Zuill Bailey, "one of the finest cellists alive today" (Classical Net), adds a pair of major works for cello by Benjamin Britten to his impressive array of critically acclaimed albums that include his seminal recording of Bach: Cello Suites, the beloved double disc Beethoven: Complete Works for Cello and Piano made with Simone Dinnerstein, Brahms: Works for Cello and Piano, the Elgar and Dvorak concertos and Russian Masterpieces for Cello and Orchestra.
Writing about the Bach recording, which immediately soared to the number 1 spot on the Billboard Charts when it was released in 2010, The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote: "Bailey's mission is to underscore the music's brilliance, but he ends up proving his own as well." A similar phenomenon occurs on this latest release, which features a live performance of Britten's knotty and profound Symphony for Cello and Orchestra (Op. 68), recorded with the North Carolina Symphony and Music Director Grant Llewellyn, and the substantial, theatrical Sonata in C Major for cello and piano (Op. 65) recorded at Oberlin's brand new state-of-the-art recording studio at Clonick Hall with the electrifying pianist Natasha Paremski.
Here, Britten's effortless distillation of the range of human emotions, on both a personal and universal scale, finds itself in the capable hands of an "articulate, selfless and communicative musician" (Gramophone) who has built his reputation on deeply soulful performances of the great cello repertoire that eschew affectation and melodrama.
Both pieces were written in the early 1960s for Mstislav Rostropovich, one of the all-time great cellists and one of Britten's most important musical collaborators. While Bailey, who started playing cello the year that Britten died, never had the luxury of working with Britten, the two are nonetheless kindred spirits of sorts, reaching across the millennial line to express the full range and depth of both human sentiment and musical color. The result is one of the most vital recordings to come out of the Britten centenary.
ZUILL BAILEY's rare combination of compelling artistry, technical finesse, and engaging personality has secured his place as one of the most sought-after cellists today. Praised for his "virtuoso technique, strong, richly expressive tone and bold, individual manner of playing" (Gramophone Magazine), Bailey is a consummate concerto soloist. He has performed with the symphony orchestras of Chicago, San Francisco, Minnesota, Dallas, Louisville, Milwaukee, Nashville, Toronto and Utah, and with prominent orchestras around the world. His appearances include the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, and Carnegie Hall, where he made his debut performing the U.S. premiere of Miklos Theodorakis' Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra. ?
Among Zuill Bailey's many orchestral appearances in the 2013/14 season include the orchestras of Detroit, Columbus, Portland, Spokane, Greenville, Harrisburg, Kalamazoo, Reno, Roanoke and Winston-Salem to name few. He will perform the Bach solo cello suites at the Mesa Arts Center, appears at the Calgary Pro Musica with the Ying Quartet, and with the National Philharmonic at Strathmore he performs the Schumann concerto and in recital with pianist Navah Perelman. In addition to his extensive touring engagements, Bailey is Artistic Director of the El Paso Pro Musica (Texas), the Sitka Summer Music Festival and Series (Alaska), the Northwest Bach Festival (Washington), and is Professor of Cello at the University of Texas at El Paso.
The North Carolina Symphony is a vital part of the state's cultural life, and demonstrates a broad and masterful musical identity in all its pursuits. Its wide-ranging repertoire showcases the staples of the classical canon, examines contemporary music, and highlights collaborations with performers ranging from violinists to banjo players to rock bands. Along with playing a full season of performances at its home in Raleigh, the North Carolina Symphony travels extensively each year to bring concerts to communities across the state. Equally important in its 81-year history is the orchestra's commitment to education. Unrivaled by any U.S. orchestra for its work in education, the Symphony annually serves more than 50,000 students, and provides dozens of free curriculum-based concerts for schoolchildren throughout the state as well as other educational initiatives. Each year Symphony musicians give more than 175 performances as the orchestra serves more than 250,000 citizens and travels 18,000 miles across the state. As it celebrates Maestro Grant Llewellyn's 10th Anniversary Season as Music Director, the North Carolina Symphony continues to pursue its commitment to providing visionary performances and touching the lives of North Carolina citizens young and old.
With her consistently striking and dynamic performances, Russian-born pianist NATASHA PAREMSKI reveals astounding virtuosity and voracious interpretive abilities. She continues to generate excitement from all corners as she wins over audiences with her musical sensibility and flawless technique.
Grant Llewellyn is known throughout the world as a musician of great talent, versatility and passion. Born in Tenby, South Wales, Llewellyn won a conducting fellowship to the Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts in 1985 where he worked with Bernstein, Ozawa, Masur and Previn. Llewellyn began his tenure as North Carolina Symphony Music Director in 2004.
To date, Llewellyn has held positions with three European orchestras: principal conductor of the Royal Flanders Philharmonic, principal guest conductor of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and associate guest conductor with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Recent guest engagements include the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, Northern Sinfonia, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Llewellyn has conducted many orchestras in North America, most notably the symphonies of Atlanta, Boston, Houston, Montreal, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Toronto. As Music Director of the Handel and Haydn Society, America's leading period orchestra, Llewellyn gained a reputation as a formidable interpreter of music of the Baroque and classical periods.
An accomplished opera conductor, Llewellyn has appeared at the opera companies of English National Opera (The Magic Flute) and the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, where his repertoire has ranged from Handel's Radamisto to Alexander Goehr's Arianna. In 2001 he embarked on collaboration with acclaimed Chinese director Chen Shi-Zheng in a production of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas at Spoleto Festival, USA. In 2003 Llewellyn made his debut with Opera North in a new production of Massenet's Manon, while in June 2005 he conducted the finals of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, one of the world's most prestigious singing competitions. His most recent opera project was a semi-staged production of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro with the North Carolina Symphony.