Festival Présences 2023 with Kent Nagano on ARTE (February 2023)




Johann Sebastian Bach/Thomas Lacôte: Six-part Ricercar (orchestral version by Thomas Lacôte – commissioned by Radio France, world premiere)
Unsuk Chin: 2nd Violin Concerto “Shards of Silence” (French premiere)
Johann Sebastian Bach: The righteous man perishes
Yann Robin: Requiem Æternam – Monumenta II pour deux pianos, orgue, chœur et orchestre (commissioned by Radio France – world premiere)

Kent Nagano conducts premiere in Hamburg (January 2023)

On 22 January, Kent Nagano conducts the premiere of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk in a production by Angelina Nikonova. The story of the opera is based correspondent tale by Nikolaj Leskow. Other performances are 25, 28 and 31 January, and 4 and 8 February. More information can be found here.

“A woman becomes a murderess, but still the 26-year-old composer Shostakovich has sympathy for her. Katerina Ismailova – killer and victim at the same time – frees herself from a business world full of dullness, greed and cruelty by poisoning her Father-in-law in order to be able to live with her lover. This is accompanied by music of radical vitality that vehemently expresses the right to one’s own desire, to recklessly lived freedom. The international success from Leningrad to New York, from Stockholm to Zurich was abruptly ended when Stalin expressed his disapproval. Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk also became a work of fate for the composer.” (Hamburg State Opera, 2023)

Musical direction: Kent Nagano
Production: Angelina Nikonova
Stage and costumes: Varvara Timofeeva
Lighting: Igor Fomin
Dramaturgy: Ralf Waldschmidt
Choir: Eberhard Friedrich


David Philip Hefti receives the Composer Award of the International Classical Music Awards (January 2023)

Composer and conductor David Philip Hefti will be honored with the Composer Award of the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) in April 2023, and it is precisely the diversity of his works that is the focus. “Hefti’s tonal language captivates with an enormously wide spectrum of expressive means. Luminous timbres and dramatic constructions are as much a part of it as subtle and fragile sonic developments. The spectrum of genres in which the composer expresses himself is also wide, with the result that his music reaches performers as well as a broad audience.” said jury president Remy Franck.

For Hefti, “it is an honor to be given this year’s ICMA Composer Award. After the Corona years of artistic starvation, I’m grateful to ICMA’s distinguished jury for their tireless work in showing us a hopeful perspective through pre-pandemic diversity and abundance, which is important in every sense, especially today.” The award ceremony at the National Forum for Music in Wroclaw will include Hefti’s work con moto – Beziehungsweisen für Orchester, commissioned in 2014 by the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and its principal conductor Jonathan Nott. For the composer, this work in particular is very appropriate, since “the title should be understood as a desire to get cultural life moving again.” More information on the work and a short audio preview can be found here.

The 2022/23 season saw the world premiere of Hefti’s Rhapsody for baritone and orchestra, a work based on texts by Sir Salman Rushdie and featuring soloist Benjamin Appl and the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn under Case Scaglione. On 4 February at 8:03 p.m. CET, the work can be listened to at the SWR2 evening concert. Furthermore, the world premiere of the saxophone quartet Harmonia with the Kebyart Ensemble at the Tonhalle Zurich on 6 February (further performance on 23 March at the Casino Basel) and the world premiere of the Fünf Concerti for String Orchestra with the Berlin Baroque Soloists at the Kammerkonzerte Laufen on 30 June, after which a CD recording is taking place, will follow this season. In addition, Hefti’s Danse interstellaire, funeral music for basset clarinet and string quartet, will be performed with the Merel Quartet in Lucerne (1 Feb), Zurich (2 Feb) and Triesen (3 Feb).

More information on David Philip Hefti’s works as well as concerts can be found at hefti.net

Omer Meir Wellber on tour with the Vienna Symphonic (November 2022)


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Since yesterday, Omer Meir Wellber is on tour with the Wiener Symphoniker – in Warsaw, Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, Barcelona and Amsterdam, among others, he will present works by Mahler, Beethoven, Mozart and Eötvös with the orchestra. Soloists on the tour are Jan Lisiecki, Yulianna Avdeeva and Seong-Jin Cho.

