Orchestre de Paris brings all-French program, famous conductor to Hill

BY JANET YANG
Daily Arts Writer
Published January 23, 2002

Nobody knows Ravel and Messiaen better than the French themselves, which is why it will be such a treat to hear the Orchestre de Paris. World-renowned conductor Christoph Eschenbach and pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard will perform famous pieces from those renowned composers tonight at Hill Auditorium. The Orchestre is performing one work from Messiaen, titled "Les Offrandes Oublies" and three pieces by Ravel, including "Piano Concerto in G Major" (featuring Aimard), "La Valse" and "Daphnis and Chloe Suite No.2."

Paul Wong
Conductor Christoph Eschenbach<br><br>Courtesy of UMS

This will mark the first time that the Orchestre has visited the University since 1976. Since the Orchestre dedicates only a third of its total performances each year to audiences outside of Paris, it is a rare delight for local classical music admirers that they have chosen to spend a night in Ann Arbor. Besides Ann Arbor and the rest of the U.S., the Orchestre has spent time performing in Europe, Russia, Latin America and Asia.

The Orchestre"s appeal is not only seen by its varied audiences, but also by the famous conductors that have spent time working with then. Charles Munch, Sir Georg Solti, Herbert von Karajan and Seiji Ozawa are among the few of the famous names that have led the Orchestre in the past.

The Orchestre de Paris was established in 1967, taking over the former Concert Society of the Paris Conservatory, which was formed in 1828. Since its creation, the ensemble has introduced the public to previously little-known composers such as Mendelssohn, Beethoven, and Schubert, who then gained an audience through the Concert Society. More recently, the Orchestre has paid special attention to contemporary works by Jean-Claude Drouet, Pierre Boulez and Witold Lutoslawki, among others. This diversity in composers leads to a vast repertoire that includes three centuries of music, ranging from symphonic to operatic.

The concert at Hill Auditorium is one stop on Eschenbach"s first tour with the Orchestre de Paris. Eschenbach is not only the music director of the Orchestre, but is also the Principal Conductor of the Hamburg NDR Symphony Orchestra and the Artistic Director of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. He has been the music director for the Orchestre since 2000 and has also recently been appointed the music director for the Philadelphia Orchestra. Eschenbach has also worked with the London Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony and the Houston Symphony Orchestras. Tonight"s concert is Eschenbach"s fourth visit to Hill Auditorium.

The featured pianist in this performance, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, performs throughout the year with other prominent orchestras and conductors. Just recently, Aimard performed Beethoven"s "Piano Concerto No. 5" with the Berlin Philharmonic, as well as the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Boston Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra. Currently, Aimard is creating and recording music for the television series "Arte," which features films that focus on great composers of the 20th century. Tonight"s concert at Hill Auditorium is his debut in Ann Arbor.