Focus: Mozart and Dvořák

Monday, April 16, 2018 | 7:00 pm

Benjamin Hochman performing the last movement of Beethoven's "Moonlight" Piano Sonata
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Program:

  • MOZART Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major
  • DVOŘÁK Serenade for Strings in E Major

Benjamin Hochman, conductor & piano

Pianist and conductor Benjamin Hochman has been described by The New York Times as “a gifted, fast-rising artist.” Born in Jerusalem, he attended the Curtis Institute of Music and the Mannes College of Music. Mr. Hochman made his New York recital debut in 2006 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2011. He has performed as piano soloist with major orchestras around the world, including the New York Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and many others.

About his Piano Concerto No. 12, Mozart said this in a letter to his father: [this concerto is] a happy medium between what is too easy and too difficult; [it is] very brilliant to the ear, and natural, without being vapid. There are passages here and there from which connoisseurs alone can derive satisfaction; but these passages are written in such a way that the less discriminating cannot fail to be pleased, though without knowing why.”

Written in the bright and cheery key of A Major, it includes a stunning Andante movement which pays homage to Mozart’s former mentor Johann Christian Bach, who died shortly before the concerto was written.  This concerto was written in 1782 during one of the most productive and commercially successful periods of Mozart’s short life.

Like his Serenade for Winds, Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings is a charming, unpretentious work and is now considered a staple in the string orchestra repertoire.  In 1874, Dvořák was struggling to make ends meet. With a wife and young son to support, he applied for and was awarded a special stipend for talented, needy artists. With this income, as well as the attention of the selection committee, which included Johannes Brahms, he was able to focus on pursuing his composition career. The Serenade took just two weeks to complete and was premiered in Prague in 1876.

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