Alban Gerhardt and Cecile Licad

Cello and Piano

February 17, 2019, 4 pm

Music Room

Cellist Alban Gerhardt was born into a musical family (his father was a violinist in the Berlin Philharmonic for over 40 years) and made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1991. He has enjoyed an international career that has shown him to be an advocate of rare works and new compositions such as the Cello Concerto by Unsuk Chin of which Gerhardt gave the world premiere in 2009. Cecile Licad was born in Manila, and rose to prominence in the 1980s with concerto recordings in which she collaborated with musicians including Andre Previn and Claudio Abbado. Her repertoire includes solo works by Ravel and Gottschalk, as well as chamber music at venues including the Marlboro Festival and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. In this concert, Gerhardt and Licad open with Bach’s Suite No. 5 for solo cello. They also perform Beethoven’s early Cello Sonata in G minor and Rachmaninoff’s eloquent Cello Sonata.

Program:

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)
Cello Suite No. 5 in C minor, BWV 1011

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Cello Sonata No. 2 in G minor Op. 5/2

INTERMISSION

SERGEI RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943)
Danse Orientale

Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 19

“One of the finest cellists around - expressive, unshowy and infinitely classy“ (The Guardian). Alban Gerhardt has, for 25 years, made a unique impact on audiences worldwide with his intense musicality, compelling stage presence, and insatiable artistic curiosity. His gift for shedding fresh light on familiar scores, along with his appetite for investigating new repertoire from centuries past and present, truly set him apart from his peers.

Highlights of the 2018/2019 season include the premiere of a new concerto by Brett Dean with Sydney Symphony Orchestra (David Robertson) and Berliner Philharmoniker (Sakari Oramo), and concerts with Hong Kong Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, and WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln under Jukka-Pekka Saraste, with whom he will record both Shostakovich concertos.

Gerhardt will also give recitals at The Phillips Collection Museum in Washington DC, London’s Wigmore Hall, and Shanghai Concert Hall. Next season sees the development of a new project Love in Fragments with the violinist Gergana Gergova, choreographer Sommer Ulrickson, and sculptor Alexander Polzin in a bringing together of music, movement, and the spoken word which receives its US premiere at 92nd St. Y.

Gerhardt is passionate about sharing his discoveries with audiences far beyond the traditional concert hall: outreach projects undertaken in Europe and the US have involved performances and workshops, not only in schools and hospitals, but also pioneering sessions in public spaces and young offender institutions.

His collaboration with Deutsche Bahn, involving live performances on the main commuter routes in Germany, vividly demonstrates his commitment to challenging traditional expectations of classical music. In early 2017, Gerhardt founded #Musicians4UnitedEurope (www.musicians4unitedeurope.com), a group of international musicians working together to voice their support for a united and democratic Europe.

Following early competition success, Gerhardt’s international career was launched by his debut with Berliner Philharmoniker and Semyon Bychkov in 1991. Notable orchestra collaborations since include Concertgebouw Amsterdam, London Philharmonic, all of the British and German radio orchestras, Tonhalle Zürich, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Orchestre National de France, as well as Cleveland, Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, under conductors such as Kurt Masur, Christoph von Dohnányi, Christian Thielemann, Christoph Eschenbach, Michael Tilson Thomas, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Vladimir Jurowski, Kirill Petrenko, and Andris Nelsons.

He is a keen chamber musician; his regular performance partners include Steven Osborne, Cecile Licad, Baiba Skride, and Brett Dean. Gerhardt has collaborated with composers including Jörg Widmann, Unsuk Chin, Brett Dean, Julian Anderson, and Matthias Pintscher; and in almost every case he commits to memorizing their scores before world premiere performances.

A highly acclaimed recording artist, Gerhardt has won several awards, and his recording of Unsuk Chin’s Cello Concerto, released by Deutsche Grammophon, won the BBC Music Magazine Award and was shortlisted for a Gramophone Award in 2015. Gerhardt has recorded extensively for Hyperion, his latest recording of Rostropovich’s Encores released in January 2017. In 2019 his complete recording of the Bach suites will be released. Alban Gerhardt plays a Matteo Gofriller cello dating from 1710.

Called “a pianist's pianist” by The New YorkerCecile Licad's artistry is a blend of daring musical instinct and superb training. Her natural talent was honed at the Curtis Institute of Music by three of the greatest performer/pedagogues of our time: Rudolf Serkin, Seymour Lipkin, and Mieczyslaw Horszowski. Licad's large repertoire as an orchestral soloist spans the Classical works of Mozart and Beethoven, the Romantic literature of Brahms, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Schumann, and Rachmaninoff, and on to the 20th century compositions of Debussy, Ravel, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and Bartok.

