Musikfest Berlin opens the symphonic season with a dazzling array of 33 orchestras, choirs and ensembles from Berlin and across the world
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27 August to 19 September 2022– venues across Berlin Philharmonie, Konzerthaus, Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Kirche Am Hohenzollernplatz Auguring the new symphonic season in Berlin, Musikfest Berlin celebrates its 18th edition with a dazzling array of the world’s leading orchestras alongside four of its distinguished home ensembles with an unflinching commitment to contemporary music. The festival opens – after a pre-opening start on the 17th – with the Concertgebouworkset Amsterdam on Sunday 28 August with Klaus Mäkelä conducting Mahler’s 6th Symphony and Kaija Saariaho’s Orion and continues to welcome two American orchestras – the Philadelphia Orchestra with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Cleveland Orchestra with Franz Welser-Möst, alongside the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia with Sir Antonio Pappano, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra with Andris Nelsons, Collegium Vocale Gent with Philippe Herreweghe, The Rotterdams Philhamonisch Orkest with Lahav Shani, the LSO with Sir Simon Rattle and the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra Révolutionnaire et Romantique with Sir John Eliot Gardiner. image.
In addition to a 24-hour free concert documenting the history of choral Western music with 6 choirs including Tenebrae, the festival is a glorious cornucopia not least with the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the Orchester der Deutschen Oper and the Deutsche Symphonieorchester Berlin. image.
Started 18 years ago by Winrich Hopp to mark the opening of Berlin’s prestigious orchestral seasons across the city, this year’s Festival recoups some of the casualties of the last 2 years of the pandemic to mark current and recent milestones for Sofia Gubaidulina, Wolfgang Rihm, Kaija Saariaho, Gerald Barry and Aribert Reimann, as well as the centenary of Iannis Xenakis’ birth, celebrated by the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, the Ensemblekollektiv and the JACK Quartet.

Many works get their first airing in Berlin, including Nezet-Seguin’s critically acclaimed rendition of Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1, coupled with Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto performed by Lisa Batiashvili. The Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest revives the forgotten music of Willem Pijper putting his 2nd Symphony centre stage. Igor Levit champions Busoni’s seldom performed monumental Piano Concerto. Thomas Adès conducts the Berliner Philharmoniker in his own Violin Concerto with Pekka Kuusisto as soloist and Gerald Barry‘s Chevaux-de-Frise. Kirill Petrenko with the Berliner Philharmoniker present a programme of Xenakis, Zimmermann and Dallapiccola’s seldom-heard Il Prigioniero with soloist Ekaterina Semenchuk, Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke and Wolfgang Koch. image.

Rattle and the LSO give the German premiere of Daniel Kidane’s new Orchestral Dances. Enno Poppe conducts Clara Ionaotta‘s a stir among the stars, a making way, Iannis Xenakis’ Jalons and Liza Lim‘s Machine for Contacting the Dead with Ensemblekollektiv Berlin. The Australian composer Lim, currently a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin, is one of the leading international artists whose work exemplifies contemporary transcultural themes. From her extensive oeuvre, Musikfest Berlin presents two German premieres – the ensemble piece, Machine for Contacting the Dead, and String Creatures, a new chamber-music composition written for the JACK Quartet. The Greek-French composer and architect Iannis Xenakis was born in the same year as jazz legend Charles Mingus, whom the Deutsche Oper Berlin BigBand will honor with a premier of his evening-long opus magnum, Epitaph, conducted by Titus Engel, at the Philharmonie. Mingus’ vision of a stylistically unbounded big-band formation corresponds to the recent ensemble composition, Körper, by Enno Poppe, in which Poppe rediscovers the potential of the historical big-band sound. Körper was written for the Ensemble Modern, who will perform the new work under the composer’s direction at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele.

