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Jane Moss, Ehrenkranz Artistic Director, previously announced the programming for the 46th season of the Mostly Mozart Festival, which runs from tonight, July 28 - August 25, 2012. Spanning seven venues, the Festival will offer more than 37 events including concerts, dance, visual art, film, pre-concert recitals, late-night performances, lectures, and bird-watching tours through Central Park, a special accompaniment to this summer’s birdsong theme.
Mostly Mozart Festival 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of Louis Langrée as Renée and Robert Belfer Music Director. He will lead nine concerts with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra in Avery Fisher Hall, including a free preview tonight, July 28. The two thematic highlights of the Festival this year will be a multi-genre exploration on the influence of birdsong on composers and visual artists, complemented by an extensive survey of the music of Schubert.
In a Mostly Mozart first, Mark Morris will make his Festival conducting debut, leading his landmark 1989 work, Dido and Aeneas, August 22-25 in the Rose Theater. Purcell’s 17th-century opera based on Virgil’s Aeneid features the incomparable mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe.
ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble) returns for the second of its three-year Mostly Mozart residency as the centerpiece of this Festival’s thematic exploration of the influence of birdsong, with a focus on works by Olivier Messiaen. ICE will perform four concerts in four venues, featuring three world premieres, one North American premiere, and one U.S. premiere, in diverse programs including music by Jonathan Harvey, John Cage, Kaija Saariaho, Jukka Tiensuu, George Lewis, Luciano Berio, and this summer’s featured composer, Franz Schubert.
Mostly Mozart 2012 also reflects the Festival’s ongoing commitment to innovative and multifaceted approaches to the musical brilliance of Mozart. This year’s birdsong theme, which will be amplified by a look at birds themselves, will include: the U.S. premiere of Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s sound-art installation The Murder of Crows presented and organized by Park Avenue Armory from August 3 to September 9; a panel discussion moderated by John Schaefer which examines the characteristics of birdsong and its impact on musical creation on August 12; New York City Audubon-led bird-watching tours through Central Park, Tuesdays and Fridays, August 14, 17, 21, and 24; and the film Winged Migration in the Walter Reade Theater on August 11.
Franz Schubert will be examined in diverse programs that range from his monumental works performed by the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra including the “Tragic” Symphony led by Langrée (July 28, August 17-18) and the “Great” Symphony led by Osmo Vänskä (August 14-15), to his more intimate works including ICE performing his Octet in F major (August 11), the Ebène Quartet with the “Rosamunde” String Quartet (August 11), and several “Night Music” performances of the composer’s remarkable works for piano by Garrick Ohlsson (August 8), Shai Wosner (August 10), and David Greilsammer (August 14).
A special highlight of the Schubert focus and a continuation of Mostly Mozart’s presentation of the world’s renowned chamber ensembles will be the final Festival performance by the Emerson String Quartet with cellist and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center co-artistic director David Finckel on August 13. Also known for the presentation of period instrument performance, Mostly Mozart Festival 2012 features the return of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra under Pablo Heras-Casado in a program of Schubert, Schumann, and Mendelssohn on August 9.
Since its inception, the Mostly Mozart Festival has been dedicated to presenting and promoting both rising and established artists at important junctures in their careers. This season 15 artists will make their Mostly Mozart debuts, including tenor Lawrence Brownlee for the Opening Night gala program on July 31 and August 1, soprano Christiane Karg and mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne in Haydn’s seldom-performed “Nelson Mass” with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin on August 3-4, conductor Jayce Ogren and pianist Joanna MacGregor on August 11, the extraordinary pianist Rudolph Buchbinder on August 14-15, conductor Andrew Manze on August 21-22, and clarinetist Martin Fröst on Closing Night August 24-25. A Little Night Music series also features new artists in intimate performances at the Kaplan Penthouse including pianists Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (August 9) and David Greilsammer (August 14), and soprano Lisette Oropesa (August 24).
In addition to significant debuts, Mostly Mozart in recent seasons has begun to develop relationships with important guest conductors through multiple Festival programs. Besides the “Nelson Mass” with the MMFO, Nézet-Séguin, who made his much-anticipated New York debut with the Festival Orchestra in 2009, returns with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and violinist Lisa Batiashvili on August 2 with Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and on August 5 with oboist François Leleux in a program featuring Bach, Mozart, and Mendelssohn. Since she made her Festival debut as part of the “Finnish Focus” celebrating Kaija Saariaho in 2008, Susanna Mälkki returns to conduct the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra in Berio’s Rendering, as part of this summer’s Schubert focus on August 7-8, as well as a birdsong-themed program with ICE on August 5 in the Rose Theater.
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