Cyrus Chestnut first studied piano with his father at the age of five, with official lessons beginning two years later. By the age of nine, he was enrolled in the prep program at the Peabody Institute. He graduated from Berklee with a degree in jazz composition and arranging. Chestnut took his time, working with a number of top-notch musicians (Jon Hendricks, Betty Carter, Terence Blanchard, and Donald Harrison) before finally recording his first solo CD at the age of 30. Chestnut enjoys mixing styles and resists being typecast in any one niche, though his gospel sound is apparent on a number of his recordings.
Liszt wrote the "Consolations" on poems by Saint-Beuve in the year 1849. Compared with other piano pieces by Liszt, these are relatively easy to play, and this had made them accessible to a wider circle of pianists. The first performance of the "Concerto No. 1 in C major" took place on April 2nd 1800 in Vienna, with Beethoven himself as soloist. All Chopin's waltzes are typical of the new piano style he created which was taken up but not continued by Liszt. One can recognise in the "Symphonie Fantastique" a reflection of the heart-stirring experiences which at the time were affecting Berlioz very deeply: his glowing love for the Irish actress Harriet Smithson, who was worshipped by the whole of Paris in 1827 for her performances of Ophelia and Juliet.
Gustav Mahlers 8th Symphony breaks the boundaries of the symphonic form in a world-embracing gesture. Riccardo Chailly is one of the staunchest performers of this work, and therefore it seemed appropriate in many ways that he chose this work for his inaugural concert as Claudio Abbados successor and new music director of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. The artistic statement was combined with a deeply personal conviction: it should be a 'tribute to Claudio', the highly esteemed friend and colleague to whom Chailly, as he emphasizes, owes very much. On 12 August 2016, Claudio Abbados unfinished Mahler cycle with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra was completed in a breathtaking performance of the Mahler 8th, simultaneously heralding in a new era in Lucerne.