20 May 2020 – After the successful Mahler Festival Online (over one million views), owing to the cancellation of the Mahler Festival 2020, the Concertgebouw is proud to present the Mahler Festival 2021. During this event, international top orchestras will perform a variety of work including Mahler’s symphonies no. 1 through 6.

This festival will open on 18 May 2021 with the Concertgebouworkest under the direction of guest conductor Fabio Luisi. Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden will direct pieces including Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 with the acclaimed Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Also, the London Symphony Orchestra will perform conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra will appear with conductor Jakub Hrůša. Iván Fischer with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Valery Gergiev conducting the Munich Philharmonic will complete the line-up in the Main Hall.

Sir Simon Rattle Returns with Mahler

The Mahler Festival 2021 will be something of a special reunion for the British conductor Sir Simon Rattle. At the previous edition, in 1995, he conducted the Vienna Philharmonic playing Mahler’s Symphony No. 7. Now he will return as Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra with Symphony No. 6: ‘I write this as we begin to emerge from lock down, blinking in the sun, unsure what our new world will look like. It is exciting and energising to be thinking about making music again. Knowing we have things to look forward to, certainties in a time of uncertainty, is a great comfort. The LSO and I are looking forward enormously to being part of this wonderful celebration of Mahler, the composer who above any other drew me into the world of classical music.’

Managing Director Simon Reinink: ‘Reserved sense of pride in uncertain times’

Director Simon Reinink presents this new festival with mixed feelings: ‘First of all, I’m very proud that we managed to put together this fantastic line-up in such a short time. In addition to the symphonic programme in the Main Hall, all of Mahler’s songs will be performed in the Recital Hall by ten talented young singers, selected and accompanied by the internationally renowned pianist Julius Drake. At the same time the situation resulting from the Corona crisis remains uncertain one. We need to wait and see if we will be up & running again by next May.’

Ticket sales start 1 June 2020 

Ticket sales for the new festival will begin on 1 June 2020 10.00 AM CEST via concertgebouw.nl. Those who had tickets for the Mahler Festival 2020 will be given priority when purchasing tickets for the new festival. In the event that the 2021 festival cannot take place, ticket holders will be eligible for a refund.

Presenting Sponsor American Express Remains Committed to Mahler Festival

American Express continues their cooperation as Presenting Sponsor of the Mahler Festival 2021. Robert-Jan Meijers (Country Manager AMEX NL): ‘Gustav Mahler is one of the most-beloved composers of all time. We are proud that American Express will support the Mahler Festival 2021, also in these times, to enable as many people as possible throughout the world to be inspired by Mahler’s music.’ Managing Director Simon Reinink: ‘We are delighted that our long-standing partner American Express is helping to make the Mahler Festival 2021 possible. Thanks to them and our many other sponsors Mahler’s music will once again be heard live in the Concertgebouw in 2021.’

History Offers Hope

In 1920 a Mahler Festival was organised for the first time in the Concertgebouw. A year prior (1919) there was a deadly pandemic as well: the Spanish flu. The chief conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Willem Mengelberg, was also impacted. Although the circumstances are not entirely comparable, the optimism of that time can inspire us today: whatever happens, the music will go on!