2014/2015 Concert Season
The beginning of the 2013/2014 concert season is dominated by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: The three last symphonies of the Viennese classical composer are featured in the inaugural concert of the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle. At Musikfest Berlin, which is jointly organised by the the Berliner Festspiele and the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation, the orchestra presents two programmes dedicated to the composers Gustav Mahler, Béla Bartók, Leoš Janáček and Witold Lutosławski. This season there is also an anniversary to celebrate: 50 years of the Berlin Philharmonie. In the many special concerts held in October, the Berliner Philharmoniker celebrate the unique ambience of the legendary concert hall, designed by Hans Scharoun – with the world premiere of a work by Wolfgang Rihm and the revival of the spectacular St. Matthew Passion in the semi-staged production by Peter Sellars. His interpretation of the St. John Passion is also to be presented this season. The conclusion of the celebrations is a performance of Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder, conducted by Simon Rattle. Other highlights of the season include a concert performance of Giacomo Puccini’s Manon Lescaut in April 2014, and in the Fest am Kulturforum in June 2014, the Berliner Philharmoniker perform – among other things – Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.
Old friends, new talents
Of course, there are also guest appearances by many old friends of the orchestra: Claudio Abbado conducts an evening of works by Mozart and Strauss, Zubin Mehta’s performances include Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony, Nikolaus Harnoncourt presents Schumann’s Scenes from Goethe’s Faust, and Bernard Haitink, who made his debut with the orchestra exactly 50 years ago, celebrates this event with Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony. After an all-too-long absence, Lorin Maazel returns with a concert devoted exclusively to Richard Strauss, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth. The list of outstanding guest conductors is extensive: with names such as Semyon Bychkov, Herbert Blomstedt, Riccardo Chailly, Mariss Jansons, Myung-Whun Chung, Gustavo Dudamel, Alan Gilbert, Daniel Harding, Andris Nelsons, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Tugan Sokhiev. In addition to these well-known partners, other debutants on the podium include the former Philharmoniker principal clarinetist Karl-Heinz Steffens, Krzysztof Urbanski from Poland, and Reinhard Goebel, one of the preeminent interpreters of early music.
International guests, Philharmonic soloists
Among the many guest soloists to appear, the baritone Christian Gerhaher stands out: as the new artist in residence of the Berliner Philharmoniker, he will be involved in a variety of projects. Other guests include the pianists Emanuel Ax, Rudolf Buchbinder, Lang Lang, Radu Lupu and Mitsuko Uchida, the cellists Sol Gabetta und Truls Mørk, and the violinists Hilary Hahn, Thomas Zehetmair and Frank Peter Zimmermann. In addition, the wonderful tradition of presenting members of the orchestra as the protagonists of solo concertos continues, including 1st concertmaster Daishin Kashimoto, principal flautist Andreas Blau and first principal cellist Ludwig Quandt. Two solo performances are highlighted: first, Daniel Barenboim’s performance of Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto in June 2014 (conductor: Sir Simon Rattle), with which the musician celebrates his 50th anniversary as a partner of the Berliner Philharmoniker. And the debut of the almost 90-year-old Menahem Pressler – world famous as the pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio – as a soloist in a Mozart piano concerto.
From early music to jazz and world music
In the field of chamber music, there are three anniversaries to celebrate this season: the 25th birthday of the Philharmonic Wind Quintet and the 30th anniversaries of the Scharoun Ensemble and the Ensemble-WienBerlin. The fine art of the chamber music quartet is represented by the Gililov Quartett Berlin, the Simón Bolívar String Quartet, the Philharmonia Quartet, the Quatuor Ebène and the Arcanto Quartet. In the Piano concert series, Leif Ove Andsnes gives a Beethoven evening, Marc-André Hamelin presents himself not only as a pianist but also as a composer, Igor Levit puts artistic versatility to the test in his debut concert with a programme that ranges from works by Georg Muffat to Frederic Rzewski, and Maurizo Pollini, artistic partner of the house of many years’ standing, makes a guest appearance with a solo programme. Fans of lieder can look forward to the Singers – the World of Vocal Music series with Ferruccio Furlanetto, Anne Sofie von Otter, Elīna Garanča and Ian Bostridge, who marks the centenary of Benjamin Britten. Then there is Jonas Kaufmann who performs Schubert’s Winterreise. Lovers of early music will also be well served by the Original Sounds series which includes concerts by the Berlin Baroque Soloists, the Venice Baroque Orchestra, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Les Violons du Roy and Musica Aeterna. Other popular concert series such as Underway – World Music with Roger Willemsen, the jazz series Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic, the Philharmonic Salon, the organ matinees and Late Night concerts offer audiences music from beyond the standard concert repertoire.