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“His string players produce exquisitely shaded, gorgeous ensemble work.” —Los Angeles Times

Exclusive New York engagement
Kremerata Baltica
Gidon Kremer, music director & soloist
Alexei Mochalov, bass


WEINBERG: Concertino for Violin and Strings, Op. 42
WEINBERG: Symphony No. 10 for Strings, Op. 98
PÄRT: Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten for Strings and Bell
BRITTEN: Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge for Strings, Op. 10

SHOSTAKOVICH: Antiformal Rayok, satiric comic opera for Bass and Chamber Orchestra
Antiformal Rayok libretto (translation)

The concert is approximately 2 hours.

 

WEINBERG: Concertino for Violin and Strings, Op. 42 (excerpt). Gidon Kremer, violin / Kremerata Baltica

WEINBERG: Symphony No. 10 for Strings, Op. 98 (excerpt). Kremerata Baltica

Kremerata Baltica’s new CD Mieczyslaw Weinberg will be available on Feb 18. Pre-order your copy today at Arkivmusic.com. Limited copies will be available for sale at this performance. Audio generously provided courtesy of ECM Records.

Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica perform Schubert’s String Quartet in G major, D.887, III. Scherzo (arr. for String Orchestra by Victor Kissine).

Gidon Kremer, vibraphonist Andrei Pushkarev and Kremerata Baltica perform Piazzolla’s “Fuga Y Misterio” (arr. Pushkarev).

Michala Petri and Kremerata Baltica play Vivaldi’s Recorder Concerto in C major, RV. 443, III. Allegro molto, at her 50th anniversary concert in the Tivoli Gardens Concert Hall, Copenhagen.

Igudesman & Joo, Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica perform “We Will Survive” from their show Being Gidon Kremer: The Rise and Fall of the Classical Musician.

On the Blog

(Click the names below to expand info)

From npr.org:


Gidon Kremer’s Bach Makeover”: NPR review by Tom Huizenga of Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica’s The Art of Instrumentation: Homage to Glenn Gould, 11 new chamber music arrangements of Bach keyboard works that were favorites of Glenn Gold, Oct 30, 2012. Includes an audio clip. Here is an excerpt:

The 65-year-old Kremer, with his reputation as an unconventional violinist—whether he's playing Mozart or Piazzolla—gives characteristically detailed performances, helping to lend each piece its own personality. [Nonesuch record label head Robert] Hurwitz, recalling one of his evenings with Gould in the album booklet, notes that the great pianist once commented on Kremer, saying: “There are those who say that, in the way he plays and in his attitudes about music, he resembles me. And after meeting him, I have to agree.”

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From latimes.com:


Kremerata Baltica, Knights: two small orchestras seeking to break boundaries in very different ways”: Article/review by Mark Swed comparing careers and recordings of Kremerata Baltica and The Knights, Oct 31, 2010. Here is an excerpt:

While both small orchestras may seek vast new worlds, they come from opposite cultures. Kremerata are knights of the transcendental. The Knights' holy grail is grittier.

The differences are in the playing and the repertory. Kremer, who introduced the mystical Estonian Arvo Pärt and Russian polystylist Arnold Schnittke to the West in the 1970s, continues to promote music of great importance from many places. John Adams wrote his Violin Concerto for Kremer. I can't think of another soloist before the public today who has Kremer’s combination of depth and breadth—and technique.

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Explore the Music

(Click the names below to expand info.)

WEINBERG: Concertino for Violin and Strings, Op. 42

MIECZYSŁAW WEINBERG

Born Warsaw, December 8, 1919; died Moscow, February 26, 1996
Concertino for Violin and Strings, Op. 42
Composed in 1948; 18 minutes

The Polish/Russian composer Mieczysław Weinberg (or “Moisei Vainberg”) was born in Warsaw, and showed early musical promise playing piano in the Jewish Theatre where his father was musical director. Plans for Weinberg to study music in the US were interrupted by the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, and he fled to the Soviet Union. While living in Minsk, he studied composition with Vassily Zolotaryov, who had been a follower of Balakirev and Rimsky-Korsakov. Soon after graduation, Weinberg met and befriended Dmitri Shostakovich, who paved the way for him to move to Moscow in 1943.

