Berlin’s 2018/2019 concert season opens with the Musikfest Berlin from 31 August to 18 September 2018, presented by the Berliner Festspiele in cooperation with the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation. Over a period of 19 days 27 performances, featuring more than 65 works by approximately 25 composers, will be given by 22 instrumental and vocal ensembles with more than 30 soloists from the international music scene. The festival venues will include the Philharmonie and its Chamber Music Hall, the rbb’s Grosser Sendesaal (large broadcasting studio of the Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg), the Konzerthaus Berlin, Pierre Boulez Hall and St Matthew’s Church.

Great orchestras

Naturally, Berlin’s own great orchestras will participate in the festival, first and foremost, the Berliner Philharmoniker, who will present two orchestral programmes, and the Staatskapelle Berlin, which will open the Musikfest Berlin with Daniel Barenboim. The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin will arrive from the Netherlands for their first guest appearance at the Musikfest Berlin, along with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam. The Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons will come from America’s East Coast, bringing the Gewandhaus Children’s Choir and the women of the Gewandhaus Choir along for a performance of Gustav Mahler’s Third Symphony. The Munich Philharmonic and its chief conductor Valery Gergiev will also appear.

Tribute to George Benjamin and Pierre Boulez

In addition to works by such composers as Anton Bruckner, Antonín Dvořák, Gustav Mahler, Igor Stravinsky and Richard Wagner, the festival will also feature several concert cycles devoted to music of George Benjamin, Pierre Boulez, Claude Debussy, György Ligeti, Mathias Spahlinger, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Anton Webern. The festival will present concerts of symphonic and contemporary orchestral music, concert performances of opera and musical theatre, oratorio, concerts involving ritual, ceremony and action, as well as ensemble concerts, chamber music recitals, live electronic music and, finally, Abel Gance’s classic silent film J’accuse, which was made at the end of the First World War in 1919, with live orchestral accompaniment at the Konzerthaus on Gendarmenmarkt.

The Orchestra of the Lucerne Festival Academy will also appear for the first time at the Musikfest Berlin. Around 100 young musicians from all over the world, conducted by Peter Eötvös, will present the concert-length creation ceremony INORI – Adorations for two dancer-mimes and orchestra by Karlheinz Stockhausen on the stage of the Berlin Philharmonie.

Daniel Barenboim
(Photo: Peter Adamik)
George Benjamin
(Photo: A. Bofill)
Andris Nelsons
(Photo: Marco Borggreve)
Valery Gergiev
(Photo: Marco Borggreve)
Peter Eötvös
(Photo: Priska Ketterer)

Official website Musikfest Berlin 2018