KEVIN SCOTT Fanfare G.A.F.: An American Overture
LEONARD BERNSTEIN Chichester Psalms for Chorus & Orchestra
JOHANNES BRAHMS Concerto in D Major for Violin & Orchestra, Op. 77
The Grand Finale of the 2022-23 season promises virtuosity, splendor, and gorgeous music making. The masterful violinist Gil Shaham’s performance of the Brahms Violin Concerto promises to be a musical thrill ride; technically challenging with all the musical poetry intact. The Phoenix Symphony Chorus and the young musical phenom from Harvard, countertenor Benjamin Wenzelberg, join the orchestra for Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, a wondrous meditation on a collection of Psalms with text in the original Hebrew—“tonal and tuneful” in Bernstein’s phrase. Fanfare G.A.F.: An American Overture by composer Kevin Scott, a native New Yorker whose works have been performed by the Atlanta, Houston, and St. Louis Symphonies is also featured.
Come and experience The Phoenix Symphony’s new Preludes series! Preludes will take place prior to select performances with activities that will be sure to delight the whole family! From free dance lessons to magic shows, mind-boggling trivia to exciting guest performances, we are committed to meaningful connections and a welcoming, festive environment for all.
Grand Finale Preludes
SYMPHONY HALL LOBBY
Fri., May 12, 6:30 PM
Sat. May 13, 1:00 PM
Sat. May 13, 6:30 PM
Join us in the Lobby for festive activities, as we end the 22/23 Season with an unforgettable finale.
About Gil Shaham
Gil Shaham is one of the foremost violinists of our time; his flawless technique combined with his inimitable warmth and generosity of spirit has solidified his renown as an American master. The Grammy Award-winner, also named Musical America’s “Instrumentalist of the Year,” is sought after throughout the world for concerto appearances with leading orchestras and conductors, and regularly gives recitals and appears with ensembles on the world’s great concert stages and at the most prestigious festivals.
Highlights of recent years include the acclaimed recording and performances of J.S. Bach’s complete sonatas and partitas for solo violin. In the coming seasons in addition to championing these solo works he will join his long time duo partner pianist, Akira Eguchi in recitals throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.
Appearances with orchestra regularly include the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, and San Francisco Symphony as well as multi-year residencies with the Orchestras of Montreal, Stuttgart and Singapore. With orchestra, Mr. Shaham continues his exploration of “Violin Concertos of the 1930s,” including the works of Barber, Bartok, Berg, Korngold, Prokofiev, among many others.
Mr. Shaham has more than two dozen concerto and solo CDs to his name, earning multiple Grammys, a Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d’Or, and Gramophone Editor’s Choice. Many of these recordings appear on Canary Classics, the label he founded in 2004. His CDs include 1930s Violin Concertos, Virtuoso Violin Works, Elgar’s Violin Concerto, Hebrew Melodies, The Butterfly Lovers and many more. His most recent recording in the series 1930s Violin Concertos Vol. 2, including Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto and Bartok’s Violin Concerto No. 2, was nominated for a Grammy Award. His latest recording of Beethoven and Brahms Concertos with The Knights was released in 2021.
Mr. Shaham was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in 1971. He moved with his parents to Israel, where he began violin studies with Samuel Bernstein of the Rubin Academy of Music at the age of 7, receiving annual scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. In 1981, he made debuts with the Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Philharmonic, and the following year, took the first prize in Israel’s Claremont Competition. He then became a scholarship student at Juilliard, and also studied at Columbia University.
Gil Shaham was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990, and in 2008 he received the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. In 2012, he was named “Instrumentalist of the Year” by Musical America. He plays the 1699 “Countess Polignac” Stradivarius, and lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, and their three children.
