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Soloist: Christian Li, violin
TCHAIKOVSKY: Violin Concerto
MAHLER: Symphony No. 9
Following a programme dedicated to the anniversary of Programme Ars and dominated by works by Slovenian composers, we rediscover the beauty of some of the most popular works of European orchestral music from its golden age – the Romantic era.
The life and work of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky were strongly influenced by his thirteen-year friendship (1877–1890) with the wealthy landowner and benefactor Nadezhda von Meck. As well as providing the composer with friendship, she also supported him materially, which enabled him to devote himself entirely to music. In 1878, Tchaikovsky created some of his most original works, which continue to be immensely popular today: the opera Eugene Onegin, the Fourth Symphony and his only Violin Concerto, which still occupies an esteemed place in the violin repertoire. On this occasion, the concerto’s solo part will be interpreted by the young Australian virtuoso of Chinese descent, Christian Li, who was born in 2007. At just ten years of age, Li became the youngest winner in the history of the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists. He also became the youngest musician ever to be signed by the record label Decca Classics when he released his first single in 2020 at the age of twelve. Christian Li studies at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne.
The Ninth Symphony is the last completed symphony in the oeuvre of Gustav Mahler, the great symphonist and conductor of late Romanticism. He created it two years before his death, shortly after his daughter passed away and after the onset of his fatal illness, at a time when he was increasingly consumed by the idea of transience. Some observers interpret Mahler’s Ninth Symphony as the composer’s conscious farewell to life, although the last two years of his life were marked by extraordinary creativity and numerous successes. Whatever the case may be, the Ninth Symphony is certainly one of the most multifaceted, colourful and substantial works in the symphonic repertoire, which still today provides orchestras and conductors with an opportunity to show off their performance skills. Our orchestra will be guided through the challenges of the Tchaikovsky concerto and the great Mahler symphony by the superb Bulgarian oboist and conductor Rossen Milanov, in his fifth season as our chief conductor.