Though Weinberg was never one of Shostakovich’s students, the mentoring influence revolutionized Weinberg’s thinking on composition: “It was as if I had been born anew,” he later recalled. Shostakovich’s friendship and support would later prove critical to Weinberg’s career, which suffered as a result of being included in the official 1948 denunciation of prominent Soviet composers by Andrei Zhdanov. After being unjustly imprisoned in 1953, Weinberg’s release was secured by only by the support and direct intervention of Shostakovich (who had also been denounced by Zhdanov in 1948, but who had since been officially “rehabilitated”). After a thaw in the 1960s, and with the support of some of Russia’s best-known instrumental performers including Gilels and Rostropovich, Weinberg’s works began to be performed again, and composition flourished in those final decades.

While trained by followers of the Russian “Mighty Handful,” Weinberg developed a style of composition that was far more modernist than that of his teachers, though Jewish melodies and rhythms occasionally surface in his pieces. A prolific composer, especially in the larger genres, he wrote at least 22 symphonies, four concertos, seven operas and 17 string quartets, plus a host of film scores, piano works and smaller pieces. Yet his music is little known, even in Russia today.

Weinberg’s Concertino for Violin and Strings is his earliest attempt at concerto writing. Written in 1948, the manuscript was lost until after the composer’s death, and it was published in 2007. Its transparency and nostalgia recall something of the English pastoralists but transplanted into the Eastern European Jewish communities of Weinberg’s youth. This may have been a conscious, early response to the pressures placed on Weinberg in 1948 to write more accessible, less “formalistic” music.

The solo violin introduces the wistful first theme, varied and reprised before being taken over by the ensemble. Then a somewhat more vigorous waltz-like passage leads into an exact repeat of the exposition. In a development section, these two main musical ideas—not so distinct from each other in the first place—are fragmented and recombined with increasing intensity before a recapitulation and brief coda.

The solo violin then embarks on a cadenza in preparation for the full ensemble to begin the slow movement, whose melancholy, elegiac music throbs with sorrow, pain and regret. An understated plagal cadence—the familiar “Amen” chord progression—which had opened the movement, now closes it with resignation.

The solemnity of the slow movement also flavors the opening of the finale, a lilting Schumann–esque melody that in another context might seem more innocent. Later, a scurrying motif from the violin adds liveliness to the nostalgic reflection. As these themes are recalled throughout the movement, it is the livelier of the two that gains the upper hand, leading to the work’s most vigorous music at its close.

© 2013 Luke Howard

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WEINBERG: Symphony No. 10 for Strings, Op. 98

MIECZYSŁAW WEINBERG

Symphony No. 10 for Strings, Op. 98
Composed in 1968; 35 minutes

Weinberg’s Symphony No. 10 was composed in 1968 and premiered in Moscow that same year. The work’s movement titles suggest a neo-Baroque influence, and the reduced ensemble denotes it as a bona fide chamber symphony. It demonstrates Weinberg’s familiarity not only with the orchestral works of Shostakovich and Bartók but also contemporary works of the post-war Polish school of Penderecki, Serocki, and Górecki during the 1960s.

The symphony opens monolithically with the strings playing in contrary motion, compressing the texture into intense aggregates of raw emotional power. But Weinberg has labeled this movement a “Concerto grosso,” a lighter baroque form that traditionally pits a smaller ensemble against the whole group in an interplay of textures. After this monumental introduction, a more lucent musical texture develops, and it becomes clear retrospectively that Weinberg had treated the opening as a slow introduction, perhaps in the style of a French overture. The counterpoint in the nimbler passage is more perceptible as it juxtaposes the same rising and descending scale motifs heard in the opening (though now faster and lighter). The periodic return of a principle musical idea—the concerto grosso’s “ritornello”—is interspersed with episodes for both soloistic and full ensembles. A short cadenza then leads into a return of the movement’s granitic opening.

