Tarmo Peltokoski conducts Gershwin, Strauss, and Sibelius — With Lahav Shani

Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

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Lahav Shani — Pianist

Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

Tarmo Peltokoski — Conductor

Program notes

Lahav Shani is no stranger to the impeccable Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, having served as their chief conductor since 2018—but in this spectacular outing, he trades the podium for the piano bench and leaves conducting duties to stratospheric young talent Tarmo Peltokoski! The program, electrifyingly varied, includes Gershwin's irresistible Rhapsody in Blue, Strauss's dazzling Don Juan, and Sibelius's pioneering Symphony No. 7.

The timeless Rhapsody in Blue is a "musical kaleidoscope of America," an endlessly exciting blend of classical music and jazz that reflects the country's dynamic spirit and melting pot of influences, performed by Shani with his characteristic flair, charisma, and polish. Next, the Rotterdam Phil and Peltokoski move on to Strauss's tone poem Don Juan, based not on Byron or Molière but on the unfinished version by Austrian poet Nikolaus Lenau. Every instrument in the orchestra participates in Strauss's ebullient musical discourse, evoking the hero's many different faces by means of changing register.

The concert closes with Sibelius's epic, single-movement Seventh Symphony—the Finn's final contribution to the genre, a stirring and audacious culmination of a remarkable creative life. Under no circumstances will you want to miss this rendition conducted by Peltokoski, whose Sibelius Second a few months ago with the same orchestra was met with overwhelming praise: "Nothing less than a miracle," read a rave review in Dutch newspaper NRC, "is what happens when [Tarmo] Peltokoski conducts the Rotterdam Philharmonic in Sibelius’s Second Symphony. Staggering, breathtaking, tear-jerkingly beautiful. Even writing about it brings back the goosebumps. Tarmo Peltokoski. Write down that name."

Photo: Tarmo Peltokoski © Peter Rigaud

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