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67th CONCERT SEASON 2023-2024 • Symphonic Adventures


Friday, October 27, 2023 • 8pm | Armenian Cultural Centre Concert Hall • 50 Hallcrown Place Toronto


Celebrate the “Cycle of our Earth” in this exciting environmentally conscious concert! Award winning Armenian virtuoso violinist Saténik Khourdoïan joins OP in a sizzling program that creatively mixes the two most significant works dedicated to the earth’s seasons: including arguably classical music’s greatest hit, Vivaldi’s "The Four Seasons", and Argentinean tango legend Astor Piazzolla’s masterwork, “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires” • OP and Music Director Marco Parisotto are pleased to welcome Myron Michailidis, Greece's premiere conductor, in his Canadian podium debut.
A production of Ontario Philharmonic in association with Almazian Productions.
Le Quattro Stagioni (THE FOUR SEASONS)
Saténik Khourdoian, violin soloist
Berd Dance, for string orchestra
Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (THE FOUR SEASONS OF BUENOS AIRES) (arr. Leonid Desyatnikov)
Saténik Khourdoian, violin soloist

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Widely regarded as one of the most important Greek conductors, Maestro Myron Michailidis is currently General Music Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra and Theatre Erfurt, Germany, as well as the very first Artistic Director of the new Heraklion Cultural and Conference Center in Greece.

Appointed “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Republic in 2016, Michailidis served as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Greek National Opera from 2011 to 2017. His contributions to the institution’s achievements and successes were honoured with the Society of Friends of the Greek National Opera’s prestigious “Apollo Award” in his final year. Maestro Michailidis’ conducting style is characterized as impassioned and vivid, yet authoritative, allowing him to deliver outstanding dynamic control as well as wide-ranging musical expression. The Greek Critics Award bestowed upon him “Honourable Award for Music and Theatre”. Prior to his tenure as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of The Greek National Opera, Michailidis was Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra, a post he held from 2004 to 2011. From 1999 to 2004 he further served as Permanent Conductor at the Eastern Saxony Opera in Germany.

With a repertoire spanning over 250 symphonic works and 40 operas ranging from the Baroque to the Contemporary, Maestro Michailidis is particularly known for his interpretations of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, as well as the operatic works by Verdi, Puccini, Gounod and Wagner. Throughout the years, Michailidis has collaborated with internationally distinguished musicians such as Paul Badura-Skoda, Salvatore Accardo, Cyprien Katsaris, Aldo Ciccolini, Ivo Pogorelich, Lars Vogt, Shlomo Mintz, Misha Maisky, Vadim Repin, Martino Tirimo, June Anderson, Cheryl Studer, Paata Burchuladze, Fazil Say and Barry Douglas, among many others.

He has conducted some of the most renowned orchestras throughout Germany, China, Israel, Italy, Czech Republic, Russia, Mexico, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, Portugal, Taiwan, including the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Rome Symphonic Orchestra, Shanghai Opera House Orchestra, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Bucharest National Opera, Staatsorchester Braunschweig, Philharmonisches Orchester Erfurt, Astrakhan Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra della Fondazione Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi di Trieste, George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, Mexico State Orchestra, Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as all of the major orchestras in Greece. While with the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra, Michailidis led concerts at various festivals in Greece as well as abroad. In December 2007, during the celebration events of the Cultural Year of Greece in China, he took the Orchestra on tour to Beijing China, host of the 2008 Olympic Games.

Maestro Michailidis has conducted numerous opera productions at opera houses, festivals and on international tours. Over the years, he has performed with some of the finest singers, stage directors and set designers. He has further led numerous spectacular productions at the legendary Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens. In2015 his production of Gounod’s Faust with Eric Cutler, Alexia Voulgaridou, Paata Burchuladze and Dimitri Platanias, directed by Renato Zanella, marked the Greek National Opera’s first DVD release. In 2017 he led a production of La Fille du Régiment at Shanghai Grand Theatre. As Theater Erfurt’s new General Music Director, he has conducted new productions of Carmen (2018), Aida (2019),Rimsky-Korsakov’s Tale of Tsar Saltan (2019), Lohengrin (2020) and Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor (2020), as well as performances of Lehar’s Merry Widow (2019). Upcoming productions with Theater Erfurt scheduled for the 2021/22 season include Manon Lescaut and Luisa Miller as well as a new production of Nabucco. In March of 2021 Michailidis was scheduled to conduct Norma at The Göteborg Opera, a production that unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