In addition to the Monteverdi Choir performing Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with stellar cast (Lucy Crowe, Ann Hallenberg, Giovanni Sala and William Thomas), there is a wide range of choral works on offer; Claudio Monteverdi’s Marian Vespers (performed by the Collegium Vocale Gent), the psalm settings of Heinrich Schütz, the music of William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons (performed by the RIAS Kammerchor), and the 24-hour Divine Office at the Kirche Am Hohenzollernplatz, with music ranging from Gregorian chant to compositions by Thomas Tallis and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, et al. (in performances by the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, ensemble sirventes berlin, Vox Nostra, the Georgian Choir Ensemble Basiani, the Tenebrae Choir London and the Staats- und Domchor Berlin).

Further notable soloists coming to the festival include the violinists Vilde Frang, Ilya Gringolts, Leonidas Kavakos and Pekka Kuusisto, violist Lawrence Power, cellist Nicolas Altstaedt, clarinettist Jörg Widmann. Singer Magdalena Kožená and pianist Yefim Bronfman will give a recital together.

The Musikfest Berlin is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the Neustart Kultur programme. The festival’s project partners are also Aventis Foundation, Hauptstadtkulturfonds and others; media partners: rbb Kultur, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, arte, Dussmann das Kulturkaufhaus, Exberliner, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Monopol – Magazin für Kunst und Leben, Tagesspiegel, Wall und Yorck Kinogruppe. The concerts with contemporary works are also part of the contemporary music month of the initiative field notes.

Festival Listings

Saturday, 27 August 2022
Philharmonie, Chamber Music Hall, 19:00

Gringolts | Power | Altstaedt
Schönberg | Rihm I

Arnold Schönberg
for violin, viola and cello op. 45
Wolfgang Rihm (*1952)
Musik für 3 Streicher

Ilya Gringolts violin
Lawrence Power viola
Nicolas Altstaedt cello

Sunday, 28 August 2022
Philharmonie, Chamber Music Hall, 19:00

Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam / Opening concert Musikfest Berlin 2022

Klaus Mäkelä conductor

Saariaho | Mahler

Tuesday, 30 August 2022
Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Main Stage, 20:00

Herrmann | Poppe

Arnulf Herrmann (*1968)
Hard Boiled Variations – 15 ½ Cycles
for ensemble (2021)
Enno Poppe (*1969)
Körper for large ensemble (2021)

Ensemble Modern
Enno Poppe conductor

Wednesday, 31 August 2022
Philharmonie, Chamber Music Hall, 20:00

Ludwig van Beethoven
Missa solemnis
for four soloists, choir, orchestra and organ in D major op. 123 (1819-1822/23)

Lucy Crowe soprano
Ann Hallenberg mezzo soprano
Giovanni Sala tenor
William Thomas bass
Monteverdi Choir
Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
John Eliot Gardiner conductor

Thursday, 1 September 2022
Philharmonie, Main Hall, 20:00

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Dvořák | Szymanowski | Price

Antonín Dvořák
Concert overture for orchestra op. 92 (1891)
Karol Szymanowski
Concerto for violin and orchestra No. 1 op. 35 (1916)
Florence Price
Symphony No. 1 in E minor

Lisa Batiashvili violin
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor

Friday, 2 September 2022
Philharmonie, Main Hall, 20:00

Berlioz | Kidane | Ravel | Sibelius | Bartók

Hector Berlioz
Le Corsaire
Overture for orchestra op. 21
Daniel Kidane (*1986)
Orchestral Dances (2022) German Premiere
Maurice Ravel
La Valse- Poème chorégraphique
Jean Sibelius
Symphony No. 7 in C major op. 105 (1924)
Béla Bartók
The Miraculous Mandarin
Concert suite op. 19 (1917/27)

London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Simon Rattle conductor

Saturday, 3 September 2022
Philharmonie, Chamber Music Hall, 17:00

Brahms | Mussorgsky | Shostakovich | Bartók

Johannes Brahms
Meine Liebe ist grün op. 63/5
Nachtigall op. 97/1
Verzagen op. 72/4
Bei dir sind meine Gedanken
Von ewiger Liebe

Anklänge op. 7/3
Das Mädchen spricht op. 107/3
Der Schmied

Ach, wende diesen Blick op. 57/4
O wüsst’ ich den Weg zurück
Unbewegte, laue Luft

