by Bill Forman
Highlights will include a special appearance by renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman, a "Night in Havana" performance with Cuban ensemble Tiempo Libre, and Masterworks presentations that will range from to Verdi's Requiem to Beethoven's Symphony No. 6.
And there's more to come. Since Lawrence Leighton Smith's successor has yet to be chosen, much of the Masterworks repertoire won't be selected until a new Music Director is in place.
Likewise, since Perlman's spring 2012 performance wasn't finalized until last Wednesday, he has yet to choose his repertoire.
"I was absolutely elated," says Philharmonic President and CEO Nathan Newbrough of Perlman's confirmation. "We had been waiting for a while, and there was a time when I wasn't sure if it was going to happen. It wasn't a question of whether he had the desire to come, but whether or not we were going to fit into his schedule."
Newbrough, who describes Perlman as "one of the most inspiring people in our industry," says the Philharmonic has already presented the violinist with a short list of suggested repertoire, including concerti by Bruch, Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.
"For an artist of that caliber, we count on him to make the final determination," says Newbrough, adding that, "personally I'd love to hear him do the Tchaikovsky violin concerto."
As for the Masterworks programming, only one piece has been selected for each performance, with the rest to be determined once the new music director has been hired on. Auditions for the position continue with Ward Stare conducting on March 12 and 13, followed by Kynan Johns on April 9 and 10.
In addition to the original finalists, an unanticipated sixth candidate was added to the mix last month when Josep Caballe-Domenech was brought in as a last-minute substitute for the ailing Smith.
Newbrough says Caballe-Domenech is currently in the process of putting together a two-season repertoire proposal, as have the five previously selected finalists.
"He hasn't yet been through the same rigor as the rest of the candidates, so we're making sure that we do our diligence.
"But contrary to popular belief, no one's mind is made up," adds Newbrough. "The only difference between then and now is that now we have six finalists instead of five."
Here are full details for the Philharmonic's 2011-12 season as it currently stands:
Mar. 29, 2012: Program and details to be announced.
El Pomar Foundation Masterworks
• TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No. 1 Sept. 17-18, 2011 with Norman Krieger, piano
• SIBELIUS Violin Concerto in D minor Oct. 22-23, 2011 with Mayuko Kamio, violin
• SHOSTAKOVICH Cello Concerto No. 1 Nov. 12-13, 2011 with Julie Albers, cello
• BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 6 Jan. 28-29, 2012
• BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D major Feb. 18-19, 2012 with Michael Hanson, violin
• RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 3 Apr. 14-15, 2012 with Gleb Ivanov, piano
• VERDI Requiem May 19-20, 2012 with the CS Chorale
• Additional program details to be announced by new music director.
• CLASSICAL MYSTERY TOUR Sept. 24, 2011: Featuring music of The Beatles
• MASQUERADE Oct. 29, 2011: Including Peter and the Wolf and Night on Bald Mountain, along with music from The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Jaws.
• THE VON TRAPP CHILDREN Jan. 14, 2012: The great-grandchildren of the real Captain von Trapp perform songs from The Sound of Music and more.
• A BROADWAY ROMANCE Feb. 11, 2012: Valentine-theme performance of Broadway works
• TIEMPO LIBRE: NIGHT IN HAVANA Mar. 17, 2012: The Philharmonic performs with Grammy-winning Cuban ensemble Tiempo Libre.
• BERNSTEIN | GERSHWIN: FASCINATING RHYTHM May 12, 2012: A tribute to American composers Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin.
• THE PLANETS (Thomas Wilson, conductor) Mar. 10, 2012: Holst’s The Planets, Stravinsky’s Fireworks, and Gandolfi’s In the Garden of Cosmic Speculation.
• October 1 and April 28 Vanguard programs to be announced by new music director.
THE PASSION | LIGHT ETERNAL Good Friday, Apr. 6, 2012 with First Presbyterian Sanctuary Choir, featuring Lauridsen’s Lux Æterna, Haydn’s The Passion, excerpts from Brahms’ A German Requiem, and more.
• THE NUTCRACKER Nov. 25-27, 2011 the Tchaikovsky perennial featuring Ballet Idaho
• CHRISTMAS SYMPHONY Dec. 17-18, 2011: Messiah choruses and a yuletide sing-along
• NEW YEAR’S EVE Dec. 31, 2011: Holiday celebration featuring Broadway hits and other Philharmonic favorites