From Bill's Desk

A Pair of March Musical Highlights

This season, McCarter has been highlighting some of Cuba’s outstanding performing artists in various genres, starting with the Malpaso Dance Company and the jazz pianist Alfredo Rodriguez this past fall. But there is classical music in Cuba as well, most notably the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, which comes to Richardson Auditorium on Sunday, March 25th. I had an opportunity to hear them when I was in Havana two years ago, and decided that music from Cuba other than jazz should also be represented in our survey of the island’s performing arts. Bringing the orchestra to the United States has not been an easy process, so it is my hope that we can be especially welcoming to these musical ambassadors in such difficult times.  Their program should be familiar to concertgoers since it has three familiar works, including Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. But the real highlight is piano soloist, Yekwon Sunwoo, another of the virtuoso keyboard exports from South Korea, who will play the Grieg Piano Concerto.  Sunwoo studied at Curtis, Juilliard and the Mannes School (with Richard Goode) and at 28, was the Gold Medalist winner at last year’s Van Cliburn Piano Competition – not a bad credential for his debut American season!

There are very few performers today who can truly be called a “living legend,” but James Galway (now Sir James) is one, and rightfully so. He is to the flute as Itzhak Perlman has been to the violin and Yo-Yo Ma to the cello­­­­­—an artist whose name and instrument have become virtually synonymous. On a personal level, Galway and I go back  to the days in the 70s and 80’s  when he was a regular visitor to Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, which I was running . It didn’t take him long following his solo recital debut in 1975 to succeed Jean-Pierre Rampal as the foremost ambassador of the flute repertoire. It was in tribute to his recorded legacy to music for the flute that Sony Classics released a boxed set of 71 of his albums.  Honors continue to come his way, including the Kennedy Center Honors, and he’s played for popes, queens, and presidents around the world—and now returns to McCarter for the first time since 1999, joined by his wife, Lady Jeanne Galway, with whom he has established the Galway Flute Academy. And if that weren’t enough, the Nagahara Flute Company of Boston has created a special flute named for him. It’s gold, of course - what else would befit a superstar?       


March 25, 2018 - 3pm

National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba

Founded in 1960, the Orquestra Sinfonica Nacional de Cuba’s mission has been to introduce Cuban and Latin American music to the rest of the world, and its tours have taken it everywhere—including to the USA for the first time in 2012. The piano soloist at McCarter is Yekwon Sunwoo, the gold medalist of the 2017 Van Cliburn Competition.


March 26, 2018 - 7:30pm

Sir James Galway & Lady Jeanne Galway

Michael McHale, piano
Globally renowned as the supreme interpreter of the classical flute repertoire, Sir James Galway is a consummate performer whose appeal transcends all musical boundaries. With over 30 million recordings sold worldwide, Galway has been a household name for decades. The diversity of Galway’s repertoire reflects his impressive musical range, and has served to establish him as an artist of the very highest stature.