For the first time in five years, L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande returns to the United Kingdom. This three-concert tour, which will take in Birmingham, Manchester and London, marks the first occasion on which Neeme Järvi will lead the Orchestra in Britain since taking up the role of Artistic and Music Director of the Suisse Romande in September 2012.
It was in 2008 that the Geneva-based Orchestra last visited Britain, under its previous Music Director, Marek Janowski. This 2013 tour will enable the ensemble to showcase the style which it has acquired under Järvi’s visionary approach to directing, his musical flair and a wide-ranging repertoire.
L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande was founded in 1918 by legendary conductor, Ernest Ansermet, during a collaboration with Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Initially comprising 62 musicians who were engaged for six months each year, the Orchestra performed mainly in Geneva and Lausanne, as well as in other centres in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.
Ansermet went on to direct the OSR for 50 years, and throughout its history, the Orchestra has enjoyed an enviable reputation both for the vast legacy of recordings which it has created and for its interpretation of French and Russian music in particular. It has also been associated with the promotion of contemporary music, having premiered works by Benjamin Britten, Claude Debussy, Arthur Honegger, Frank Martin, Darius Milhaud and Igor Stravinsky, and more recently works by William Blank, Michael Jarrell, Heinz Holliger and Peter Eötvös.
There are now 113 full-time members of the OSR, which has its home at Victoria Hall in Geneva, and also tours extensively around the world. Traditionally it has also performed in opera at the Grand Théâtre of Geneva, and undertakes an entire programme for young audiences.
A note of interest, particularly for British audiences, is the fact that Victoria Hall was built between 1891 and 1894 as a tribute to Queen Victoria. Owned by the City of Geneva, the Hall was renovated in 2006, and is renowned throughout the whole world for the high standard of its acoustics.
On this 2013 three-day tour to the United Kingdom, Neeme Järvi will lead the OSR in a programme which features Arvo Pärt’s Silhouette – a tribute to Gustave Eiffel – Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 6, and the Grieg Piano Concerto, with celebrated Russian virtuoso, Boris Berezovsky as soloist.
Estonian conductor, Neeme Järvi, has appeared with many of the world’s most prominent orchestras. He is Chief Conductor Emeritus of the Residentie Orkest in The Hague, Conductor Laureate and Artistic Advisor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Music Director Emeritus of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Principal Conductor Emeritus of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, First Principal Guest Conductor of the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Conductor Laureate of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and Music Director of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra. He also has a distinguished operatic and recording repertoire.
Maestro Järvi is delighted to be appearing in Britain. “To conduct the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in the UK for the first time in 5 years is tremendously exciting and a great privilege,” he says. “The orchestra has had such a strong connection with the UK since its first tour in 1949, and its audiences and critics remain among the most discerning in the world. I look forward to our concerts there immensely and invite audiences to celebrate with us through music.”
Boris Berezovsky started piano lessons at the age of five, receiving private tutoring from Alexander Satz before attending the Moscow Conservatory, to study under Elisso Virsaladze. He was 18 when he made his London debut, at the Wigmore Hall, and two years later he won first prize in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. His international career now includes performances in the major centres of Europe, Japan and America, and orchestras with which he has appeared include the New York Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic. He has a particular affinity for the Romantic and Russian repertoire, and in 1995 he organised a festival of Medtner’s music in Moscow, Medtner being a composer whom Berezovsky has promoted since his student days. Boris Berezovsky also appears in chamber concerts with violinist Vadim Repin.
L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, conducted by Neeme Järvi, with soloist Boris Berezovsky, will appear at:
Birmingham Symphony Hall on May 21st
The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on May 22nd
The Royal Festival Hall in London on May 24th