“For our second disc in the Orchestre National de Lyon’s Berlioz series, we travel to Italy. The composer wrote Harold in Italy for Niccolò Paganini, who said that there was not enough for the solo viola to do in the piece. After hearing it, Paganini told Berlioz that it was a masterpiece. More of a symphony than a concerto, the work has all the hallmarks of genius, from the ominous opening to the orgiastic conclusion. The second movement is one of the most sublime pieces of writing imaginable.
It continues to be a great pleasure to perform and record the music by this French master with an orchestra that resides about an hour from where the composer was born. We all look forward to the continuation of this project.”
- Leonard Slatkin, music director of the Orchestre National de Lyon.
Listen to an extract from Movt. II: Marche de pèlerins chantant la prière du soir
Leonard Slatkin is currently music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and of the Orchestre National de Lyon, and principal guest conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. His one hundred-plus recordings have earned seven GRAMMY® Awards and more than sixty GRAMMY® Award nominations. He has received many other honours, including the 2003 US National Medal of Arts, France’s Chevalier of the Legion of Honour and the League of American Orchestras’ Gold Baton for service to American music.
In 2010, Lise Berthaud was invited to perform Harold en Italie with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre for the opening night of the prestigious Berlioz Festival at La Côte-Saint-André. In 2013, her first recording as a soloist with pianist Adam Laloum was awarded several prizes, including the sought after Diapason d’Or. Also last year, she was selected to be part of BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists scheme. Her début at the BBC Proms in September 2014 will be with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Litton at London's Royal Albert Hall.
The Orchestre National de Lyon became a permanent orchestra of 102 musicians in 1969, with Louis Frémaux as its first musical director (1969–1971). It was run and supported financially by the City of Lyon, which in 1975 provided it with a concert hall, the Lyon Auditorium. Under the leadership of Emmanuel Krivine (1987–2000), David Robertson (2000–2004) and Jun Märkl (2005-2011), the orchestra increasingly received international critical acclaim. Leonard Slatkin has been its music director since the 2011–2012 season.