On 27 March, Antje Weithaas and Thomas Hoppe will play a spontaneous live concert for Deutschlandfunk Kultur without an audience. From 20:03, the two artists will perform Beethoven’s Spring Sonata and works by Fritz Kreisler before the Duo Runge & Ammon takes over with RollOverBeethoven.
New date for "Bohemian Rhapsody" with Antje Weithaas
The concert "Bohemian Rhapsody" with Antje Weitaas (play & conduct) and the Camerata Bern, planned for 29 March, cannot take place due to the Corona crisis. However, a new date has already been set: On 18 October 2020, the violin concerto and two serenades by Antonin Dvorák will be performed at the Theater National Bern!
Theater National Bern
Onto the Web! - Concerts & operas via livestream
Unfortunately (almost) all events listed in our dates column have been cancelled due to the Corona crisis. However, a look at the websites of the organizers is often worthwhile: A number of concerts and opera evenings are currently available in the livestream. So even in times of the Corona crisis, you don't have to do without concerts and opera experiences completely!
An endless source of musical ideas
The pianist, conductor and composer Olli Mustonen will become Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra from January 2021. The appointment culminates decades of close collaboration. Managing Director Maati Rehor expressed his enthusiasm about this decision. Olli Mustonen is an endless source of musical ideas and will provide great concerts with varied and surprising programmes in the coming seasons.
A friendship you can hear
New CD with Meta4 and the Gringolts Quartet: Their meeting at the Finnish Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival seven years ago became the beginning of a deep personal and musical friendship for Meta4 and the Gringolts Quartet. Last season the eight musicians were on a major European tour together. Their sound was celebrated by audiences at the Elbphilharmonie and the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, among other venues, with long lasting applause, and the press was also enthusiastic: the magazine Pizzicato wrote about a "veritable wave of exuberant energy" after the concert at the Philharmonie Luxembourg and confirmed that "magic was achieved here with energy and intensity".
The result of their joy of playing the octet is now finally available on CD: The BIS label has just released the string octets by Felix Mendelssohn and George Enescu, both youthful and - in each case created in times of transition to the Romantic and modern eras - groundbreaking works. George Enescu said: "I am a polyphonist by nature, not a lawyer of pretty chord progressions. I am terrified of everything that is stagnant. For me music is not a state, but rather an action..." Anahit Kurtikyan of the Gringolts Quartet describes the fusion of the two ensembles and their playing together as a great inspiration and unique experience with a special energy.
Hear the CD here.
Who writes history?
From 2 February onwards, Titus Engel will conduct BORIS at the Stuttgart Opera House: directed by Paul-Georg Dittrich, Modest Musssorgski's Boris Godunow will be intertwined with the world premiere of Sergej Nevsky's Second-Hand Time, based on Svetlana Alexievich's book of the same name. The new production can be seen on seven dates through 13 April.
A "gloomy vision of the future of a neo-zarist empire with a tailor-made view of history but without memory" is created by the interlocking of both works, which raise questions in their interplay: Who writes history and in whose interest? And how does it relate to truth?
2/2/2020, 18.00 (Premiere)
For further dates, please see left
Tabea Zimmermann to receive the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize
The 2020 international Ernst von Siemens Music Prize goes to Tabea Zimmermann! “This prize (…) honours her incorruptible musicianship, her authentic and personal approach as well as her artistic integrity, in addition to her uncompromising standards of quality, the new life she has breathed into the viola as an instrument, her dedication to contemporary music and, last but not least, her incredible contribution to education”, wrote the foundation about the award winner.
The prize for a life in the service of music will be awarded on 11 May, 2020 in Munich's Prinzregententheater at a musical ceremony, which will include performances by Tabea Zimmermann with the Ensemble Resonanz and Christoph Sietzen. The laudation will be held by Norbert Lammert, former President of the German Bundestag.
The Foundation's press release goes on to say: “In giving the award to Tabea Zimmermann, the board of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation has decided to highlight the work of an artist who has put all of her energy into the very core of musical life, sharing this with her audience. Through her deep musical understanding and her unconditional love of music, which she expresses with indescribable enthusiasm, she has used her viola to help shape the musical landscape in a most impressive manner.”
New Beethoven CD Box
OUT NOW: François-Frédéric Guy celebrates the start of the Beethoven year 2020 with a play-conduct recording of the complete piano concertos of the great composer. Together with the Sinfonia Varsovia, the Beethoven specialist presents his interpretation of the works at the piano and on the podium in a CD box released on Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo.
Click here for the CD.
New boss for Florence
Eva Ollikainen has been announced as the new Principal Conductor of the Orchestra della Toscana. She will take over from her predecessor Daniele Rustioni at the beginning of the 2020/21 season. The ORT, located in the historic Teatro Verdi in Florence, will celebrate its 40th birthday in 2020 and on this occasion implement a complete artistic and personnel realignment.
