Zhang Plays Rach 2
Markus Stenz, conductor
Haochen Zhang, piano
RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 2
DEBUSSY: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
STRAVINSKY: Suite from The Firebird (1945)
Doors open at 6:45 p.m.
Preview Talk at 7 p.m. with Assistant Conductor Dr. Jacob Sustaita
An evening of greatness begins with world-class pianist Haochen Zhang who has been described by The Washington Post as having an “imagination that keeps you on the edge of your seat and breathless to hear what comes next”—a worthy challenger to Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto.
Following are two pieces drawn from fantasy: first, Debussy sets the scene for fauns and nymphs in Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun; next, Stravinsky transports you to a world where an evil sorcerer collides with a magical firebird.
All ticket holders must wear a mask AND provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of performance. Learn more.
Close-ups of the orchestra musicians, conductor and pianist Haochen Zhang will be projected onto the big screen above the orchestra (IMAG).
Pre-recorded Preview Talk
Listen now as Alan Chapman introduces the music on the program. And/or attend the live Preview Talk with Dr. Jacob Sustaita and special guests at 7 p.m. on the night of the concert.
Learn more about the music in the program notes.
“Such a combination of enchanting, sensitive lyricism and hypnotizing forcefulness is a phenomenon encountered very rarely.” –Ury Eppstein, The Jerusalem Post
Since his gold medal win at the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2009, Haochen Zhang has captivated audiences in the United States, Europe, and Asia with a unique combination of deep musical sensitivity, fearless imagination, and spectacular virtuosity. In 2017, Haochen received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, which recognizes talented musicians with the potential for a major career in music.
Haochen has already appeared with many of the world’s leading festivals and orchestras including the BBC Proms with Long Yu and the China Philharmonic; the Munich Philharmonic with the late Lorin Maazel in a sold-out tour in Munich and China; the Easter Festival in Moscow by special invitation of Maestro Valery Gergiev; the Sydney Symphony and David Robertson in a China tour; and the NDR Hamburg and Thomas Hengelbrock in a tour of Tokyo, Beijing, and Shanghai.
In July 2019, Haochen released his debut concerto album on BIS Records performing Prokofiev’s second piano concerto and Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra under Dima Slobodeniouk. His debut solo album was released by BIS in February 2017, which includes works by Schumann, Brahms, Janacek, and Liszt.
Haochen is also an avid chamber musician, collaborating with colleagues such as the Shanghai, Tokyo, and Brentano Quartets. He is frequently invited by chamber music festivals in the United States including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and La Jolla Summerfest.
Haochen’s performances at the Cliburn Competition were released to critical acclaim by Harmonia Mundi in 2009. He is featured in Peter Rosen’s award-winning documentary chronicling the 2009 Cliburn Competition, A Surprise in Texas.
Haochen is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he studied under Gary Graffman. He has also been studying periodically with Andreas Haefliger in Vienna. He was previously trained at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the Shenzhen Arts School, where he was admitted in 2001 at the age of 11 to study with Professor Dan Zhaoyi.
Markus Stenz has held a number of high-profile positions with international orchestras and opera houses including Principal Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (2012-2019), Principal Guest of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (2015-2019) and Conductor-In-Residence of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (2016-Dec 2020). He was General Music Director of the City of Cologne and Gürzenich-Kapellmeister for 11 years (from 2003-2014), Principal Guest Conductor of the Hallé Orchestra (2010-2014), Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (1998-2004), Principal Conductor of London Sinfonietta (1994–1998) and Artistic Director of the Montepulciano Festival (1989–1995).
Stenz made his opera debut in 1988 at La Fenice in Venice in the first performance of Henze’s revised version of Elegy for Young Lovers. Since then he has appeared at many of the world’s major opera houses and international festivals including Teatro alla Scala Milan, La Monnaie in Brussels, English National Opera, San Francisco Opera, Stuttgart Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera and Edinburgh International Festival. His notable performances in Cologne have included Wagner’s Ring, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, as well as Janacek’s Jenufa and Katya Kabanova, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Eötvös’ Love and other Demons.
Stenz has conducted many world premières including Henze’s Das Verratene Meer for Deutsche Oper Berlin, Venus und Adonis for Bavarian State Opera, and L’Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe at the Salzburg Festival, Wolfgang Rihm’s Die Eroberung von Mexico and Detlev Glanert’s Caligula for Frankfurt Opera and Solaris at the Bregenz Festival. He recently returned to Bayerische Staatsoper Munich for Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten and, in the 2018-2019 season, conducted the long awaited world première of Kurtag’s Fin de Partie at La Scala, Milan, and Dutch National Opera.
Guest engagements have led him to major orchestras worldwide, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, NHK, Symphony Orchestra of the Bayerische Rundfunk, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, London Philharmonic, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Vienna Symphony and the Symphony Orchestras of the Hessische Rundfunk, and NDR. In the United States these have included the Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, San Diego, St Louis Symphony Orchestras, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra and recently his debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony.
Highlights of the 2020-2021 season included the CD release of Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony with Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, performances of Kurtág’s Fin de Partie at Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia and concerts with MDR Sinfonieorchester and Dortmunder Philharmoniker. Despite the pandemic, Markus Stenz has conducted numerous concerts in Asia, including Seoul and Taiwan, and was guest conductor at Teatro La Fenice in Venice.
In 2021-2022 Markus conducts Britten‘s Midsummer Night’s Dream at Deutsche Oper Berlin and the French premiere of Kurtág‘s opera Fin de Partie at Opéra National de Paris. Other guest conducting engagements include performances with the Pacific, Colorado and Jacksonville Symphony Orchestras as well as Orchestra dell’Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestra della Toscana in Florence and others.
During his time with the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Stenz received a prize for “The Best Concert Programme of the 2003-2004 Season” as well as initiating a number of youth and educational projects such as “Experiment Klassikz,” “3. Akt,” and the concert live-recording project “GO live.”
Stenz’s extensive discography includes many prize-winning recordings including the Gürzenich Orchestra’s complete cycle of Gustav Mahler's symphonies for Oehms Classics. Their recording of Mahler's Fifth Symphony received a German Record Critics’ Award in November 2009. Their first recording for Hyperion of Strauss’s Don Quixote and Till Eulenspiegel received unanimous critical acclaim, and was followed by an equally celebrated recording of Schönberg’s Gurrelieder released in 2015, which received the Choral Award at the 2016 Gramophone Awards.
Markus Stenz studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne under Volker Wangenheim and at Tanglewood with Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa. He has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Northern College of Music and the “Silberne Stimmgabel” (Silver Tuning Fork) of the state of North Rhein/Westphalia.