(photo: Martin Deeley)

Chamber Music

A Batman composer in the Chamber Music Hall

Millions of people have listened to his music: anyone who loves successful series such as The Simpsons or Desperate Housewives and films such as Batman, Spider Man, Mission Impossible or Men in Black know the soundtracks of Danny Elfman. He is one of Hollywood’s most successful film composers. In his vivid and evocative musical language, Elfman has composed a new work for the Berlin Philharmonic Piano Quartet. In this concert, which is being held in association with the Berlinale, the piece will be given its German premiere. Before the concert, Danny Elfman himself will have his say: in conversation with the musicians of the piano quartet, the composer will give an insight into his new work and his work, and answer questions from the audience.

Berlin Philharmonic Piano Quartett:

Luis Esnaola violin

Matthew Hunter viola

Knut Weber cello

Markus Groh piano

Frank Bridge

Piano Quartet in F sharp minor “Phantasy Quartet”

Danny Elfman

Auftragswerk der Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker gemeinsam mit dem Lied Center for Performing Arts Lincoln, Nebraska

Johannes Brahms

Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, op. 25

In co-operation with the Berlinale

Dates and Tickets


He is a musical crossover artist, immersed in every stylistic genre: Danny Elfman. Born in Los Angeles in 1953, he proved himself as a young man in a New Wave band as an all-rounder, singing and playing various instruments, before devoting himself to the world of film music in 1985. He wrote ingenious musical works of art for large orchestra for the imaginative films of director Tim Burton, which were often filled with absurdist humour, including the scores for such cinema evergreens as Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare before Christmas, Mars Attacks!, Batman,Batman Returnsand Corpse Bride. He collaborated with Madonna on the filming of Dick Tracy, based on the comic strip character, in 1990 (directed by Warren Beatty), and from 2004 composed the music for the cult series Desperate Housewives.

Elfman’s soundtracks for film and television have won more than 100 awards – including two Emmys and a Grammy. Influenced by such composers as Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Max Steiner and Nino Rota, he also wrote music for the legendary Cirque du Soleilas well as symphonic and concertante works – among them, his Serenada Schizophrana for orchestra and a violin concerto, which was premiered in 2017.

Elfman’s Piano Quartet, which will have its German premiere at this concert, was commissioned by the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation and the Lied Center of Performing Arts in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was premiered by the Berlin Philharmonic Piano Quartet in 2018 and subsequently recorded. Founded in 1985 and now in its second generation, the ensemble consists of violinist Luis Esnaola, violist Matthew Hunter, cellist Knut Weber and the renowned pianist Markus Groh. The fact that the ensemble not only performs works from the Classical and Romantic repertoire but also champions contemporary music and rediscovered little-known works becomes obvious from the programme for this concert. The performance of Elfman’s Piano Quartet will be preceded by the quartet’s interpretation of the richly melodic Phantasy Piano Quartet by the British composer Frank Bridge, who died in 1941 and is rarely performed in this country. The concert concludes with Johannes Brahms’s Piano Quartet No. 1, composed in 1861, which pushes forward forcefully with symphonic dimensions.

(photo: Martin Deeley)