Featuring a years-in-the making return to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with soloists Heidi Stober, Daniela Mack, William Burden, and Eric Owens.
BOSTON, MA—Boston Baroque opens its season with a return to Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No. 9 alongside his “Coriolan” Overture and “Elegiac Song.” Performances will take place on Friday, October 13 at 8pm at Sanders Theatre in Cambridge, Saturday, October 14 at 8pm at GBH’s Calderwood Studio in Brighton, and Sunday, October 15 at 3pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall in Boston. The Saturday evening performance will also be livestreamed on the global streaming platform IDAGIO, welcoming virtual audiences around the world alongside live studio audiences on site.
“When we first performed Beethoven’s Ninth, it was one of the major milestones that showed how far period-instrument performance in America had come,” says Founding Music Director Martin Pearlman. “It’s wonderful to return to this colossal work now to launch Boston Baroque’s second half-century.”
Boston Baroque, North America’s first permanent baroque orchestra, will perform the beloved symphony on period instruments. Last heard on the Boston Baroque stage in 2013—only one other time in its 50-year history—Beethoven’s final symphony is rarely performed on period instruments in modern times. These performances give audiences the unique opportunity to hear Beethoven’s music as it was performed in his lifetime.
Four Metropolitan opera stars will grace the Boston Baroque stage as soloists, including soprano Heidi Stober, mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack, tenor William Burden, and bass Eric Owens in his company debut. Boston Baroque’s renowned chorus and orchestra will bring the program to life under the baton of Founding Music Director Martin Pearlman.
Best known for its l “Ode to Joy” movement, Beethoven’s final symphony was written years after his first eight and in the final years of his life. Since its premiere in 1824, with Beethoven conducting even as he had become fully deaf at that point, the work has been applauded for its unprecedented nature. From the first movement that places the listener into an imperceptible stream of sound, to the final movement’s first inclusion of the human voice and a dramatic narrative in a symphony, the Symphony No. 9 has become one of the most iconic musical works in the Western repertoire.
The program will begin with two other works by Beethoven—the “Coriolan” Overture and “Elegiac Song.” Inspired by Heinrich von Collin’s play Coriolan—which in turn was based on one of Shakespeare’s less frequently performed tragedies, Coriolanus—the all-orchestral “Coriolan” overture was performed at the palace of Beethoven’s patron Prince Lobkowicz in 1807 before a production of von Collin’s play. The music takes the listener on the tragic journey of the Roman General Coriolanus, who rebelled against Rome and was ultimately killed.
Beethoven’s “Elegiac Song” is also a rarely-heard gem from an interesting period of Beethoven’s life. Composed in-between what is known as Beethoven’s “heroic” period but before his final years, the work reflects Beethoven’s sense of searching for a new musical language. Performed with chorus and orchestra, this solemn song hints at the more abstract, introspective style of his later years.
Audiences near and far will have the opportunity to enjoy this musical rarity as we welcome virtual audiences around the world via livestream on IDAGIO Concerts at Saturday’s 8pm performance. Livestream director Matthew Principe will take the helm again, in partnership with GBH’s Production Group, bringing a sumptuous concert experience online with the carefully crafted camera angles and dynamic lighting. Through the streaming partnership with IDAGIO, Boston Baroque performances have been streamed on 6 continents across 55 countries.
Both in-person and livestream tickets are available for purchase online at baroque.boston or by calling the Box Office at (617) 987-8600. Livestream tickets begin at $9, and in-person tickets range from $25-$125. The virtual performance will become available to stream on-demand 30 days after the live air date, with on-demand rentals beginning at $9.
ABOUT BOSTON BAROQUE
The six-time GRAMMY®-nominated Boston Baroque is the first permanent Baroque orchestra established in North America and, according to Fanfare Magazine, is widely regarded as “one of the world’s premier period instrument bands.” The ensemble produces lively, emotionally charged, groundbreaking performances of Baroque and Classical works for today’s audiences performed on instruments and using performance techniques that reflect the eras in which the music was composed.
Since 2020, Boston Baroque’s global reach has expanded to include audiences across 55 countries on six continents (North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Australia) through its partnership with IDAGIO, the world’s leading classical music streaming service. Its 2021-2022 Season was the first full season by a Baroque orchestra to stream on the platform.
Founded in 1973 as “Banchetto Musicale” by Music Director Martin Pearlman, Boston Baroque’s orchestra is composed of some of the finest period instrument players in the United States, and is frequently joined by the ensemble’s professional chorus and by world-class instrumental and vocal soloists from around the globe. The ensemble has performed at major music centers across the United States and performed recently in Poland for the 2015 Beethoven Festival, with sold-out performances of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 in Warsaw and Handel’s Messiah in Katowice.
Boston Baroque’s twenty-six acclaimed recordings have received six GRAMMY® Award Nominations: its 1992 release of Handel’s Messiah, 1998 release of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, 2000 release of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, 2015 release of Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, and 2018 release of Biber’s The Mystery Sonatas.
ABOUT FOUNDING MUSIC DIRECTOR MARTIN PEARLMAN
Boston Baroque founder, music director, and conductor Martin Pearlman is one of this country’s leading interpreters of Baroque and Classical music on period and modern instruments. In addition to Boston Baroque’s annual concert season, Mr. Pearlman tours in the United States and Europe and has produced twenty-six major recordings for Telarc and Linn Records. Mr. Pearlman’s completion and orchestration of music from Mozart’s Lo Sposo Deluso, his performing version of Purcell’s Comical History of Don Quixote, and his new orchestration of Cimarosa’s Il Maestro di Cappella were all premiered by Boston Baroque.
Highlights of his work include the complete Monteverdi opera cycle, with his own new performing editions of L’incoronazione di Poppea and Il ritorno d’Ulisse; the American premiere of Rameau’s Zoroastre; the Boston premiere of Rameau’s Pigmalion; the New England premieres of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride and Alceste; and the Beethoven symphonies on period instruments. Mr. Pearlman is also known for his internationally acclaimed series of Handel operas including Agrippina, Alcina, Giulio Cesare, and Semele. He made his Kennedy Center debut with The Washington National Opera in Handel’s Semele and has guest conducted the National Arts Center Orchestra of Ottawa, Utah Opera, Opera Columbus, Boston Lyric Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony and the New World Symphony. Mr. Pearlman is the only conductor from the early music field to have performed live on the internationally televised GRAMMY® Awards show.
Mr. Pearlman grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, where he received training in composition, violin, piano, and theory. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University, where he studied composition with Karel Husa and Robert Palmer. In 1967–1968, he studied harpsichord in Amsterdam with Gustav Leonhardt on a Fulbright Grant, and in 1971 he received his Master of Music in composition from Yale University, studying composition with Yehudi Wyner and harpsichord with Ralph Kirkpatrick. After moving to Boston, he performed widely as a solo harpsichordist in the U. S. and Europe, and in 1973 he founded the first American period-instrument orchestra, Banchetto Musicale, now called Boston Baroque. He also served as Professor of Music in the Historical Performance department at Boston University’s School of Music.
Recent compositions by Martin Pearlman include a string quartet, piano works, a comic chamber opera The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, a three-act work on Finnegans Wake, as well as The Creation According to Orpheus, for solo piano, harp, percussion and string orchestra. He has also composed music for three plays of Samuel Beckett, commissioned by and premiered at New York’s 92nd Street Y and performed at Harvard University.