Beethoven’s Emperor • Sept 16 & 17


Garrick Ohlsson Joins
RI Philharmonic for Opening Concert

Music Director Larry Rachleff’s
Farewell Season Begins

The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra welcomes celebrated pianist Garrick Ohlsson to begin this season, Music Director Larry Rachleff’s last leading the Orchestra. Ohlsson will play Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with the Orchestra. The program also features Smetana’s The Bartered Bride Overture and Lutoslawski’s Concerto for Orchestra.

TACO Classical Concert
Saturday, September 17 • 8:00pm

Larry Rachleff, conductor
Garrick Ohlsson, piano

SMETANA The Bartered Bride: Overture
LUTOSLAWSKI Concerto for Orchestra
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No.5 (Emperor)

Before & After the Concert
Pre-concert Talk with Francisco Noya
Music School Students in Mezzanine Lobby
Talkback with Larry Rachleff


Amica Rush Hour Concert
Friday, September 16 • 6:30pm

SMETANA The Bartered Bride: Overture
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No.5 (Emperor)


Directions & Parking

Concert sponsored by Almon & Suzanne Hall
Mr. Ohlsson’s appearance is sponsored by
Almon & Suzanne Hall and Mr. & Mrs. Robert Catanzaro

Box Office


The Carter Center
Mon–Fri: 9am–4:30pm
667 Waterman Avenue
East Providence, RI 02914

Friday Concert Days: 3:30pm–Showtime
Saturday Concert Days: 4pm–Showtime
1 Avenue of the Arts
Providence, RI 02903

Supper Club

Enjoy a special buffet at the Renaissance Hotel, adjacent to The VETS, at 6pm on Classical Saturdays. Francisco Noya gives a pre-concert talk at 6:30pm, then take your seat for the 8pm performance featuring Music Director Larry Rachleff and your RI Philharmonic!

$45 per person
Cash Bar Available

RI Philharmonic Supper Club • Sept 17
Renaissance Haydn Room

6pm ~ Cocktails
6:30pm ~ Pre-concert Talk
7pm ~ Dinner Buffet

To RSVP email:
Deadline for reservations and cancellations is Wednesday, September 14!

About Garrick Ohlsson 

American pianist Garrick Ohlsson plays during rehearsal of Special Concert on the 200th Anniversary of Frédéric Chopin's Birth at Warsaw Philharmonic

American pianist Garrick Ohlsson plays during the rehearsal for the Special Concert on the 200th Anniversary of Fryderyk Chopin’s Birth at Warsaw Philharmonic February 25, 2010.

Pianist Garrick Ohlsson has established himself worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess. Although long regarded as one of the world’s leading exponents of the music of Frédéric Chopin, Ohlsson’s repertoire ranges over the entire piano literature. To date he has at his command more than 80 concerti, ranging from Haydn and Mozart to works of the 21st century, many commissioned for him. Last season, with concerti as diverse as Beethoven, Brahms, Barber and Busoni, he performed in San Francisco, Detroit, Dallas, Houston, Baltimore, Minnesota, Scotland, Prague, Boston, Los Angeles, Ottawa, Nashville, Indianapolis, Oregon, Warsaw, St. Petersburg, Manchester (UK) and Lugano (Switzerland).

  • New York roots, San Francisco home: A native of White Plains, N.Y., Ohlsson began his piano studies at the age of eight; at 13 he entered The Juilliard School.
  • Big break: In 1970, he became the first American – and still the only one – to win the Gold Medal at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, earning worldwide recognition as one of the finest pianists of his generation. This fall he will return to serve as a judge at the competition.

About the Concert: Stories Behind the Music

Complete Program Notes

The Bartered Bride: Overture
Bedřich Smetana

Smetana found his roots in the music of his native Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic). His political activism created a fresh, liberating force in his music, and nowhere is there a stronger sense of Czech “roots” than in his second opera, The Bartered Bride (1863-1866). Smetana felt such enthusiasm for the project that he wrote the overture first. The peasant opera has become synonymous with Czech culture.

Concerto for Orchestra
Witold Lutoslawski (1913-1994)

In the 1950s, composer Witold Lutoslawski became internationally celebrated, winning prizes and honors galore. In his native Poland, Lutoslawski was renowned as a pianist and conductor as well as a composer. Under repressive Stalinist Soviet Bloc rules, however, he paid the same heavy price for fame as did Russian composers such as Prokofiev and Shostakovich. His Concerto for Orchestra was a 1950 commission from the Warsaw Philharmonic. Lutoslawski wrote: “This was to be something not difficult, but which could, however, give the young orchestra an opportunity to show its qualities. Folk music…was to be used…. A work came into being, which I could not help including among my most important works as a result of my episodic symbiosis with folk music, and in a way that was for me somewhat unexpected.”

Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, op.73 (Emperor)
Ludwig van Beethoven

Oh no, you don’t:  Beethoven’s “Emperor” slammed the door on the tradition of piano soloists improvising cadenzas. In the first movement, just before the conclusion, where the soloist’s cadenza is expected, Beethoven wrote in the score, “Non si fa una cadenza, ma s’attacca subito il seguente” (“Do not play a cadenza, but immediately proceed to the following”). The movement continues with Beethoven’s own written-out cadenza, gradually bringing in the orchestra for a triumphant ending.

Who is Emperor? The “Emperor” was written during the French siege and occupation of Vienna. The origin of the nickname “Emperor” is unknown, but a story persists that a French officer attending the premiere enthusiastically dubbed it “an emperor among concertos.”