Opening Night with Pacific Symphony
KCET broadcast: Sept. 30 @ 8 p.m.
PBS SoCal broadcast: Oct. 10 @ 7 p.m.
Carl St.Clair, conductor
Olga Kern, piano
Louis Lortie, piano
Christina Naughton and Michelle Naughton, piano duo
André Watts, piano
DVORAK: Carnival Overture
SCHOENFELD: “Boogie” for Two Pianos
(Christina Naughton and Michelle Naughton)
RAVEL: “Rigaudon” from “Le Tombeau de Couperin”
BEETHOVEN: “Adagio sostenuto” from “Moonlight” Sonata
BEETHOVEN: “Allegro con brio” from Symphony No. 5
BEETHOVEN: “Andante con moto” from Piano Concerto No. 4
RACHMANINOFF: Moment Musical No. 4, E Minor
RACHMANINOFF: Variation 18, Andante cantabile from Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Southland Sessions Presents Pacific Symphony #1
Pacific Symphony’s virtual “Opening Night” is reconceptualized for the uncommon era in which we find ourselves. The program—a virtual piano extravaganza—will be offered in an innovative way, featuring five internationally renowned piano soloists in their home studios around the world: Olga Kern, Louis Lortie, André Watts and piano duo Christina Naughton and Michelle Naughton. The program features 19th and 20th century masterworks by Beethoven, Dvorák, Rachmaninoff and Ravel.
Russian-American pianist Olga Kern is now recognized as one of her generation’s great artists. With her vivid stage presence, passionately confident musicianship and extraordinary technique, the striking pianist continues to captivate fans and critics alike. Olga Kern was born into a family of musicians with direct links to Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff and began studying piano at the age of five. She jumpstarted her U.S. career with her historic Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas as the first woman to do so in more than thirty years.
Steinway Artist and First prize winner of the Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition at seventeen, Ms. Kern is a laureate of many international competitions. In 2016 she served as Jury Chairman of both the Seventh Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition and the first Olga Kern International Piano Competition, where she also holds the title of Artistic Director. Ms. Kern frequently gives masterclasses and since September 2017 has served on the piano faculty of the prestigious Manhattan School of Music. Additionally, Ms. Kern was chosen as the Virginia Arts Festival’s new Connie & Marc Jacobson Director of Chamber Music, beginning with the 2019 season.
For over three decades, the French-Canadian pianist Louis Lortie has appeared worldwide, his performances and award-winning recordings attesting to his remarkable musical range. A student of Yvonne Hubert (a pupil of the legendary Alfred Cortot) in Montreal, the Beethoven specialist Dieter Weber in Vienna, and the Schnabel disciple Leon Fleisher, he won First Prize in the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition in 1984 and the same year was a prize winner at the Leeds International Piano Competition. From then on, he embarked on an international career which keeps him in demand on five continents.
He has established long-term partnerships with orchestras such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, and Dresdner Philharmonie in Europe, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony and St Louis Symphony Orchestra in the US, and the Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, and Calgary Symphony Orchestras in Canada.
He enjoys regular partnerships with conductors such as Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Edward Gardner, Sir Andrew Davis, Jaap van Zweden, Simone Young, Antoni Wit and Thierry Fischer.
Christina Naughton and Michelle Naughton
“Indeed, I’m ready to put them on a level with some of the greatest piano duos of our time...They have to be heard to be believed” said The Washington Post of Christina Naughton and Michelle Naughton. They have captivated audiences throughout the globe with the unity created by their mystical communication, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, in Christina’s own words, “There are times I forget we are two people playing together”. The Naughtons work as a duo was recently recognized in 2019 as they became the first piano duo to receive the Avery Fisher Career Grant presented by Lincoln Center.
Christina and Michelle Naughton’s career was launched in 2009 with a recital debut at Kennedy Center; and an orchestral debut at the Mann Center with the Philadelphia Orchestra, which led the Philadelphia Inquirer to characterize their playing as “paired to perfection”. Subsequently, they began their careers in Europe and Asia; at Munich’s Herkulesaal and with the Hong Kong Philharmonic respectively. These appearances were met with much critical acclaim, with the Suddeutsche Zeitung proclaiming the Naughtons an “outstanding piano duo” and the Sing Tao Daily responding by the description “Joining two hearts and four hands at two grand pianos, the Naughton sisters created an electrifying and moving musical performance”.
André Watts burst upon the music world at the age of 16 when Leonard Bernstein chose him to make his debut with the New York Philharmonic on one of the orchestra’s Young People's Concerts, a concert which was broadcast nationwide on CBS-TV. Only two weeks later, Bernstein asked him to substitute at the last minute for the ailing Glenn Gould in performances of Liszt's E-flat Concerto with the New York Philharmonic, thus launching his career in storybook fashion. More than half a century later, André Watts remains one of America’s most distinguished and celebrated performing artists.
A perennial favorite with orchestras throughout the US, Mr. Watts is also a regular guest at the major summer music festivals. Recent and upcoming engagements include appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Philadelphia and on tour, the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the St. Louis, Atlanta, Detroit, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Baltimore, Indianapolis and Nashville symphonies among others. Recent international engagements include concerto and recital appearances in Japan, Hong Kong, Germany and Spain.