned performances of Arnold Schoenberg’s imaginary film score, “Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene” and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

Louis Lortie’s management released the following statement regarding his cancellation: “Unfortunately guest soloist Louis Lortie has come down with the flu and with great reluctance must cancel his appearance with the Utah Symphony this weekend.”

Russian composer Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky premiered his ballet The Sleeping Beauty in 1890. Based on the familiar folk tale by French writer Charles Perrault, it was the second of his three ballets and has become one of the most recognized and beloved ballet scores in the repertoire. It was a success from the day it premiered and Tchaikovsky thought of it as one of his best works, calling it a “dancing symphony.” The Suite from The Sleeping Beauty includes the well-known Lilac Fairy introduction, the Adagio Pas d’action, Puss-in-Boots and the White Cat, the beautiful Panorama, and the famous Sleeping Beauty waltz.

In 1930 while Arnold Schoenberg was midway through his third and last stint in Berlin, his position at the Akademie der Künste gave him a great deal of control over his teaching life, including a flexible schedule that allowed for an increase in his output as a composer. Many works, large and small, date from this time, including “Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene.” The title is misleading since the music is certainly not an “accompaniment” and the “cinematographic scene” it references did not actually exist, and whatever “scene” is implied by the piece is resultant and fully imaginary, not the assumed opposite. Schoenberg built his brief symphonic poem on the conceptual emotions contained in the work’s subtitle, “threatening danger, fear, catastrophe.”

Capriccio Italien was written by Tchaikovsky between January and May 1880. It was inspired by the Italian folk music and street songs he heard during a trip to Rome during the Carnival and even uses an Italian cavalry regiment bugle call he overheard by his hotel room as an introduction.

Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 is his most popular concerto with its stunning and identifiable theme in the introduction. The concerto originally received disapproval from famous pianist Nicholai Rubenstein who said it was, “clumsy…badly written…. and vulgar.” Despite Rubenstein’s initial distain, the concerto was wildly successful with audiences at its 1875 premiere in Boston and was later embraced by Rubenstein himself.  

Pre-concert Chat
Music Director Thierry Fischer, Principal Music Librarian Clovis Lark and special guest Larry Schoenberg, youngest son of composer Arnold Schoenberg, will present a free pre-concert chat each night, one hour prior to the start of the performance on the orchestra level of Abravanel Hall.

Single tickets for the performances range from $18 to $53 for April 19 and 20, 2013 and can be purchased by calling 801-355-2787, in person at the Abravanel hall ticket office (123 W. South Temple) or by visiting www.utahsymphony.org. Patrons 30 or younger can purchase $10 tickets through the Utah Symphony’s Upbeat program. Subscribers and those desiring group discounts should call 801-533-6683. All ticket prices are subject to change and availability.  Ticket prices will increase $5 when purchased on the day of the performance.

Guest Artist
The only classical musician on Forbes' 2011 "30 Under 30" list of people changing the world, 18-year-old Chinese-American pianist Conrad Tao was found playing children's songs on the piano at 18 months of age. Born in Urbana, Illinois, he gave his first piano recital at age 4; four years later, he made his concerto debut performing Mozart's Piano Concerto in A Major, K. 414. In June of 2011, the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the Department of Education named Conrad a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, while the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts awarded him a YoungArts gold medal in music. Later that year, Conrad was named a Gilmore Young Artist, an honor awarded every two years highlighting the most promising American pianists of the new generation. In May of 2012, he was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.

Sporting a truly international career, Conrad has appeared as soloist in the United States with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, and the Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, and San Francisco Symphonies, among others. He has made multiple tours of Europe, giving solo recitals in Paris, London, Munich, Berlin, and Verbier, and performed with orchestras in Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Mexico, Moscow, and Singapore. Highlights of his 2012-2013 season include two more tours of Europe, including a concerto debut at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and a third reengagement at the Louvre in Paris, appearances at the Mostly Mozart and Aspen Music Festivals, debuts with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Canada and a return to Asia with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and performances of all five Beethoven piano concerti in the United States.

Conrad currently attends the Columbia University/Juilliard School joint degree program and studies piano with Professors Yoheved Kaplinsky and Choong Mo Kang at Juilliard. He studies composition with Professor Christopher Theofanidis of Yale University, and studied violin with Ms. Catherine Cho for five years at Juilliard's Pre-College Division.

The Utah Symphony presents
Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1

Abravanel Hall
Friday, April 19, 2013, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 20, 2013, 8:00 p.m.

Pre-concert Chat one hour before each concert with Music Director Thierry Fischer, Principal Music Librarian Clovis Lark and special guest Larry Schoenberg, youngest son of composer Arnold Schoenberg,

Thierry Fisher, Conductor
Conrad Tao, Piano

TCHAIKOVSKY    Sleeping Beauty Suite
SCHOENBERG    Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene
TCHAIKOVSKY    Capriccio Italien   


TCHAIKOVSKY    Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra in B-flat Minor

NOTE: Original program changed due to guest pianist’s illness.