Conducts Ades, w/Boston Symphony Orchestra
Thomas Ades: Bio
Thomas Adès was born in London in 1971. Renowned as both composer and performer, he works regularly with the world's leading orchestras, opera companies and festivals.
His compositions include three operas : the most recent of which The Exterminating Angel premiered at the 2016 Salzburg Festival and subsequently has been performed at the Metropolitan Opera, New York and the Royal Opera House, London all conducted by the composer; The Tempest (Royal Opera House and Metropolitan Opera); and Powder Her Face. His orchestral works include Asyla (CBSO, 1997), Tevot (Berlin Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall, 2007), Polaris (New World Symphony, Miami 2011), Violin Concerto Concentric Paths (Berliner Festspiele and the BBC Proms, 2005), In Seven Days (Piano concerto with moving image - LA Philharmonic and RFH London 2008), Totentanz for mezzo-soprano, baritone, and orchestra (BBC Proms, 2013), and Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (Boston Symphony Orchestra, 2019). His compositions also include numerous celebrated chamber and solo works.
Thomas Adès has been an Artistic Partner of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 2016 and will conduct the orchestra in Boston and at Tanglewood, perform chamber music with the orchestra players, and lead the summer Festival of Contemporary Music. He coaches Piano and Chamber Music annually at the International Musicians Seminar, Prussia Cove.
As a conductor, Thomas appears regularly with the Los Angeles, San Francisco and London Philharmonic orchestras, the Boston, London, BBC and City of Birmingham, Symphony orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouworkest, Leipzig Gewandhaus and the Czech Philharmonic. In opera, in addition to The Exterminating Angel, he has conducted The Rake's Progress at the Royal Opera House and the Zürich Opera, The Tempest at the Metropolitan Opera and Vienna State Opera, and Gerald Barry's latest opera Alice's Adventures Under Ground in Los Angeles (world premiere) and in London (European premiere). In the 2019-20 season Thomas has a residency with the Royal Concertgebouworkest and also conducts the London and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestras and makes his debut with Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. In the USA, he returns to the Los Angeles and Boston Symphony Orchestras. Thomas also returns to the Royal Opera House twice this season, to conduct Barry's Alice's Adventures Under Ground and the premiere of his new ballet The Dante Project.
His piano engagements include solo recitals at Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium), New York and the Wigmore Hall in London, and concerto appearances with the New York Philharmonic. This season will see the release of his album of solo piano music by Janacek and he will also join Simon Keenlyside in a recital of Schubert's Winterreise at the Vienna State Opera.
His many awards include the Grawemeyer Award for Asyla (1999); Royal Philharmonic Society large-scale composition awards for Asyla, The Tempest and Tevot; and Ernst von Siemens Composers' prize for Arcadiana; British Composer Award for The Four Quarters. His CD recording of The Tempest from the Royal Opera House (EMI) won the Contemporary category of the 2010 Gramophone Awards; his DVD of the production from the Metropolitan Opera was awarded the Diapason d'Or de l'année (2013), Best Opera recording (2014 Grammy Awards) and Music DVD Recording of the Year (2014 ECHO Klassik Awards); and The Exterminating Angel won the World Premiere of the Year at the International Opera Awards (2017). In 2015 he was awarded the prestigious Léonie Sonning Music Prize and in Spring 2020 he will receive the Toru Takemitsu composition award at Tokyo Opera City where he will conduct a concert of his own music.
In March 2019, Thomas Adès conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Kirill Gerstein in the world premiere of his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, and it was subsequently named one of the Best Premieres in the New York Times' Best Classical Music of 2019. On this new album from DG, the live recording of the concerto is paired with Adès' "wonderfully compelling" (The Guardian) Totentanz, featuring baritone Mark Stone and mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn.
How can it be possible that we're only halfway through the year? On its relentless whiplash toward the middle, the first six months of 2020 have reframed, redefined, shocked, torn down, confounded and crumbled our expectations, our priorities, our concepts of distance and closeness, of responsibility, of tragedy, of joy. They changed how we listened to music, too: so often alone, through wires and screens and glitches and delays. But in six full months packed with moments where we needed music to cope with challenges new and old, there was so much to see us through. These artists had their lives upended as well – it's amazing to look back on this six months of music and realize they made nearly all of it before the year even began. They'll give us so much more in the months to come, no doubt, as reckoning continues to rise to the surface of their songs. (Oh yeah, there's also a Beyoncé visual album on the way.)
Below, you'll find more than two dozen records from 2020's first six months that are worth holding onto for the next six, and beyond. We didn't vote on them. Each is the favorite of one member of the NPR Music team. You can find our favorite songs of the first half of 2020 here.
With a wink to heart-on-sleeve Romantic piano concertos by Rachmaninov, British composer-conductor Thomas Adès unleashes perhaps the most pleasing concerto written yet this century. A jolt of sheer joie de vivre, the piece features flamboyant orchestration (a duet for xylophone and piccolo?), sizzling passages deftly navigated by pianist Kirill Gerstein and a central slow movement that pushes yearning to new emotional levels. Adès Conducts Adès dropped in February and I listened to its concerto nonstop, until the pandemic hit hard. Then I turned to the grim and masterful Totentanz (Dance of the Dead). Adès was inspired by a 15th-century frieze depicting the figure of death waltzing with representatives of each rung of society, from Pope to peasant and finally an infant. Baritone Mark Stone sings the role of death with self-assured devilry, while mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn sensitively interprets his impotent victims. In orchestration that is massive, beautiful and frightening, Adès's music singularly underscores the inevitability of death in deadly times. -Tom Huizenga
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The English composer Thomas Adès is certainly one of the most performed of contemporary composers due to his early advocacy by Simon Rattle and EMI. He is also a ‘compleat' musician in that he is not only a fine composer, he is also an excellent pianist and conductor. This new disc featuring the recent Piano Concerto (2018) with its dedicatee, Kirill Gerstein, is recorded live with the Boston Symphony at its world premiere.
Throughout the orchestra must be applauded for the commitment to the pieces here – veering from the mastery of Adès' modern idiom to regular examples of great beauty in both. Gerstein proves to be the ideal soloist in this often complex work yet complexities aside, as in his violin concerto "Concentric Paths", Adès shows just why he is so regularly programmed and recorded. The work is a wide ranging and excitement ride over various meters, tempi and styles, starting with George Gershwin.
In his first disc for the Yellow label, Thomas Adès has delivered a great one.
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