Kirill Petrenko (photo: Stephan Rabold)

Kirill Petrenko conducts Schulhoff, Sinigaglia and Zemlinsky

Kirill Petrenko devotes this programme to three Jewish composers who were subjected to anti-Semitic persecution during the Nazi regime and whose music is still performed too rarely. We will hear Erwin Schulhoff’s Second Symphony, which fascinates with its adventurous playing with styles – for example, in a Scherzo alla Jazz. Two works full of Italian temperament by Leone Sinigaglia follow, featuring concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley as soloist. The concert closes with Alexander Zemlinsky’s voluptuously expressive Lyric Symphony, with Lise Davidsen and Christian Gerhaher.

Berliner Philharmoniker

Kirill Petrenko conductor

Noah Bendix-Balgley violin

Lise Davidsen soprano

Christian Gerhaher baritone

Erwin Schulhoff

Symphony No. 2

Leone Sinigaglia

Romance for violin and orchestra in A major, op. 29

Noah Bendix-Balgley violin

Leone Sinigaglia

Rapsodia piemontese for violin and orchestra, op. 26

Noah Bendix-Balgley violin

Alexander Zemlinsky

Lyric Symphony, op. 18

Lise Davidsen soprano , Christian Gerhaher baritone

Dates and Tickets

Thu 09 Jun 2022, 20:00

Main Auditorium | Introduction: 19:15

Series I

Fri 10 Jun 2022, 20:00

Main Auditorium | Introduction: 19:15

Series B


Kirill Petrenko

Since the 2019/20 season, Kirill Petrenko has been chief conductor and artistic director of the Berliner Philharmoniker. He received his training first in Russia, then in Austria. The international music world first became aware of him when he premiered Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung at the Meiningen Theater in 2001, directed by Christine Mielitz and designed by Alfred Hrdlicka, performed on four consecutive days. He conducted the cycle for the second time twelve years later at the Bayreuth Festival. At the same time, Kirill Petrenko took up his post as general music director of Bayerische Staatsoper, his third leading position at an opera house after Meiningen and the Komische Oper Berlin. He also made guest appearances at the world’s top opera houses (from the Wiener Staatsoper, Covent Garden in London and the Opéra National in Paris to the Metropolitan Opera in New York) as well as with the great international symphony orchestras – in Vienna, Munich, Dresden, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Rome, Chicago, Cleveland and Israel. He made his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2006. Kirill Petrenko also appears with the Berliner Philharmoniker outside of Berlin – on tour and of course in the Digital Concert Hall. Selected performances are also available as recordings; most recently released was an edition with symphonic works by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Franz Schmidt and Rudi Stephan.

Noah Bendix-Balgley

Noah Bendix-Balgley was born in Asheville, North Carolina, and had his first violin lessons at the age of four. He played for Yehudi Menuhin as a nine-year-old and later studied at Indiana University and at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich with Mauricio Fuks, Christoph Poppen and Ana Chumachenco. His goal is to find a sound that “is not only beautiful, but also meaningful and speaks to the audience”. Noah Bendix-Balgley has won awards at numerous competitions, including the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition in Brussels. He was concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra from 2011 to 2014 and joined the Berliner Philharmoniker as first concertmaster in September of 2014. He has also performed as a soloist with such renowned orchestras as the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the Belgian National Orchestra. He has appeared as a soloist with the Berliner Philharmoniker in Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 as well as works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Camille Saint-Saëns. The avid chamber musician performs with partners including Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Emanuel Ax, Lars Vogt and Colin Currie at festivals in Europe and North America. He gave the premiere of his own composition Fidl-Fantazye: A Klezmer Concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Manfred Honeck in June of 2016.

Lise Davidsen

The Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen was described as the voice of the century when she raised the roof of Bayreuth’s Festspielhaus as Elisabeth in Tannhäuser in summer of 2019 – with a powerful voice, brilliant technique and intense emotion. The exceptional young soprano, who was named Female Singer of the Year at the International Opera Awards in London in May of 2021, can also restrain her voice impressively – for an ethereal, spectral pianissimo that seems to come from another world: “My goal is that my voice doesn’t sound one-dimensional.” Lise Davidsen studied in Bergen and Copenhagen; in 2015 she won both the Operalia vocal competition in London and the Queen Sonja International Music Competition in Oslo. Since then, the singer has been a guest at many leading opera houses, in roles such as Leonore (Fidelio), Ellen Orford (Peter Grimes), Lisa (Queen of Spades), the title role in Jenůfa and as an acclaimed Wagner and Strauss interpreter. The latter roles, in particular, earned Lise Davidsen comparisons with Birgit Nilsson and Kirsten Flagstad early in her career. Her laconic comment: “I am me, and my voice is following its own path. But it could be that we Scandinavians have special vocal characteristics because of our constitution and our language.”

Christian Gerhaher

“I can’t listen to Schubert while writing emails and think I can understand the beauty of this music. For that I need time, quiet and concentration.” For Christian Gerhaher, who has captivated Berlin audiences with performances of works such as Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri, Bach’s St. Matthew and St. John Passions and Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande and served as Artist in Residence with the Berliner Philharmoniker during the 2013/14 season, music is existential: “Music by Bach, Beethoven, Schubert,” he says, “is not entertainment, any more than music by the Velvet Underground or the Cure. It is about death, loss and loneliness, about the lack of absolute perfection, about problematic emotional states and deficits. Music is often what arouses the emotion that makes one long for consolation – and then it can also miraculously even offer consolation itself.” International critics agree that no other baritone can combine existential depth and vocal beauty like the singer, who was born in Straubing in Lower Bavaria – with an enchanting blend of rich bass and otherworldly head tones. Naturally Gerhaher is one of the most popular singers of his voice range. He has enjoyed a close artistic partnership with the Berliner Philharmoniker for nearly 20 years.

Kirill Petrenko (photo: Stephan Rabold)

Noah Bendix-Balgley (photo: Sebastian Hänel)