A prolific recording artist, Michailidis’ 2012 EMI Classics recording of Beethoven’s 3rd and 4th piano concertos with the legendary French-Italian pianist Aldo Ciccolini received exceptional international acclaim. His recording of works by the Italian composer Ildebrando Pizzetti for Naxos, including several world premieres, earned Michailidis stellar reviews with five Diapasons by the French magazine in 2009, and several awards. Two years prior, his first Naxos CD featuring Theodore Kerkezos and works by 20th century Greek composers such as Mikis Theodorakis, Nikos Skalkottas, Theodore Antoniou, Manos Hadjidakis, Minas Alexiadis and Vassilis Tenidis won the Pizzicato Classics “Supersonic Award” and two Grammy Award nominations.

Following his piano studies with Dimitris Toufexis in Athens, Michailidis studied conducting with Hans-Martin Rabenstein at the Universität der Künste Berlin, and participated in Master Classes by Miltiadis Karydis and Simon Rattle. He also holds a law degree from the University of Athens.


"A personality, an impeccable technique, a musical sensitivity that has something to say with her bow, with her fingering of a rare subtlety, with her heart. For Saténik focuses on the deep meaning of the works she interprets rather than on virtuosity, which she is naturally endowed with." Nice Matin

Saténik Khourdoïan has performed in France and abroad in such prestigious venues as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Jerusalem Music Center, Salle Pleyel, Salle Cortot, Salle Gaveau, Cité de la Musique in Paris, Theâtre du Châtelet, Olivier Messiaen hall of Radio France, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Opéra de Marseille, State Opera of Yerevan, Festival de la Roque d'Anthéron, Festival de la Grange de Meslay, Festival de Nohant, Violon sur le sable, Festival de Beaulieu sur Mer, Salle Puccini in Milan.

As soloist, she performed with Nordwestdeutsche Phliharmonie, conducted by Frank Beermann, La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra in Brussels, conducted by Alain Altinoglu and Hartmut Haenchen, Orchestre de Pau Pays de Béarn, conducted by Fayçal Karoui, Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio France conducted by Juraj Valcuha, at the Festival "Antibes Génération Virtuoses " with Philharmonic Orchestra of Cannes, conducted by Philippe Bender, Philharmonic Orchestra of Marseille, conducted by Friederich Pleyer, and  Philharmonic Orchestra of Yerevan, conducted by Ruben Asatryan.
After training under Jean Ter-Merguerian at Marseille Conservatory, she entered Paris Conservatory in the class of Jean-Jacques Kantorow. This young violinist, named "Classical Revelation of Adami 2009", won in November 2008 the Fourth Prize of the Long Thibaud Competition and three special prizes (Audience Prize, SACEM and Gaby Pasquier). In February 2008, she received a Second Prize at the YCA in New York and is also the winner of the Aram Khtachatourian Competition in Yerevan, in 2006.  Saténik Khourdoïan is a laureate of the Fondation d'entreprise Groupe Banque Populaire and plays a violin by G.B.Gadagnini, on loan from the Zilber Foundation.

This young artist is since 2013 the Konzertmeisterin of the Orchestre Symphonique de la Monnaie, in Brussels.

