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Classical 09/01/2002

Philharmonic Season to Start With Ode

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NEW YORK (AP) - Lorin Maazel will start his first season as the New York Philharmonic's music director with an unfinished ode to Sept. 11 and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

The 2002-2003 season, the philharmonic's first under the 71-year-old maestro after 11 with Kurt Masur, will include four other world premieres and a three-week festival with cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and friends, the orchestra announced Tuesday.

The opening night gala concert on Sept. 18, to be televised on PBS' "Live From Lincoln Center,'' also features Beethoven's "Leonore Overture No. 3.''

In an interview, Maazel said the work-in-progress would be about 15 minutes long, but other details won't be announced until late February.
"One doesn't want to announce something that is still in the formative stage, even if it's almost a sure thing,'' Maazel said, adding: "I think it's worth waiting for because it's our way of saying it's an event that we would like to commemorate and we would like to continue to commemorate. This is our city and it's our memory, and we wish to pay reverent obeisance to an event the ramifications of which will take decades to sort out.''

Maazel, who first conducted the philharmonic at age 12 and is under contract for four seasons, will be on the podium for 39 subscription concerts over 11 weeks. On Dec. 7, he will mark the orchestra's 160th birthday by conducting works that were on its first program in 1842 - Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, Weber's "Oberon Overture'' and the aria "Ocean, thou mighty monster.'' Soprano Deborah Voigt will be the soloist.

The other scheduled world premieres:

- Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin's "The Enchanted Wanderer,'' Dec. 18-21.
- Chinese-American composer Bright Sheng's "Concerto for Piano, Cello, Pipa and Chinese Wind Instruments,'' featuring pianist Emanuel Ax, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Wu Man on the pipa, a Chinese lute, March 5-8, 2003.
- Polish composer Krzystof Penderecki's "Phaedra,'' featuring contralto Ewa Podles, May 1-3.
- Symphony No. 4 by Britain's Oliver Knussen, June 5-10.

Rostropovich will conduct works by composers he has personally known, including Bernstein, Britten and Prokofiev, starting March 20.
Commemorating Hector Berlioz's 200th birthday year, Sir Colin Davis will led the orchestra's first complete performance of the French composer's comic opera "Beatrice et Benedict'' on April 9-12.
Other highlights include an October tour in Asia; a February tour of southeastern U.S. cities and a three-week residency at Colorado's Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival in July.

This season, the philharmonic's gala opener turned into a somber memorial to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Plans to celebrate Masur's final season with the orchestra were later disrupted by the 74-year-old conductor's health problems. He underwent transplant surgery in November, receiving a nephew's kidney.

Masur returns next month for a concert performance of Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde'' featuring Voigt. In spring 2003, Masur will conduct three weeks of concerts. "He's doing extremely well, getting stronger by the day,'' said Zarin Mehta, the philharmonic's executive director.

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