RELEASE: New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill to perform Mozart Clarinet Concerto
Maestro Ankush Kumar Bahl leads Mussorgsky’s triumphant Pictures at an Exhibition
Omaha Symphony to perform Emmy Award-winning composer Adam Schoenberg’s Picture Studies inspired by Mussorgsky and works from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Audiences will experience new visual elements with Pictures at an Exhibition film
OMAHA, Neb., Jan. 6, 2022—The Omaha Symphony’s first Masterworks concert of 2022 opens with pomp, circumstance and some of the orchestra world’s brightest stars. The program pairs the Grammy-nominated Picture Studies from living American composer Adam Schoenberg and the work that inspired it, one of the most beloved in all the repertoire, Mussorgsky’s famous Pictures at an Exhibition. These two works, both masterpieces in their own right, bookend a performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto by one of the most notable soloists and orchestral performers, Anthony McGill of the New York Philharmonic.
“This program is really special to me, not only because Anthony McGill and Adam Schoenberg are two of the most incredible American artists working and performing today, but they’re also both dear friends of mine,” said Omaha Symphony Music Director Ankush Kumar Bahl. “I can’t wait to welcome them to Omaha work with our wonderful orchestra! It is a fantastic program that I know our community will love.
“I’m also excited to introduce a visual element to these concerts, which will be new for our audiences,” Bahl continued. “We will perform Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition along with visuals which were commissioned by Michael Tilson Thomas for the New World Symphony in 2011. These elements will enhance and deepen our audiences’ experience with this music.”
Performances will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Jan. 14-15 at the Holland Performing Arts Center Peter Kiewit Hall. Tickets are on sale now at omahasymphony.org.
Friday-Saturday, Jan. 14-15 at 7:30 p.m.
Holland Performing Arts Center Peter Kiewit Concert Hall
Ankush Kumar Bahl, conductor
Anthony McGill, clarinet
ADAM SCHOENBERG: Picture Studies
MOZART: Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622
MUSSORGSKY/arr. RAVEL: Pictures at an Exhibition
Schoenberg, Mozart, Mussorgsky
The third Masterworks program of the 2021/22 season’s program juxtaposes two related works. The concert’s cornerstone is Mussorgsky’s famous Pictures at an Exhibition, a multi-movement suite written by the composer after visiting the posthumous exhibition of his recently deceased friend, the artist Victor Hartman. Each movement is based on a different work of art in the exhibit. Originally composed as piano etudes, the Omaha Symphony will perform the version of the work scored for orchestra by Maurice Ravel.
Living composer Adam Schoenberg’s Picture Studies is a modern take on Mussorgsky’s original concept. His inspiration came from Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: “Unlike Modest Mussorgsky, who set all of his movements to the work of Viktor Hartmann, my piece brings eight seemingly disparate works of art to musical life,” said Schoenberg of his Picture Studies. “I used this series as a way of pushing myself both intellectually and emotionally as a composer. I felt inspired and liberated as I gave myself permission to explore new compositional terrain.”
Between these two related works is Mozart’s delightful and buoyant Clarinet Concerto in A Major, regarded by many as the best of his woodwind concerti. The clarinet was a relatively new instrument at the time Mozart composed this work for his friend and fellow Freemason Anton Stadler. Franz Joseph Haydn declared that it was Mozart who “taught us how to compose for the clarinet.” The concerto provides the perfect canvas for Principal Clarinet of the New York Philharmonic Anthony McGill’s artistry.
About the Pictures at an Exhibition Film
Directed by Michael Patterson and Candace Beckinger and produced at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, this stunning Pictures at an Exhibition film was commissioned by Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony to celebrate the grand opening of New World Symphony Hall in Miami in 2011. Each movement was created by a different team of students, and the result I a wonderful mixture of styles and textures.
About Anthony McGill
Hailed for his “trademark brilliance, penetrating sound and rich character” (New York Times), clarinetist Anthony McGill enjoys a dynamic international solo and chamber music career and is principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic—the first African American principal player in the organization's history. He is the recipient of the 2020 Avery Fisher Prize, one of classical music’s most significant awards.
McGill appears as a soloist with top orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Kansas City Symphony. He performed alongside Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma and Gabriela Montero at the inauguration of President Barack Obama, premiering a piece by John Williams. As a chamber musician, McGill is a favorite collaborator of the Brentano, Daedalus, Guarneri, JACK, Miró, Pacifica, Shanghai, Takács and Tokyo Quartets, as well as Emanuel Ax, Inon Barnatan, Gloria Chien, Yefim Bronfman, Gil Shaham, Midori, Mitsuko Uchida and Lang Lang.
