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

“Ring” project in historically informed performance practice (December 2022)

The year 2023 marks the beginning of a major musical and scientific project in Dresden to research and perform Richard Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen” in historical performance practice. With the opening concert and premiere of “Rheingold” in Dresden on 14 June 2023, the Dresden Festival Orchestra together with Concerto Köln under the artistic direction of Kent Nagano will perform Richard Wagner’s “Ring” in a historically informed perspective.

Continuing the “Wagner Readings” initiated in 2016 by Kent Nagano, Concerto Köln and the Kunststiftung NRW, a relaunch of the project will take place together with the Dresden Festival Orchestra as part of the Dresden Music Festival. With the new location in Dresden – the city where Wagner spent his childhood and youth, the premiere site of three operas and the starting point of the conceptual history of the “Ring” – groundbreaking impulses can be expected in the development and implementation of this performance workshop. A unique feature is the scientifically based reconstruction of the instrumental, vocal, linguistic and stage practice of Wagner’s time, for which renowned musicians and scholars from various disciplines are working closely together.

Mari and Momo Kodama and Bremerhaven (January 2023)

With Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in D minor, Mari and Momo Kodama will give a guest performance at the Bremerhaven Stadttheater on 16, 17 and 18 January. A program entitled ” Wintersonnen” will be presented with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Bremerhaven under the direction of Marc Niemann. Further information can be found here.

After joint recordings of Mari and Momo Kodama with, among others, Tchaikovsky’s ballet suites have already been released by Pentatone (more information here), another recording together is planned.

Ella Milch-Sheriff’s “The Eternal Stranger” in Boston and Zurich (January 2023)

In January, the monodrama “The Eternal Stranger” by Ella Milch-Sheriff will be performed in Boston and Zurich under the musical direction of Omer Meir Wellber and with speaker Eli Danker.

“The Eternal Stranger” was written on the occasion of Beethoven’s 250th birthday on Omer Meir Wellber’s initiative and takes as its starting point an astonishing and relatively unknown dream of Beethoven’s, which he reported to his friend and publisher Tobias Haslinger in a letter on September 10, 1821. In this dream, Beethoven travels as far as the Middle East and India and back again, finally reaching Jerusalem. There, his friend Tobias and a canon come to his mind, which he notes down in the letter. This letter inspired the Israeli playwright Joshua Sobol to write The Wanderings of the Eternal Refugee and the Struggle Against Despair, which in turn inspired Ella Milch-Sheriff’s The Eternal Stranger. The work reflects on the various facets of strangeness and asks who can be considered a stranger in the first place. The world premiere took place in Leipzig in 2020, and further performances have already taken place in Palermo, Manchester, Hamburg and Tel Aviv. More information about the work here.

With the Boston Symphony Orchestra on 5, 6 and 7 January, more information here. Other program highlights include Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with renowned violinist Midori.

With the Tonhalle Zurich Orchestra on 12 and 13 January, more information here. In addition, Daniel Ciobanu will perform Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

 

 

Dresden Music Festival 2023 from 18 May to 18 June (November 2022)

The Dresden Music Festival 2023 will take place under the motto “BLACK AND WHITE” from 18 May to 18 June 2023.

We are looking forward to a lively and diverse 2023 festival season. Dramatic and stirring contrasts, tender nuances, and connections formed through music will all rouse discussions around our theme BLACK AND WHITE“, says Jan Vogler, director of the Dresden Music Festival.

With 63 events at 22 venues in Dresden, Jan Vogler and his team present a varied and interesting program – what to expect at the 46th Dresden Music Festival can be found in the brochure.

Mari Kodama presents new CD “New Paths” on PENTATONE (November 2022)

Mari Kodama presents “New Paths” on PENTATONE – the new CD featuring Brahms’ first piano sonata, his Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann and his Theme with Variations, and Clara Schumann’s arrangement of Robert Schumann’s song Widmung, focuses on the young Johannes Brahms and his fascinating friendship with Clara and Robert Schumann. The album derives its title from Robert Schumann’s famous essay “Neue Bahnen”, in which he heralded the young Brahms as the most eminent musical voice of the future. The recording will be available worldwide on 18 November.

 

“Hardly any relationship is as well-documented as that of Robert and Clara Schumann to Johannes Brahms: a lifelong three-way friendship in which Robert Schumann remained ever present even after his early death. The fascination that emanates from this connection of lives has touched me so much over the years that it has always been a concern of mine to musically tell the story of its beginning at some point. A 20-year-old from Hamburg came to Düsseldorf to visit the Schumanns, who were more than enthusiastic about his talent. “Your son Johannes has become very precious to us, his musical genius has created joyful hours for us. To facilitate his first walk into the world, I have publicly expressed what I think of him,” Robert wrote to Brahms’s father. The enthusiasm was mutual. For the young Brahms, the Schumanns became a point of reference, the collaboration with Clara a constant inspiration, the mutual trust, which was not limited to artistic creation, ultimately vital — not only for Brahms, but also for Clara during the very difficult phase of her husband’s illness and afterwards. I have always been moved by the depth of this bond, its absolute reliability, which became so significant for artists in the mid-19th century, in a world where traditional norms began to dissolve and society became increasingly individualised.”  – Mari Kodama

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Max Volbers in Berlin (November 2022)

Espresso Concert „Zeitenwenden“ at the Konzerthaus Berlin

Works by John Baldwin, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Luigi Nono and others with Elisabeth Wirth and Max Volbers on recorder. Please find more information here.