Juraj Valcuha, conductor
Andre Watts, piano
Weber: Overture to Oberon
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2
Strauss: Suite from Der Rosenkavalier
When the New York Philharmonic returns to NJPAC in December, it brings with it a spectacular new conductor – the young Slovakian Juraj Valcuha, in his debut engagement with the orchestra. Valcuha currently holds the post of chief conductor of the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Torino, and in recent seasons has been wowing critics and audiences with brilliant debuts with the orchestras and opera companies of London, Munich, Amsterdam, Dresden, Boston and other cities. In his first appearance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at Walt Disney Hall, The Los Angeles Times wrote: “Valèuha looked like a painter in front of a very big canvas. With his eloquent and flowing baton gestures – broad brushstrokes for the strings, stabs of color in the direction of the woodwinds – he seemed to be spontaneously creating Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 before our eyes.” Anne Midgette of The Washington Post hailed his Washington National Symphony Orchestra debut by saying: “Great musicmaking isn't always flashy. Valcuha's gift is emotional specificity, and that sometimes expressed itself most eloquently in quiet ways.” For his New York Philharmonic debut, Valcuha will lead the orchestra in Weber’s Oberon overture, a pair of sumptuous suites from Richard Strauss operas – Der Rosenkavalier and Der Frau ohne Schatten – and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with the American pianist Andre Watts as soloist. The beloved, ever-youthful Watts’s appearance celebrates, incredibly, the fiftieth anniversary of his sensational New York Philharmonic debut, as a lad of 16, with Leonard Bernstein conducting. What better way to celebrate his great, long career than to welcome a young maestro, who seems to be beginning one of his own?
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