RACHMANINOFF 2 & BABADJANIAN, HEROIC BALLAD - JEAN-PAUL GASPARIAN, BERNER SYMPHONIEORCHESTER, STEFAN BLUNIER
Rachmaninoff 2 & Babadjanian, Heroic Ballad
The young pianist Jean-Paul Gasparian signs here his first disc with orchestra with the stainless Rachmaninoff 2 and the beautiful discovery of an Armenian composer, Arno Babadjanian, whose unpredictable career ends in the jazz and even the pop of the 70s!
Jean-Paul Gasparian - Back to the roots
Prix Thierry Scherz 2020 - Sommets musicaux de Gstaad
Gasparian : his surname alone sounds like a promise, a calling – that of the East, of the plains of Asia Minor, of the Caucasus mountains – a kind of foretaste of the music featured here in the artist’s first recording with an orchestra : Rachmaninoff’s ageless Second Concerto – which has been accompanying Gasparian as a playmate since his early years, even before he entered Jacques Rouvier’s class at the Paris Conservatory – and the very rarely performed Ballade héroïque by the pianist’s compatriot Arno Babadjanian. Indeed, Jean-Paul Gasparian’s origins are Armenian on his father’s side; he carries within a part of this land steeped in tradition, although he is French-born and lives in France.
The first time he set foot on Armenian ground was only in October 2021. “Both my parents are pianists”, explains Gasparian. “My father is a composer and concert pianist, my mother is a teacher. Both of their careers are reflected within my own. My father was born in Armenia and arrived in France with his parents when he was 14. [..] Therefore, I have been immersed in a predominantly Russian musical universe since I was a child and am familiar with recordings made by Richter, Gilels and Mravinsky, thanks to old family LPs dating from the Soviet era. Prokofiev, Scriabin and Khachaturian’s music has always accompanied me, so it seemed only natural to choose Rachmaninoff and Babadjanian for my first recording with orchestra.”
The “logic” doesn’t stop there since Jean-Paul Gasparian had already chosen Rachmaninoff’s 9 Preludes op. 39 for his first solo recording, which he made when he was a first-year student in Jacques Rouvier’s class. Thanks to a Beethoven-Rachmaninoff recital, the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad jury later awarded him the “Prix Thierry Scherz 2020”, which led to this new album. [..]
(Translation : Michelle Bulloch – MUSITEXT)
Read more in the booklet & French texts
The Bern Symphony Orchestra can look back on 145 years of tradition as the orchestra of the Swiss capital. Founded as the “Bernischer Orchesterverein” in 1877, the orchestra with its 100 musicians from over 20 different nations has long since become an institution in Bern. Since 2011, it has been part of a four-discipline operation alongside the opera, theater and ballet, which will bear the name Bühnen Bern from 2021.
This season will be the first time that the orchestra will be without its long-time principal conductor Mario Venzago, who took up the position in the summer of 2010. His predecessors include Andrey Boreyko, Dmitrij Kitajenko, Charles Dutoit and Peter Maag. Renowned guest conductors such as Bruno Walter, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan and, more recently, Sir Neville Marriner, Eliahu Inbal, Jun Märkl and Michael Sanderling have shaped and continue to shape the orchestra. World-class soloists such as Joshua Bell, Sol Gabetta, Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Fazil Say, as well as young classical stars such as Kit Armstrong, Lise de la Salle and Alexandre Kantorow, help to spread the reputation of the Bern Symphony Orchestra far beyond the country’s borders. This leads to regular invitations at home and abroad, as in May 2017 for a tour to China.
In addition to symphony concerts and opera and ballet productions, the orchestra makes a point of reaching a wide audience through a diverse range of formats, such as family and young children concerts. A special highlight of each season is the open-air concert on the Bundesplatz. The Bern Symphony Orchestra, which has undergone a generational change in recent years, is distinguished by its exceptional programming and does not shy away from challenging world premieres. On the contrary, the promotion of contemporary composers is a matter close to the orchestra’s heart.
Read more in the booklet & French texts
Stefan Blunier, conductor
Stefan Blunier has been chief conductor of the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música since the beginning of 2021. In addition to his engagements in Porto, Stefan Blunier will conduct in the 2021/22 season the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Bern Symphony Orchestra, the Darmstadt State Orchestra, l’Orchestre symphonique de l’Opéra de Toulon and the Singapore Symphony. At the Deutsche Oper am Rhein he will return with Verdi’s Macbeth.
Read his bio in the booklet
Prix Thierry Scherz
Sponsored by the Pro Scientia et Arte Foundation and the Friends of the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad
One of the main goals of the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad has always been to give young talents a chance, to help and guide them, reason for which, from the very start, the festival included into its programme a series of concerts given in the Gstaad chapel by promising young musicians of different nationalities playing the same instrument.
Every year, this Prize aims to reward one of these young musicians with the opportunity of recording a CD with an orchestra, produced by Claves Records, ensuring a wide distribution.
This Prize gives the laureate experience with microphones, collaboration with a conductor, with orchestra musicians, an artistic director, sound engineers … and finally the joy of an extensive distribution.
Our laureates’ success reminds us of the importance of supporting a promising career in its early days. We offer our sincere thanks to our sponsors who enable us to continue in this direction.
The Thierry Scherz Prize is an homage to the co-founder and artistic director of the Festival.
2002 Liviu Prunaru violin
2003 Herman Wallén baritone
2005 Emmanuel Ceysson harp
2006 Joseph Moog piano
2007 Alexandra Soumm violin
2008 Nicolas Altstaedt cello
2009 Berolina Piano Trio
2011 Sophie Pacini piano
2012 Soo-Hyun Park violin
2013 Pablo Ferrández cello
2014 Bizjak Piano Duo
2015 Anaïs Gaudemard harp
2016 Guillaume Bellom piano
2016 Kevin Jansson piano
2017 Caroline Goulding violin
2018 Anastasia Kobekina cello
2019 Timothy Ridout viola
2020 Jean-Paul Gasparian piano