April 20, 2015
Senior Director, Communications
YOUNG, ELECTRIFYING BRITISH PIANIST TO SHINE ON THE STAGE OF JONES HALL IN HOUSTON SYMPHONY DEBUT
Internationally-acclaimed pianist Benjamin Grosvenor performs in Houston for the first time
Jun Märkl, known throughout Europe, Japan and North America, leads Grosvenor in bold Piano Concerto No. 1
Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 and Berlioz’s overture Le Corsaire also featured in the program
HOUSTON (April 20, 2015) German-Japanese conductor Jun Märkl and young British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor – who first shot to prominence at the age of 11 as the winner of the Keyboard Final of the 2004 BBC Young Musician Competition – are both making their Houston Symphony debuts in Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1 on April 30 and May 1 & 3.
During his brief, but sensational career to date, Grosvenor has already received top industry accolades, including a Classic Brit Critics’ Award, UK Critics’ Circle Award for Exceptional Young Instrumentalist, a Diapason d’Or Jeune Talent Award and two Gramophone Awards: Young Artist of the Year and Instrumental Awards.
The 22-year old pianist and the orchestra will be led by German-Japanese conductor Jun Märkl known for conducting the world’s most prominent orchestras and for his work in the realm of opera, with guest conducting appearances at the Metropolitan Opera, the San Francisco Opera, and the Hamburg, Vienna and Berlin State Operas, among others. Märkl – who studied violin, piano and conducting – is a highly respected interpreter of the core Germanic and French repertoire from the symphonic and operatic traditions.
The program will also feature the last of Camille Saint-Saëns’ symphonies, Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3, which was commissioned in 1883 by the Philharmonic Society of London. Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 premiered two years later with great success shortly after the passing of the composer’s close friend and virtuoso pianist Franz Liszt. Saint-Saëns - who dedicated the piece to honor the memory of his deceased friend – considered his Symphony No. 3 a grand masterpiece, his greatest accomplishment. Also on the program is Berlioz’s overture Le Corsaire, a piece inspired by the imagined dangers and excitement of a pirate's life. Le Corsaire is related to Lord Byron’s semi-autobiographical, nautical, poetical tale The Corsair.
A free Prelude pre-concert discussion led by organist Daryl Robinson will be held 45-minutes prior to the start of the concerts at Jones Hall on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. Unless otherwise noted, all concerts take place at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana Street, in Houston’s Theater District. For tickets and information, please call (713) 224-7575 or visit www.houstonsymphony.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center in Jones Hall (Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). All programs and artists are subject to change.
Full Concert Details:
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1
Thursday, April 30, 2015, 8:00pm
Friday, May 1, 2015, 8:00pm
Sunday, May 3, 2015, 2:30pm
Jun Märkl, conductor
Benjamin Grosvenor, piano
Daryl Robinson, organ
Berlioz: Le Corsaire
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1
Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3, Organ Symphony
Tickets from $25
615 Louisiana St.
Houston, TX 77002
About Jun Märkl
Jun Märkl has long been a highly respected interpreter of the core Germanic and French repertoire from the symphonic and operatic traditions. He was music director of the National Orchestra of Lyon (2005-2011) and of the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra until 2012. This season, he began the posts of chief conductor of the Basque National Orchestra in San Sebastian. He guest conducts throughout Europe and North America with such orchestras as the Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dallas, Indianapolis, and St. Louis Symphonies, as well as the NHK Symphony Tokyo, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Hamburgische Staatsorchester, the Munich Philharmonic, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Helsinki Philharmonic, and the Orchestre de Paris.
In 2012, Märkl was honored by the French Ministry of Culture with the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in recognition of his achievements in Lyon, including his ground breaking Debussy recording project for Naxos. In addition to his extensive work with Naxos, Märkl has also recorded numerous disks on the Altus, Exton, and Telarc labels.
Märkl is known the world over for his work in the realm of opera at such houses as the Metropolitan Opera, the San Francisco Opera, Vienna State Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden, the Hamburg State Opera, and the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
An ardent supporter of young musicians, Märkl conducts frequently with youth orchestras throughout the world, including the Pacific Music Festival Sapporo and the Aspen Music Festival and School. He recently accepted the position of Invited Professor at the Kunitachi School of Music in Tokyo.
Born in Munich, his (German) father was a distinguished concertmaster and his (Japanese) mother a solo pianist. Märkl studied violin, piano and conducting in Hanover, then with Sergiu Celibidache in Munich and Gustav Meier in Michigan. In 1986, he won the conducting competition of the German Music Council. A year later, he received a scholarship from the Boston Symphony Orchestra to study at Tanglewood with Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa.
About Benjamin Grosvenor
British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor first came to prominence as the outstanding winner of the Keyboard Final of the 2004 BBC Young Musician Competition at the age of eleven. Since then, Benjamin has become an internationally regarded pianist performing with orchestras including the London Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, London, San Francisco, Houston, Montreal and Tokyo Symphony and BBC Orchestras, and in venues such as the Sydney Opera House, Royal Festival Hall, Barbican, Vienna Konzerthaus, Singapore’s Victoria Hall and Carnegie Hall. Benjamin has worked with numerous esteemed conductors including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jirí Belohlávek, Semyon Bychkov and Vladimir Jurowski. In 2011 Benjamin signed to Decca Classics, becoming the youngest British musician ever to sign to the label, and the first British pianist to sign to the label in almost 60 years. Benjamin’s most recent release - Dances – a recital album that presents a historically and stylistically varied offering of works influenced by dance, has been described as ‘breathtaking’ (The Guardian), offering “…performance after performance of surpassing brilliance and character” (Gramophone Magazine). During his brief, but sensational career to date, Benjamin has received Gramophone’s ‘Young Artist of the Year and ‘Instrumental Award’, a Classic Brits ‘Critics’ Award’, UK ‘Critics’ Circle Award’ for Exceptional Young Talent and a Diapason d’Or ‘Jeune Talent’ Award.
About Houston Symphony
During the 2014-15 season, the Houston Symphony enters its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. This season also marks the inaugural year for new Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada. The Houston Symphony is one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas whose inaugural performance was held at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $29 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians is the largest performing arts organization in Houston, presenting more than 286 performances for 300,000 people, including 82,000 children, annually. For tickets and more information, please visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call (713) 224-7575.