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Yuja Wang Plays Beethoven

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Yuja Wang Plays Beethoven

Thursday, March 21—Saturday, March 23, 2024

Thursday, March 21—Saturday, March 23, 2024
Orchestra Hall
2 hours
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"There is an ever-greater depth to [Yuja Wang's] musicianship, drawing you into the world of each composer with compelling immediacy" (Financial Times, London). The superstar pianist returns for Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto. The organ in Saint-Saëns's Third Symphony adds a thrilling dimension of sound, and the magic of Dukas's Sorcerer's Apprentice spins out of control, leaving you on the edge of your seat.

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Program

PAUL DUKAS
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Piano Concerto No. 4
CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS
Symphony No. 3, (“Organ”)

Artists

Jader Bignamini

conductor

Jader Bignamini was introduced as the 18th music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in January 2020, commencing with the 2020–2021 season. His infectious passion and artistic excellence set the tone for the seasons ahead, creating extraordinary music and establishing a close relationship with the orchestra. A jazz aficionado, he has immersed himself in Detroit’s rich jazz culture and the influences of American music.

In December, Bignamini returned to Detroit to lead a triumphant performance of Jessie Montgomery’s Starburst, Strauss’s Concerto for Oboe and Small Orchestra, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, “Eroica.” He returned again in May 2021 to conduct four programs including performances with violinist Midori and pianist Orli Shaham.

A native of Crema, Italy, Bignamini studied at the Piacenza Music Conservatory and began his career as a musician (clarinet) with Orchestra Sinfonica La Verdi in Milan, later serving as the group’s resident conductor. Captivated by the operatic arias of legends like Mahler and Tchaikovsky, Jader explored their complexity and power, puzzling out the role that each instrument played in creating a larger-than-life sound. When he conducted his first professional concert at the age of 28, it didn’t feel like a departure, but an arrival.

In the years since, Bignamini has conducted some of the world’s most acclaimed orchestras and opera companies in venues across the globe including working with Riccardo Chailly on concerts of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony in 2013 and his concert debut at La Scala in 2015 for the opening season of La Verdi Orchestra. Recent highlights include debuts with the Houston, Dallas, and Minnesota symphonies; Osaka Philharmonic and Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo; with the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, and Dutch National Opera (Madama Butterfly); Bayerische Staatsoper (La Traviata); I Puritani in Montpellier for the Festival of Radio France; Traviata in Tokyo directed by Sofia Coppola; return engagements with Oper Frankfurt (La forza del destino) and Santa Fe Opera (La Bohème); Manon Lescaut at the Bolshoi; Traviata, Madama Butterfly, and Turandot at Arena of Verona; Il Trovatoreand Aida at Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera; Madama Butterfly, I Puritani, and Manon Lescaut at Teatro Massimo in Palermo; Simon Boccanegra and La Forza del Destino at the Verdi Festival in Parma; Ciro in Babilonia at Rossini Opera Festival and La Bohème, Madama Butterfly, and Elisir d’amore at La Fenice in Venice.

When Bignamini leads an orchestra in symphonic repertoire, he conducts without a score, preferring to make direct eye contact with the musicians. He conducts from the heart, forging a profound connection with his musicians that shines through both onstage and off. He both embodies and exudes the excellence and enthusiasm that has long distinguished the DSO’s artistry.

Yuja Wang

piano

Image courtesy of Julia Wesely

Yuja Wang was born into a musical family in Beijing. After childhood piano studies in China, she received advanced training in Canada and at the Curtis Institute of Music under Gary Graffman. Her international breakthrough came in 2007, when she replaced Martha Argerich as soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Two years later, she signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon, and has since established her place among the world’s leading artists, with a succession of critically acclaimed performances and recordings. She was named Musical America’s Artist of the Year in 2017, and in 2021 received an Opus Klassik Award for her world-premiere recording of John Adams’s Must the Devil Have all the Good Tunes? with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel.

As a chamber musician, Yuja Wang has developed long-lasting partnerships with several leading artists, notably violinist Leonidas Kavakos, with whom she has recorded all of the Brahms violin sonatas and will be performing duo recitals in Europe in the Autumn. Earlier this year, Yuja Wang embarked on a highly anticipated international recital tour, which saw her perform in world-class venues across North America, Europe, and Asia, astounding audiences once more with her flair, technical ability, and exceptional artistry in a wide-ranging program including Beethoven, Ligeti, and Schoenberg.

Michael Unger

organ

Originally from Toronto, Ontario, Michael Unger is a multiple award-winning performer who appears as a soloist and chamber musician in North America, Europe, Japan, and South Korea. He is a First Prize and Audience Prize winner of the National Young Artists’ Competition of the American Guild of Organists (NYACOP), a First Prize winner of the International Organ Competition Musashino-Tokyo, and a Second Prize and Audience Award winner of the International Schnitger Organ Competition on the historic organs of Alkmaar, the Netherlands. Since 2013, he is Associate Professor of Organ and Harpsichord at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Recent solo recitals include performances for national conventions of the American Guild of Organists, Organ Historical Society, and Historical Keyboard Society of North America; ‘Five Continents – Five Organists’ Festival at Seoul’s Sejong Center; International Festival of Organ, Choral and Chamber Music Gdańsk, Poland; Internationale Orgelwoche Nürnberg – Musica Sacra; and numerous international and regional recital series. In 2018, he premiered two Preludes and Fugues by American composer Henry Martin for the national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Kansas City, Missouri, and in 2023, he premiered the organ version of Crown of Hummingbirds by American composer Julia Adolphe with the Cincinnati May Festival. Other recent organ and harpsichord appearances include Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Collegium Cincinnati, Catacoustic Consort, and Publick Musick. He received favorable international reviews for his debut solo recordings under the Naxos and Pro Organo labels, and his performances have been broadcast on North American and European radio, including syndicated programs Pipedreams and With Heart and Voice.

Michael Unger holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts with Performers’ Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, where he was a student of David Higgs and William Porter. He is also a Gold Medal graduate of the University of Western Ontario, where he studied with Larry Cortner and Sandra Mangsen, and post-graduate teachers include Roberta Gary in Cincinnati and Jean-Baptiste Robin in Versailles, France. He currently serves as organist of Cincinnati’s historic Isaac M. Wise – Plum Street Temple.

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Saturday, March 23
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