From 30 August to 19 September 2019, the Musikfest Berlin will kick off the new 2019-20 season in Berlin’s concert life, organised by the Berliner Festspiele in co-operation with the Berlin Philharmonic Foundation. Over the course of 21 days, 26 events will be presented in the Philharmonie, its Chamber Music Hall and the Konzerthaus Berlin: more than 65 works by about 25 composers, 22 instrumental and vocal ensembles and more than 50 soloists from the international music world.
Hommage to Hector Berlioz
Sir John Eliot Gardiner will lead off the Musikfest Berlin on 31 August together with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, which he founded 30 years ago, and the Monteverdi Choir, offering a semi-staged performance of Hector Berliozʼs opéra comique about Benvenuto Cellini, the famous Renaissance goldsmith and sculptor. On the occasion of the Berlioz year 2019 – the great French composer died 150 years ago – Berlioz expert Sir John Eliot Gardiner is turning again to the Benvenuto opera after an acclaimed Zurich production in 2002: this time in a new version of his own, played on the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique’s period instruments. The Orchestre Les Siècles, based in Paris and making a guest appearance at the Musikfest Berlin for the first time with founder François-Xavier Roth at its helm, will also be taking on Hector Berlioz’s music on historic instruments, placing it in a European historical context that ranges from Jean-Philippe Rameau to Helmut Lachenmann. The festival programme picks up this thread and creates a journey, starting with Hector Berlioz, through highlights of the music of French and European modernism, together with guests participating from Germany and abroad, and with orchestras active in international musical life located in Berlin.
World orchestras and No theatre
Besides the semi-staged and concert versions of operas on the festival programme, the Musikfest Berlin will also present a guest performance of the famous traditional ensemble of the Umewaka Kennokai Foundation, in collaboration with the Japan Foundation and the Japanese-German Center Berlin: classical No theatre of the 14th/15th and 17th centuries in the Philharmonic hall, taking place in the 25th year of the Berlin-Tokyo city partnership. Besides Gardiner’s Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, the London Symphony Orchestra will perform for the first time as guests in Berlin conducted by their new music director Sir Simon Rattle. Great Britain’s premier radio orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, will also be guests, together with their chief conductor Sakari Oramo. This year, the Netherlands will be represented by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam with Tugan Sokhiev, the Bavarian capital by the Munich Philharmonic with Valery Gergiev, Frankfurt by the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie with Jonathan Nott, the Ensemble Modern with Brad Lubman and Cologne by the Ensemble Musikfabrik with Peter Eötvös, who will also conduct the Berliner Philharmoniker. And we will welcome Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, who on their European farewell concert tour will perform a concert together one last time on the podium of the Philharmonie Berlin. The Musikfest Berlin will begin on 30 August with a “Long Night”: in the Philharmonie, Pierre-Laurent Aimard will play Catalogue d’oiseaux for piano solo by Olivier Messiaen, lasting almost three hours.