As a “classical music rebel”, he made quite a splash with his Orchester MusicAeterna, producing the very thing that keeps the arts alive: controversy. Teodor Currentzis’ career is as unusual as its aesthetic results. He first studied in his hometown of Athens, then in St. Petersburg with Ilya Musin, the doyen of the Russian school of conducting. After that, he stayed in Russia, assuming responsibility as chief musical director for the core of musical life in Novosibirsk, Siberia’s largest city. There he founded MusicAeterna with a two-pronged direction: historical music in its original sound and music of the 20th century. He took the ensemble to the Russian city of Perm, where he held office from 2011, and from there, led the orchestra on to a brilliant international career.
In his Musikfest programme, early and modern music meet in Mozart, including the Requiem. Thomas Tallis’ eight-choir, forty-voiced Spem in alium and Ligetis’ Lux aeterna resonate in different ways, prising open the finiteness of space. Purcell and Schnittke transcend liturgical texts into the sphere of art: the polystylistics of Schnittke’s Concerto for Choir, based on texts by the ancient Armenian mystic Gregory of Narek, spans the period from Gregorian musicology to Ligeti or Penderecki. In the face of eternity, the boundaries between what was, what is, and what can be, vanish.