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Shostakovich Festive Overture
Sibelius Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47
Mussorgsky (orch Ravel) Pictures at an Exhibition

Christian Reif Conductor
Nicola Benedetti Violin

This concert is recommended by Classic FM
Sponsored by Capital Document Solutions

6.45PM: RSNO Principal Flute Katherine Bryan in conversation with Nicola Benedetti in the Clyde Foyer.

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Christian Reif

Christian Reif Conductor

One of the most promising conducting talents of his generation, German-born Christian Reif is Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. He started in San Francisco in the 2016/17 season following two seasons in Miami as Conducting Fellow with the New World Symphony, working closely with Michael Tilson Thomas.

In the 2017/18 season, Reif made a highly praised subscription debut with the San Francisco Symphony and led concerts with the Orchestre National de Lyon, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Brucknerorchester Linz, and Berkeley Symphony. His April 2018 San Francisco Symphony subscription concerts prompted Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle to write: “He’s a conductor of considerable stature, and everything felt like the work of a significant musical artist.” In Summer 2018, in addition to leading concerts with the Indianapolis Symphony and at the Lakes Area Music Festival, he makes his Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival debut on a program with the International Contemporary Ensemble featuring John Adams’ Grand Pianola Music.

In the 2018/19 season, Reif leads a subscription program with the San Francisco Symphony and makes debuts with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Omaha Symphony. He conducts the Hong Kong Philharmonic in a family program and returns to the Nürnberger Symphoniker, Berkeley Symphony and San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He will lead a production of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci at Opera San Jose and conduct the premiere of a new chamber version of John Adams’s El Niño featuring soprano Julia Bullock, mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo and bass-baritone Davóne Tines with the American Modern Opera Company as part the Metropolitain Museum of Art’s MetLiveArts series in New York.

As part of his duties as Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, Reif regularly conducts the orchestra in many different concert formats, including performances of Hansel and Gretel, an Oktoberfest concert, and two successful Soundbox shows – the orchestra’s cutting-edge late-night series. Previous performance highlights include the Juilliard Orchestra, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Nürnberger Symphoniker, Meininger Hofkapelle, Georgian Chamber Orchestra, Salzburg Chamber Soloists and the Munich Chamber Opera in performances of Mozart’s La finta semplice.

Reif was a Conducting Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in the summers of 2015 and 2016. During his time there, he stepped in for Seiji Ozawa to conduct the Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland, and he led the TMC Orchestra in Shostakovich’s 14th Symphony with soprano Dawn Upshaw, baritone Sanford Sylvan and TMC vocalists. He has worked as cover conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra and New York Philharmonic at the NY PHIL BIENNIAL.

Reif’s enthusiasm in performing contemporary music has led to many world premieres. Among those are Michael Gordon’s El Sol Caliente – a city symphony in honour of Miami Beach’s centennial – and concertos for DJ and orchestra performed at New World Symphony PULSE events where the concert hall is transformed into a nightclub.

A dedicated and enthusiastic educator, Reif has taught piano, and he coaches instrumentalists and works with singers as a répétiteur. He has worked as a Teaching Fellow in the Juilliard School’s Ear Training Department and a Music Master Teacher in Miami’s National YoungArts Foundation. In his work at the New World Symphony from 2014 to 2016, he regularly hosted and conducted the orchestra’s education concerts, which were viewed by a global online audience.

Christian Reif studied with Alan Gilbert at the Juilliard School, where he completed his Master of Music in Conducting in 2014 and received the Charles Schiff Conducting Award. Prior to that, he studied with Dennis Russell Davies at the Mozarteum Salzburg, where he received a diploma in 2012. He is winner of the 2015 German Operetta Prize, awarded by the German Music Council, and two Kulturförderpreise awards given to promising artists of the region who promote cultural advancement in their communities. Reif is a member of Germany’s Conductor’s Forum (Dirigentenforum) and is one of the forum’s 2017/18 and 2018/19 featured “Maestros of Tomorrow”.

Nicola  Benedetti

Nicola Benedetti Violin

Nicola Benedetti is one of the most sought-after violinists of her generation. Her ability to captivate audiences with her innate musicianship and spirited presence, coupled with her wide appeal as a high-profile advocate for classical music, has made her one of the most influential classical artists of today.

With concerto performances at the heart of her career, Nicola is in much demand with major orchestras and conductors across the globe. Conductors with whom Nicola has worked include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jir?i´ Be?lohla´vek, Ste´phane Dene`ve, Christoph Eschenbach, James Gaffigan, Hans Graf, Valery Gergiev, Alan Gilbert, Jakub Hruša, Kirill Karabits, Andrew Litton, Kristjan Ja¨rvi, Vladimir Jurowski, Cristian Ma?celaru, Zubin Mehta, Andrea Marcon, Peter Oundjian, Vasily Petrenko, Donald Runnicles, Thomas Søndergård, Krzysztof Urbanski, Juraj Valcua, Edo de Waart, Pinchas Zukerman and Jaap van Zweden.

