GRIEG’S PIANO CONCERTO

Conductor Alastair Willis takes the baton to lead the Boise Philharmonic Orchestra performing Grieg’s Piano Concerto with renowned Basque pianist Joaquín Achúcarro.

On January 27th and 28th, the Boise Philharmonic continues its year-long search process and welcomes the fourth of seven candidates competing to fill the position of Music Director. Grammy-nominated conductor Alastair Willis currently guest conducts orchestras around the world and will lead the Boise Philharmonic Orchestra in another powerful performance. Opening with Debussy’s Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun, followed by Grieg’s Piano Concerto featuring internationally renowned Basque pianist Joaquín Achúcarro, and concludes with Shostakovich’s powerful Symphony No.5.
In the past few seasons, conductor Alastair Willis has guest conducted orchestras around the world including the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and Silk Road Ensemble (with Yo-Yo Ma) among others. Willis is currently in his fourth season as Music Director for the Illinois Symphony Orchestra.

“Physically expressive, Willis challenged the orchestra, demanding — and getting — exceptionally focused attention to phrasing. Friday’s sound was anything but “as usual,” the texture less blended than mosaic, each line standing out clearly.” Ruth Bingham, Honolulu Advertiser

Pianist Joaquín Achúcarro was born in Bilbao and has been enjoying an uninterrupted international career. He has toured 61 countries performing in prestigious venues such as Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House, and many others. Achúcarro has been referred to as “one of the greats.” In his home country, Spain, he has achieved the two highest honors in the Arts: in 1992 the Spanish Government awarded him the Premio Nacional de Música, and in 1996 he was knighted by King Juan Carlos with the Gold Medal of Fine Arts.
Concerts begin at 8:00 pm on Friday, January 27 at NNU Brandt Center and Saturday, January 28 at the Morrison Center in Boise. Tickets prices start as low as $21 plus tax and fees. Call the Boise Philharmonic offices at 208-344-7849 or choose your seats online at boisephil.org.

Audience members can further enhance their musical knowledge and enjoyment of this performance by attending “Musically Speaking” at 7:00 pm before each concert. This lively, pre-concert conversation hosted by Jamey Lamar is designed to provide insight into the composers and works to be performed as well as their social and historical impact. Attendance is free to all concert ticket holders and is encouraged.

“Backstage with the Artist” provides another opportunity for music lovers to delve deeper into the music. Join the Boise Philharmonic Friday, January 27 at 12:00-1:00pm in the Philharmonic rehearsal Hall located at the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy for a stimulating conversation with the Music Director candidate, Boise Philharmonic musicians, and guest artist. Admission is free.
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Additional Information

About Alastair Willis
In the past few seasons, Grammy-nominated conductor Alastair Willis has guest conducted orchestras around the world including the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Mexico City Philharmonic, Orquestra Sinfonica de Rio de Janeiro, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonic, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, China National Orchestra (Beijing), and Silk Road Ensemble (with Yo-Yo Ma) among others. His recording of Ravel’s “L’Enfant et les Sortileges” with Nashville Symphony and Opera for Naxos was Grammy nominated for Best Classical Album in 2009.
Willis is currently in his fourth season as Music Director for the Illinois Symphony Orchestra. Last season he was re-engaged twice by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, Pacific Northwest Ballet, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and made his debut with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Sewanee Music Festival in TN.

“Under Willis’ sensitive and profoundly felt direction (of Shostakovich Symphony No.5), the orchestra’s playing brought out the nervous uncertainty, the fragmented structure, the sense of casting about to find any sort of meaning at all, only to succumb to a sighing despair, that was the first movement, along with the forced gaiety of the waltzing second movement, as happy, burbling dance melodies never quite seemed to match up with each other, like a reflection in a shattered mirror.” James Watts, World Scene Writer, Tulsa World

“Physically expressive, Willis challenged the orchestra, demanding — and getting — exceptionally focused attention to phrasing. Friday’s sound was anything but “as usual,” the texture less blended than mosaic, each line standing out clearly.” Ruth Bingham, Honolulu Advertiser

Previous positions include Principal Guest Conductor with the Florida Orchestra’s Coffee Concert series 2008-2011, Associate Conductor of the Seattle Symphony 2000-2003, Assistant Conductor with the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras, and Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Born in Acton, Massachusetts, Willis lived with his family in Moscow for five years before settling in Surrey, England. He received his bachelor’s degree with honors from England’s Bristol University, an Education degree from Kingston University, and a Masters of Music degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.
Willis currently resides in Seattle.

