Wagner and Schumann
Naples Philharmonic Masterworks
Alexander Shelley, conductor
David Fray, piano
Schumann — Piano Concerto
Wagner — Tristan and Isolde, an Orchestral Passion
British conductor Alexander Shelley makes his Naples Philharmonic debut in a program featuring two romantic works inspired by love. Wagner’s epic opera Tristan and Isolde was inspired by a 12th-century romance and became one of the most influential works of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1994, Dutch composer and arranger Henk de Vlieger created an orchestral compilation of music from this great opera into Tristan and Isolde – an Orchestral Passion. The seven sections of this arrangement focus solely on the ill-fated lovers, Tristan and Isolde, and the magnificent music Wagner wrote. In addition, French pianist David Fray performs Schumann’s virtuosic Piano Concerto, written for his beloved wife, Clara.
Prelude at 7pm
All Masterworks tickets include same-day admission to the The Baker Museum. Museum hours on day of performance: 10am-8pm. In addition, the doors to Hayes Hall will open 90 minutes prior to this performance. Arrive early to enjoy the exhibitions and light fare at Heidi's Place.
Tickets start at $29
The March 5 performance is generously sponsored by the Dr. Huayi Zhang Charitable Fund.
A professionally administered negative COVID-19 rapid antigen or PCR test, along with a valid matching photo ID, is required for all visitors 12 and older. In lieu of a negative COVID-19 test, voluntary proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, along with a valid matching photo ID, may be presented. Masks are encouraged, and they are required for children between the ages of 2 and 11 unless a negative COVID-19 test or voluntary proof of being fully vaccinated (for children ages 5-11 eligible for vaccination) is presented on their behalf. Certain artists and ensembles may require masks. For more information, please visit our COVID-19 Protocols.
Founded in 1982, the Naples Philharmonic normally performs over 140 orchestral and chamber concerts, as well as opera and ballet, education, community and special event concerts from September through June each year.
Meet the Musicians
Sharon and Timothy Ubben Music Director Meet Andrey
Principal Pops Conductor Meet Jack
Associate Conductor Meet Radu
Alexander Shelley succeeded Pinchas Zukerman as music director of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra in September 2015. The ensemble has since been praised as “an orchestra transformed … hungry, bold, and unleashed” (Ottawa Citizen), and Shelley’s programming has been credited for turning the orchestra “almost overnight … into one of the more audacious orchestras in North America.” (Maclean’s Magazine).
Born in London, England, in October 1979 to celebrated concert pianists, Shelley studied cello and conducting in Germany and first gained widespread attention when he was unanimously awarded first prize at the 2005 Leeds Conductors Competition, with the press describing him as “the most exciting and gifted young conductor to have taken this highly prestigious award. His conducting technique is immaculate, everything crystal clear and a tool to his inborn musicality.” In August 2017, Shelley concluded his tenure as chief conductor of the Nürnberger Symphoniker, a position he held since September 2009. The partnership was hailed by press and audience alike as a golden era for the orchestra, during which he transformed the ensemble’s playing, education work and international touring activities. These have included concerts in Italy, Belgium, China and a re-invitation to the Musikverein in Vienna.
In January 2015, he assumed the role of principal associate conductor of London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he curates an annual series of concerts at Cadogan Hall and tours both nationally and internationally.
Described as “a natural communicator both on and off the podium,” (Daily Telegraph) Alexander works regularly with the leading orchestras of Europe, North America, South America Asia and Australia, including the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and Orchestre Métropolitain of Montreal.
Highlights of previous season include debuts with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Belgique, Orquesta Sinfonica de Valencia and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, as well as returns to Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Shelley also led National Arts Centre Orchestra on a critically acclaimed tour of Europe with concerts in cities such as London, Paris, Stockholm and Copenhagen.
Shelley’s operatic engagements have included The Merry Widow and Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet (Den Kongelige Opera); La bohème (Opera Lyra/National Arts Centre), Iolanta (Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen), Così fan tutte (Opéra National de Montpellier), The Marriage of Figaro (Opera North) in 2015 and a co-production of Harry Somers’ Louis Riel in 2017 with the NACO and Canadian Opera Company.
