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Josefowicz Wins Fisher Prize;
McGegan plans exit from Philharmonia.
It’s “This Week in Classical Music”, an update on what’s happening in the classical music world; I’m Randy Kinkel.
When the violinist Leila Josefowicz was awarded the $100,000 Avery Fisher Prize one recent Thursday evening, she was hard at work--at David Geffen Hall with the New York Philharmonic performing Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto.
Winning the Fisher prize earns Josefowicz a place on a plaque in Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher Hall) alongside past recipients including the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the pianist Emanuel Ax, and the violinists Midori and Joshua Bell.
Even more than the standard repertoire, Josephowicz loves introducing audiences to new music. Recently she’s played the latest by Pulitzer prize winning American composer John Adams, and has championed composers including Colin Matthews, Steven Mackey, Luca Francesconi and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, who wrote his Violin Concerto especially for her.
“I think that my desire to play new music and perform new music, was in many ways a result of having to reinvent myself for myself And also feeling like I wanted to make a contribution to this art form by commissioning and performing new works.” She said.
Nicholas McGegan, who has led the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra since 1985, will step down as music director at the end of the 2019-20 season, the orchestra announced. He will take the title of Music Director Laureate and continue to make periodic appearances with the orchestra.
“I’ve been saying for a number of a years that I wanted to pull back from actually being captain of the ship and be, shall we say, an elegant passenger,” the 68 year old McGegan said.
For all but the first five years of its existence, the ensemble, which performs music of the 18th and 19th centuries on period instruments, has been practically synonymous with McGegan’s leadership.
“When I came it was definitely a Baroque orchestra. I began by trying a little Mozart, and we had people writing in saying, ‘Don’t do this! We want wall-to-wall Telemann.’
For the time being, McGegan is anticipating another two seasons as music director with a break in sight-- “I feel like I’m giving up being a parent to become a grandparent,” he said. “I can still take everyone out for ice cream without having to pay the school bills.”
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