About Joaquín Achúcarro
In October 2015, the prestigious French Magazine Diapason selected one of Joaquín Achucarro’s recordings as one of “The Best 100 Piano Recordings of All Time” together with legends such as Rachmaninoff, Horowitz, Rubinstein, Gieseking, Cortot, Richter, Gould, Zimerman and Pollini.
Born in Bilbao, he won a number of international prizes in Spain, France, Italy and Switzerland during his student days, but it was his victory in England at the 1959 Liverpool International Competition (one year after Zubin Mehta had won it as conductor) and the rave reviews in the London papers after his debut with the London Symphony in the Royal Festival Hall that marked the beginning of his career.

Since then, Achucarro has been enjoying an uninterrupted international career. He has toured 61 countries performing in venues such as Avery Fisher Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw, Kennedy Center, Musikverein, Royal Albert Hall, Salle Gaveau, Salle Pleyel, Teatro alia Scala, Suntory Hall, Sydney Opera House, Teatro Colon and The Barbican, both in recital and as a soloist. He has performed with over 200 different orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, La Scala of Milan, London Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, Sta Cecilia di Roma, RTE Ireland, BBC Symphony, Philharmonia, Royal Scottish, City of Birmingham, Halle, National de France, Yomiuri, Tokyo Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony, RIAS Berlin, Tonkunstler Wien, Nacional de Chile, de Mexico, de Colombia, de Venezuela and, of course, every Spanish orchestra. He has played with an impressive list of more than 350 conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Sir Adrian Boult, Riccardo Chailly, Sir Colin Davis, Zubin Mehta, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Seiji Ozawa and Sir Simon Rattle.
He was named “Artist for Peace” in 2000 by UNESCO in Paris in recognition of “his extraordinary artistic achievement.” He is Accademico ad Honorem of the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy, and in his home country, Achucarro has received the highest honors in the arts: the Gold Medal of Fine Arts and The National Award for Music. In 2003, King Juan Carlos of Spain bestowed upon him the Great Cross of Civil Merit.

In 2007, The Joaquin Achucarro Foundation was created by a group of individuals and institutions from the Dallas community “to perpetuate his artistic and teaching legacy” and to help young pianists at the outset of their careers.

About the Music Director Search Process
The Boise Philharmonic’s year-long quest for new artistic leadership is spearheaded by the Music Director Search Committee. The Committee is composed of 6 musicians chosen by the orchestra from within its ranks, and 6 board members and other community leaders. Over 200 applications were received from conductors across the United States and from 22 countries around the world. The Committee carefully screened these applications, assessing the candidates’ credentials and how their expertise melded with the artistic vision of the Boise Philharmonic. This winnowing process eventually produced 16 semi-finalists, and after carefully checking references and interviewing each candidate, the seven finalists were chosen.
During every candidate’s week in Boise, they will be intensively interviewed and assessed by the orchestra, Philharmonic staff, members of the audience, and the Search Committee itself. As an audience member, you can offer your opinions via a printed ballot inserted in the program book, on the BPA website, or by using your smart phone to click on the QR Code linking directly to our online ballot.

We have seven amazing and gifted Music Director candidates. The choice between them will not be easy, but with everyone’s input, the Boise Philharmonic will welcome its new Music Director for the 2017-18 season!

About Boise Philharmonic
As one of the region’s premier arts organization, the Boise Philharmonic’s mission is to musically enrich, entertain and educate through community engagement and music performance of the highest level. The Boise Philharmonic performs for more than 50,000 people annually in concerts at the Morrison Center, Brandt Auditorium in Nampa, various schools, and smaller recital halls and venues. The 80 member professional orchestra performs 16 Classic Series and 6 Chamber Series concerts per season. For more information, visit boisephil.org.

Upcoming performances
January 21: Chamber 360° with BP Woodwind Quintet at St. Michael’s Episcopal Cathedral
February 11: Silent Movies with Orchestra, Deanna Tham, conductor and Ben Model, organ at the Egyptian Theater
February 17 & 18: Elgar Cello Concerto with Andres Franco, conductor and Edgar Moreau, cello
February 25: Chamber 360° with Boise Philharmonic Master Chorale at First Presbyterian Church

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