Orchestre Philharmonique de Montreal – Gunther Herbig, guest Cond. Susan Dunn, Sop. – Aug. 18, 1986 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Heading up the Canada this week for a historic concert featuring Orchestre Philharmonique de Montreal, guest conducted by Gunther Herbig and featuring Soprano Susan Dunn in the Four Last Songs of Richard Strauss.
Completing the concert is Schumann’s 3rd Symphony, and starting the concert is a performance of Verklärte Nacht by Arnold Schoenberg. Good music making all around.
Here’s a bio on Gunther Herbig, via Naxos – pretty informative, if you aren’t already familiar:
Günther Herbig divides his activities between Europe and North America. His conducting career has been equally distinguished on both continents. In 1984 he moved from East Germany to the United States and served for ten years as Music Director first of the Detroit and later of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Herbig’s musical training took place in Central Europe where he studied with Herman Abendroth, Herbert von Karajan and Hermann Scherchen. He began his career with appointments in the East German cities of Weimar and Potsdam. In 1972 he was named General Music Director of the Dresden Philharmonic and held the same post with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra from 1977 to 1983. Turning to Western Europe he became Principle Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic in 1979. Soon he was invited to conduct such major ensembles as the London Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva, the Residentie Orkest in The Hague and the Israel Philharmonie. In the United States he started in 1979 as Principle Guest Conductor of the Dallas Symphony and has since conducted the Orchestras of New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, San Francisco and Los Angeles amongst numerous others. He has toured America several times with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and in 1989 conducted the orchestra on a European tour. In 1991 he led the Toronto Symphony to Europe after having toured with them extensively in the United States, Australia, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan.
Günther Herbig has made nearly forty recordings with the leading East German orchestras, including cycles of Haydn and Brahms symphonies. His most recent releases include Beethoven’s Third Symphony and Fifth Symphony, Schubert’s Eighth Symphony, Brahms’s First Symphony, Mahler’s Fifth Symphony and Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben with the BBC Philharmonic, and other recordings with London orchestras. From 2001 to 2006 he was the Chief Conductor of the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra with which he also recorded.
And a few words about the soloist, Susan Dunn:
Dunn began her professional performing career in the early 1980s appearing in operas with good regional companies in the United States. She made her professional debut in 1982 in the title role of Verdi’s Aida with the Peoria Civic Opera. After winning several major awards and competitions, Dunn’s career began to take off. In 1985 she sang Sieglinde in Die Walküre at Carnegie Hall. In 1986, Dunn made her debut at Avery Fisher Hall with Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic as the soprano soloist in a production of Verdi’s Requiem. That same year she made her European debut as Hélène in Les vêpres siciliennes at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna and her debut at La Scala as Aida.
In 1987, Dunn made her debut with Cincinnati Opera as Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello. Dunn reprised the role the following year in her debut with Opera Australia. Dunn made several other debuts in 1988 including the role of Leonora in Verdi’s Il trovatore with San Diego Opera, Leonora in Verdi’s La forza del destino with Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Elisabetta in Verdi’s Don Carlo with Dallas Opera. Dunn also sang with James Conlon and the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale at the 1988 Edinburgh International Festival. In 1989, Dunn made her debut with the Vienna State Opera as Amelia in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera and reprised the role later that year in her debut with the Houston Grand Opera. Dunn also recorded Verdi’s Requiem with Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony that year which went on to win a Grammy Award.
In 1990, Dunn made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera as Leonora in Verdi’s Il trovatore and her Carnegie Hall debut with the Opera Orchestra of New York as Elena in Verdi’s I vespri siciliani. In 1991, Dunn made her Cologne Opera debut as Amelia in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra. In 1992, Dunn made her debut at London’s Albert Hall with the London Symphony Orchestra. Dunn continued to be a prominent figure on the opera stage until the mid-1990s when she decided to take a teaching position at Duke University. Dunn has appeared with other notable companies such as the San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera and Pittsburgh Opera.
Dunn has also performed with several notable orchestras including the Orchestre de Paris, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, and the Minnesota Orchestra among others.
Dunn has performed at several notable music festivals including the Tanglewood Festival, the Cincinnati May Festival, the Ravinia Festival, Wolf Trap, the Casals Festival, the Festival Saint Denis and the Northwest Chamber Music Festival among others.
Dunn has worked with some of the world’s best conductors, including Sir Georg Solti, Riccardo Chailly, Claudio Abbado, James Conlon, Lorin Maazel, Seiji Ozawa, Edo de Waart, Zubin Mehta and Daniel Barenboim among others.
Throughout her career, Dunn has performed as a solo recitalist and chamber musician singing at such places as Avery Fisher Hall and Lincoln Center among others.
In 1994, Dunn was appointed to Duke University’s music department as a professor of the practice. Although she still performs professionally, she spends most of her time heading the university’s vocal music program and directing its opera division.
Crank it up, grab a comfy chair and relax. Cocktails are an option.