15 November     Vienna, Konzerthaus
Wiener Symphoniker
Eötvös: Dialog mit Mozart. Da capo für Orchester
Mozart: Konzert für Klavier und Orchester C-Dur K 467
Mahler: Symphonie Nr. 5
Jan Lisiecki – Piano

16 November     Erlangen, Heinrich-Lades-Halle
Wiener Symphoniker
Eötvös: Dialog mit Mozart. Da capo für Orchester
Beethoven: Konzert für Klavier und Orchester Nr. 3 c-moll op. 37
Beethoven : Symphonie Nr. 5 c-moll op. 67
Yulianna Avdeeva

18 November     Warsaw, National Philharmonic
Wiener Symphoniker
Eötvös: Dialog mit Mozart. Da capo für Orchester
Mozart: Konzert für Klavier und Orchester C-Dur K 467
Mahler: Symphonie Nr. 5
Jan Lisiecki – Piano

20 November     Hamburg, Elbphilharmonie
21 November     Cologne, Philharmonie
Wiener Symphoniker
Mozart: Konzert für Klavier und Orchester C-Dur K 467
Mahler: Symphonie Nr. 5
Jan Lisiecki – Piano

22 November     Berlin, Philharmonie
Wiener Symphoniker
Beethoven: Konzert für Klavier und Orchester Nr. 3 c-moll op. 37
Beethoven: Symphonie Nr. 5 c-moll op. 67
Seong-Jin Cho Piano

24 November     Barcelona, Palau de la Musica
25 November     Zaragoza, Auditorio
27 November     Amsterdam, Concertgebouw
Wiener Symphoniker
Mozart: Konzert für Klavier und Orchester C-Dur K 467
Mahler: Symphonie Nr. 5
Jan Lisiecki – Piano

Omer Meir Wellber’s first new production at the Volksoper (October 2022)

As the new music director of the Volksoper Wien, Omer Meir Wellber leads the new production of Jolanthe und der Nussknacker, a musical theater based on the opera and ballet by Tchaikovsky in a production by Volksoper director Lotte de Beer. The premiere will take place on 9 October.

In Jolanthe und der Nussknacker, the Volksoper combines Tchaikovsky’s opera Jolanthe with the ballet Der Nussknacker to create a story about a blind princess who might be cured, but only after she is told about her blindness. The result is a story about learning, life and growing up.

Please find more information about the play here.

Max Volbers’ Debut CD “Whispers of Tradition” (September 2022)

With his debut CD Whispers of Tradition on GENUIN, recorder player Max Volbers presents “a stylistically varied program with two concertos, a world premiere, music with variable continuo instruments, and consort music. These are either paraphrases, series of variations, arrangements, pasticcios, etc. of my own – or, as in the case of the Dieupart suite, they are arranged by the composer himself for the recorder. Thanos Sakellaridis wrote the piece “Please enter the Underground” for Elisabeth and myself. What unites all the pieces is the joy of discovery and the desire to create new repertoire for the recorder.”

Along with 11 musicians and with a total of 26 different instruments, including various recorders, archlute, harpsichord, violin, viola da gamba, the winner of the Deutscher Musikwettbewerb 2021 Max Volbers, who studied with Dorothee Oberlinger among others, explores the wide range of the recorder repertoire and shows “in how many different types of ensembles the recorder can be used, and also the roles that it plays in them“.


Omer Meir Wellber’s novel published in French (August 2022)

Omer Meir Wellber’s novel was published in French by Éditions du sous-sol in August, Les Absences de Haïm Birkner tells the story of Chaim Birkner, a tired and broken man who is forced by his daughter to face life one last time. The novel was also published in German (BerlinVerlag) and in Italian (Sellerio Editore).

For more information, click here: http://www.editions-du-sous-sol.com/publication/absences-de-haim-birkner/

Founding concert of the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra (July 2022)

The answer to violence is culture. The Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra brings together Ukrainian musicians, some of whom are refugees, others members of European orchestras. ARTE broadcasts the world premiere of the orchestra live from Warsaw. On the programme: Valentin Silvestrov, Frédéric Chopin and Johannes Brahms. You’ll also see and hear interviews with conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson and soloists and musicians from the orchestra.


Kent Nagano at the Festival d’Aix en Provence (July 2022)

As part of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Kent Nagano will conduct the world premiere of Pascal Dusapin’s Il Viaggio, Dante tonight. The libretto by French author Frédéric Boyer is based on Dante’s Divine Comedy, one of the greatest works of world literature. For the production, directed by Claus Guth, Kent Nagano leads the chorus and orchestra of the Opéra de Lyon (where he was music director from 1989 to 1998). Three more performances will take place on July 13, 15 and 17.

Last Sunday, Kent Nagano conducted another orchestra long associated with him – the concert at the Kissinger Sommer with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester (Nagano was artistic director and principal conductor from 2000 to 2006, and in 2006 the orchestra named him honorary conductor) is available here: