Ever interested in ways to encourage more attendance at its concerts, and in an atmosphere that encourages post-performance discussion, the Boston Symphony Orchestra in mid-January is inaugurating a new three-concert subscription series, “Underscore Fridays.” Starting at 7 pm, each concert will include comments of that evening’s pieces by the guest conductor and will be followed by a complimentary food-and-drink reception in Higginson Hall. Two of the concerts will be shorter, intermission-free versions of the already scheduled concerts of that particular Thursday-Tuesday schedule, although the third will be the regular full-length concert, with intermission. The dates for “Underscore Fridays” are January 14, February 11, and March 25.
The initial concert, on January 14, to be conducted by Sir Mark Elder, will feature Frederick Delius’s Paris: A Nocturne (The Song of a Great City), Richard Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, and the Mozart Piano Concert No. 21, with guest artist Lars Vogt.
As music director of the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, England, Elder is generally credited with raising its musical standards. He has held positions as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the London Mozart Players and has worked with many of the world’s leading symphony orchestras. He is also known for his refreshing comments. In an interview with Sandra Deeble of the Guardian, published albeit a while ago (Oct. 2, 2004), Elder said, “I do get excited before a performance. I look forward to seeing what everybody’s combined concentration will produce. At the end of a performance which has gone better that I ever could have imagined I can get a feeling where it seems as if I have expended almost no energy. There’s been this combustion and it’s as if my feet haven’t touched the ground. … It’s as if there’s some force with us that is bigger than all of us, that is lifting us up.”
Vogt, born in Germany in 1970, won second prize at the 1990 Leeds International Piano Competition and has since gone on to give major concerto and recital performances throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. He enjoys regular partnerships with colleagues such as Christian Tetzlaff, Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, and bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff. Vogt also collaborates occasionally with actor Klaus-Maria Brandauer and comedian Konrad Beikircher. His previous performances with the BSO at Tanglewood included the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 on Aug. 6, 2006, and, during the regular season, the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3, on Oct. 18-20, 2007.
For the February 11 concert, Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki will share her observations on that evening’s program of Haydn, Sibelius, and Unsuk Chin’s Cello Concerto, in its American premiere with Alban Gerhardt as soloist. Mälkki conducted the BSO at Tanglewood this past summer in a program of Mendelssohn and Beethoven.
On March 25, conductor, composer, and pianist Thomas Adès will make his highly anticipated BSO debut in a program of music inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest, including works by Tchaikovsky and Sibelius as well as music from Mr. Adès’ own opera of the same name. The Thomas Adès program will be a full-length BSO concert, approximately two hours, including intermission.
For more information visit the BSO’s website , or call the Access Services Administrator at 617-638-9431 or TDD/TTY 617-638-9289.