About Benjamin Wenzelberg
Benjamin Perry Wenzelberg is a symphonic and operatic conductor, composer, countertenor, and pianist (solo and collaborative, including continuo) based between Amsterdam and New York. He has Guest Conducted the Tonkünstler-Orchester (Austria) and the Boston Pops (Symphony Hall, MA), conducted in public international masterclasses with such conductors as Marin Alsop and Jaap van Zweden, and attended the Gstaad Menuhin Festival Conducting Academy (Switzerland), the Grafenegg Festival INK STILL WET Composer-Conductor Program (Austria), Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme in Orchestral Conducting (UK), and the Tanglewood Music Center Conducting Seminar (USA). In March 2022, he conducted the World Premiere of his newly-composed opera (music and libretto), NIGHTTOWN, with Lowell House Opera, who commissioned the work; the piece was critically acclaimed by the Boston Globe and Schmopera, who wrote, “It is almost infuriating that something could be so good.” Also an accomplished countertenor, Wenzelberg is a 2021 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Boston District Winner and attended the 2021 Houston Grand Opera Young Artists Vocal Academy, and he has performed in opera roles and as a concert soloist with/at the New York Philharmonic, New York City Opera, Atlanta Opera, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Dawn Upshaw and Gil Kalish, the Columbus Symphony, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Shakespeare in the Park, NPR’s From the Top, the National YoungArts Foundation, Carnegie Hall, and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Wenzelberg’s 2022-2023 season includes guest conducting with the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague (Mozart’s Così fan tutte), the Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest, and the Conservatorium van Amsterdam (Janáček’s Wandering of a Little Soul), and assistant conducting with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, the Dutch National Opera Academy, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, Belgian National Orchestra, and Phion, as a member of the prestigious National Master’s of Orchestral Conducting in The Netherlands. He will also sing as the countertenor soloist in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Phoenix Symphony (Conductor: Tito Muñoz). He previously Music Directed Lowell House Opera (2022), Harvard College Opera (2018-2021), and the Mozart Society Orchestra (2017-2021), and while a student at Harvard, performed as a vocal soloist with the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra, the Harvard University Choir, the Harvard Glee Club, the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra and the Harvard Choruses, and Harvard College Opera. In 2019, he performed as a collaborative pianist for German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Harvard Honorary Degrees Dinner, and he has served as a continuo player, répétiteur, Chorus Master, and coach with Lowell House Opera (2017-2021).
Awards and acknowledgements include: Winner of the Leonard Bernstein Memorial Conducting Competition (Boston Pops), 1st Prize at the INK STILL WET Composer-Conductor Competition, various ASCAP composition Awards and Scholarships, BMI Student Composer Award, Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts (Office for the Arts at Harvard), Artist Development Fellowship (Office for the Arts at Harvard), Thomas T. Hoopes Prize for Excellent Undergraduate Work (Harvard University), Captain Jonathan Fay Prize for Most Outstanding and Imaginative Work (Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard), Robert J. Kiely Prize for Most Outstanding Junior Essay (Harvard University Department of English), National Merit Scholarship, and selection for the New York Magazine Approval Matrix (“brilliant/highbrow” quadrant). Wenzelberg won an ASCAP Award for the original libretto and music of his first opera, The Sleeping Beauty, a new opera for family audiences, which premiered to sold-out audiences in NY and NJ with a cast that featured several Metropolitan Opera singers. Previous composition commissions and performances include by/at the Vienna Musikverein (Austria), the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra during Beethoven 250th birthday concerts (Japan), the Rochester Philharmonic, Orchestra 2001 (Philadelphia), and Carnegie Hall (NY). Film/recording credits include: performing the role of Charlie Bucket in Peter Ash’s The Golden Ticket (based on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), commercially recorded during live performances with Atlanta Opera; singing with tenor group Forte on their debut record; being the singing voice of the lead character in the film (including soundtrack) Hear My Song (formerly Boychoir); and appearing numerous times on Sesame Street.
Wenzelberg is a former child soloist and chorister with the Metropolitan Opera, an alumnus of Juilliard Pre-College and Harvard University (magna cum laude with Highest Honors, Phi Beta Kappa, John Harvard Scholar), and a US Presidential Scholar in the Arts. He is fluent in Spanish and proficient in German, with working knowledge of French and Italian. He has working knowledge of violin/viola and harpsichord. He is a proud AGMA, SAG/AFTRA, and ASCAP member. Beyond his artistic activities, Wenzelberg loves studying languages, traveling, cooking, swimming, the music of Taylor Swift, sprinkles, and any meal in bowl form.
Note: Programs, dates, times, and prices are subject to change.