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Ravel's Piano Concertos

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Ravel's Piano Concertos

Friday, May 16—Sunday, May 18, 2025

Friday, May 16—Sunday, May 18, 2025
Orchestra Hall
2 hours
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Jader Bignamini leads Ravel’s nod to the past and French pianist Bertrand Chamayou has the “big technique that you need,” (Seattle Times) to play Ravel’s piano concertos back-to-back. Composed at the same time, the two magnificent works combine Ravel’s flair for orchestral color with pianistic virtuosity and the influence of jazz. Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnol began as a feature for the violin but ended up a showpiece for the entire orchestra.

Program

MAURICE RAVEL
Le Tombeau de Couperin
MAURICE RAVEL
G Major Concerto
MAURICE RAVEL
Concerto for the Left Hand
NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV
Capriccio espagnol

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.

Bertrand Chamayou

Bertrand Chamayou has mastered an extensive repertoire displaying striking assurance, imagination, artistic approach, and remarkable consistency in his performances. He is a regular performer in venues such as the Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Lincoln Center, the Herkulessaal Munich, and London’s Wigmore Hall. He has appeared at major festivals including New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, the Lucerne Festival, the Salzburg Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Rheingau Musik Festival, and Beethovenfest Bonn.

This season sees him appear with the Philharmonie de Paris and the Vienna Philharmonic performing Messiaen‘s Turangalila Symphony, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France with Barbara Hannigan, the San Francisco Symphony, the Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España, the Barcelona Symphony, the Antwerp Symphony, the Orchestra National du Capitole de Toulouse, the Czech Philharmonic, and the Orchestre de Paris under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen. A tour with the Orchestre des Champs-Elysees and Louis Langree will lead him to important venues across France.

Chamayou has worked with orchestras including the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the hr-Sinfonieorchester, the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, the NHK Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Recent highlights have included his celebrated debuts with the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, the Bamberger Symphoniker, the Atlanta Symphony, and the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig. Chamayou collaborated with conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Neville Marriner, Michel Plasson, Stéphane Denève, Emmanuel Krivine, and Andris Nelsons.

Chamayou is a regular chamber music performer, with partners including Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Quatuor Ébène, Antoine Tamestit, and Sol Gabetta. Following his successful performances at Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series and Salzburg’s Easter Festival, this season sees him perform recitals at Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival, London Symphony Orchestra St Luke‘s, Ittingen, Berlin Philharmonic, Hong Kong Arts Festival and Grenoble, and with Sol Gabetta in Vincenza, Bolzano, Bari, Florence, Solomeo, Torino, Merano, Siena, and Toulouse. This season Chamayou also performs with Belcea Quartet at Laeiszhalle Hamburg, London’s Wigmore Hall and in Innsbruck, Madrid, Vienna, Munich, Berlin, Antwerp, and Paris, and with the Boulez Ensemble and Daniel Barenboim in Berlin, Paris, and Vienna.

Chamayou published a large number of highly successful recordings, including a Naïve CD of music by César Franck, which was awarded several accolades. For his recording of Camille Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 5, he was awarded the Gramophone Recording of the Year Award in 2019. The only artist to win France’s prestigious Victoires de la Musique on four occasions, he has an exclusive recording contract with Warner/ Erato and was awarded the 2016 ECHO Klassik for his recording of Ravel’s complete works for solo piano. Chamayou was born in Toulouse; his musical talent was quickly noted by pianist Jean-François Heisser, who later became his professor at the Paris Conservatoire. He completed his training with Maria Curcio in London.

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3711 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI
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