He serves on the faculty of The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music and Bard College Conservatory of Music. He is the Artistic Director for the Music Advancement Program at The Juilliard School. In 2020, McGill’s #TakeTwoKnees campaign protesting the death of George Floyd and historic racial injustice went viral.
For additional background, please visit anthonymcgill.com.
About Adam Schoenberg
Emmy Award-winning and Grammy-nominated Adam Schoenberg has twice been named among the top 10 most performed living composers by orchestras in the United States. His works have received performances and premieres at the Library of Congress, Kennedy Center, New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Hollywood Bowl.
Schoenberg has received commissions from several major American orchestras, including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Up! and La Luna Azul), Kansas City Symphony (American Symphony and Picture Studies), Los Angeles Philharmonic and Aspen Music Festival and School (Bounce), and San Francisco Symphony (Losing Earth). Other recent commissions include works for Carlos Miguel Prieto and Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, a violin concerto for Anne Akiko Meyers and the San Diego Symphony, Jerry Junkin and the University of Texas Wind Ensemble and Texas Performing Arts, and the first-ever two-piano concerto for the Dranoff International 2 Piano Foundation.
Adam Schoenberg received two 2018 Grammy Award nominations, including Best Contemporary Classical Composition for Picture Studies. An accomplished and versatile film composer, Schoenberg participated in the 2017 Sundance Composers Lab and has scored two feature-length films and several shorts. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Schoenberg earned his master’s and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Robert Beaser and John Corigliano.
About Ankush Kumar Bahl
Ankush Kumar Bahl is currently the 13th Music Director in the Omaha Symphony's 100-year history. He is recognized today by orchestras and audiences alike for his impressive conducting technique, thoughtful interpretations, and engaging podium presence. In concert, he has left The Washington Post “wanting to hear more” and has been praised by The New York Times for his “clear authority and enthusiasm” and ability to “inspire.” His recent guest conducting highlights include performances with the New York Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Orchestre National de France, and the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México, the Richmond Symphony, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, D.C.). Summer festival engagements include the Copenhagen Philharmonic at Tivoli, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival, the Chautauqua Institute, and at Wolf Trap with the NSO.
A protégé of former New York Philharmonic Music Director Kurt Masur, Bahl served as his assistant conductor at the Orchestre National de France from 2008-2011. From 2011-2015, he served as the assistant conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. In addition to Maestro Masur, Bahl is fortunate to count Jaap van Zweden, Zdenek Macal, Christoph Eschenbach, David Zinman and Gianandrea Noseda among his mentors.
Tickets for Pictures at an Exhibition and Anthony McGill start at $20. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.omahasymphony.org, through the Ticket Omaha app, or by calling Ticket Omaha at 402.345.0606. Student rush tickets are $10 and can be purchased one hour before the performance. Performance dates are subject to change. In the event of performance changes or cancellations, the Omaha Symphony will email ticket holders to inform them of new dates and ticketing options. Patrons with questions may email email@example.com. The Omaha Symphony also regularly posts performance updates at omahasymphony.org, along with the Omaha Symphony’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. Patrons can sign up for the latest updates at omahasymphony.org.
Public Health Information
The safety of our patrons, musicians, staff, and community is the Omaha Symphony’s priority. The Omaha Symphony continues to work closely with the Douglas County Department of Health and our partners at Omaha Performing Arts and UNMC to ensure the safety of all involved in the Omaha Symphony’s return to live performances. All patrons will be required to complete a health screening questionnaire prior to accessing their mobile tickets via the Ticket Omaha app. Masks are required at indoor Omaha Symphony performances. The following changes have been implemented within the venue:
- Enhanced Cleaning & Sanitation - Electrostatic technology disinfecting large common areas, enhanced sanitizing of high touch surfaces with hospital grade disinfectant and hand sanitizing stations throughout the venue.
- Heating and Cooling System – Upgrades to air handling units includes bipolar ionization filtering out viruses through ventilation.
- Staff and Patron Precautions – Staff, volunteers and patrons are required to wear face coverings regardless of vaccination status.
- Touchless Experience – Tickets are accessible via the Ticket Omaha app. Tickets can also be printed at Will Call by request. Program notes will be delivered digitally.
Find the most up-to-date public health information at omahasymphony.org/public-health.
This performance is sponsored by Omaha Steaks.
The Omaha Symphony is a non-profit organization that presents more than 100 live orchestral performances from September through June. In addition to Masterworks, Symphony Pops, Symphony Rocks, Movies, Symphony Joslyn, and Family series concerts, the Omaha Symphony’s nationally recognized education and community engagement programs touch the lives of more than 40,000 people each year. For tickets or information regarding the Omaha Symphony, call 402-345-0606 or visit omahasymphony.org. Programs, artists, dates, times, prices, and availability are subject to change.