Christian Zacharias Makes “Second” DSO Debut In Bach & Beethoven

Christian Zacharias Makes “Second” DSO Debut In Bach & Beethoven

Fri., Mar. 26 at 10:45 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sun., Mar. 28 at 3:00 p.m


alt textChristian Zacharias

Christian Zacharias, who has dazzled DSO audiences as a pianist, returns to Orchestra Hall in his DSO conducting debut to do double duty as both piano soloist and conductor in Bach & Beethoven. The program features Schumann’s Overture, Scherzo, and Finale, Op. 52, Bach’s Concerto for Clavier and Orchestra in D minor, W. 23, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, Op. 60. Concerts take place on Fri., Mar. 26 at 10:45 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sun., Mar. 28 at 3:00 p.m.

As both a conductor and pianist, Christian Zacharias is known for his uncompromising individuality and thoughtful approach to concert programming. Zacharias launched his conducting career in 1992 with a debut with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and has since been a regular guest of all of the major European orchestras. In 2000, he made his U.S. conducting debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and in 2006 conducted the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time. Zacharias maintains an ongoing relationship with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, and is Artistic Director of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra’s annual Mozart Festival. He is an Artistic Partner of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra until 2012, and has been the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne since 2000.

Schumann’s Overture, Scherzo and Finale for Orchestra was written in 1841, a year in which Schumann concentrated on orchestral music. He wrote a Fantasy that was to become the first movement of his Piano Concerto, the two symphonies that were to be published as Nos. 1 and 4, and this Overture, Scherzo and Finale, which is a kind of informal symphony with no slow movement. Schumann stressed the work’s unique “light, friendly character” to his publisher; to Clara, his wife, he described its first section as “tender, merry. . . siren-like.” He aimed to give it a feeling that was less serious than a symphony although, as in some symphonies, he linked the movements thematically.

C. P. E. Bach probably composed the highly expressive Concerto for Clavier in D minor in 1747 for one of the regular royal musical soirees. The work, which Bach later transcribed for flute, displays features of both the Baroque and Classical periods. The beginning of the first movement sounds much like a Baroque concerto, but instead of introducing the harpsichord, when it enters, with new thematic material, the orchestral material is reprised and then the solo harpsichord, in Classical fashion, ventures off independently.

Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony stands between two of its creator’s most dramatic and popular compositions, his Third and Fifth Symphonies. Robert Schumann’s metaphoric description of this work as a “slender Greek maiden between two Norse giants” leaves something to be desired as a characterization, but it does suggest the enduring perception of this piece as a less weighty and important achievement among Beethoven’s middle-period symphonies. The Fourth Symphony is a finely crafted and beautiful work that follows the formal outline of the Classical period symphony but fills that outline with music that often sounds quite Romantic in character.


Tickets to Bach & Beethoven range in price from $19 to $71 with a limited number of box seats available for $65 to $123. Tickets may be purchased at the Max M. Fisher Music Center box office (3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit); by calling (313) 576-5111; or online at Seniors (60 and over) and students with a valid student ID can purchase 50% off RUSH tickets at the box office 90 minutes prior to concerts based on availability.  For group discount information (10 people or more), please contact Chuck Dyer at (313) 576-5130 or

Strategic Staffing Solutions Preferred Series Partner
Bach & Beethoven
Orchestra Hall
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Christian Zacharias, conductor and piano
Fri., Mar. 26 at 10:45 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.; Sun., Mar. 28 at 3:00 p.m.

SCHUMANN: Overture, Scherzo, and Finale, Op. 52
C. P. E. BACH: Concerto for Clavier and Orchestra in D minor, W. 23
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, Op. 60

Students from MSU will be performing Beethoven Chamber Music.

Get the most out of each concert by attending Ford ConcerTalks, one hour prior to performances (excluding Coffee Concerts). ConcerTalks are informal and may include special guests, lectures and music that reveal interesting facts about the program and provide a behind-the-scenes look at the art of making music.