Three of Europe's finest young classical talents make their much-anticipated BBC Proms debuts in the upcoming concert season at the Royal Albert Hall.
French opera star Marianne Crebassa, recently crowned Opera Singer of the Year in France's Victoires de la Musique Classique, makes her long-awaited London as soloist in Ravel's Schéhérazade with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. The young mezzo-soprano first came to international attention at the Salzburg Festival in 2012; Gramophone has already fallen for the charms of her debut album Oh, Boy!, praising her "beautiful and spirited" Mozart.
Italian virtuoso pianist Beatrice Rana, named BBC Music Magazine Newcomer of the Year in this week's award ceremony, also makes her Proms debut this season, playing the Schumann Piano Concerto in A Minor with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis. The concert will be televised on BBC Four. Beatrice is a BBC New Generation Artist. Her latest album is Bach's The Goldberg Variations.
The 23-year-old French cellist Edgar Moreau makes his first Proms appearance this summer with his regular orchestral partners, the period-instrument ensemble Il Pomo d'oro directed by Maxim Emelyanychev. They play Italian Baroque music from their album Giovincello.
Proms favourites the John Wilson Orchestra return for their annual sell-out concerts, this time for the first European performance of the recently re-constructed stage orchestration of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!. And the young, dynamic Aurora Orchestra, which has made a name for itself performing major symphonies from memory at the Proms in recent years, presents their biggest feat yet: Beethoven's Eroica.
Tickets on sale now for a lively and varied 2017 BBC Proms.
The John Wilson Orchestra, the British ensemble bringing back the glory days of the Hollywood musical with its sumptuous signature sound, is already a much-loved fixture of the BBC Proms in London. The group has now made its highly-anticipated German debut on the stage of the Berlin Philharmonie as part of the Musikfest Berlin.
This vibrant concert of music, songs and arrangements from the golden era of Hollywood and the Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios, championed a repertoire seldom performed by orchestras in Germany - resulting in a thunderous standing ovation and rave reviews, the Berliner Zeitung falling under the spell of this "charming music that is hard to resist: the first appearance of the ensemble in Berlin was an absolute success.”
The complete performance is available to watch in HD from the Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Concert Hall. Observant viewers will notice a surprise guest appearance from the Berlin Philharmonic's British maestro Sir Simon Rattle - on timpani!
The John Wilson Orchestra's latest album, Gershwin in Hollywood, continues the ensemble's love affair with musicals, this time through orchestral arrangements of favourites from The American Songbook.
It’s the second year in a row that Warner Classics and Erato have taken the lion’s share in the ECHO Klassik Awards, the prestigious German classical music prizes revealed today. Artists from the two labels claimed a total of twelve accolades for excellence in classical recording and performance, including one for the Warner Classics-distributed Euroarts DVD label.
Philippe Jaroussky has been crowned Singer of the Year for the second time (his 5th ECHO Klassik) – the only countertenor ever named in this category to date. He receives the prize for his album Green, a journey through French chanson settings of poetry by Paul Verlaine.
From the Francophile flair of his last recital album, Jaroussky chose to sing in German for the first time for his highly-anticipated recording of Bach and Telemann cantatas with Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, to be released in October. And as this year’s artist in residence at the Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Hamburg, set to sing at the opening night of Hamburg’s new concert hall Elbphilharmonie, he has developed stronger connections to German musical life than ever before.
Conductor of the Year goes to Antonio Pappano for his monumental studio recording of Aïda. The Italian-British maestro recorded Verdi’s masterpiece with an all-star cast (including Anja Harteros and Jonas Kaufmann) in Rome and received international critical acclaim, including the BBC Music Award for Album of the Year and a Diapason d’Or.
Diana Damrau is the second Erato singer who picks up a prize this year, for her tour-de-force Violetta in the Paris Opera production of Traviata released on DVD (Music DVD Production of the Year: Opera).
Young French cellist Edgar Moreau receives the ECHO Klassik 2016 as Newcomer of the Year for his Baroque album Giovincello, on which he brings his youthful energy and virtuosic thrills to 18th-century cello concertos by Haydn, Vivaldi, Boccherini, Platti, and the world-premiere recording of a concerto by Carlo Graziani. He was just 21 at the time he made this vibrant recording with Baroque ensemble Il Pomo d’Oro.
