Sunday, August 18th at 19p.m., Dzintari Concert Hall
Russian National Orchestra and Mikhail Pletnev
Mischa Maisky, cello
Three legends will meet in concert at the Dzintari Concert Hall - the Riga-born cellist known as the best in the world Mischa Maisky, the most visible pianist and conductor of our era, Mikhail Pletnev, and the leading Russian National Orchestra. The RNO, which was included in 2008 by British magazine Gramophone in its list of the world’s 20 greatest orchestras, embodies the greatest Russian classical music traditions. The orchestra’s Artistic Director since its founding, Mikhail Pletnev, sees the joy of meeting in music as the most important aspect of collaboration, while cellist Maisky never allows his performances to become routine. Passion, impulsiveness and charisma - the key words for this meeting of legends!
Georges BIZET Suite from L’Arlésienne / arr. M.Pletnev /
Camille SAINT-SAËNS Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, op. 33
Sergei PROKOFIEV Romeo and Juliet, extracts from Suites No. 1 and 2 / arr. M. Pletnev /
The Russian National Orchestra (RNO) was founded in 1990 by pianist and conductor Mikhail Pletnev. “The Russian National Orchestra began as a courageous demonstration of artistic freedom during the Soviet regime. Now, over a quarter century later, it is recognized as one of the world’s top orchestras. From the orchestra’s inception, Founder and Music Director Mikhail Pletnev and his musicians have built something inspirational: an artistically and financially independent institution with the courage and will to remain true to itself in the face of all obstacles. It is the only orchestra in Russia’s history to exist outside government control.
The RNO has been one of Russia’s leading ambassadors of good will, representing ideals of artistic excellence and innovation, organizational and financial integrity, and a commitment to tolerance and understanding. Individuals, foundations and corporations alike have discovered what it means to support an orchestra of this caliber, and to cross the cultural bridge that these artists have built over borders and oceans.” Thus the orchestra describes its mission and vision.
The significance of the orchestra and Pletnev to Russian culture is shown by the fact that it was the first independent orchestra to receive Russian state financing. In 2009, its was awarded the status of State Orchestra.
The orchestra regularly performs in the world’s major concert halls and festivals, including the Edinburgh, Schleswig-Holstein, Gstaad, the BBC Proms and Napa Valley Festivals. Since 2009, it has organised its own festival every September to open the concert season in Moscow, which has become a favourite with Moscow audiences.
Conductor Mikhail Pletnev (1958) is considered one of the most unusual musicians of the current era, because he has been equally successful as a pianist, conductor and composer.
He was born in Arkhangelsk to a musical family, and began his studies at the Kazan State Conservatory music school before transferring to the Central Music School of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory. At the Moscow Conservatory he studied under Yakov Flier and Lev Vlassenko. In 1978, he won 1st place and a Gold medal at the 6th International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition. Immediately after that, he began an intensive international concert schedule – both solo concerts and performances with world-class orchestras. Pletnev has played with the Berlin, London, Munich, Israel and Czech Philharmonic Orchestras, the San FranCisco, Pittsburgh and Berlin Symphony Orchestras, the Orchestre National de France and many others. He has performed with such conducting legends as Claudio Abbado, Carlo Maria Giulini, Bernard Haitink, Neeme Järvi, Riccardo Chailly, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Leonard Slatkin and many others.
Both the audience and his colleagues are always excited by his perfect technique, fine sense of style and the freshness of his interpretation. “Pletnev performs each composition as his own. His interpretations are staggering. It is unlikely that any other pianist can do the same” (BBC Music Magazine).
His 1988 invitation to perform at the superpower conference in Washington D.C. led to him befriending Mikhail Gorbachev. In 1990 Pletnev founded Russia’s first-ever independent orchestra. Despite Gorbachev’s support, this was a risky step. It was Pletnev’s reputation and passion which allowed this long-held dream to succeed. Supporting his vision of the future performing arts model, he founded the Russian National Orchestra which united many of Russia’s best musicians. Under Pletnev’s leadership, the orchestra has gained worldwide fame and a leading reputation. Pletnev calls the Russian National Orchestra his greatest source of joy, and he is still its Artistic Director and Principal Conductor.
Cellist Mischa Maisky (1948) was born in Riga, and it was here that he began studying the cello at the Emīls Dārziņš Music School. At the Moscow Conservatory, he studied with Mstislav Rostropovich and Gregor Piatigorsky. Rostropovich once said the following wonderful parting words of his student: “… one of the most outstanding talents of the younger generation of cellists. His playing combines poetry and exquisite delicacy with great temperament and brilliant technique.”
A year ago, he celebrated his 70th birthday, and Maisky himself says: “My advice is to always keep the fire going, to keep the passion. Playing music should never become a routine, a job. Whatever you do in life, doing it with love makes the difference in the end.” After emigrating to Israel in 1973, Maisky’s career has lead him to London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, New York, Tokyo and countless other significant centres of musical life.
He considers himself a citizen of the world: “I’m playing an Italian cello, with French and German bows, Austrian and German strings, my daughter was born in France, my oldest son in Belgium, the middle one in Italy and the youngest one in Switzerland, I’m driving a Japanese car, wear a Swiss watch, an Indian necklace and I feel at home everywhere where people appreciate and enjoy classical music.”
With concerts taking place in the historic cities of Riga and Jurmala, the Riga Jurmala Music Festival features four weekends throughout the summer. A leading international orchestra and conductor anchor each weekend, offering a range of symphonic concerts and recitals that feature leading stars and young up-and-coming talent.
More information: www.riga-jurmala.com