Jorge Mester – Conductor
Baiba Skride – Violin
Tchaikovsky – Polonaise from Eugene Onegin
Tchaikovsky – Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, Op. 35
Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36
Former Music Director Jorge Mester returns to Naples for an all-Tchaikovsky program, featuring the composer’s most beloved works. While Tchaikovsky was famously plagued by depression and endured his fair share of critical slings and arrows, his artistic life always provided respite. Tchaikovsky wrote that, “An artist lives a double life: an everyday human life and an artistic life, and the two do not always go hand in hand.”
Despite his personal tragedies and preoccupations, Tchaikovsky found great joy in the composition of Eugene Onegin and completed his Violin Concerto in less than a month for the young violinist Josef Kotek. Both Kotek and violinist Leopold Auer refused to champion the work due to its technical demands, but today, it is among the most frequently performed works in the world. Violinist Baiba Skride will join Mester and the orchestra in performing the Violin Concerto. Skride has been described as a “throwback to the golden age of Heifetz, Kreisler and Milstein…speaking naturally through her violin, instantly engaging the listener’s emotions.” (BBC Music Magazine) Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, a work the composer considered to be among his finest, will conclude the program.
Former Naples Philharmonic Music Director Jorge Mester studied conducting with Jean Morel at The Juilliard School in New York, also working with Leonard Bernstein at the Berkshire Music Center, and with Albert Wolff. In 1955 he made his debut conducting the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, and in 1985, his opera debut with the Spoleto Festival in Italy. Since that time, he has conducted many of the world’s leading ensembles, including the Boston Symphony, Detroit Symphony, and Royal Philharmonic orchestras.
In 1967 Mester became Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra, noted for its advocacy of new and neglected music. With this orchestra, Mester made more than seventy-one recordings of works by such composers as Bruch, Cowell, Crumb, Dallapiccola, Ginastera, Penderecki and Shostakovich. From 1969 to 1990, he was Music Director of the Aspen Festival and later became its Conductor Laureate. Mester was appointed Music Director of the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra in 1983 the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra in 1998. A noted teacher, he was on the faculty of The Juilliard School between 1958 and 1988.
Born in Riga, violinist Baiba Skride has appeared with such prestigious ensembles as the Orchestre de Paris, Philharmonia Orchestra and Philadelphia Symphony. A regular collaborator of conductors Charles Dutoit, Neeme Järvi and Vasily Petrenko, Skride recently made her debut with Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Andris Nelsons. Stateside, Skride received critical acclaim for her recent appearances with the Cleveland Orchestra and Boston Symphony.
With a growing commitment to contemporary music, Strike will premiere Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen’s double concerto with the Royal Danish and Swedish Chamber Orchestras in collaboration with her chamber music partner and sister Lauma Skride. The Skride sisters can be heard performing Brahms’ Hungarian Dances on Skride’s recently released Brahms box set with the Orfeo label.
For more information about Baiba Skride, visit http://www.baibaskride.com.