Vergebliches Ständchen op. 84/4
Modest Mussorgsky Detskaya (The Nursery)

Dmitri Shostakovich Satires (Pictures of the Past) op. 109
Béla Bartók (1881 – 1945)
Dedinské scény (Village Scenes) (1924)

Magdalena Kožená mezzo soprano
Yefim Bronfman piano

Saturday, 3 September 2022
Philharmonie, Main Hall, 20:00

Rihm II | Schubert

Wolfgang Rihm (*1952)
Verwandlung 3
Music for orchestra (2010)
Wolfgang Rihm
Verwandlung 2
Music for orchestra (2005)
Franz Schubert
Große Sinfonie in C major D 944

The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst

Sunday, 4 September 2022
Philharmonie, Main Hall, 20:00

Ligeti | Pijper | Mahler

György Ligeti
Atmosphères for large orchestra
Willem Pijper
Symphony No. 2 (1921) German premiere of the original version
Gustav Mahler
Symphony No. 1 in D major

Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest
Lahav Shani conductor

Monday, 5 September 2022
Philharmonie, Main Hall, 20:00

Schönberg | Busoni

Arnold Schönberg
Verklärte Nacht op. 4
Ferruccio Busoni
Concerto for piano and orchestra with male choir in C major op. 39

Igor Levit piano
Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Piero Monti chorus director
Sir Antonio Pappano conductor

Wednesday, 7 September 2022
Philharmonie, Main Hall, 20:00

Gustav Mahler
Symphony No. 2 in C minor
for soloists, mixed choir and orchestra

Heidi Stober soprano
Judit Kutasi alto
Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Jeremy Bines chorus director
Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Sir Donald Runnicles conductor

Thursday, 8 September 2022
Philharmonie, Main Hall, 20:00

RIAS Kammerchor Berlin & Ensemble Promena

Psalm compositions by
Johann Sebastian Bach, William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, Claudio Monteverdi, Henry Purcell and Heinrich Schütz
alternating with instrumental compositions by
Francesco Cavalli, Orlando Gibbons, Johann Jacob Löwe and Henry Purcell

RIAS Kammerchor Berlin
Ensemble Promena
Justin Doyle conductor

Friday, 9 September 2022
Philharmonie, Main Hall, 20:00

Shostakovich | Gubaidulina | Beethoven

Dmitri Shostakovich
Chamber Symphony in C minor op. 110a
Barshai version of the String Quartet No. 8
Sofia Gubaidulina (*1931)
Der Zorn Gottes for orchestra (2019) German Premiere
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 7 in A major op. 92

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Andris Nelsons conductor

Saturday, 10 September 2022
Konzerthaus Berlin, 19:00

Aribert Reimann (*1936)
Spiralat Halom (Traumspiralen)
for large orchestra (2002)
for clarinet and orchestra (2005)
Nine poems based on Paul Celan for alto solo (1992)
Neun Stücke
for orchestra (1993)

Jörg Widmann clarinet
Ursula Hesse von den Steinen alto
Konzerthausorchester Berlin
Christoph Eschenbach conductor

Saturday, 10 September 2022
Philharmonie, Main Hall, 19:00

Hector Berlioz
Overture for Les Francs-juges op. 3 (ca. 1828)
Thomas Adès (*1971)
Concentric Paths
Concerto for violin and orchestra op. 23 (2005)
Gerald Barry (*1952)
for orchestra (2022) World Premiere
Thomas Adès
The Exterminating Angel Symphony (2020)

Pekka Kuusisto violin
Berliner Philharmoniker
Thomas Adès conductor

Sunday, 11 September 2022
Philharmonie, Chamber Music Hall, 17:00

Ianotta | Xenakis I | Lim I

Clara Iannotta (*1983)
a stir among the stars, a making way
for large ensemble (2019/20) World premiere of the new version
Iannis Xenakis
Jalons for ensemble (1986)
Liza Lim (*1966)
Machine for Contacting the Dead
for 27 musicians (1999/2000) German premiere

