Aspen Festival OrchestraBack To Calendar
Part of the Allison and Warren Kanders Sunday Concert Series
Tickets will remain in cart for 30 minutes.
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, op. 15
SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 7 in C major, op. 60, “Leningrad”
“For me,” says pianist and AMFS alumna Yuja Wang, “playing music is about transporting to another way of life, another way of being. An actress does that.” Wang’s glamorous, buzzed-about stage presence is matched by her profound, highly praised virtuosity. In 2002, at the age of 15, she won the AMFS student Piano Concerto Competition; since then she’s been called “the most dazzlingly, uncannily gifted pianist in the concert world today” by the San Francisco Chronicle, and Musical America named her 2017’s Artist of the Year.
Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, which features Wang as soloist, was technically his Piano Concerto No. 2. The works were published in the same year (1801) but by different publishers, and they were released in reverse order. Harmonically adventurous for Beethoven’s time, the Piano Concerto No. 1 stands out from beginning to end, with its passionate first movement, brooding second movement, and boisterous finale.
Shostakovich composed the first three movements of his monumental “Leningrad” Symphony in the fall of 1941, while that city (which was his home) was under brutal siege by the German army; he wrote the final movement later that year, after he and his family had been evacuated to Kuibyshev, the Soviet Union’s temporary wartime capital. The symphony quickly became a stirring symbol of strength and defiance in the face of totalitarianism, and, for example, Toscanini’s broadcast of “Leningrad” was a worldwide sensation and powerful anti-Nazi statement. Hearing it performed live remains a deeply powerful experience.