Classical without Borders is a category of the ECHO Klassik for music productions that build a bridge either to or from the classical genre. Two awards in this category go to Warner Classics artists: the John Wilson Orchestra (for Cole Porter in Hollywood), which will make its German concert debut in September, and the German quartet Salut Salon for their delightfully whimsical album Carnival Fantasy.
Two Erato pianists receive prizes: Bertrand Chamayou (Solo Recording of the Year) for his multi-faceted recording of Ravel’s complete works for solo piano, and Alexandre Tharaud (Music DVD production of the Year: Concert) for the majestic and detailed film of him playing Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which was released as a bonus DVD accompanying the album.
The ECHO for Concert Recording of the Year (19th-century music) goes to Il Pomo d’Oro for their Haydn Concertos album, in which joint music directors Riccardo Minasi on violin and harpsichordist Maxim Emelyanychev take turns leading this refined yet lively Baroque band.
Violinist Vilde Frang receives the prize for Concerto Recording of the Year (20th/21st century music) for her latest album of violin concertos by Korngold and Britten, an unusual but riveting pairing that Frang has said it was her dream to record.
The Artemis Quartet receives the prize for the Chamber Music Recording of the Year. Their intense Brahms’ String Quartets 1 & 3 is the final album the Quartet recorded with their late violist Friedemann Weigle, who tragically passed away last year.
The DVD label EuroArts music, distributed via Warner Classics Label Services, takes home the ECHO for Music DVD Production of the Year: Documentary for Ralf Pleger’s The Tschaikovsky Files.
Congratulations to all the winners. The full list of Erato and Warner Classics ECHO prizewinners below makes for a wonderfully comprehensive Best of 2015. The awards ceremony will take place in October. More information about the ECHO Klassik Awards here.
Singer of the Year (male):
Philippe Jaroussky (Green) – Erato
Conductor of the Year:
Antonio Pappano (AIDA) – Warner Classics
Newcomer of the Year (Cello):
Edgar Moreau (Giovincello) – Erato
Classics without Borders:
John Wilson Orchestra (Cole Porter in Hollywood) – Warner Classics
Salut Salon (Carnival Fantasy) – Warner Classics
Concerto Recording of the Year (19th-century music):
Il Pomo d’Oro (Haydn: Concertos) – Erato
Concerto Recording of the Year (20th/21st-century music):
Vilde Frang (Britten/Korngold) – Warner Classics
Solo Recording of the Year (20th/21st-century music / piano):
Bertrand Chamayou (Ravel) - Erato
Chamber Music Recording of the Year (19th century music / strings):
Artemis Quartett (Brahms) - Erato
Music DVD Production of the Year (Opera):
Diana Damrau (La Traviata) – Erato
Music DVD Production of the Year (concert):
Alexandre Tharaud (Bach: Goldberg Variations) – Erato
Music-DVD-Production of the Year (documentary):
Ralf Pleger (The Tschaikovsky Files) - EuroArts
London's summer feast of classical music, the BBC Proms, has just announced its 2016 line-up, featuring an impressive array of international artists in concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and other venues from 15 July to 10 September.
One of the most hotly anticipated events of the Proms season in the past few years has been the annual concert of the John Wilson Orchestra. This year they return with their signature slick performances of Great American Songbook and Hollywood musical treasures, this time marking the 120th annivesrary of Ira Gershwin's birth. Their forthcoming album, Gershwin in Hollywood, will be available next month, and was recorded during their Royal Albert Hall concert in November 2015.
Meanwhile, French pianist Alexandre Tharaud leads a cabaret-inspired 'Satie Prom' tribute to Erik Satie on the 150th anniversary of the composer's birth.
Another tribute to an iconoclastic French musician: Ensemble Intercontemporain pay homage to their founder, conductor and composer Pierre Boulez, who died in January at the age of 90. Boulez recorded extensively for Erato between 1966 and 1992; these pioneering recordings have been collected in a 14-CD boxed set.
Also returning to the Proms this year is the young British ensemble Aurora Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas Collon. They have previously performed Mozart's Symphony No.40 and Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony at the Proms from memory - a daring feat. This year, these immensely talented musicians again take up the challenge with Mozart's Symphony No.41 'Jupiter' - and not a single music stand in sight. Always pushing boundaries, the group has recorded two albums for Warner Classics: Road Trip and Insomnia.