Shelley was awarded the ECHO prize in 2016 for his second Deutsche Grammophon recording, Peter and the Wolf, and both the ECHO and Deutsche Grunderpreis in his capacity as artistic director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen’s Zukunftslabor, a visionary project of grassroots engagement, which uses music as a source for social cohesion and integration. Through his work as founder and artistic director of the Schumann Camerata and their groundbreaking 440Hz series in Dusseldorf, and through his leadership roles in Nuremberg, Bremen and Ottawa, inspiring future generations of classical musicians and listeners has always been central to Shelley’s work. He has led the German National Youth Orchestra on several tours of Germany and works with many thousands of young people each year in outreach projects. He regularly gives informed and passionate pre- and post-concert talks on his programs, as well as numerous interviews and podcasts on the role of classical music in society. Shelley has a wealth of experience conducting and presenting major open-air events; in Nuremberg alone he has, over the course of nine years, hosted more than half a million people at the annual Klassik Open Air concerts—Europe’s largest classical music event.
Described by the press as the “perfect example of a thinking musician” (Die Welt) and acclaimed for his interpretations of music from Bach to Boulez, pianist David Fray performs in the world’s major venues as a recitalist, soloist and chamber musician.
He has collaborated with leading orchestras under distinguished conductors such as Marin Alsop, Semyon Bychkov, Andrey Boreyko, Christoph Eschenbach, Daniele Gatti, Paavo Järvi, Kurt Masur, Riccardo Muti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Sanderling, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and Jaap van Zweden. Orchestral appearances in Europe have included the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, London Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Salzburg Mozarteum, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Orchestre de Paris, and Orchestre National de France. Fray made his U.S. debut in 2009 with The Cleveland Orchestra, followed by performances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has given recitals at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Park Avenue Armory in New York, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, and appears regularly at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Mozarteum Salzburg, London’s Wigmore Hall, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and many other of the world’s major venues.
In the 2020-21 season, Fray play-directed the Kammerorchester Wien-Berlin at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, followed by performances of Hamburg Ballet’s John Neumeier work “for the time of coronavirus” entitled Ghost Light, the first social-distanced production of its kind, in which Fray played an all-Schubert accompaniment. He also toured Europe in solo recitals as well as in a duo program alongside Renaud Capuçon. Orchestral performances included the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia, Orchestre National de France, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Monte-Carlo Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Kammerakademie Potsdam, to name a few.
Fray’s latest releases include the Bach Concertos for two, three, and four pianos, a “musical family affair” alongside his teacher Jacques Rouvier and his former students Audrey Vigoureux and Emmanuel Christien, and the Bach Violin Sonatas with Renaud Capuçon. In 2017, Fray released a CD of selected Chopin piano works, which was followed by his first public performances of the composer’s music. The previous disc, titled Fantaisie, an album of Schubert’s late piano works, was named Gramophone Editor’s Choice, and Sinfini Music called it “one of the most appealing listening experiences of present times” and “exceptionally thoughtful and touching.”
Fray records exclusively for Erato/Warner Classics, and his first album featuring works of Bach and Boulez was praised as the “best record of the year” by the London Times and Le Soir. Fray’s second release, a recording of Bach keyboard concerti with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, was awarded by the German Recording Academy. An album featuring Schubert’s Moments Musicaux and Impromptus followed. Fray’s other critically acclaimed releases include Mozart piano concerti with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Jaap van Zweden, and the Bach Partitas Nos. 2 and 6 along with the Toccata in C minor. In 2008, the TV network ARTE +7 presented a documentary on Fray directed by renowned French director Bruno Monsaingeon. The film Sing, Swing & Think was subsequently released on DVD.
Fray has received multiple awards, including the German Echo Klassik Prize for Instrumentalist of the Year and the Young Talent Award from the Ruhr Piano Festival. In 2008, he was named Newcomer of the Year by the BBC Music Magazine. At the 2004 Montreal International Music Competition, he received both the Second Grand Prize and the prize for the Best Interpretation of a Canadian work.
David Fray started taking piano lessons at the age of 4. He furthered his studies with Jacques Rouvier, who is also featured on his latest Schubert album, at the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Paris.