25 August – 23 September 2020

Musikfest Berlin

Beethoven and the music of our time

“Art demands of us that we not stand still,” wrote Ludwig van Beethoven to a friend. We take him at his word and invite you again to this year’s Musikfest Berlin. Musikfest Berlin 2020, organised by the Berliner Festspiele in cooperation with the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation, looks forward to the start of the new concert season with optimism. Many of the projects prepared throughout Germany for the Beethoven Jubilee Year 2020 have fallen victim to the corona crisis or have been postponed to the coming years. Several major orchestras from Germany and abroad, for example, will unfortunately not be able to make guest appearances at this year’s Musikfest Berlin.

Homage to Beethoven

So we are all the more delighted to be able to retain the core of the original programme at Musikfest Berlin 2020, making the Philharmonie a place where the music of Ludwig van Beethoven meets the works of the composers of our time: with a portrait of the composer Rebecca Saunders comprising of 16 works and five world premieres, with world premieres by Georges Aperghis, Wolfgang Rihm, Milica Djordjević, Christian Jost and compositions by George Benjamin and Enno Poppe.

In focus: Rebecca Saunders

For the music of our time we have invited leading ensembles and renowned performers of the international music scene: the Ensemble Modern, the Ensemble Musikfabrik, the Klangforum Wien and the Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Marco Blaauw, Christian Gerhaher, Juliet Fraser, Tamara Stefanovich, Christian Tetzlaff, Jörg Widmann, Tabea Zimmermann and others.

“Everest of the piano repertoire”

The pianist Igor Levit devotes himself to the “Everest of the piano repertoire”: Ludwig van Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas over eight concerts. Berlin’s leading orchestras present Beethoven’s Fourth (Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin), Fifth (Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin), Sixth (Berliner Philharmoniker) and Eighth Symphony (Konzerthausorchester Berlin), combined with music by Joseph Haydn or works of the 20th century: by Béla Bartók, Alban Berg, Anton Webern and Alfred Schnittke. In the first orchestral concert of Musikfest Berlin 2020, Daniel Barenboim will conduct the last three symphonies of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with the Staatskapelle Berlin.

Beethoven Cycle with Igor LevitDaniel Barenboim
(Photo: Monika Rittershaus)
Tabea Zimmermann
(Photo: Marco Borggreve)
Daniel Harding
(Photo: Julian Hargreaves)
Ensemble Modern
(Photo: Vincent Stefan)