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National Sponsor, The Habsburgs: Rarely Seen Masterpieces from Europe’s Greatest Dynasty

Bank of America is pleased to be the national sponsor of The Habsburgs: Rarely Seen Masterpieces from Europe’s Greatest Dynasty, on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts from February 15 to May 10, 2015.

The Habsburgs offers a rare opportunity to see the exquisite masterpieces and opulent personal belongings of an influential royal family whose reign spanned nearly 600 years, and shaped the world as we know it today. The Habsburgs were one of the principal dynasties of Europe from the fifteenth to the twentieth century. The exhibition showcases important works of art and rare objects from the collection of the Habsburg Dynasty—the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and other powerful rulers who commissioned extraordinary artworks now in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. For American audiences, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to peek inside the chambers of one of the most important imperial art collections in the world. The exhibition, largely composed of works that have never traveled outside of Austria, will be on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA); the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH); and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

The Habsburgs explores the dramatic rise and fall of the royal family’s global empire, from their political ascendance in the late Middle Ages to the height of their power in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the expansion of the dynasty in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to its decline in 1918 at the end of World War I.

Some families have fought, others have intrigued their way to world power; the Habsburgs married their way up. They began with Austria and then married the Netherlands, Burgundy, the duchy of Milan, Sicily and finally Spain, including all its territories in the Americas. 

The 93 artworks and artifacts that tell the story include arms and armor, sculpture, Greek and Roman antiquities, court costumes, carriages, decorative art objects, and paintings by such masters as Correggio, Giorgione, Rubens, Tintoretto, Titian, and Velázquez. Key masterpieces that have never before traveled to the United States include The Crowning with Thorns (c. 1602/1604) by Caravaggio; A portrait of Jane Seymour (1536), Queen of England and third wife to Henry VIII, by Hans Holbein the Younger; and Jupiter and Io (c. 1530/32) by Correggio.

The Habsburgs chronicles the story in three chapters, each featuring a three-dimensional “tableau”—a display of objects from the Habsburgs’ opulent court ceremonies—as context for the other works on view. By bringing together the Habsburgs’ paintings, decorative arts, costumes, and armor, visitors have a rich, tangible, and fascinating sense of the lives and legacies of these important European rulers. The exhibition shows the extraordinarily wide range of the Habsburgs’ collections, including works of Roman antiquity, medieval armory, early modern painting and craftwork, as well as magnificent carriages and clothing.

The first section features objects commissioned or collected by the Habsburgs from the thirteenth through the sixteenth centuries. In this late medieval/early Renaissance period, Habsburg rulers staged elaborate commemorative celebrations to demonstrate power and to establish their legitimacy to rule, a tradition that flourished during the reigns of Maximilian I and his heirs. Works from this era—including sabers and armor, tapestries, Roman cameos, and large-scale paintings—illustrate the significance of war and patronage in expanding Habsburg influence and prestige. 

The second and largest section of the exhibition highlights the apex of Habsburg rule, the Baroque Age of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The dynasty used religion, works of art, and court festivities to propagate its self-image and claim to rule during this politically tumultuous time. Paintings by Europe’s leading artists demonstrate the wealth and taste of the Habsburg rulers, while crucifixes wrought in precious metals and gems, as well as sumptuous ecclesiastical vestments, reflect the emperor’s role as defender of the Catholic faith.

The exhibition concludes with works from the early nineteenth century, when the fall of the Holy Roman Empire gave rise to the hereditary Austrian Empire—a transition from the ancien régime to a modern state in which merit determined distinction and advancement. Franz Joseph, who would reign longer than any previous Habsburg, saw the growth of nationalism and ultimately ruled over the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary. As heir to the Habsburg legacy—and in the spirit of public education and enrichment—he founded the Kunsthistorisches Museum in 1891. Reflecting the modernization of the Habsburg administration, the exhibition ends with a spectacular display of official court uniforms and dresses.

Global Sponsor, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Rich in tradition, innovative in vision

Founded in 1891, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is widely regarded as one of the world's greatest orchestras. Bank of America has partnered with the CSO for more than a decade, becoming the Global Sponsor in the historic 2010/11 season, when Maestro Riccardo Muti began his tenure as music director. As Global Sponsor, we have embarked on the most significant sponsorship in CSO history, providing unprecedented support for the orchestra’s concerts and events at home and abroad. The CSO’s dynamic season is complemented by performances by the world’s most esteemed artists from all cultures and in all genres.

The CSO is a leader in music education and community engagement, offering some of the most innovative programs of any United States orchestra. The CSO’s Institute for Learning, Access and Training offers twenty programs that reach more than 200,000 people each year – fostering children’s cognitive development and creative growth, offering training to young musicians and providing access for all.

Acclaimed worldwide, the CSO has performed sold-out concerts on five continents during more than thirty international tours. CSO radio broadcasts reach twenty million listeners each year via 260 terrestrial stations, satellite radio and Web download. The CSO has earned 62 Grammy® Awards, more than any other individual or ensemble in history. In 2007, the orchestra launched its own record label, CSO Resound. Recordings on this label have won four Grammy® Awards, including Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance and Best Choral Performance.