In demand in chamber music repertoire, as orchestra Solo violin or as a Solo performer, Ms. Khourdoïan never ceases renewing her repertoire and on stage, her partners are Gilles Apap, Laurent Korcia, Alexander Gurning, Emmanuel Rossfelder, Sarah Nemtanu, Lise Berthaud, Florent Boffard, André Cazalet, Alain Altinoglu, Emmanuel Ceysson, Claire Désert, Nathalie Manfrino and Jean-Marc Phillips Varjabédian.Her first CD with pianist Alexander Gurning, dedicated to the composers E.Ysaye, G.Fauré and C.Saint-Saens was released in April 2018 for the Outhere Music-Fuga Libera label to high critical acclaim.
Her CD dedicated to P.I. Tchaikovsky as a soloist with La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alain Altinoglu, was released for the same label in 2021 and received five diapasons from Diapason magazine.

by John Green

RUBEN ALTUNYAN (1939-2021)
Berd Dance (Kochari)

Born in 1939, Ruben Altunyan is one of the best-known contemporary Armenian composers. Following graduation in viola he taught music at the Yerevan Conservatory for 40 years. The catalogue of his works is impressive: concertos, symphonies, chamber music, and many transcriptions of popular songs.
Berd Dance is based on the “kochari”, a favourite dance popularized by Armenian people for over a thousand years. It is danced in groups where the dancers sometimes climb on one another’s shoulders.
The composition is a work for string orchestra infused with impulsive and feverish rhythms which, preceded by a moment of calm, culminates into a thrilling finale.

The Four Seasons

For virtually all of his 63 years Antonio Vivaldi suffered from what today would likely be diagnosed as asthma. Although keenly interested in wind instruments, his symptoms prevented him from learning to play them, a condition that encouraged him instead to pick up the violin. It turned out to be a fortuitous turn of fate; during his lifetime he authored hundreds of spirited string works and is today widely recognized as the master of the Baroque instrumental concerto.The beginning of his impressive compositional output can be traced to 1693, the year—at age 15—when he began studies for the priesthood. An abundance of strawberry-red hair and a penchant for red robes earned him the nickname The Red Priest. Yet, in spite of his ordainment in 1703, he was excluded from tending his congregation’s needs due to his poor health; instead, what followed was a period of prodigious composition.
Over the years, there have been countless musical interpretations representing Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. A few have survived the scrutiny of history; many more have fallen into obscurity. None have ever reached the pinnacle of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
Most of Vivaldi’s music follows a predictable fast-slow-fast pattern of imitative counterpoint, typically an Italian musical style of the period. The four concertos, each consisting of three movements, fall neatly into this pattern and have become one of the most instantly recognizable sets of classical music—so recognizable, in fact, that in 1999 the British Magazine The Radio Times listed The Four Seasons as “number one on the list of the most popular pieces of classical music of all time”.
Each concerto is dedicated to the text of a sonnet. Speculation says that the poems were written by Vivaldi himself. Evidence for this theory is that each sonnet consists of three parts that closely shadow each movement in each concerto. Further evidence points to the fact that Vivaldi took careful pains to relate the music strictly to the text. “The barking dog” in the second movement of Spring; “Languor caused by the heat” in the first movement of Summer; and “The drunkards have fallen asleep” in the second movement of Autumn all stand as examples of this adherence. An interesting end note is a quote from Russian composer and conductor Igor Stravinsky. When asked about Vivaldi’s music he remarked, tongue-in-cheek, “Vivaldi did not write 500 concertos, he wrote the same concerto 500 times.”

The Four Seasons

Originally titled The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, Piazzolla’s four tangos were composed over a six-year period between 1964 and 1970. Inspired by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, the pieces were intended as separate compositions rather than an entire suite; however, over time, the composer himself began performing them as a single piece. In contrast to Vivaldi’s vividly pictorial Seasons, the Buenos Aires tangos are more general creations that represent the changing seasons in the composer’s beloved Argentina.
The tangos are without doubt Piazzolla’s most popular and impressive compositions, published in 1968 for solo piano and later transcribed for piano and strings and it was given its most popular guise for violin solo and strings by Ukrainian-Russian composer Leonid Desyatnikov (version performed on this program). The order of their presentation follows the normal yearly cycle of Otoño (Autumn); Invierno (Winter); Primavera (Spring); and Verano (Summer)—quite different from Vivaldi’s order. According to Willard Hertz, music scholar and critic, “Each tango is a unique blending of syncopations of the dance, Bach-like counterpoint, touches of Romantic and Impressionistic music, and jazz.”