Martha Argerich's 75th birthday celebrations this year will continue with the Liszt Piano Concerto: Daniel Barenboim conducts the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra for the occasion.
Sir Antonio Pappano is a veteran of large-scale operatic events, as his recent award-winning Aïda recording attests. This year, with his Royal Opera House forces, he presents a concert performance of Mussorgsky's grand opera Boris Godunov, Bryn Terfel taking the title role.
See the full programme of 2016 Proms events here.
The Voice’ … ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’ … ‘The Sultan of Swoon’: the mythology surrounding Frank Sinatra is overwhelming. A gifted entertainer, screen actor and ubiquitous personality, his real legacy as a pioneer of popular song can sometimes get lost in the clamour. This year the John Wilson Orchestra returns to the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall with a special Late Night Prom celebrating the centenary of this musical icon born 100 years ago in a concert that brings together some of the great voices of our own time. Led by the multitalented Seth MacFarlane, The John Wilson Orchestra’s celebration of Frank Sinatra will be broadcast live on British television (Friday, August 7th BBC Four – 10.15pm) and released on a DVD for Warner Classics in October.
John Wilson and his orchestra have thrilled audiences with concerts and their recordings of songs from the golden age of musical theatre in Broadway and Hollywood. Their leap into the limelight at the 2009 MGM Prom seemed like an overnight sensation but was actually the result of playing together for over 15 years. John Wilson’s appreciation of Sinatra goes back even further: “It is an honour for the John Wilson Orchestra to be returning to the BBC Proms to perform a special late night Prom marking the centenary of Frank Sinatra’s birth and celebrating his legacy” says John Wilson, “The concert focuses on the most important part of his career - the middle years, mainly at Capitol Records, and in particular his collaboration with Nelson Riddle, although other arrangers are represented.
"Almost all of the songs are taken from his famous concept albums, Sinatra was one of the first singers to package songs into the new album format and was certainly the most important and influential. He single-handedly brought the singer and the song in to the foreground where previously bandleaders had always been in the spotlight. As Benny Goodman had made the general public orchestra-conscious, so Sinatra made them singer-conscious. By the time he was on contract at Capitol Records he was rigorous with his selection of material and choice of orchestras and arrangers. Several of his records from this period represent the high-watermark of popular music in the 20th century. Seth MacFarlane will be making his return to the orchestra and we welcome leading British jazz star Claire Martin and making his debut with the John Wilson Orchestra is actor and singer Jamie Parker.
"We’re delighted that this very special event will be available on DVD for everyone to enjoy.”
Said Hollywood film and television star Seth MacFarlane: “It’s always an utter joy to perform with the incomparable John Wilson Orchestra. Their interpretations of these classic charts are unmatched in the modern era. Don’t walk, run to hear them play anytime you can!”
In August 2009 MacFarlane made his debut at the BBC Proms with the John Wilson Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in a show celebrating the 75th anniversary of the MGM film musicals. The show was watched by millions on British television and MacFarlane subsequently recorded an album of the MGM film musicals with the John Wilson Orchestra for EMI (Now Warner Classics) and toured the UK and performed with the John Wilson Orchestra in Los Angeles.
The BBC Proms' 2015 programme has finally been announced, promising a summer of superb concerts and broadcasts for music lovers.
This star-studded classical line-up includes Proms favourites like British trumpeter Alison Balsom, who returns with a world premiere BBC commission from Guy Barker, The Lanterne of Light. The pair had a hit last year with their collaboration on Balsom's most recent album, Paris.
The John Wilson Orchestra follow the resounding succses of last year's Kiss Me Kate Cole Porter another concert in a smooth mood; this time a tribute to crooner Frank Sinatra starring Seth MacFarlane (the creator and principal vocalist behind the ever-popular animated series Family Guy). One of the most beloved Proms regulars, the orchestra performs for its second program of the year a concert dedicated to Leonard Bernstein.
Another British orchestra of a different bent, the Aurora Orchestra is a young and dynamic group that made a splash at their Proms debut in 2014 when they performed Mozart's Symphony No.40 entirely and collectively from memory. This time they perform Pastoral symphonies by composers as Beethoven and the Australian Brett Dean. The ensemble released their Warner Classics debut, Road Trip, early 2015.
