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Emmanuel Villaume Returns to Conduct the Juiliard Orchestra in Works by Stravinsky, Ravel, Glazunov, and Mussorgsky

Mike Lawson • News • February 3, 2015

Emmanuel Villaume to conduct the Juilliard Orchestra

Emmanuel Villaume returns to conduct the Juilliard Orchestra on Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 8 p.m. in Alice Tully Hall. The program features Stravinsky’s Feu d’artifice (Fireworks), Op. 4; Ravel’s La valse; Glazunov’s Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 82 with Juilliard violinist Lifan Zhu; and Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky (arr. Ravel).

Mr. Villaume conducted Juilliard Opera’s production of Massenet’s Cendrillon in April 2014 to critical acclaim: “Emmanuel Villaume, the seasoned specialist on the podium, conveyed equal parts savoir-faire and inspiration.” (The Financial Times, Martin Bernheimer) 

Tickets for $30 are available at events.juilliard.edu, through CenterCharge (212) 721-6500, or at the Alice Tully Hall Box Office. Tickets are free for Juilliard students; non-Juilliard student may purchase tickets for $15, only at the Juilliard Box Office. 

About the Program: 

The world premieres of Stravinsky’s two orchestral pieces, Scherzo fantastique and Feu d’artifice, took place in St. Petersburg in 1909. It was at this concert that Serge Diaghilev, director of the Ballets Russes, discovered Stravinsky, laying the foundation for their long and fruitful collaboration. The title of the short orchestral fantasia Feu d’artifice promises musical fireworks and contains many elements that are characteristic of Stravinsky – the rhythmic conciseness, brilliant instrumentation and the arrangement of motifs in layers. 

Ravel composed his 20-minute tone poem La valse in 1919-20. He intended the piece to serve as a ballet score for the Ballets Russes, but it was not to be. The piece was eventually staged, first by Nijinska for the Ida Rubinstein troupe in 1929 and later by George Balanchine in 1951. 

Glazunov’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in A Minor, Op. 82 was written for the virtuoso Leopold Auer. The work dates from 1904 just before Glazunov became director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory. The premiere took place on March 4, 1905 in St. Petersburg with Leopold Auer as the soloist. Glazunov’s concerto borrowed from Mendelssohn and Liszt by linking the three traditional movements into an uninterrupted whole. The soloist launches into the theme immediately without an orchestral introduction, and the melody suggests folk music. 

Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition was inspired by a visit to an art exhibition. It was originally composed in 1874 for piano and later orchestrated by Ravel in 1922. Mussorgsky composed Pictures as a memorial to his friend, Russian artist Viktor Hartmann, who died in 1873 at age 39. Mussorgsky visited a retrospective exhibit of Hartmann’s sketches, stage designs, and architectural studies. The suite features musical depictions of ten paintings by Hartmann, interspersed with the recurring “Promenade” theme that represents the visitor strolling through the exhibition. 

About Lifan Zhu 

Violinist Lifan Zhu currently studies with violinist Lewis Kaplan at The Juilliard School. In 2014, she received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with violinist Aaron Rosand. A native of Shanghai, Ms. Zhu graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music’s middle school in 2009. She has received many honors and scholarships, including a Tang Scholarship from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and a Stars Plan Scholarship, awarded by the government of Shanghai. She has won prizes in the International Music Competition Bucharest, the Andrea Postacchini International Violin Competition, and the Seoul International Music Competition. Ms. Zhu’s festival experiences have included the Verbier Festival, Music from Angel Fire, the Pacific Music Festival, Tanglewood, the Dresden Music Festival, Shanghai Spring, and Morningside Music Bridge and Performing Art Institute. Ms. Zhu is a member of Symphony in C and a regular substitute with New World Symphony. She has played as an orchestra member with conductors Charles Dutoit, Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Neeme Järvi, Christoph Eschenbach, Yuri Termirkanov, Raphael Frühbeck de Burgos, Christoph von Dohnányi, Fabio Luisi, Daniel Harding, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Vladimir Jurowski, and Andris Nelsons. Ms. Zhu’s education is supported by a Jerome L. Greene Fellowship and an Irving B. and Joan W. Harris Scholarship. She performs on this concert on a 1692 Stradivari violin, “The Avery Fisher,” a generous gift to The Juilliard School from Avery Fisher, lent to Ms. Zhu by the Juilliard Rare Instrument Collection. 

About Emmanuel Villaume 

French-born conductor Emmanuel Villaume has led many prominent opera companies and symphony orchestras around the world, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic in London, the Orchestre de Paris, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. In October 2014 he was named music director and chief conductor of the Prague Philharmonia, effective September 2015. He was music director of the Spoleto Festival USA from 2001 to 2010, and has held the positions of artistic director and chief conductor of the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra in Ljubljana and chief conductor of the Slovakian Philharmonic Orchestra, Bratislava. Mr. Villaume was appointed music director of the Dallas Opera in 2013. He opened their season with the classic Jean-Pierre Ponnelle production of Carmen. His 2013-2014 season also included performances of Manon at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and L’Africaine at the Teatro La Fenice. Mr. Villaume has conducted the Metropolitan Opera in Madama Butterfly, Samson et Dalila, and Carmen; Lyric Opera of Chicago in Manon and La bohéme; the San 

Francisco Opera in Madama Butterfly and Werther; and the Los Angeles Opera in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, La rondine, and La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein. In 2014 he conducted the Juilliard production of Massenet’s Cendrillon. Mr. Villaume studied at the Conservatoire de Strasbourg and at the Sorbonne in Paris, receiving degrees in literature and philosophy in addition to musicology. 

Program Listing: 

Saturday, February 14, 2015, 8 p.m. 

Alice Tully Hall 

STRAVINSKY Feu d’artifice (Fireworks), Op. 4 

RAVEL La valse 

GLAZUNOV Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in A Minor, Op. 82 

MUSSORGSKY (arr. Ravel) Pictures at an Exhibition 

Tickets for $30 are available at events.juilliard.edu, through CenterCharge (212) 721-6500, or at the Alice Tully Hall Box Office. Tickets are free for Juilliard students; non-Juilliard student may purchase tickets for $15, only at the Juilliard Box Office.

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