Mostly Mozart Festival
August 2012 Culture Spot
by Annie Bergen, 08/01/2012
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Sometimes the perfect antidote to the hot, languid days of summer in the City is an evening soaking up fine classical music performed within the cool confines of Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall. The Mostly Mozart Festival has been serving this summertime need for 46 years, becoming a local institution as anticipated and welcome as half-day Fridays at the office. NYC & Company has named the festival, running through August 25, its Culture Spot this month, offering visitors and locals the chance to buy one full-price ticket to any Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra performance and get a second ticket at 50% off.
As its name implies, the festival emphasizes the works of Wolfgang Amadeus, but also features compositions by those who have been inspired or influenced by him. This year, the focus is on composer Franz Schubert, with performances ranging from his dramatic Tragic Symphony to more soulful solo piano pieces. Louis Langrée returns for his 10th season as music director and will conduct nine concerts with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, which once again eschews formality by playing on a special stage that extends 30 feet into the audience.
Mostly Mozart is known for introducing audiences to rising stars in the classical music world, and this year is no exception. Yannick Nézet-Séguin, one of the most sought-after conductors today, will lead the festival orchestra in Joseph Haydn's seldom-performed Nelson Mass on August 3 and 4. The technical wizardry of Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki will be revealed as she conducts Ludwig van Beethoven's Emperor Concerto, with piano soloist Garrick Ohlsson, on August 7 and 8. Pianist Rudolf Buchbinder is featured on August 14 and 15; Andrew Manze conducts Mozart's exuberant Jupiter Symphony on August 21 and 22; and maestro Langrée closes the festival with Beethoven's rarely heard Mass in C Major and a performance by soloist Martin Fröst of Mozart's beloved Clarinet Concerto on August 24 and 25.
Audiences can also expect a stunning performance of Johannes Brahms' Violin Concerto from Joshua Bell, one of the more familiar virtuosos returning to the festival this year on August 17 and 18. Choreographer Mark Morris is also back, making his Mostly Mozart conducting debut with his ensemble the Mark Morris Dance Group in performances of Dido and Aeneas featuring mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe August 22 through 25.
In tribute to Mozart's own love of birdsong (he kept a pet starling that learned a melody from one of his concerti), the festival is offering bird-watching tours in Central Park and presenting several bird-themed concerts, including performances of Olivier Messiaen's Le Merle Noir and John Cage's Telephones and Birds. In addition, late-night concerts in the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse offer hour-long recitals with a nightclub feel and romantic views of the City skyline.
The savings on admission is valid August 1–25, 2012. To take advantage of this limited-time offer, present the discount coupon at the Avery Fisher Hall box office. Download the coupon via the link above; the coupon will also be available through August 25 at the Official NYC Information Centers in Midtown, Harlem and the Times Square Alliance and at the Official NYC Information Kiosks in Chinatown and at City Hall. The savings is subject to availability and may not be combined with any other offer, discount or promotion. Other restrictions may apply.
For even more highlights of the Mostly Mozart Festival, listen to the Culture Spot podcast. We talked with artistic director Jane Moss and music director Louis Langrée. Listen below, or download the MP3 here (by right-clicking the link and selecting "Save Link As…").