Passion on Tour
Christoph Prégardien will embark on a concert tour with the Nederlands Bachvereniging from 23 February to 1 March, conducting sacred works by Felix Mendelssohn, Heinrich Schütz and Johann Sebastian Bach.
In addition to Heinrich Schütz's fervent Johannes Passion for Choir a Cappella, the programme includes three expressive sacred choral works by Mendelssohn: Mein Gott, warum hast du mich verlassen, Warum toben die Heiden and Richte mich Gott. In addition, the motte of Jesus, my joy and Praise the Lord will be performed, two beautiful examples of Bach's musical ability in the sacred music field.
23.2, 26.2., 27.2., 28.2., 1.3. 20:15
On 21 February, Titus Engel will conduct the world premiere of Michael Wertmüller's opera Diodati Infinite at the Theater Basel. The libretto, which thematically revolves around the search for freedom and individuality in an unbalanced world, was written by the playwright Dea Loher. The work will be performed over seven further performances, through 8 April.
The story of the opera is based on a historical gathering in 1816: a group of literary British ambassadors is forced to spend eight days together in a villa on Lake Geneva due to catastrophic weather conditions. They tell their own stories about creatures controlled by others, some of which reflect their own personality. The opera uses various musical genres, from twelve-tone music to blues, jazz and heavy metal. Lydia Steier is the production mastermind for this world premier.
21.2., 1. 3., 7.3., 19.3., 23.3., 8.4. 19:30 o'clock
24.2, 31.3. 18:30 o'clock
New Position for Steven Sloane
Conductor Steven Sloane has been appointed as new Music Director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (JSO) from the 2020/21 season. Already starting in 2019/20, he will conduct three concert programs, and he will also plan the upcoming seasons.
A frequent guest at all major Israeli orchestras and at the Israeli Opera, Steven Sloane has been committed to promoting Israeli artists and composers during his entire career. At the age of 21, he emigrated from Los Angeles to Israel, where he worked with many music institutions including the JSO for over 10 years before becoming First Kapellmeister of the Frankfurt Opera under Gary Bertini.
Steven Sloane commented: "For me, this appointment feels like coming home after a long journey. My first mission will be in setting and preserving the highest musical standards along with strengthening the connection between the JSO and its audience in Israel and internationally. I will work for the orchestra to create new collaborations with other institutions in order to appear in new venues and find opportunities to create new audiences including young and older people, who have never attended orchestral concerts before.”
Poetry and Drama
On 18 February, the Belgian orchestra Le Concert Olympique, lead by conductor and Beethoven biographer Jan Caeyers, will perform three important works by the famous German composer in the Chamber Music Hall of the Berlin Philharmonie: the Coriolan Overture, the Fourth Piano Concerto in G Major and the Fifth Symphony. Alexander Melnikov will take on the piano part.
The Piano Concerto and the Fifth Symphony are connected at different levels: both were composed at about the same time and were on the programme of the famous Academy Concert of 22 December 1808 at the Theater an der Wien. They are also based on the same rhythmic motif with three repeated notes. However, this motif acquires a different musical meaning in the respective context. For, unlike the Piano Concerto, which has a poetic character, the Fifth Symphony is dramatically conceived. The concerto opens with the Coriolan Overture, also from 1807, which unites both dimensions.
18.2.2019, 20 o'clock
Philharmonie Berlin, Chamber Music Hall
Introduction at 19 o'clock with Jan Caeyers and Diether Rexroth
Classic and the 20th Century
Maximilian Hornung will play the cello part in two concertos with the Munich Chamber Orchestra on 16 February in Donaueschingen: Joseph Haydn's 1st Cello Concerto in C major and Vaja Azarashvili's Concerto for Cello and String Orchestra, written in 1978.
The programme corresponds to the trademark of the Munich Chamber Orchestra - the ingenious combination of classical works with contemporary music. In addition to the two cello concertos, Igor Stravinsky's Concerto in D for String Orchestra and Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 43 in E-flat Major ("Mercury") will also be heard.
16.2.2019, 20.00 o'clock
Three Pieces for the 35th
On 16 February, the Scharoun Ensemble will premiere Mark Andre’s Three Pieces forEnsemble at the Berliner Philharmonie. The commissioned work of the Berliner Philharmonic Foundation and the Elbphilharmonie will be performed again on 23 February in Hamburg. It is dedicated to the Scharoun Ensemble.
For his work, Mark Andre has renounced the mysteries of the preposition, which he liked to use in the titling of past works (... on..., ... to.., over), but not to spiritual traces: the Three Pieces for Ensemble are inspired by the Old Testament.