The four movements that follow are played without a break, connected by extended cadenzas and solo passages that smooth over the changes in style. The Pastorale presents sinuous, unaccompanied melodies that cadence on diverse triads. An independent countermelody appears in the violins before all the elements coalesce into foggy clouds of dark harmony in the lower registers—not so much a pastorale as an elegy. Another cadenza over a low pedal-point provides some contrast against the thick textures, then it continues unaccompanied before handing off to the cello. The ensemble hesitatingly re-enters as the movement revisits the dark harmonies heard earlier.

A pizzicato bass line signals the more animated passages of the Canzona, with its echoes of folk tunes and snatches of klezmer themes. Another extended solo transition morphs seamlessly into the unruly Burlesca, with its blustery, sardonic statements that evoke Shostakovich’s influence. Furious cadenzas multiply within the ensemble, leading into textural masses of string sound and reinventions of the contrary-motion clusters from the symphony’s opening in the Inversione finale. A reprise of the symphony’s titanic opening cyclically concludes this impassioned work.

© 2013 Luke Howard

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PÄRT: Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten for Strings and Bell

ARVO PÄRT

Born Paide, Estonia, September 11, 1935
Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten for Strings and Bell
Composed in 1977; 7 minutes

The Estonian Arvo Pärt was the first Soviet composer to employ the total serial techniques developed in the West immediately after World War II. But this stylistic direction represented a creative cul-de-sac for Pärt—he felt it was not his voice, and he virtually ceased composing altogether between 1968–1976.

During this period of creative silence, Pärt immersed himself in the study of plainchant and medieval polyphony, hoping to “learn how to walk again as a composer.” When he re-emerged in 1976, he had developed and mastered an original style he called “tintinnabulation,” based on bell-like harmonies and overtones.

Pärt regarded Benjamin Britten as something of a kindred spirit, a composer who, though his style was so different to his own, had achieved the kind of purity of expression for which he was also striving. But Britten died in December 1976, just as Pärt was emerging from his creative silence. He felt the loss keenly and immediately began work on an elegy to Benjamin Britten, written in his newly-developed tintinnabuli style.

The basic principles of tintinnabulation are simple: a chant-like melody is harmonized using only the notes of a single triad. In the Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten, the underlying chord is an A-minor triad. Half of the divided strings play the notes of the triad while the other half play a descending A-minor scale in alternating long and short note values. While the concept is simple, the effect is a complex interweaving of descending lines before all the instruments finally settle on an A-minor triad.

The score also includes notated silence at the beginning and end of the piece. It is not, however, the silence that naturally occurs around a performance. It is a “performed silence” played by the entire ensemble, a silence that denotes not only death and mourning but what Pärt regards as the beautiful, contemplative silence of the spirit.

© 2013 Luke Howard

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BRITTEN: Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge for Strings, Op. 10

BENJAMIN BRITTEN

Born Lowestoft, November 22, 1913; died Aldeburgh, December 4, 1976
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge for Strings, Op. 10
Composed in 1937; 24 minutes

The music of Benjamin Britten shows a remarkable affinity for idiomatic string writing. In addition to being an exceptional pianist, he was a talented violist (like his teacher Frank Bridge). Britten’s brother Robert was also a string player, and many evenings in the Britten household during the composer’s youth were spent in the performance and enjoyment of string-based music. This immersion in the string milieu served Britten well in his chamber works, orchestral scores and solo string writing.

As a ten-year-old boy, Britten first heard the music of Frank Bridge at a performance of Bridge’s orchestral suite The Sea, an experience that Britten later recalled “knocked [him] sideways.” Three years later, Bridge examined some of the young composer’s scores and offered to take him on as a pupil, and so Britten became the only composition student Bridge ever had.

