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Juilliard Alumnus Evan Rogister Leads the Juilliard Orchestra in Works by Wagner, Sibelius, and Debussy


The Juilliard School’s 109th annual commencement celebration begins the preceding evening, Thursday, May 22, 2014 with the Juilliard Orchestra’s traditional commencement concert in Alice Tully Hall. The concert’s special start time is 5:30 PM. American conductor and Juilliard alumnus Evan Rogister leads the Juilliard Orchestra in the Overture to Wagner’s Tannhäuser; Sibelius’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Minor, Op. 47; and Debussy’s La Mer. Juilliard violinist Hahnsol Kim is soloist. Mr. Kim will graduate with a bachelor of music degree from Juilliard, where he has been studying with Hyo Kang. The Orchestra features the school’s graduating class of instrumentalists and is attended by their family members and friends, many of whom are in New York City for Juilliard’s 109th Commencement Ceremony the following morning, Friday, May 23, 2014 at 11 AM in Alice Tully Hall. The concert and its early start time are part of a special evening that includes a private dinner hosted by Juilliard for the distinguished recipients of the School’s honorary doctorates to be awarded at the following morning’s ceremony. This year’s honorees include actress Viola Davis, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, architect Frank Owen Gehry, composer Philip Glass, choreographer Lar Lubovitch, jazz pianist Marcus Roberts, and philanthropists Bruce and Suzanne F. (Suzie) Kovner, some of whom are also expected to be in attendance at the concert.


Most tickets have been distributed. There is no standby seating for this concert. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to events.juilliard.edu.


About the Program

Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser was composed between 1843 and 1845. The opera was premiered in October 1845 in Dresden with the composer at the baton. Tannhäuser’s 15-minute-long overture manages to establish in musical terms the conflict between sacred and profane love—and the latter’s ultimate triumph—that unfolds in the following drama. As such, the piece is a product of Wagner’s deft weaving together of the opera’s most significant musical elements: the chorale style Pilgrims’ Chorus, Venus’s siren song, Tannhäuser’s hymn to the goddess of love, and musical depictions of the Venusberg’s revelries. Often excerpted for concert performance, this famous overture was actually composed after Wagner had completed the entire opera. Its first performance as a concert piece was at a benefit for the Gewandhaus Orchestra Pension Fund in February 1846 in Leipzig. Felix Mendelssohn led the orchestra and as the opera had not yet been published, he conducted from a manuscript copy.


Since his youth, Jean Sibelius had aspired to become a great violinist. He wrote of his dream: “My preference for the violin lasted quite long, and it was a very painful awakening when I had to admit that I had begun my training for the exacting career of an eminent performer too late.” The product of his fascination with the instrument was his Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47. The three-movement violin concerto was his only large-scale work for solo instrument and orchestra. One of the most difficult in the violin repertory, the solo part is filled with ambitious virtuosic writing. Notable features of the solo violin part include an unusual cadenza in the middle of the first movement and a difficult two-part counterpoint in the second movement. Sibelius himself conducted the concerto’s premiere in 1904; the reception was mixed. After substantial revisions in 1905, the work was re-introduced in Berlin by soloist Karl Halír with Richard Strauss conducting.


La Mer (The Sea), subtitled “Three Symphonic Sketches” by its composer Claude Debussy, is one of the most famous non-symphonic pieces for orchestra ever written. Debussy had long possessed a dear love for the sea and in La Mer’s three movements, Debussy paints a vividly inspired portrait of nature’s essence and the thoughts and moods the sea evokes as a force of nature. Debussy completed the work in March 1905, and it was poorly received at its premiere in October of the same year. Debussy reported to Igor Stravinsky that at the premiere, the violinists of the Orchestre Lamoureux, under the direction of Camille Chevillard, flagged their bows with handkerchiefs out of protest—though it was likely not the work which moved them to such outrage, but rather the shared Parisian distaste for Debussy that resulted from the composer’s scandalous affair with Emma Bardac and Debussy’s subsequent divorce from his first wife.


About Evan Rogister

American maestro and Juilliard alumnus Evan Rogister was praised by the New York Times for his ability to draw “nuanced and voluptuous playing from the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra” during his conducting of the first performances by a major U.S. theater of Karol Szymanowski’s 20th century masterpiece, King Roger.


Highlights of Mr. Rogister’s 2013-14 season include Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms with The Florida Orchestra. He also made his Washington National Opera debut at the Kennedy Center conducting Jake Heggie’s acclaimed new opera, Moby Dick. Recent symphonic appearances include debuts with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Alabama Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony and the Dallas Opera Orchestra, as well as the Bochumer Symphoniker. As a dual citizen of United States and Germany, Mr. Rogister recently completed a two-year stint as Kapellmeister at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. In Berlin, Mr. Rogister had particular success leading performances of symphonic operas such as Tannhäuser, Rienzi, Otello, and Hänsel und Gretel, in addition to conducting numerous repertoire evenings of Don Giovanni, Manon Lescaut, Carmen, Il barbiere di Siviglia and Die Zauberflöte.


Mr. Rogister made his professional conducting debut in 2008 at the Houston Grand Opera with performances of Hänsel und Gretel as the Houston Grand Opera’s Conducting Fellow—a position created especially for him. In 2009, he debuted to great critical acclaim at the Seattle Opera, conducting the renowned Robert Lepage production of Bluebeard’s Castle/Erwartung.


Evan Rogister received a bachelor of music degree from Indiana University where he first enrolled as a trombone major, switching to vocal studies with famed bass Giorgio Tozzi. During graduate studies in voice at The Juilliard School, he expressed an interest in conducting which brought him to Paris for training at the National Conservatory. Mr. Rogister has also studied with the legendary Gustav Meier at the Peabody Conservatory and considers Patrick Summers, Alan Gilbert, and Donald Runnicles among his professional mentors.


About Hahnsol Kim

Born in New York, violinist Hahnsol Kim began his studies at five years old. He studied with Hyun Mi Kim at the Yewon School in Korea where he graduated in 2008 and Seoul Arts High School, where he graduated in 2011. Mr. Kim won first prize at the Osaka International Music Competition in 2007, sixth prize at the International Violin Competition Sion Valais in 2009, and third prize at the Dong-A Music Competition in 2010. He has performed at Seoul Arts Center, Mendelssohn Haus in Germany, and at Carnegie Hall. In December 2013, Mr. Kim won the DreamArts Showcase, a young artist competition. As prizewinner, he will perform in the concert series produced by Community Performing Arts in Florida in January 2015. Mr. Kim will graduate with a bachelor of music degree from Juilliard, where he is studying with Hyo Kang.


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Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 5:30 PM at Alice Tully Hall (Broadway and West 65th Street)

(Please note the early start time.)


The Juilliard School’s 2014 Commencement Concert

Juilliard Orchestra

Evan Rogister, conductor

Hahnsol Kim, violin


WAGNER Overture to Tannhäuser

SIBELIUS Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Minor, Op. 47



Most tickets are distributed. There is no standby seating for this concert.

For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or visit events.juilliard.edu.

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