The programme of the Scharoun Ensemble's 35th anniversary concert also includes George Benjamin's Octet, Arnold Schönberg's 2nd String Quartet and Sofia Gubaidulina's Hommage à T.S. Eliot. In the latter two works, Rinnat Moriah will play the soprano roles.
16.2.2019, 20.00 o'clock
Kammermusiksaal der Philharmonie Berlin
New in Paris
Alejo Pérez will conduct the world premiere of Graziane Finzi's Fantaisie Concerto for viola and orchestra at the Présences Festival on 15 February. The soloist will be Marc Desmons. Under Alejo’s direction, the Orchestre Philharmonique and the Chœur de Radio France will also perform works by Wolfgang Rihm and Luciano Berio.
The French premieres will include the two works by Wolfgang Rihm, to whom the 29th edition of the festival is dedicated: De Profundis and In-Schrift 2, an emblematic work written for a special orchestra without violins and violas and with a larger number of clarinets. Alejo Pérez also conducts a classic of the 20th century - Luciano Berio's Formazioni.
15.2.2019, 20.00 Uhr
Maison de la Radio – Auditorium de Radio France
A Competition's New Dynamic Duo
Together with Oliver Wille, Antje Weithaas takes over the artistic direction of the International Joseph Joachim Violin Competition Hannover. The Lower Saxony Foundation has appointed the two violinists as successors to Krzysztof Wegrzyn, who founded the competition in 1991 and has fostered since then its international appeal.
According to general secretary Lavinia Francke, maintaining the level of the competition and developing it in a contemporary way is important to the Lower Saxony Foundation: "With Antje Weithaas and Oliver Wille, this will happen."
Antje Weithaas was, in 1991, the first prizewinner of the Joseph Joachim Violin Competition. Since 2011, Oliver Wille is professor for string chamber music at the Musikhochschule Hannover. The next Joseph Joachim Violin Competition will take place under new direction in autumn 1921 in Hannover.
The Piano Answers
Christoph Prégardien's new album Auf Flügeln des Gesangs [On Wings of Song], released by Challenge Classics, is generating much enthusiasm among critics. BR Klassik, for example, called the recording – made in collaboration with the Cypriot-French star pianist Cyprien Katsaris – "an immense pleasure".
The music magazine Diapason writes, "Christoph Prégardien, at the zenith of his career, offers interpretations whose playful expression is supported by brilliant vocal control".
The title is from one of Heinrich Heine's most famous poems, set to music by Mendelssohn. Schubert's Liebesbotschaft, Schumann's Frühlingsnacht, and Brahms's beloved Wiegenlied can also be found on the CD. However, the album goes beyond a collection of songs, for each song is transcribed and recreated for solo piano.
Christoph Prégardien, Cyprien Katsaris
Auf Flügeln des Gesangs [On Wings of Song]
2018 Challenge Classics / Cat No CC 72787
New position for Alejo Pérez
Starting from the 2019-2020 season, Alejo Pérez will become the new music director at Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, which is based in Ghent and Antwerp. He has been appointed by Jan Vandenhouwe, who will take over as artistic director for the opera, starting in the same season. Maestro Pérez is currently leading Wagner’s Lohengrin in Antwerp until 23 October, following a successful run in Ghent.
Audiences at Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, who first got to know the Argentinian conductor in the production of Pelléas et Mélisande (season 2017-2018) directed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Damien Jalet and Marina Ambravovic, showered the maestro with enthusiastic applause after every performance. His conducting of the Debussy opera also earned him praise in the (inter)national press.
Together with Jan Vandenhouwe, maestro Pérez will take up his duties in the 2019-2020 season, conducting the opening production for the season. Each season, he will conduct at least two operas and three symphonic programs. As music director, he will also assist the artistic director and advise on matters such as guest conductors, casting soloists, hiring new musicians and chorus members, and programming.
Alejo Pérez: “When I first conducted at Vlaanderen Opera, leading last season’s production of Pelléas et Mélisande, I immediately felt a great affinity with the orchestra and all the people involved. This is something one should not underestimate; I believe that good chemistry and being on the same wavelength are absolutely essential in any artistic endeavour. That’s why I see great potential in a long-term collaboration with this company, in which I am fortunate to experience a shared passion for music. I am also truly happy to be working alongside Jan Vandenhouwe, with whom I share a common vision for the future of the company. I look forward to playing my part in shaping Vlaanderen’s musical life with great expectation and excitement.”
Stage direction: David Alden
Zoran Todorovich, Lohengrin; Liene Kinča, Elsa; Craig Colclough, Telramund Iréne Theorin, Ortrud; Thorsten Grümbel, König Heinrich; Vincenzo Neri, Heerrufer
20 - 28/9/2018
7 - 23/10/2018