Ensemblekollektiv Berlin
Enno Poppe conductor

Sunday, 11 September 2022
Philharmonie, Main Hall, 20:00

Berlioz | Adès | Barry

Pekka Kuusisto violin
Berliner Philharmoniker
Thomas Adès conductor

Monday, 12 September 2022
Philharmonie, Main Hall, 20:00

National Gugak Center
Jongmyo Jerieak

Jongmyo Jerieak
Traditional Korean ancestral ceremony from the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910)
with music, song, dance and costumes
Guest performance by the National Gugak Center (Seoul/Korea)

National Gugak Center
Court Music Orchestra of NGC

Sang-won LEE director
Dance Theatre of NGC
Jeong-suk YU

Tuesday, 13 September 2022
Philharmonie, Main Hall, 20:00

Xenakis II | Bartók | Mahler

Iannis Xenakis
Aïs for baritone, percussion and orchestra (1980)
Béla Bartók
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 1
Gustav Mahler
Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor

Georg Nigl baritone
Dirk Rothbrust percussion
Vilde Frang violin
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
Vladimir Jurowski conductor

Wednesday, 14 September 2022
Philharmonie, Main Hall, 20:00

Claudio Monteverdi: “Vespro della Beata Vergine”

Claudio Monteverdi
Vespro della Beata Vergine
for choir, solo voices and orchestra (1610)

Dorothee Mields soprano I
Barbora Kabátková soprano II
Benedict Hymas alto I
William Knight alto II
Samuel Boden tenor I
Reinoud Van Mechelen tenor II
Peter Kooij bass I
Wolf Matthias Friedrich bass II
Collegium Vocale Gent
Ensemble of the Collegium Vocale Gent
Philippe Herreweghe conductor

Thursday, 15 September 2022
Philharmonie, Chamber Music Hall, 20:00

Lachenmann | Xenakis IV | Lim II

Helmut Lachenmann (*1935)
String Quartet No. 3 (2000/2001)
Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001)
Tetras for string quartet (1983)
Liza Lim (*1966)
String Creatures
for string quartet (2022) German Premiere

JACK Quartet
Christopher Otto violin
Austin Wulliman violin
John Pickford Richards viola
Jay Campbell cello

Thursday, 15 September 2022
Philharmonie, Main Hall, 20:00
Friday, 16 September 2022
Philharmonie, Main Hall, 20:00
Saturday, 17 September 2022
Philharmonie, Main Hall, 19:00

Xenakis III | Zimmermann | Dallapiccola

Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001)
for orchestra (1975)
Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970)
Sinfonie in einem Satz
for orchestra (1952/53)
Luigi Dallapiccola (1904-1975)
Il prigioniero
Opera in one prologue and one act (1949)
Concert performance

Ekaterina Semenchuk mezzo soprano
Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke tenor
Wolfgang Koch baritone
Rundfunkchor Berlin
Gijs Leenaars chorus director
Berliner Philharmoniker
Kirill Petrenko conductor

Saturday, 17 September 2022
Kirche Am Hohenzollernplatz, 0:00-23:55

Seven concerts within 24 hours by
Vocalensemble sirventes Berlin,
Vox Nostra, Tenebrae Choir London, Staats- und Domchor Berlin, Tenebrae Choir London, Basiani Ensemble Tiflis,
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

Sunday, 18 September 2022
Philharmonie, Main Hall, 20:00

Feldman | Stravinsky | Sibelius

Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
Coptic Light
for orchestra (1986)
Igor Stravinsky
Violin Concerto in D major (1931)
Jean Sibelius Tapiola
Tone poem for large orchestra op. 112 (1926)

Leonidas Kavakos violin
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Robin Ticciati conductor

Monday, 19 September 2022
Philharmonie, Main Hall, 20:00

Charles Mingus: “Epitaph”

Charles Mingus (1922 – 1979)
Epitaph (1962/1989)

BigBand der Deutschen Oper
Randy Brecker
and further guests
Titus Engel conductor