French pianist David Fray, who made his Proms debut in 2011, is the soloist in Mozart's Piano Concerto No.24, as part of an adventurous program featuring Bartok's Miraculous Mandarin and Shostakovich's rarely performed, incomplete opera Orango.
A focus on the music of Pierre Boulez in his 90th birthday year, a Sibelius cycle for that composer's 150th anniversary, and a piano-lovers' feast with such distinguished artists as Leif Ove Andsnes, Maria João Pires and the Labèque sisters, there's more to look forward to than ever at this year's BBC Proms.
Full programme here. Booking opens on 16 May. The Proms runs from 17 July to 12 September and will be broadcast on BBC 3.
The uniquely glamorous sound and the daredevil skill of the John Wilson Orchestra playing Hollywood and Broadway’s most scintillating scores has made them one of the UK’s most beloved group of musicians. Their annual sell-out Prom concerts and national tours – and their first three releases for Warner Classics – have enchanted listeners and won them fans around the world.
Following this year’s rapturously received Prom of Kiss Me, Kate, Cole Porter’s celebrated musical comedy of The Taming of the Shrew, the John Wilson Orchestra’s new album Cole Porter in Hollywood basks in the big-screen glow of the hits he wrote for the movies.
“Cole Porter’s songs lit up Hollywood over three decades right up to the end of his career in the early 1960s,” explains conductor John Wilson. “I chose the repertoire to be a mixture of hits that everyone knows – ‘Begin The Beguine’, ‘My Heart Belongs To Daddy’ – but also numbers that shine out from lesser-known films.”
The 15 songs on the album feature world premieres of newly-reconstructed orchestrations from the original movie soundtracks, nearly all of which had been lost. The album is a glorious return to the resplendent sound that cushioned and encouraged Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Bing Crosby in films such as Can-Can, The Pirate and High Society. The energy, dynamism and detail of the playing is captured in the ideal acoustic of London’s famed Abbey Road studios.
A hand-picked ensemble of leading instrumentalists from Europe’s finest orchestras, these virtuoso players come together to create an unparalleled combination of symphonic forces and big band jazz embodying the golden age of Hollywood orchestras. Joined by guest singers Anna-Jane Casey, Kim Criswell, Matthew Ford, Sarah Fox and Richard Morrison, their trademark mix of sparkling authenticity and knock-‘em-dead gusto has been described as “Technicolor for the ears”.
With its annual Proms among the most hotly anticipated events at the Royal Albert Hall, The John Wilson Orchestra has become one of the UK’s most beloved music institutions: its 2012 My Fair Lady was the hit of the season.
This Saturday, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Cole Porter's death, the group will stage a complete performance of Kiss Me Kate, Porter's Tony Award-winning musical based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. And there's more where that came from. In October, the John Wilson Orchestra will go deeper into this territory with Cole Porter in Hollywood, the new album dedicated to one of the major composers of the Great American Songbook.
“When I chose the repertoire I wanted it to be a mixture of hits that everyone knows – ‘Begin The Beguine’, ‘My Heart Belongs To Daddy’, ‘Easy To Love’ – and also I wanted to cover a wide period of time; hits from the 1930s right up to the end of Cole Porter’s career in the late 1950s,” explains conductor John Wilson.
Recorded in their original 1948 orchestrations at London’s famed Abbey Road studios, the songs on Cole Porter in Hollywood plunge listeners into the world of Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby and other stars seen in films such as Anything Goes, High Society, Can-Can and, of course, Kiss Me Kate.
The year 2014 also marks the orchestra’s 20th anniversary. With its symphonic forces, nine-piece percussion section, full jazz big band and guest singers direct from Broadway, John Wilson’s ensemble embodies the glitzy golden age of Hollywood orchestras. Perhaps Cole Porter himself put it best in the album’s final tune, ‘Now You Has Jazz’ from High Society: “I want you to lend an ear/cos I want you to hear/some shimmering sharps and flats.”
All hits, and all performed with their special swing and élan: ‘the feeling is electric, if not ecstatic’ (The Daily Mail).
For more information click here.
On August 26, John Wilson and his orchestra returned to the BBC Proms in a celebration of the Hollywood film scores that Wilson describes as 'literally unsung' and a medley of theme songs (featuring distinguished vocalists) from otherwise non-musical movies. Tonight at 7:30 you can watch the entire showon BBC 4.
Watch a clip from the show here
You can also listen to a stream of the entire show on BBC Radio 3 here.