In addition, the CSO is featured on the soundtrack to the film Lincoln, from DreamWorks Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox, in association with Participant Media, and directed by Steven Spielberg. The CSO, along with members of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, recorded renowned composer John Williams’ original score at Orchestra Hall in Chicago in May 2012.

To mark the 200th birthday of Giuseppe Verdi on October 10, 2013, The CSO and the Chicago Symphony Chorus, featuring Music Director and Maestro Riccardo Muti, considered among the greatest Verdi conductors of our time, live-streamed a celebratory performance of the composer’s passionate and transformative masterpiece, Requiem Mass, to a worldwide audience.

As part of its season-long celebration of Austro-German Masters from Bach to Bruckner, featuring a body of chamber, symphonic, vocal and operatic works from composers including Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Mahler and Bruckner, the 2014/15 season launched with Maestro Muti conducting Beethoven’s formidable Symphony No. 9.

The 2014/15 season also features The Complete Symphonies of Tchaikovsky and a Celebration of Scriabin, ten programs exploring the distinctive styles of two nineteenth-century Russian composers. Beginning with a free community concert on September 19 in Chicago’s Millennium Park, the CSO performed Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, along with The Tempest and the Suite from The Sleeping Beauty.

In October 2014, the CSO embarked on its thirty-second European tour, including a debut in Warsaw, Poland, and two concerts in Paris, and culminating with a weeklong residency in Vienna with four performances, including Verdi’s Requiem.

Another focus throughout the season will be on French composers. From Berlioz to Boulez: Color and Sensuality traces a nation’s search for a musical identity, from the precision of the Renaissance and Baroque to the modernism of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. A three-week festival in May titled Reveries and Passions and led by Esa-Pekka Salonen will feature dramatic and operatic works by Ravel and Debussy and highlight the themes of beauty, fantasy and the dark of night.

Major support for The Met: HD Live in Schools
The thrill of live opera for teachers and students

Major funding for The Met: HD Live in Schools  is made possible by Bank of America, with program support provided through a partnership with the New York City Department of Education. This nationwide initiative that provides students, teachers, and administrators with educational resources tied to select live transmissions of Metropolitan Opera performances, will connect with more students and teachers in its seventh season than ever before.

Since the program launched nationally in 2008, it has reached more than 55,000 students across the United States. The program, which uses opera to teach music, theater, history, and English Language Arts, will reach students in 36 school districts across the country and five New York City high schools. In-class workshops prepare students to attend live movie theater transmissions of operas, direct from the Met stage, and make connections between the operas and other subjects in the school curriculum.

This season’s featured operas include Lehár’s The Merry Widow, Rossini’s La Donna del Lago and Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana / Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, as well as revivals of Verdi’s Macbeth and Bizet’s Carmen

Each opera was chosen based on a combination of factors, including the opera’s applicability to the general curriculum, scheduling with school calendars and entertainment value for young audiences.

Season Sponsor, Carnegie Hall
The world’s most famous concert hall

Bank of America is the proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall. Carnegie Hall features the world’s finest orchestras, chamber ensembles and recitalists, as well as pop, world and jazz artists, along with new music and special commissions. 

Carnegie Hall’s mission is to present extraordinary music and musicians on the three stages of this legendary hall, to bring the transformative power of music to the widest possible audience, to provide visionary education programs, and to foster the future of music through the cultivation of new works, artists, and audiences.

Bank of America also supports Carnegie Hall’s educational program, Carnegie Hall’s Musical Exchange. The program provides a global online community where young musicians (ages 13-25) connect with each other, share their musical performances, and participate in groups and projects led by professional artists from Carnegie Hall. Musical Exchange focuses on musical sharing, creativity, and international collaboration. Young musicians from all over the world - all levels and all musical styles - are invited to join the community.

Highlights from the 2014/15 season include UBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa, a celebration of the nation’s cultural and linguistic diversity. Ubuntu translates as “I am because you are,” reflecting South Africans’ belief in the importance of community, reconciliation and inclusion. The festival, dedicated to Nelson Mandela’s legacy, extends throughout New York, with events at leading cultural institutions that include music, film, art exhibitions and more. 

Before Bach celebrates the music of the era before the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach in 1685. From Renaissance madrigals to early Baroque opera, Carnegie Hall brings together an assemblage of artists who make early music come alive for a contemporary audience. 

Also this season, Meredith Monk holds the 2014–2015 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair. Celebrating fifty years since her professional debut in 1964, Monk’s performances with her Vocal Ensemble and special guests feature her influential piano, chamber, orchestral and vocal works. 

From the Carnegie Hall Perspectives series, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato collaborates with a range of musical artists from The English Concert and Brentano String Quartet to The Philadelphia Orchestra to perform music of the bel canto era. Another Perspectives series features Anne-Sophie Mutter, a violinist who is dedicated to preserving and creating classical music for the future. Mutter is adding new works for violin to the classical repertoire while also cultivating and promoting new musicians through her foundation. 

In homage to popular classics from a more recent era, Music Director and Conductor Steven Reineke celebrates Frank Sinatra. Let’s Be Frank brings to the stage The New York Pops and an all-star cast of guest performers including Tony DeSare, Storm Large, Frankie Moreno and Ryan Silverman.

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