In 1932, while still at the Royal College of Music, Britten began a set of variations on a theme by Bridge, intended as something of a tribute to his teacher, but it was set aside, incomplete. Then, in 1937, he was commissioned to write a chamber string piece for the Salzburg Festival. The 24-year-old Britten, working on short notice, immediately returned to the idea of a set of variations to honor his teacher, and he started afresh with a new theme drawn from Bridge’s Idyll, Op. 6, No. 2.

After a dramatic introduction and statement of Bridge’s lyrical theme, Britten writes interpretive variations on aspects of Bridge’s personality. He reflects on his teacher’s integrity and depth (Adagio), energy (March), charm (Romance) and humor (an “Aria Italiana” that parodies Rossini). Then a Stravinsky-esque “bourée classique” represents Bridge’s “tradition,” and the Ravel-inspired “Viennese Waltz” demonstrates his enthusiasm. A moto perpetuo variation denotes vitality, followed by an extended funeral march symbolizing “sympathy or understanding.” Bridge’s reverence is evoked in a “chant” variation (that prefigures by 40 years the neo-medieval sparseness of Pärt), and his musical skill is fittingly symbolized by a fugue. Britten and Bridge’s mutual affection is expressed in the heartfelt finale, which makes reference to other works by Bridge as well.

© 2013 Luke Howard

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SHOSTAKOVICH: Antiformal Rayok, satiric comic opera for Bass and Chamber Orchestra

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH

Born September 25, 1906, Saint Petersburg; died August 9, 1975, Moscow
Antiformal Rayok, satiric comic opera for Bass and Chamber Orchestra
Composed c. 1948–1968; 18 minutes

Composing music was, for Dmitri Shostakovich, literally a matter of life or death. Twice during his career—in 1936 and again in 1948—he was officially denounced and publicly humiliated for his compositional style. He reportedly kept an overnight travel bag packed and ready by his bed every night in case the KGB came to arrest him. But, in spite of the pressure to conform, Shostakovich’s music was personal and private. Toward the end of his life, he said, “Every piece of music is a form of personal expression for its creator … If a work doesn’t express the composer’s own personal point of view, his own ideas, then it doesn’t, in my opinion, even deserve to be born.”

Always careful to respond to official criticisms of his music, even when it was unfounded and malicious, Shostakovich often provided larger works like symphonies and concertos as evidence to the authorities that he was at least superficially (though frequently subversively) compliant. But he could express himself a little more openly in the private genres of chamber and solo music. And then there were the works written “for the desk drawer,” deeply unorthodox and clandestine works that were never intended for public performance at all.

Such is the case with Shostakovich’s cantata-like Antiformalist Rayok. He began sketching this satirical piece in 1948, a few months after the official denunciation of his music—and the music of Prokofiev, Khachatruian and others—at the First Congress of the Soviet Composers Union. Though he reportedly played through these sketches with friends that summer, much of the current version of the Antiformalist Rayok was finalized in 1958, after the Second Congress of 1957.

The work is a scathing spoof on the official “Aid to Students” distributed at the Second Congress, which aimed to demonstrate in word and music how to write “acceptable” Soviet music and avoid dreaded “formalism.” Shostakovich’s Rayok (the Russian word connotes a “peep show”) is a densely satirical, frequently scatological and relentlessly derisive attack on both the apparatchiks of the Soviet system and the featureless “music of the people” they promoted. It recreates a meeting in which various Communist Party officials discuss the approved traits of “realistic” music. The 1958 version was scored for four bass singers to represent the four different characters: the unnamed Central Committee Chairman, “Yedenitsyn” (“No. 1”—Josef Stalin), “Dvoikin” (“No. 2”—Andrei Zhdanov), and “Troikin” (“No. 3”—Dmitri Shepilov, who was Zhdanov’s successor as “Cultural Commissar”). In 1968, Shostakovich re-arranged the work for a single bass singer. The work was not performed until 1989, long after the composer’s death, and it has since been orchestrated several times.