Nicola enjoys working with the highest level of orchestras including collaborations with the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra of Washington D.C., Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Camerata Salzburg, Czech Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and the Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival.

The Summer of 2018 saw Nicola make her debut at the Philharmonie de Paris with Karina Canellakis and the Orchestre de Paris. She returned to the BBC Proms with Andrew Gourlay and the BBC Concert Orchestra to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the BBC Young Musician. In addition, Nicola returned to Edinburgh to perform at the Edinburgh International Festival twice: with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and with Richard Egarr and the Academy of Ancient Music.

This 18/19 season Nicola makes her second appearance with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and collaborates with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre de Bretagne, Seattle Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Frankfurter Museumsorchester, Toscanini Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra with Pablo Heras-Casado. She will also undertake tours with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra performing Mozart Violin Concertos and with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain performing the Bruch Violin Concerto.

With her regular duo partner pianist Alexei Grynyuk, Nicola frequently performs recitals in the world’s leading concert halls and festivals with most recent highlights including Wigmore Hall, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rome, Copenhagen, Dortmund, Ludwigshafen, Bielefeld and Kiel. Nicola is also a devoted chamber musician and collaborates with cellist Leonard Elschenbroich and pianist Alexei Grynyuk, who have been performing as a trio since 2008. Recent performances include London’s Cadogan Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Edinburgh Festival, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Ravinia Festival, New York’s 92nd Street Y and Hong Kong City Hall. In November 2018 the trio embarks on a month-long Australian tour giving 9 performances in 7 cities.

Over the last 12 months Nicola has also continued her role as a dedicated, passionate ambassador and leader in music education. She has reached over 1250 young people through workshops, masterclasses, partnership projects, and school visits, providing key moments of inspiration for young instrumentalists, as well as focused, high quality teaching and guidance. Nicola has also connected with over 100 teachers, aiming to support their practice, highlight their essential role in society - especially during a period when many jobs have been under threat - and encourage collaboration and mutual learning. This commitment to supporting the UK's music practitioners was underlined in July, when Nicola took over as President of the European String Teachers Association.

Nicola continues to hold key positions in a number of the country's most established and high-quality youth music organisations including the National Children's Orchestra (Vice President), Sistema Scotland (Big Sister), National Youth Orchestras of Scotland's Junior Orchestra (Patron), Music in Secondary Schools Trust (Patron), Junior Conservatoire at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Patron) and many more.

Through all these events and partnerships, Nicola aims to tackle the paradox that faces all young players; how to balance the perseverance and discipline required to master technical challenges with the consistent passion, love, and freedom of expression that is the impetus of all the most powerful music-making. This is an idea that will also feature in a key 2018 project - Super Strings Sessions with Sistema Scotland - which will see Nicola work directly with 500 young people in events across four different cities.

Winner of Best Female Artist at both 2012 and 2013 Classical BRIT Awards, Nicola records exclusively for Decca (Universal Music). Her most recent recording of Shostakovich & Glazunov Violin Concertos has been met with critical acclaim. Richard Morrison of The Times maintains that “this riveting performance of Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto is Nicola Benedetti’s best recording to date.” Her past seven recordings on Universal/Deutsche Grammophon include a varied catalogue of works from Szymanowski Concerto (London Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Harding) to Homecoming; A Scottish Fantasy, which made Nicola the first solo British violinist since the 1990s to enter the Top 20 of the Official U.K. Albums Chart.

Nicola attracts an enormous amount of worldwide media attention following the various facets of her extraordinary career and her international television appearances have been wide and varied including performing at the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games to a live audience of approximately 40,000 and TV viewing audience of 9.4 million people.

Nicola was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2019 New Year Honours List, awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music in 2017, the youngest ever recipient, and was appointed as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2013 in recognition of her international music career and work with musical charities throughout the United Kingdom. In addition, Nicola has received eight honorary degrees to date.

Born in Scotland of Italian heritage, Nicola began violin lessons at the age of five with Brenda Smith. In 1997, she entered the Yehudi Menuhin School, where she studied with Natasha Boyarskaya. Upon leaving, she continued her studies with Maciej Rakowski and then Pavel Vernikov, and continues to work with multiple acclaimed teachers and performers.

Nicola plays the Gabriel Stradivarius (1717), courtesy of Jonathan Moulds.