Birthday concert for Peter Eötvös

He is one of the most important composers of our time: Peter Eötvös, who as a 14-year old studied with Zoltán Kodály, and who for many years conducted the legendary Ensemble intercontemporain. Last January he celebrated his 70th birthday. Since 1999, Eötvös has repeatedly been guest conductor with the Berliner Philharmoniker, and this concert is a belated birthday present for him.

Berliner Philharmoniker

Peter Eötvös Conductor

Patricia Kopatchinskaja Violin

To Peter Eötvös on the occasion of his 70th birthday

Wolfgang Rihm


Peter Eötvös

DoReMi, Violin Concerto No. 2

Patricia Kopatchinskaja Violin

Johannes Brahms

Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor (orch. Arnold Schoenberg)

Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation in co-operation with Berliner Festspiele/Musikfest Berlin

Dates and Tickets

Fri, 12 Sep 2014 8 p.m.

Philharmonie | Introduction: 7:00 pm



Already at the age of 14, Peter Eötvös studied composition with Zoltán Kodály at the Budapest Music Academy; he then obtained a diploma in conducting in Cologne. He pursued his dual talent equally, including for many years as head of the Ensemble Intercontemporain founded by Pierre Boulez. Peter Eötvös celebrated his 70th birthday on 2 January 2014, an event that the Berliner Philharmoniker are taking as an opportunity to dedicate a concert to the Hungarian composer, conductor and pedagogue. Eötvös’ Second Violin Concerto, entitled DoReMi, is on the programme; it is along the traditional lines of the genre: an unprecedented musical competition unfolds in front of listeners in the interaction between solo and orchestra. (The soloist is Patricia Kopatchinskaja.)

Before that, they will play Wolfgang Rihm’s orchestra piece IN-SCHRIFT 2, which was premiered in Berlin in October 2013 at the “50 Years of the Philharmonie” gala concert. Rihm took as the basis for his spatial composition the reality of the main concert hall of the Philharmonie, so the musicians are grouped around the auditorium. The evening will be rounded off with Johannes Brahms’s Piano Quartet in G minor op. 25 in Arnold Schönberg’s orchestral version. Schönberg saw the “developing variation” sketched out in the work that he described as the basic prerequisite of his twelve-tone technique. At the premiere of the quartet on 16 November 1861, to be sure, the finale designated “alla zingarese” generated the greatest response with its innumerable allusions to the csárdás, perpetuum mobile episodes and trio serenade.


Peter Eötvös, born in Transylvania in 1944, is regarded as one of the great musical luminaries of our time as a result of his activities as composer, teacher and conductor. He studied at the Academy of Music in Budapest (composition) and at Cologne University of Music (conducting). He worked regularly with the Stockhausen Ensemble between 1968 and 1976, and with the Electronic Music Studio of WDR in Cologne between 1971 and 1979. At the invitation of Pierre Boulez, Peter Eötvös conducted the inaugural concert of the IRCAM in Paris in 1978. Until 1991, he was musical director of the Ensemble intercontemporain. He has conducted leading orchestras in the USA, Japan and Europe, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic. In 1991 he founded the International Eötvös Institute and the Contemporary Music Foundation for young conductors and composers in Budapest; from 1992 to 2007, he taught at the music universities in Karlsruhe and Cologne. Eötvös’ works (including Atlantis, zeroPoints,Three Sisters, Angels in America and Love and Other Demons) are performed all over the world; his newest opera Die Tragödie des Teufels was premiered at the Bavarian State Opera in 2010. His awards include the Kossuth Prize from the President of the Hungarian Republic, the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award, the “Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” and the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Venice Biennale (2011). Peter Eötvös made his conducting debut in Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation concerts in June 1994, directing the Scharoun Ensemble Berlin in the Chamber Music Hall. He first conducted the orchestra in March 1999 and most recently in a series of concerts in June 2011; in April 2013 he presented a performance of Bartók’s Sonata for two pianos and percussion.

Patricia Kopatchinskaja, born in Moldova, studied composition and violin in Vienna and Bern. A winner of numerous awards (including the 2012 Praetorius Musikpreis Niedersachsen Award in the category of innovation), she received the “Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist of the Year Award” in 2014. The violinist has performed as a soloist in Berlin with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester and the Staatskapelle, and with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and renowned orchestras in Vienna, Paris and Tokyo, working with conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Pablo Heras-Casado, Mariss Jansons, Vladimir Jurowski and Sakari Oramo. Patricia Kopatchinskaja gives concerts at international centres of music and major festivals (e.g. Lucerne, Vienna, Salzburg, Montreux and Kuhmo). Her chamber music partners include Fazil Say, Sol Gabetta and Markus Hinterhäuser. She is also a founding member of the quartet-lab, a string quartet together with Pekka Kuusisto, Lilli Maijala and Pieter Wispelwey. Patricia Kopatchinskaja has premiered numerous works, including three violin concertos written for her. As a goodwill ambassador for the charity Terre des Hommes, she supports projects to help needy children in her native Moldova. Patricia Kopatchinskajaʼs first guest appearance for the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation was in March 2011 with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie as the soloist in Prokofievʼs First Violin Concerto; Andrey Boreyko was the conductor. These concerts mark her debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker.

(c) Marco Borggreve

(c) Marco Borggreve