© 2013 Luke Howard

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Antiformal Rayok libretto (translation)

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH

1906–1975
Antiformalist Rayok, satiric comic opera (arr. for bass voice and strings by Andre Pushkarov)

Cast

Leader Alexei Mochalov
Number One Alexei Mochalov
Number Two Alexei Mochalov
Number Three Alexei Mochalov
Musical functionaries Kremerata Baltica

Text: Dmitri Shostakovich
Translation: L. Hapkopian


Leader:
So, comrades, let’s begin.
True, there are few people today.
True, among us, the underestimation of
The cultural maximum of
The lecture propaganda still prevails.
Yet, since according to the schedule of our palace of culture
We have today some discourse concerning the theme
“Realism and formalism in music,”
We’ll carry this theme, that is, these discourses, through.
That’s right, isn’t it? The proposal is accepted.
The introductory speech on this subject will be pronounced
By the musicologist Number One,
Our principal advisor and music critic,
Comrade Number One.
(gradually going into rapture)
Now, comrades, let’s greet our dear
And beloved great comrade Number One! (he goes into raptures)

Leader, Musical Functionaries (in rapture):
Glory! Glory to great Number One! Glory!

(Everybody sits down)

Number One (reading from a piece of paper):
Comrades! The realistic music is composed by
People’s composers,
And the formalistic music is composed by
Anti-people composers.
Now, I put the following question:
Why is the realistic music composed by people’s composers,
And the formalistic music composed by Anti-people composers?
People’s composers compose realistic music,
Comrades, because, being realists by their nature,
They can compose only
Realistic music.
And anti-people composers, being by their nature formalists,
Can compose only formalistic music.
So, our task consists in the following:
People’s composers must develop the realistic music,
While the anti-people composers must stop
Their more than doubtful experimentations
In the field of formalistic music.

Leader:
That’s right! That’s exact! Comrades,
Let us give thanks to our cherished
And beloved great Number One
For his historical speech, for his discourse,
Which has enriched and illumined the important problems concerning
Our musical matters.

(Tempestuous and prolonged applause which becomes an ovation. Everybody stands.)

Leader, Musical Functionaries:
Thanks, thanks for the historical speech
Thanks, thanks for the fatherly care!

(Everybody sits down)

Leader:
According to the schedule,
Let’s give the floor to the musicologist Number Two,
Who, moreover; has a voice
And hence can vocalize.
So, I give the floor to Comrade Number Two.

Number Two (wittily):
Comrades! I don’t intend to introduce with my speech
Any dissonance ...

Leader, Musical Functionaries:
Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Number Two (still joking):
...Or atonality...

Leader, Musical Functionaries:
Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha

Number Two:
... In those ideas which we’ve heard here.
We, comrades, demand from music to be nice
And graceful. You find it strange? Really?
Surely you find it strange.
You find it strange,
You find it strange ...
Surely you find it strange.
You find it strange, you find it strange, As if something were wrong with it.
Yet nothing is wrong.
This wasn’t a slip of tongue.
We do stand for a nice, graceful music.
If music is non-melodic, non-aesthetic,
Non-harmonic, non-graceful,
It is a … dentist’s drill!
Or else a … musical torture machine.

Leader, Musical Functionaries (general laughter):
Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Number Two (also laughs):
Now, let’s love the beautiful, the nice, the graceful,
Let’s love the aesthetic, the harmonic, the melodic,
The poetic, the legal, the polyphonic,
The popular, the noble, the classical!
And, moreover, comrades, I have to inform you
That in Caucasian operas,
There must be an authentic lezghinka.
In Caucasian operas, the lezghinka
Must be simple and well-known,
Dashing, familiar, popular
And, certainly Caucasian.
It must be authentic,
It always must be authentic,
It must be only, only authentic,
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, authentic.

Musical Functionaries (exclaim with bravura in the Caucasian manner, thereby convincingly demonstrating their complete solidarity with the inspiring directiveness of Comrade Number Three):
Assa! Assa! Assa!

