Nelson Freire, one of the greatest living pianists, will perform four of the most beloved concertos in the standard repertory as the highlight of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's seventh annual Summerfest series in July.
The BSO announced yesterday that music director David Zinman will join forces with the French-based, Brazilian-born Freire, to perform Brahms' First and Second Concertos (July 9 and 11) and Rachmaninov's Second and Third (July 14 and 16). The 47-year-old pianist, who has delighted audiences here in recent years with his Schumann and Beethoven concertos, is only now beginning to acquire the popular fame he deserves on this side of the Atlantic. But among critics and piano aficionados, his performances of the Brahms and Rachmaninov pieces -- particularly the Third Rachmaninov -- have long since acquired legendary status.
The other two Summerfest programs include Zinman's conducting a Copland-Rachmaninov program (July 23) and a program of light Viennese music (July 25). As in past years, each performance will be followed by live bands and refreshments in the outdoor plaza adjacent to the hall. All concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m.; tickets are priced at $14 and are available through the BSO box office by calling (410) 783-8000.
The orchestra also announced an expanded summer season -- 11 concerts instead of eight -- at Oregon Ridge Park between June 21 and Aug. 8. Four of the concerts will include fireworks (July 3 and 4 and Aug. 7 and 8). Guest soloists include Stephen Prutsman, a brilliant Peabody-educated pianist who has won several important international competitions, in Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto (June 21), and Jose Feghali, the winner of the 1985 Cliburn Competition, in Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" (Aug. 2). Other programs will include an evening of show music (June 26), an all-Beethoven program (June 27) and an evening of film music (July 26).
Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children 12 and younger (all children will be admitted free Aug. 1). All concerts will begin at 8 p.m. and tickets are available through the BSO box office or at Oregon Ridge Park on the night of the concert.
The orchestra will perform at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia (June 28 at 7:30 p.m.) and at Wolf Trap Farm Park in Vienna, Va., (July 15 at 8:15 p.m.). At Merriweather, Andrew Litton will conduct and will be joined by pianist Andre Watts in Liszt's Concerto No. 2. At Wolf Trap, Zinman will conduct an all-Rachmaninov program with Freire as soloist. For information about Merriweather Post, call Columbia Festival for the Arts at (410) 381-0545. For Wolf Trap tickets, call Ticketron at (800) 551-7328.