Licad can be heard in her recently released album titled Music of the Night: American Nocturnes (Danacord). The album is the second volume of her critically acclaimed Anthology of American Piano Music, which explores lesser played music of American Composers. Of the Anthology, Pianist Magazine wrote “To hear a master pianist like Cecile Licad tackle these works is a luxury not often granted when unknown piano music is concerned. It’s usually left to the second-division pianists to be dragged into the studio to record the ‘outsiders’. Not so here.”

Licad’s recent engagements included the Nashville Symphony’s summer season playing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto at the opening concert; Liszt’s Concerto No.1 and Totentanz in the Cultural Center of the Philippines with the ABS-CBN Symphony; a recital at the Husum Rare Music Festival in Germany, as well as at Festival Miami; Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the San Antonio Symphony under Sebastian Lang-Lessing; Rachmaninoff’s Variations on a Theme by Paganini with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, under Lawrence Rachleff; returns to the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Adrian (MI) Symphony orchestras; performing with the Northwest Sinfonietta in Seattle and Tacoma, as well as the Tupelo Symphony; and recitals in Boston’s Isabella Gardner Museum and at the Harvard Musical Association, also in San Jose, CA and in Bogota, Colombia.

A memorable highlight was her collaboration with the Wynton Marsalis Septet performing the music of Louis Moreau Gottschalk to accompany the feature film Louis, a silent film homage to Louis Armstrong which premiered in Chicago’s Symphony Center and was also seen at the Apollo Theater in New York City as well as in Detroit, Bethesda, and Philadelphia. The project was repeated in London with two performances in Barbican Hall followed by a recording of the live music at Abbey Road studios.

Licad has toured in Germany in past seasons with the Wurtemburg Philharmonic and appeared with the Freiburg Orchestra performing the Shostakovich Concerto for Piano and Trumpet. She has appeared in North America with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, National Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and many others. In Europe she has played with the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Bayerisches Rundfunk Orchestra, and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the Moscow State Academy Symphony. In Asia, she has performed with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo’s NHK Symphony, and her native Philippine Philharmonic. Among the conductors with whom she has collaborated are Claudio Abbado, Andrew Davis, Charles Dutoit, Kurt Masur, Sir Neville Marriner, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, André Previn, Gerard Schwarz, Michael Tilson-Thomas, David Zinman, Pinchas Zukerman, as well as the late Sir Georg Solti, Eugene Ormandy, and Mstislav Rostropovich.

Licad has performed in recital with Murray Perahia, Peter Serkin, and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, with whom she has appeared at Lincoln Center, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, and the Kennedy Center, respectively. She also performs with cellist Alban Gerhardt in Germany and in the US. She appeared as soloist in the Steinway Piano Sesquicentennial Celebration at Carnegie Hall, performing six Rachmaninoff songs with tenor Ben Heppner, and has made television appearances with Mstislav Rostropovich.

As a highly regarded chamber musician, she has performed regularly with ensembles such as the New York Chamber Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Guarneri Quartet, Takacs Quartet, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Music from Marlboro. She also appeared as guest soloist on tour with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in Leipzig, Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Cologne, among other European cities.

Her summer festival appearances have included Caramoor, Tanglewood, the International Music Festival of Seattle, Mostly Mozart Festival (in both New York and Tokyo) as well as the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Chamber Music  and Eastern Music Festival.  She has also performed at the Great Mountains Music Festival in Korea.

On the Music Masters label, Licad released a recording of three works by Ravel: Le tombeau de Couperin, Gaspard de la Nuit, and Sonatine. She has an all-Gottschalk recording on the Naxos label. And on Sony Classical, she has recorded Schumann’s Carnaval, Papillions and Toccata in C Major; and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Chicago Symphony, conducted by Claudio Abbado. Her Sony Classical release of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Saint-Saens’ Piano Concerto No. 2, with André Previn conducting the London Philharmonic, was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque Frederic Chopin. Angel/EMI produced her solo all-Chopin recordings, which include Études, op. 10. Also for Angel/EMI, she recorded, with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, the Franck Sonata in A Major, the Brahms Sonata No. 2 in A Major, and Sonatensatz in C Major.

Cecile Licad began her piano studies at the age of three with her mother, Rosario Licad, in her native Philippines, and later studied with the highly regarded Rosario Picazo. At seven, she made her debut as soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Philippines. As one of the youngest musicians to receive the prestigious Leventritt Gold Medal, Ms. Licad won immediate international recognition, and her career was launched.