Leader:
Here’s a really scientific discourse!
What an analysis! What a deepness!
Comrade Number Three takes the floor.

Number Three:
Comrades! (gathering his thoughts)
We must be like the classics.
We must not differ from the classics.
Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov,
You’re musical, graceful, harmonious.
Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov,
You’re melodious, nice, sonorous.
Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov,
You do touch several strings.
This is so right, so exact!
Our man is a very complex organism.
Therefore, comrades, we need symphonies,
Poems, quartets, sonatas, suites, quintets ...
O suites, O my little suites and sonatas,
O my merry little quartets and cantatas.
Hey, my Glinka, kalinka, malinka,
My merry symphony, my little poem and suite,
Hey, my Glinka, Dzerzhinka, Tishinka,
Hey, my Khrenish little poem, my little suite ...
But we must keep it in our memory:
Vigilance, vigilance always and everywhere.
Be vigilant everywhere, and say nothing!

Musical Functionaries:
Vigilance, vigilance always and everywhere. Be vigilant everywhere, and say nothing!

Number Three:
Our great leader taught us all
And said incessantly:
Look here, look there,
Let all the enemies feel fear.
Look here, look there.
And do away with the enemy.

Musical Functionaries:
Look here, look there,
Let the enemies tremble in their homes.
Look here, look there
And do away with the enemy.

Number Three:
Vigilance, vigilance always and everywhere.
Vigilance, vigilance always and in every circumstance.
Don’t let the bourgeois ideology
Infect our youth.
Thus, you’ll protect our ideas.
And if there is someone
Who appreciates the bourgeois ideas,
We’ll put him into jail for a long time.
We’ll put him into a camp under a doubled watch.
Jail! Jail!

Number Three:
Our great leader taught us all
And said incessantly:
Look here, look there,
Let all* the enemies feel fear.

Musical Functionaries:
Look here, look there,
Let the enemies tremble every night.
Look here, look there,
And do away with the enemy.

Dance**

* “all”: we have in mind “all” who are under the rotten influence of bourgeois ideology. To send “all” to labor camps would be an error; after all, it would be necessary for somebody to remain to continue the merciless fight against the attempted infiltration of bourgeois ideology.

** Description of the dance: On the motif “Looking here,” the dancers should look here. On the motif “Look there,” the dancers should look there. The expression on the dancers’ faces should be such that our ideological enemies dissolve in terror.

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Artist Bios

Kremerata Baltica

Founded and led by internationally renowned violinist Gidon Kremer, Kremerata Baltica is a world-class professional ensemble comprised of 24 young players from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Since its formation in 1997, it has played in more than 50 countries, performing over 1,000 concerts in 600 cities throughout Europe, Russia, Japan, Australia, the US and Latin America. This fall it performs in Berlin, Brno, Istanbul, Kronberg, Moscow, Oviedo, Stuttgart and Vienna, as well as the Baltic capitals; next spring, in addition to 92Y, it travels to Ann Arbor and Chicago.

Among the celebrated soloists with whom Kremerata Baltica has played are soprano Jessye Norman; pianists Mikhail Pletnev, Yevgeny Kissin and Oleg Maisenberg;, violinists Thomas Zehetmair and Vadim Repin; and cellists Boris Pergamenshikov and Yo-Yo Ma. Conductors have included Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christoph Eschenbach, Kent Nagano, Heinz Holliger and Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Essential to Kremerata Baltica’s artistic personality is its creative approach to programming, which reaches beyond the traditional repertoire. The ensemble has produced new arrangements of existing works, ranging from an expansion of Schubert’s String Quartet in G major to a reduction of Mahler’s Adagio from the Tenth Symphony. It has also commissioned new works from such composers as Kancheli, Vasks, Desyatnikov and Raskatov.

