The world as a guest
Top musicians from Berlin and abroad plus an impressive range of programmes characterise Musikfest Berlin 2022. From the USA, for example, the Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras will be taking part, and there will also be a 500-year-old Korean ceremony with music, dance and costumes.
Musikfest Berlin is an institution – both in Berlin and internationally. As every year, 2022 will see performances by Berlin’s major orchestras and choirs, plus ensembles from the USA, Belgium, Georgia, Great Britain, Italy, Korea and the Netherlands.
A total of 32 orchestras and a large number of soloists from Berlin and all over the world will present 26 concerts with over 50 works by around 40 composers in this year’s festival programme. It includes repertoire classics by Beethoven, Mahler, Sibelius and Shostakovich, plus specially chosen rarities – such as the First Symphony by Florence Price. Yannik Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra present the work of the African-American composer, characterised by hints of spirituals and jazz harmonies, who successfully made a name for herself in the USA from the 1930s onwards in a time of institutional gender and racial discrimination.
27 concerts with 32 orchestras and over 50 works by around 40 composers
The Berliner Philharmoniker will of course also be represented at Musikfest Berlin with music from the recent past and the present. For example, Thomas Adès, himself a prominent composer, conducts a programme of austere yet sonorous music of our time. Chief conductor Kirill Petrenko, on the other hand, will focus on expressive works by the post-war avant-garde that speak out against injustice and oppression – a theme of disturbingly enduring topicality.
Furthermore, the Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest conducted by Lahav Shani will perform the Second Symphony by Mahler admirer Willem Pijper, one of the leading Dutch composers of the 20th century. Igor Levit, Antonio Pappano and the choir and orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia will present Ferruccio Busoni’s Piano Concerto: a vast choral symphony with obbligato piano, which is rarely heard in the concert hall due to the technical demands of its performance.
The milestone birthdays of Sofia Gubaidulina, Wolfgang Rihm, Kaija Saariaho, Gerald Barry and Unsuk Chin are celebrated in the programmes of many ensembles, including the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, which is returning to Berlin after eight years. Works by Bernd Alois Zimmermann, Iannis Xenakis and jazz legend Charles Mingus, who like Xenakis was born 100 years ago, will provide special highlights.
Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, Monteverdi’s Maria Vespers and a 24-hour Divine Office
John Eliot Gardiner’s performance of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis with his Monteverdi Choir and Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique is complemented by other sacred music in the festival programme. In addition to Claudio Monteverdi’s Maria Vespers with Philippe Herreweghe’s Collegium Vocale Gent and psalm settings by Heinrich Schütz, William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons with the Rias Kammerchor Berlin, there will also be a 24-hour Divine Office in the church at Hohenzollernplatz – with works ranging from Gregorian chant to Thomas Tallis, including the ensemble sirventes berlin, the Georgian choir Basiani, the Tenebrae Choir from London and the Staats- und Domchor Berlin.
Finally, the National Gugak Center from Seoul will present the 500-year-old royal ritual ancestral music Jongmyo Jerye-ak of the Joseon dynasty as part of its tour of Germany. The Confucian ceremony, a unique interplay of music, dance and costumes, was added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2001.