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Segerstrom and Otaka Step in for MSO

media release

Huw Humphreys, MSO’s Director of Artistic Planning today announced conducting replacements for Oleg Caetani’s scheduled concerts in November and December 2009. By mutual agreement, Maestro Caetani recently stepped down as the MSO’s Chief Conductor and Artistic Director. Finnish conductor Leif Segerstam and the MSO’s incoming Principal Guest Conductor Tadaaki Otaka are to take up the baton in Novem
Segerstrom and Otaka Step in for MSO
MEDIA RELEASE COURTESY OF: MSO Huw Humphreys, MSO’s Director of Artistic Planning today announced conducting replacements for Oleg Caetani’s scheduled concerts in November and December 2009. By mutual agreement, Maestro Caetani recently stepped down as the MSO’s Chief Conductor and Artistic Director. Huw Humphreys said “We’re delighted to welcome two world-renowned conductors, the legendary Finnish conductor Leif Segerstam and the MSO’s incoming Principal Guest Conductor Tadaaki Otaka to take up the baton in November and December.” “I’m very pleased that these eminent conductors were able to find time in their hectic schedules to step in at short notice. I would like to thank both Maestri for rearranging their diaries to accommodate the MSO,” he said. In an artistic coup for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Mr Humphreys announced that Leif Segerstam will conduct the world premiere of his own work, Symphony No.190 UFO, Under F & Over replacing Webern’s Six Pieces for large orchestra in the concert program entitled REVOLUTIONS on 27, 28 and 30 November. Renowned around the world for the depth of his creativity, Leif Segerstam is considered one of the most interesting and versatile talents from the Nordic countries. He has written more than 200 symphonies, 29 string quartets, 11 violin and 4 piano concerti as well as chamber and vocal music. After 12 highly successful years as Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic, he was appointed its Chief Conductor Emeritus. Since 1997 Leif Segerstam has been Professor of Conducting at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Acclaimed pianist Stephen Kovacevich features as soloist in this concert, performing Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2. Voted number six in this year’s ABC Classic FM’s Classic 100 Symphony countdown, Beethoven’s mighty Fifth Symphony concludes this concert program. Leif Segerstam began his conducting career with positions in the opera houses of Helsinki, Stockholm and Berlin. Guest appearances have included the Metropolitan Opera New York, La Scala, Covent Garden, Teatro Colon, the Salzburg Festival and the Opera Houses of Cologne, Geneva, Hamburg and Munich. He is currently conducting Wagner’s Lohengrin at the Vienna State Opera. In addition, Maestro Segerstam holds honorary titles with the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz in Germany. He has also held the position of Chief Conductor of the Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Vienna and of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra as well as having been Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Royal Swedish Opera. In 1997, he made his North American debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago and Toronto Symphony Orchestras. He has conducted the MSO twice before, and toured to Melbourne with the Helsinki Philharmonic and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. The MSO’s incoming Principal Guest Conductor Tadaaki Otaka takes up the baton for three concerts entitled THE SLENDER THREAD on 3, 4 and 5 December at the Arts Centre, Hamer Hall. Brahms’ Song of Destiny for orchestra and chorus, and Wagner’s Wotan’s Farewell and Magic Fire Music from Die Walküre will replace Schubert’s Symphony No.8 Unfinished and Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw in this concert program. John Wegner will feature as soloist in the Wagner work. Following the success of his 2008 concerts with the Orchestra featuring TaikOz and the mezzosoprano Christianne Stotijn, the MSO was delighted to appoint Maestro Otaka as its Principal Guest Conductor from 2010 for period of three years. “Tadaaki Otaka’s concerts in 2010 were set to be major highlights of next season, where his repertoire includes Britten’s War Requiem, Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony and Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2”, Mr Humphreys said. “I’m thrilled that we will be welcoming Maestro Otaka to the MSO podium even earlier than expected,” he said. One of Japan’s most distinguished conductors, Maestro Tadaaki Otaka was a former assistant of Hiroyuki Iwaki at the NHK Symphony Orchestra. For 20 years Maestro Otaka was Permanent Conductor of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, becoming its Conductor Laureate in 1991. In 1987 he became Principal Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and subsequently its Conductor Laureate in 1996, a position he holds to this day. Maestro Otaka is Designate Artistic Director of the New National Theater Tokyo. A recipient of Japan’s prestigious Suntory Music Award, Maestro Otaka received the CBE in 1997, in recognition of his outstanding contribution over many years to British musical life, and in November 2000 was awarded the Elgar Medal by the Elgar Society to mark a compelling record of conducting the composer’s works overseas. Helden baritone John Wegner returns to Melbourne to perform Wagner’s Wotan’s Farewell from Die Walküre. The Wagner, plus Brahms’ Song of Destiny replace Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw in the scheduled programming. Much in demand around throughout Europe, Wegner’s impressive credits include five seasons at Bayreuth. Brahms’ glorious Second Symphony is a masterpiece of the symphonic form which has an ability to charm and delight audiences around the world. Under Tadaaki Otaka’s masterful baton,it concludes the MSO’s Master series for 2009.

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Source: media release submitted to Arts Hub

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