Monika Grütters

Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media

(Photo: Christof Rieken)

Dear music friends!

As the composer Gustav Mahler once said, “What is best in music is not to be found in the notes”. Music only reaches its culmination in the interplay of the performers. The sound of the Berliner Philharmoniker was formed in collaboration with the best conductors in the world, and each new conductor lends it an unmistakable character. I am looking forward to Kirill Petrenko, to the new stimulus he will be able to give to the Philharmoniker, to his artistic style and his programmatic work in the music city of Berlin.

International appeal

Kirill Petrenko’s opening of the season with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is a tribute to the great composer, the 250th anniversary of whose birth will be commemorated in December 2020 and from this season onwards will be celebrated worldwide with a wide-ranging programme. With the Eroica and a new production of Beethoven’s only opera Fidelio at the Easter Festival in Baden-Baden, for example, the Berliner Philharmoniker are contributing to the international appeal of the anniversary which my government ministry is also celebrating. It will be interesting to see how Kirill Petrenko will retell even seemingly familiar works by this great master. The fact that the musicians of the orchestra will perform a “marathon” of Beethoven’s chamber music in a variety of formations, including all the string quartets, is both a demanding challenge and a charming gesture. Also in the new season, the Berliner Philharmoniker will again be giving guest performances in Germany, Europe, Japan and Israel.

A basis for the future of musical culture

I am particularly pleased that Musikfest Berlin is presented by the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Berliner Festspiele as a joint musical season opener with a series of top-class orchestral concerts. Such a concentrated experience of different playing cultures is unlikely to be found anywhere else. For many years now, the Berliner Philharmoniker have also set new standards in musical education with a range of programmes for children and young people as well as for people who have so far found little access to orchestral culture. Kirill Petrenko wants to continue the sponsorship with the National Youth Orchestra of Germany and to develop his own projects for young musicians – a work of inestimable value, because the commitment to the musical education of the younger generation is a basis for the future of musical culture.

By supporting the Berliner Philharmoniker, the German government is helping to ensure that this orchestra not only retains its standing in the world of music, but also has the scope to set new standards in the arts as an ambassador for cultural cooperation and understanding. I wish the orchestra a brilliant start into the new era with its new chief conductor, and inspiring musical experiences for all concertgoers.

Prof. Monika Grütters MdB
Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media