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NM Philharmonic ready to take the stage in 2021 along with musicians Olga Kern, Midori

The New Mexico Philharmonic will take the stage in September with a Beethoven Festival starring pianist Olga Kern.

Pianist Olga Kern will take the stage in September with the New Mexico Philharmonic.

Kern will star in three nights of Beethoven concertos Sept. 30-Oct. 2. Famed violinist Midori, a recent recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, is slated for Jan. 22, 2022. The New Mexico Symphonic Chorus will join the orchestra on May 21, 2022 in a season finale fundraising performance of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana.”

All of the classical concerts are tentatively slated for Popejoy Hall.

“They only will open if all the restrictions are off completely,” Philharmonic executive director Marian Tanau said. “But the good news is it seems like the restrictions are going to go away by then.”

If social distancing is still mandatory, orchestra organizers will search for another venue, most likely a church, he added.

Kern was originally scheduled to perform the first four Beethoven concertos in 2020, the composer’s 250th anniversary, but the concerts were canceled because of the pandemic.

“We don’t know how many people in the orchestra we can have with CDC restrictions,” Tanau said.

Concertos require fewer musicians than symphonies.

“We love Olga and we were lucky Olga was available,” Tanau said. “We were trying to start smaller.”

Violinist Midori also was scheduled for 2020. She will perform Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Violin Concerto.

Violinist Midori is a recent recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.

“This year she was very excited to be able to reschedule with us,” Tanau said.

The Austrian-born, Oscar-winning Korngold is considered one of the founders of film music, including “Kings Row” (1942) and “Of Human Bondage” (1946). Jascha Heifetz premiered Korngold’s concerto with the St. Louis Symphony in 1947.

Brazilian guitarist/composer Yamandu Costa will play two of his own pieces, one a premiere, on Oct. 23.

Olga Kern International Piano Competition winner Tetiana Shafran will perform works by Debussy, Ravel, Schubert and Liszt on Nov. 20. The Ukrainian pianist has won more than 20 international piano competitions.

Pianist Michelle Cann, who teaches at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, will play George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” on April 23, 2022. Cann also will play Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement. Price is known as the first African American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer. The program will end with selections from Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

Russian-born pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk will star in a night of Russian music, including Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 on Feb. 26, 2022.

Philharmonic concertmaster Krzysztof Zimowski will play Henryk Wieniawski’s virtuosic Violin Concerto No. 2 on March 26, 2022. The violinist will follow with the solo on Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3, used nearly 100 years later in George Balanchine’s “Jewels” ballet.

The Philharmonic survived the pandemic-driven financial crisis through donations and federal Paycheck Protection Program loans, Tanau said. The musicians received $270,000 in PPP funds. Donors gave more than 70% of what was received in past seasons. While the orchestra gained just half its usual subscribers, one-third of these donated their tickets to the musicians.

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