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The Orchestra Now

Two Sides of Vienna

September 15–17, 2023

Add to Calendar2023-09-15 11:00 am2023-09-15 11:00 amEDTTwo Sides of ViennaFisher Center, Sosnoff Theater,
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Leon Botstein conductor

Franz Lehár
The Merry Widow Overture

Eduard Strauss
Bahn frei!

Johann Strauss II
Kaiser-Walzer (Emperor Waltz)

Gustav Mahler
Symphony No. 6

Music Director Leon Botstein opens TŌN’s ninth season with a concert juxtaposing two distinct styles of Viennese music from the late 19th and early 20th centuries: the vibrant and festive melodies of Franz Lehár and the Strauss brothers, and Mahler’s beautifully tragic Sixth Symphony.

The concert opens with an overture of music from Lehár’s well-known 1905 operetta The Merry Widow, which was compiled in 1940 for the Vienna Philharmonic in celebration of the composer’s 70th birthday. This is followed by two dance pieces: Eduard Strauss’ train-themed polka Bahn frei!, and his brother Johann Jr.’s majestic Emperor Waltz, written to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the crowning of Emperor Franz Josef.

After intermission, the program explores a contrasting style from the same era with Mahler’s deeply personal and darkly passionate Symphony No. 6.

Evening Program & Concert Quick Guide

Leon Botstein

Leon Botstein is founder and music director of The Orchestra Now (TŌN), music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra (ASO), artistic codirector of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival, and conductor laureate and principal guest conductor of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (JSO), where he served as music director from 2003 to 2011. He has been guest conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre, Russian National Orchestra in Moscow, Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Taipei Symphony, Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, and Sinfónica Juvenil de Caracas in Venezuela, among others. In 2018, he assumed artistic directorship of Campus Grafenegg and Grafenegg Academy in Austria.

Recordings include acclaimed recordings of Othmar Schoeck’s Lebendig begraben with TŌN, Hindemith’s The Long Christmas Dinner with the ASO, a Grammy-nominated recording of Popov’s First Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra, and other various recordings with TŌN, ASO, the London Philharmonic, NDR Orchestra Hamburg, and JSO, among others. He is editor of The Musical Quarterly and author of numerous articles and books, including The Compleat Brahms (Norton), Jefferson’s Children (Doubleday), Judentum und Modernität (Bölau), and Von Beethoven zu Berg (Zsolnay). Honors include Harvard University’s prestigious Centennial Award; the American Academy of Arts and Letters award; and Cross of Honor, First Class, from the government of Austria, for his contributions to music. Other distinctions include the Bruckner Society’s Julio Kilenyi Medal of Honor for his interpretations of that composer’s music, the Leonard Bernstein Award for the Elevation of Music in Society, and Carnegie Foundation’s Academic Leadership Award. In 2011, he was inducted into the American Philosophical Society.

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