The orchestra’s wide-ranging and carefully chosen repertoire is also showcased in its many and highly praised CD recordings. It has released more than 20 CDs, winning the 2002 Grammy Award in the Classical Music: Best Small Ensemble Performance category for After Mozart, a 21st-century take on the composer. Other CDs include Mozart’s five violin concertos, recorded live at the Salzburg Festival in 2006; Eight Seasons, pairing Vivaldi’s set of concertos with Piazzolla’s Argentinian sequence; and Silencio, compositions by the contemporary composers Pärt, Glass and Martynov. Among its most recent releases are The Art of Instrumentation: Homage to Glenn Gould, comprised of 11 new works based on music by Bach that Gould had recorded; and The Canticle of the Sun, music by Sofia Gubaidulina.

Kremerata (a pun on “Kremer” and “Camerata,” the general word for a small chamber ensemble) BaItica was formed at the 1997 Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival which had been guided by Gidon Kremer for many years. Looking for a new challenge for his 50th birthday, and for an opportunity to share his wisdom with the next generation of Baltic musicians, the Latvian-born violinist decided to create a new chamber orchestra. The ensemble is now supported by the governments of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and its members are selected through a rigorous auditioning process and play as a stable ensemble. Its website is kremerata-baltica.com.

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Gidon Kremer, music director & soloist

Among the world’s leading violinists, Gidon Kremer has enjoyed a varied and unconventional career. Born in Riga, Latvia, he won first prize at both the Paganini and Tchaikovsky international competitions and third prize at the Queen Elizabeth Music Competition in Brussels. From these successes, Mr. Kremer has built a reputation as one of the most original and compelling artists of his generation. He has appeared with the most celebrated orchestras of Europe and North America, playing a "Nicola Amati", dated from 1641.

At the same time Mr. Kremer has been a dedicated chamber musician and festival director. He made his New York chamber music debut on 92Y’s Distinguished Artists in Recital series in January 1982. In 1981 he founded a chamber music festival in Lockenhaus, Austria, and it was there in 1997 that he founded Kremerata Baltica. He also served as director of the Musiksommer Gstaad festival and Les Musiques festival in Basel.

Mr. Kremer's repertoire encompasses the full range of the traditional violin repertoire, from Bach and Mozart through such 20th-century masters as Henze, Berg and Stockhausen. He has also collaborated with such diverse composers as Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Pärt, Giya Kancheli, Luigi Nono, John Adams, Victor Kissine and Astor Piazzolla. Expanding classical music even further, in 2007-2008, he and Kremerata Baltica toured with the classical musical comedy duo Igudesman & Joo.

Mr. Kremer has made more than 120 albums, many of which brought him prestigious awards and honors, including the Grand Prix du Disque and Deutscher Schallplattenpreis. Nonesuch has released an eight-disk box set of all Mr. Kremer’s Piazzolla recordings, entitled Hommage Piazzolla: The Complete Astor Piazzolla Recordings. EMI Classics has released The Berlin Recital with Martha Argerich featuring works by Schumann and Bartók, and ECM has re-released his last recording of all Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas plus a new disc of the piano trios of Tchaikovsky and Victor Kissine, with pianist Khatia Buniatishvili and cellist Giedre Dirvanauskaite.

Mr. Kremer is also a gifted writer. He is the author of four books in German that reflect his artistic philosophy; one of them—Kindheitssplitter—has been translated into Russian, Latvian, French and Japanese. Mr. Kremer is further known for taking periodic sabbaticals throughout his career to refresh himself; in 1991, for example, he cancelled his engagements and boarded a nuclear-powered Russian icebreaker bound for the North Pole.

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Alexei Mochalov, bass

Making his 92nd Street Y debut with this concert is Russian bass Alexei Mochalov. Mr. Mochalov has been a principal soloist with the Moscow Chamber Opera Theatre and a member since 1980, and principal soloist with the Moscow Choir Theater. He holds the title People’s Artist of Russia.

