Magic of Chopin
Jean-Marie Zeitouni, conductor
Louis Lortie, piano
MOZART: Symphony No. 31, “Paris”
CHOPIN: Piano Concerto No. 2
RAVEL: La Valse
Preview Talk with host Alan Chapman at 7 p.m.
Two of Canada’s brightest classical music stars perform a program that celebrates the spirit of France. Mozart composed his Symphony No. 31 specifically to please and impress Parisian audiences. Chopin called “The City of Lights” home for most of his adult life, and Debussy and Ravel are two of France’s greatest composers. BBC Music Magazine commented on Louis Lortie’s gifts as an interpreter of Chopin: “Lortie is a model Chopinist: eloquent but never sentimental, elegant, harmonically luminous, structurally immaculate—and surprising.”
Jean-Marie Zeitouni has emerged as one of the brightest young conductors of his generation. His eloquent yet fiery style, in repertoire ranging from Baroque to contemporary music, has resulted in regular engagements with leading symphony orchestras and opera companies around the globe. Currently music director of the Colorado Music Festival & Center for Musical Arts and artistic director of Orchestre de chambre I Musici de Montréal, Zeitouni recently completed tenures as music director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and principal guest conductor of Les Violons du Roy, an ensemble with which he gave more than 250 concerts throughout North America over the last 13 years.
Zeitouni has also held various other positions with leading Canadian organizations, including music director of the Banff Centre “Opera as Theatre” program, associate conductor and chorus master at Opéra de Montréal and music director of its Young Artist Program (Atelier lyrique), chorus master at Opéra de Québec, choir director of the Québec Symphony Orchestra, and director of the orchestra and opera workshop at Laval University.
As an operatic conductor, he has conducted at Opéra de Montréal, Opéra de Québec, Glimmerglass Opera Festival, and at opera companies in Calgary, Edmonton, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Marseille, Toulouse and Hanoi.
Zeitouni has conducted nearly every major symphony orchestra in his native Canada, including those of Montréal, Québec, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Halifax, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Victoria, as well as the National Arts Centre, Ensemble Arion and the Club musical de Québec. Outside of Canada, he has conducted symphony orchestras in Detroit, Seattle, Oregon, Carmel, San Antonio, Houston, Louisiana, Costa Mesa, Phoenix, Omaha, Honolulu, Huntsville, Cincinnati, Marseille, Hong Kong, Mexico City and Xalapa (Mexico), as well as Pacific Symphony and Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society.
He also regularly conducts at major international music festivals, including Festival international de Lanaudiére, Festival international du Domaine Forget, Round Top (Texas), Grant Park (Illinois), Elora, Parry Sound and Mostly Mozart (New York).
Zeitouni studied with Maestro Raffi Armenian and graduated from the Montréal Conservatory in conducting, percussion and theory.
The brilliant and highly-esteemed French Canadian pianist Louis Lortie has extended his interpretative voice across a broad range of repertoire rather than choosing to specialize in one particular style.
He has recently performed with the Chicago Symphony, the Sydney Symphony, OSESP/Sao Paulo, the Royal Philharmonic and toured with the Leipzig Gewanhaus, the La Scala Orchestra and with the Beethoven Orchester Bonn. Upcoming engagements include the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Dresden Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony and recitals at London’s Wigmore, in Aldeburgh, Detmold, Berlin, Bonn, Florence, Sao Paulo, and at the Bergen Festival and the Raiding Liszt Festival.
Lortie has performed with the world’s leading conductors, including Riccardo Chailly, Jaap Van Zweden, Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa, Charles Dutoit, Neeme Järvi, Sir Andrew Davis, Emmanuel Krivine, Sir Mark Elder, Andres Orozco-Estrada and Osmo Vänskä. His play/conducting engagements are with great orchestras worldwide.
He has made more than 45 recordings for the Chandos label, covering repertoire from Mozart to Stravinsky, including a set of the complete Beethoven sonatas and the complete Liszt “Annees de Pelerinage,” which was named one of the 10 best recordings of 2012 by the New Yorker Magazine. His recording of the Lutosławski Piano Concerto with Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony received high praise, as did a recent Chopin recording (he is recording all of Chopin’s solo piano music for Chandos), which was named one of the best recordings of the year by The New York Times. Many recordings are planned, including the just-released Chopin Waltzes, Saint Saens’Africa, Wedding Cake and Carnival of the Animals with Neeme Jarvi and the Bergen Philharmonic, Rachmaninov’s complete works for two pianos with Helene Mercier, Poulenc works for piano and orchestra with the BBC Philharmonic, Faure piano works and Scriabin piano works.
Lortie studied in Montreal with Yvonne Hubert (a pupil of the legendary Alfred Cortot), in Vienna with Beethoven specialist Dieter Weber and subsequently with Schnabel disciple Leon Fleisher. In 1984, he won first prize in the Busoni Competition and was also prizewinner at the Leeds Competition. He has lived in Berlin since 1997 and also has homes in Canada and Italy.