Emerson String Quartet, Vladimir Jurowski and Mitsuko Uchida Named Amongst The New York Times Best Classical Performances of 2023

7 Dec 2023

The New York Times has released their list of the best classical performances of the year.

Honouring the Emerson String Quartet’s farewell season, Zachary Woolfe writes:

“After nearly a half-century of warm, vibrant performances and definitive recordings, this classic American ensemble bid farewell at Alice Tully Hall in October. Its former cellist, David Finckel, joined for Schubert’s Cello Quintet, an ideal finale; even more moving was Beethoven’s Opus 130 quartet, its rending Cavatina led by the violinist Eugene Drucker with end-of-journey vulnerability. The afternoon reminded me of Michael Tilson Thomas, living with brain cancer and conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Mahler’s all-encompassing Ninth Symphony in January; and of another maestro, Riccardo Muti, closing his tenure as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in June with Beethoven’s radiantly dignified “Missa Solemnis.” (Read our feature on Emerson’s farewell.)” Click here to read The New York Times feature on Emerson String Quartet.

Joshua Barone highlights Mitsuko Uchida, writing:

“With so much music to take in on any given evening — especially premieres — it can be easy to take stalwarts for granted. For example, I went into a recent trio recital by the pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, the violinist Lisa Batiashvili and the cellist Gautier Capuçon with few expectations, only to be impressed by one of the most exhilarating chamber concerts of the year. The starkest reminder of why we shouldn’t write off standard repertoire revisited by veterans, though, was Mitsuko Uchida’s Carnegie Hall performance in February, of Beethoven’s final three piano sonatas: Time-earned, multidimensional clarity gave way to cosmic transcendence.” (Read the full review)

Barone also celebrates General Music Director Vladimir Jurowski and Bayerische Staatsoper’s new production Prokofiev’s War and Peace. He writes:

“When Russia invaded Ukraine, the Bavarian State Opera had already been planning a new production of Prokofiev’s Soviet-era, propagandistic adaptation of Tolstoy’s epic. The house was faced with a difficult decision: to push ahead despite controversy or to postpone and feed President Vladimir V. Putin’s claims of Russia’s culture being canceled in the West. The company went ahead with a brilliantly interpreted, smartly abridged production that proved a triumph for its music director, Vladimir Jurowski, and the director Dmitri Tcherniakov, both Russian-born, who made the work a fervently anti-nationalist statement that turned Russian history against its leader.” (Read the full review.)

Mitsuko Uchida is managed in association with Enticott Music Management; Vladimir Jurowski is managed in association with Nicholas Mathias Ltd.

Photos: Emerson String Quartet – Jürgen Frank; Vladimir Jurowski – Simon Pauly; Mitsuko Uchida – Justin Pumfrey