As an operatic bass, Mr. Mochalov has a repertoire spanning more than three centuries. Among his roles are Seneka in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea; the title roles of Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Imeneo; Mozart’s Figaro, Zarastro and men of Don Giovanni; Blansac in Rossini’s La scala di seta; Falstaff in Nikolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor; Cherevik in Mussorgsky’s The Fair at Sorochinsk; Gremin in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin; Nick Shadow in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and Luka in Walton’s The Bear.

As a concert artist, Mr. Mochalov has appeared in the great cities of Europe, Southeast Asia and South America. His recitals have included the Palace of Nations in Geneva and celebrations of the Pushkin bicentennial in Russia and Israel. He made his Carnegie Hall debut on November 10, 1997, performing Shostakovich’s Antiformal Rayok with the Moscow Virtuosi under the baton of Vladimir Spivakov.

Among Mr. Mochalov’s special engagements have been a charity concert for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a gala concert at EXPO 2000 in Hannover. He has participated in many music festivals across Europe, including Vladimir Spivakov’s Colmar International Festival, Yuri Bashmet’s music festival in Tours, “Palaces of St. Petersburg” International Music Festival and Europalia 2005 in Brussels, celebrating Russian culture.

Mr. Mochalov appeared in the 1998 documentary Chaliapin: The Enchanter—Memories of the Great Russian Bass, in which he discusses the influence of the great bass on his own career and gives a voice production lesson. He was awarded a Diapason d'Or for his 1996 CD Shostakovich Songs with Anatoly Levin and the Moscow Chamber Music Theatre Orchestra on the Triton/Russian label. He is included in Vladimir Spivakov and the Moscow Virtuosi’s Shostakovich, performing Antiformal Rayok, released in 2004 by Capriccio. He can also be heard on Rimsky Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri for Tri-M Classics of Japan and on The Anthology of Russian Chamber Lyric by Pushkin with his wife, pianist Maria Brankina.

A graduate of the Moscow State Conservatory, Mr. Mochalov has served on the faculties of the Gnessins Russian Academy of Music and the State Musical College of the Moscow Conservatory, and he has also given master classes in Brazil and Japan. His website is alexmochalov.narod.ru.

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Details & Ordering



Need Help?

If you have any questions, need assistance with your order or require special seating considerations, such as wheelchair accessible seating or hearing assistance, please call Customer Service at 212.415.5500 during our Hours of Operation.

If you prefer, you can order your tickets and class enrollments by calling Customer Service at 212.415.5500 during our Hours of Operation, using Visa, MasterCard or American Express. You can also place your order by fax, by mail, or in person at our Box Office on Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street.

Have a group?

Groups of 10 or more receive a 15% discount. Please note that certain events may not qualify for a group rate. To make group arrangements or need further assistance, you may contact Customer Service at 212.415.5500 during our Hours of Operation.


About 92Y YourStage

92Y YourStage provides a venue for independent curators, performers, and educators to mount a professional production. Yourstage events are confirmed once they meet a threshold for ticket sales by a certain date.

YourStage events that are ON have been confirmed; PENDING events need to generate more ticket sales; If an event fails to generate enough ticket sales, the event will be CALLED OFF, and all ticket holders will be refunded.

Get to the front of the line!

Priority registration puts you at the front of the line to register for courses and events for an upcoming semester.

Eligible patrons will be able to order priority registration online.

 

Who is eligible for priority registration?

Individuals who have participated in 92nd Street Y programs over the past year in selected program areas, participants in certain memberships, and those who have made contributions of $500 or more to 92Y, are eligible to register for programs before they become available to the general public.

How do I know if I qualify?

Patrons that qualify for Priority Registration will receive packets in the mail explaining how to purchase online. Priority registration is normally mailed 2-3 weeks before a catalog is available. Registration information includes your Patron ID#. You can use this ID# to setup your login information online. This will allow you to register early for a course or event. Please note: if you receive a packet, you are only eligible to priority register for the programs covered in your packet.

Priority Registration Support

To find out if you are eligible for priority registration, don't have your Patron ID#, or having difficulty ordering online, please call 212.415.5500 or email.