In addition to Eva Ollikainen as Principal Conductor, Beatrice Venezi (pictured left) and Nil Venditti (pictured right) will regularly lead the orchestra as permanent guest conductors, and James Conlon as honorary conductor. In its press release, the orchestra explains: "We see it as our duty to ask ourselves what it means to be an orchestra in 2020, and we are looking for answers that are relevant to our time. The classical music world is said to be very self-centred and sometimes exclusive. Our goal is to develop a new attitude and new tools with which we can overcome these clichés".
At its concerts in Florence and abroad, the Orchestra della Toscana, with Giorgio Battistelli as artistic director, features repertoire from baroque to modern, with a special emphasis on contemporary works. For the next two seasons with ORT, Eva Ollikainen is planning a Brahms cycle. Currently Principal Conductor of the Nordic Chamber Orchestra in Sweden, she will also serve as Music Director and Artistic Director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra from the 2020/21 season.
Between the polarities
In mid-October 2019 Mark Andre's cycle riss was released on CD. The Ensemble Modern, which performed the cycle at the Kölner Philharmonie, the Alte Oper Frankfurt, Innsbruck, the Klangspuren Schwaz and the Shanghai New Music Week in 2019, recorded the triptych under the baton of Ingo Metzmacher.
Mark Andre searches in all three parts of the cycle riss (German for crack, tear) for compositional interstices - "spaces that are often latent or very fragile and breathless between polarities," says the composer. In 2011, he met the theologian Margareta Gruber during a research trip to Jerusalem. Her reference to the double figure of the crack in St. Mark's Gospel provided the decisive impulse for the creation of the work group, which Mark Andre did not compose in numerical order: in 2014, riss 2 was premiered by the Ensemble Modern; in 2016, the premiere of riss 3 with the Ensemble Musikfabrik followed; and in 2017, riss 1 with the Ensemble intercontemporain.
conductor: Ingo Metzmacher
Ensemble Modern Medien
Schumann and Wagner
Christoph Prégardien's recording of Schumann's Dichterliebe, his Lenau Lieder as well as Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder has been released in September 2019. Together with pianist Michael Gees, with whom he has worked intensively for many years, Prégardien recorded the works for the Challenge label. The duo has already recorded a whole series of highly acclaimed CDs for Challenge:
Amongst others, Die schöne Müllerin, which was awarded as Editor's Choice of the magazine Gramophone and with the MIDEM Record of the Year Award; Between Life and Death as well as the Grammy nominated new recording of Winterreise - were released.
Robert Schumann: Dichterliebe Op. 48, Lenau-Lieder and Requiem Op. 90
Richard Wagner: Wesendonck Songs
Christoph Prégardien, Michael Gees
Challenge Classics CC 72788
Antje Weithaas' recording with the NDR Radiophilharmonie, under the direction of its chief conductor Andrew Manze, has been released on the cpo label on 16 September 2019. In addition to Schumann's Violin Concerto, the violinist recorded Brahms' Double Concerto, whose cello part was played by Maximilian Hornung. The recording thus unites two outstanding soloists, as well as two composers who were closely interwoven:
Both works were written for the renown violinist Joseph Joachim, who played a central role for both Schumann and Brahms.
In addition to her artistic friendship with Maximilian Hornung, Antje Weithaas also has a longstanding collaboration with the NDR Radiophilharmonie. Her complete recording of Max Bruch's works for violin and orchestra with the orchestra on the cpo label was released in 2016.
Schumann Violin Concerto
Brahms Double Concerto
Antje Weithaas, Maximilian Hornung, NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Andrew Manze
new position for Eva Ollikainen
The Iceland Symphony Orchestra has appointed Eva Ollikainen Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, with an initial four-year contract beginning with the 2020/21 season. The ISO is the national orchestra of Iceland and resident at Harpa Concert Hall, a landmark building in Reykjavík’s waterfront area. She will be working alongside Managing Director Lára Sóley Jóhannsdóttir:
“Eva Ollikainen's appointment marks a new chapter for the orchestra – a start of an incredibly exciting time of great opportunities. With her previous work with the orchestra, she has gained a strong connection with our musicians and audiences through her commitment, vibrant energy and enthusiasm. She understands how important the orchestra is to our society and how that connection can be developed even further. But most importantly Eva shares our vision for the future. She has all the qualities needed to raise the artistic level of the orchestra. We cannot wait to welcome Eva to our team.”
During her tenure, she will conduct a minimum of eight weeks during the regular concert season and will join the orchestra on international tours. Before her inaugural season, Ollikainen takes to the stage in March 2020 for the Iceland Symphony Orchestra’s 70th anniversary.
“I have always felt a deep bond with the musicians of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Not only are they virtuosos on the highest international level, but their way of understanding and communicating music is unique. I very much look forward to our collaboration exploring new and old repertoire together, and the musical encounters with our fantastic audience," says the Finnish conductor.