Brahms Beloved: Additional Information and Media


John Axelrod, conductor/piano

With an extraordinarily diverse repertoire, innovative programming and charismatic performance style, John Axelrod continues to increase his profile as one of today's leading conductors and is sought after by orchestras throughout the world.

After successful tenures as Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Theater, and as Music Director of the l'Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire (ONPL), John Axelrod was appointed in 2011 as Principal Conductor of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi.

Mr. Axelrod has conducted over 150 orchestras, including Berlin's Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester, NDR Hamburg Symphony, Gurzenich-Orchester Koln, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Dresdner Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de Lyon, Royal Philharmonic of London, London Philharmonic, London Philharmonia, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Orchestra Filarmonica del Teatro La Fenice, Orchestra del Teatro San Carlo di Napoli, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Orchestra, National Philharmonic of Russia, Toronto Symphony, Gulbenkian Symphony Lisbon, Salzburg Mozarteum, Camerata Salzburg, Sinfonia Varsovia, and the Warsaw Philharmonic among many others. His international profile as guest conductor in the US and Asia features engagements with the National Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, Kyoto Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan and the Shanghai Symphony.

His opera activity includes the premiere performances of Bernstein's Candide in 2006 at Paris's Theatre du Chatelet and in 2007 Milano's Teatro alla Scala. In past seasons, Mr. Axelrod has conducted Tristan and Isolde for Angers/Nantes Opera, and Rigoletto, The Rake's Progress, Don Giovanni, the Three Penny Opera, Falstaff and Idomeneo all for the Lucerne Festival. Upcoming opera performances include Eugene Onegin for Teatro San Carlo in Naples.

As Principal guest conductor of Sinfonietta Cracovia from 2001-2009, Mr. Axelrod has appeared in Europe's leading concert halls, seen on ARTE television, and performed on the grounds of Auschwitz in the Emmy Award winning 2007 BBC Holocaust Memorial Film.

From 2009- 2012, Mr. Axelrod was Music Director of the "Hollywood in Vienna" Film Music Gala Concert with the ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna.

In 2009, Mr. Axelrod toured Europe and the USA at the specific invitation of Lang Lang and Herbie Hancock, and, after its success, reprised the tour in Paris at Salle Pleyel and Teatro alla Scala in 2011, and recorded with the London Symphony for Sony Classical.

Mr. Axelrod has recorded core and contemporary repertoire with such artists as Veronique Gens, Rachel Kolly d'Alba, Martin Grubinger, Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Dietrich Henschel, among others, for such labels as Sony Classical, Warner Classics, Ondine, Universal, Naive and Nimbus. This Brahms cycle represents his debut on Telarc.

Mr. Axelrod graduated in 1988 from Harvard University. Trained by and in the tradition of Leonard Bernstein, he also studied with the American Symphony Orchestra League conductors program and at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with Ilya Musin.


Nicole Cabell, soprano

Nicole Cabell attended the Eastman School of Music and the Ryan Opera Center before winning the 2005 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition.  She has recorded solo and ensemble albums with Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Delos, Opera Rara and Blue Griffin.  Ms. Cabell has appeared with many of the world’s leading opera companies including the Metropolitan Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and San Francisco Opera.  Her symphonic engagements include the New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Rome’s Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  


Indra Thomas, soprano

Considered one of the foremost Aidas in the world today, Ms. Thomas has appeared at many of the world’s great opera houses, such as the Metropolitan Opera and the Vienna State Opera. Among numerous top orchestras with which she has appeared are the New York Philharmonic, the London Symphony and Leipzig’s Gewandhaus.

In the wake of her professional debut at Carnegie Hall in Messa di Requiem by Verdi, she soon blossomed into one of the world’s truly great operatic and concert sopranos, with a particular affinity for Verdi roles.

Ms. Thomas has graced several famous music festivals, to include the London Proms, Bregenz Festspiele, Choregies, d’Orange and Festival International de Musique de Colmar; she has toured widely, and has been featured in many radio and television broadcasts. Her signature Verdi roles are in Aida, Il Trovatore, Un Ballo in Maschera, Don Carlo and La Forza del Destion – as well as the Requiem. She has also appeared to great acclaim in operas by Puccini, Wagner, Mozart and Bellini. She has recorded for NPR, as well as the LSO Live and Naxos labels; her work has garnered both an Emmy and a Grammy nomination.


Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi

Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, generally known as laVerdi, was founded in 1993 by Vladimir Delman. Since then the Orchestra developped its repertoire under prestigious conductors such as Riccardo Chailly, Georges PrÍtre, Riccardo Muti, Valery Gergiev, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Neville Marriner,  and playing with soloists such as Martha Argerich, Mstislav Rostropovic, Vadim Repin, Hilary Hahn, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Nelson Freire, Rachel Kolly d'Alba, and others…

From 1999 to 2005 Riccardo Chailly, now Conductor Laureate, was Music Director and led the Orchestra to major achievements and prestigious international tours (Europe, Asia, America). Under his baton the Orchestra also started an intense recording activity with major international artists and recording labels (more than 25 CDs so far). “Verdi Heroines”, with Angela Georghiu, won in 2000 the Gramophone Award, the Classic FM People's Choice and the Choc de l'Annee. The CD of Verdi's “Messa Solenne”, with the Chorus conducted by Romano Gandolfi, was nominated for the 2001 Gramophone Awards while the CD “Rossini's Arias” with Juan Diego Florez, with whom the orchestra recorded also “Una furtiva lacrima”,  had  a large success of audience.  On February 1st 2010 the CD "Verismo Arias" with Renee Fleming conducted by Marco Armiliato and produced by Decca, won the prestigious "Grammy Award” for best classical vocal performance.

Carlo Maria Giulini and Rudolf Barshai have been Conductor Emeritus. Starting from the Season 2008/2009 Wayne Marshall and Helmut Rilling are Principal Guest Conductors. The horn player Radovan Vlatkovic and the pianist Simone Pedroni have been nominated Artists in Residence. From 2009 Xian Zhang is Music Director and Ruben Jais Resident Conductor. Season 2011/2012 marked the debut of John Axelrod as Principal Conductor.

LaVerdi won a special achievement award for its recordings while hosting the International Classical Music Awards in March 2013.  LaVerdi has also performed the Brahms Symphonies every season since its founding, and therefore has a deep tradition in playing Brahms' music.  This Brahms cycle represents their debut for Telarc.



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