Shostakovich's Tenth

ProMedica Masterworks

Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle

October 27 - 28, 2017

Concert Time: 8:00 pm

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Julian Schwarz, cello
Alexander Prior, conductor

Mussorgsky - Prelude to Khovanshchina
Liebermann - Cello Concerto*
Shostakovich - Symphony No. 10

Virtuosic cellist Julian Schwarz performs the world premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s Cello Concerto, newly commissioned for the Toledo Symphony. We pair it with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, a powerful fusion of the political and the personal, and an inspiring portrayal of the resilience of the human spirit.

These concerts are made possible through the generosity of Mr. Alan Benaroya.

*This performance is a world premiere.



Born in Seattle into a musical family, cellist Julian Schwarz is already being recognized as a cellist destined to rank among the finest of the 21st century. Schwarz made his orchestral debut at age 11 playing the Saint-Saens Concerto No. 1 with the Seattle Symphony with his father, Gerard Schwarz, on the podium.  Since then, he has appeared with the Seattle, San Diego, Puerto Rico, Hartford, Charlotte, Columbus (Ohio), San Antonio, Sarasota, Grand Rapids, and Wichita symphonies, as well as the Louisville Orchestra, Chicago Camerata, and the Symphony Silicon Valley, among others.

Internationally, he made his Australian debut with the Queensland Symphony in Brisbane and his debut in Hong Kong at the Intimacy of Creativity Festival.  He also made two appearances with the Boca del Rio Orchestra in Veracruz, Mexico, and made his debut with the Mexico City Philharmonic in May 2016. 

In August 2013, Schwarz was awarded first prize in the professional cello division of the inaugural Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld International String Competition in Hong Kong. 

He is a member of the ensemble Frisson, a nonet for strings and winds, and has his own piano trio, Mile- End Trio, with violinist Jeff Multer and Bournaki.  In November 2016, he and Bournaki were awarded First Prize in the Boulder International Chamber Music Competition’s “The Art of the Duo.” In March 2017, the duo traveled to China for a 10-recital concert tour.

Tonight’s Toledo world premiere of a new cello concerto written for him by Lowell Liebermann will be followed by performances with the orchestras of Jacksonville, Annapolis, and Springfield, Mass.  Additional highlights of his 2017-18 season include his debuts with the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Charleston and Tucson symphonies; a re-engagement with Symphoria in Syracuse and the Boca Symphoria in Boca Raton, and recitals in Hartford, Boulder, and New York City.

Schwarz’s recordings for Naxos include the Saint-Saens No. 1 and Haydn C Major cello concertos with the Seattle Symphony, “In Memoriam” for the Music of Remembrance series and the Samuel Jones Cello Concerto with the All Star Orchestra, founded by Gerard Schwarz.  His next recording will be the six Rossini String Quartets, which will be performed and recording in Nova Scotia in November 2017.

Schwarz started piano lessons at age 5 and began his cello studies the following year with the late David Tonkonogui; subsequent teachers include Toby Saks, Lynn Harrell, Neal Cary, and Ronald Leonard. 

He received his Bachelor of Music degree in May 2014 from The Juilliard School in New York City where he studied with Joel Krosnick, and his Master of Music degree, also at Juilliard, in May 2016.  During the 2016-17 season, he served as Krosnick’s teaching assistant.  He also served as Artist-In- Residence at the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance. In September 2017, he began his tenure as an Assistant Professor of Cello at Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University in Virginia. 

Schwarz currently performs on a cello made in Naples by Gennaro Gagliano in 1743.


Twenty-five-year-old Alexander Prior is in his first season as the Chief Conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

In the 2017-18 season, Prior debuts with the Detroit and Hamburg symphonies, in addition to the Toledo Symphony, I Musici de Montréal, and Oper Frankfurt conducting Rigoletto, and returns to the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.

Highlights of the 2016-17 season included debuts with the Houston Symphony, Vancouver Opera conducting Hänsel und Gretel, and Edmonton Opera conducting Elektra, as well as a return to the Royal Danish Opera conducting Swan Lake.

Recent engagements have included the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Copenhagen Philharmonic, NDR Sinfonieorchester, Camerata Salzburg, Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Bayerische Staatskapelle, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Orchestra of Mannheim Opera, and Spanish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra. In the United States, Prior has appeared with the Seattle Symphony and New World Symphony.

Equally committed to the stage, Prior's operatic engagements have included Carmen with the Royal Danish Opera, La Traviata with Oper Leipzig and the Gewandhaus Orchestra and at the Romanian National Opera, and Mirandolina with the Bayerische Staatsoper. His debut with the Braunschweig Staatstheater led to a continued relationship and a re-invitation to premiere a new production of Rigoletto in the 2015/16 season. Immediately following the premiere, the orchestra awarded Prior their rare Louis Spohr Medal “in recognition of his musicality and leading role in the arts.”

Prior’s catalogue of compositions is substantial in its share of high-profile commissions. His ballet Mowgli, commissioned by the Moscow State Ballet and first performed at the Kremlin Theatre in 2008, secured international critical acclaim and has now been running for almost 10 consecutive years. The Edmonton Symphony recently premiered his latest work, Putl’lt, a large symphonic work inspired by the eponymous Nuxálk word meaning “everything belongs to those generations that are not yet born.” Other works include Distant Calls for voice and piano quintet; Elegy in Memory of Ligeti for cello and piano; Horizons: An American Crescendo for four soloists and orchestra, premiered by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Prior’s direction at the Barbican Centre; Symphony No. 4, Gogol, commissioned by the cultural committee of St. Petersburg for the St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra and Choir; Symphony No. 6, premiered by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and the triple concerto That Which Must Remain Unspoken  for piano, violin, and cello, commissioned by the City of Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra.

A graduate of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, Prior was a James Levine Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and was awarded a Conducting Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival. In the 2009-10 season, he served as Assistant Conductor at the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. His mentors include Thomas Dausgaard, Robert Spano, Michael Tilson Thomas at the New World Symphony, Andrew Manze, and Nicholas McGegen and Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos—both at the Los Angeles Philharmonic.


Listen to Shostakovich Symphony No. 10


Sergei Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible (Parts I & II)
Toledo Museum of Art Little Theatre

October 28, 2017

Time: 2:00 - 5:00 pm

Navigating the deadly waters of Stalinist politics in the 1940s, director Sergei Eisenstein filmed two parts of his planned trilogy about the troubled sixteenth-century Tsar who united Russia. Visually stunning and powerfully acted, Ivan the Terrible charts the rise to power and descent into terror of this veritable dictator. Though pleased with the first installment, Stalin detested the second film and promptly banned it.

This screening is presented in conjunction with our performances of the 10th Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich, another artistic genius caught up in Stalinist politics. Both films feature a score by Prokofiev whose death on the same day as Stalin obscured the passing of this other great Russian composer.

This event is free and open to the public.


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