Curiosity is a valuable asset in music. If one wants to explore this vast cosmos as a violinist or singer, composer or conductor, it is generally a good idea to take more than one approach, to try out different stylistic worlds or musical disciplines. Broadening horizons in this way is always beneficial to one’s main artistic field. You can experience that during this season’s debuts, with exciting new guests of the Berliner Philharmoniker who are distinguished by versatility and, not infrequently, multiple talents.
A prime example is Thomas Adès, one of the most celebrated composers of our time. The Berliner Philharmoniker have been performing his music for many years, for example, at Sir Simon Rattle’s inaugural concert twenty years ago. But Thomas Adès has also collaborated with orchestras and opera houses throughout the world as conductor – a role in which he will appear at the beginning of the season in the Philharmonie. Pekka Kuusisto, a Finnish violinist with an enormous artistic range, makes his debut during the same concert. In addition to classical repertoire, he plays folk, jazz and electronic music, composes and is passionate about improvisation, which one hears immediately in his spirited, spontaneous playing.
Pianist Víkingur Ólafsson is also stylistically flexible. He became known for his transparent Bach playing, which he demonstrated during a solo recital at the Philharmonie and which earned him the honorary title of an “Icelandic Glenn Gould” in the New York Times. His second passion is contemporary music, as we will now hear in a work by John Adams with the striking title Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes? – a “funky danse macabre”, according to the composer.
Maxim Emelyanychev, chief conductor of the early music ensemble Il Pomo d’Oro and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra as well as an outstanding pianist, proves that one can also set the air on fire with 18th-century works in a Mozart programme. As a conductor, Emelyanychev demonstrates how intensely dramatic this music can sound, without having to load it with effects. The soloist for this concert also makes her debut, with Mozart arias: Sabine Devieilhe, who studied cello and musicology before becoming one of the leading sopranos of the young generation. Particularly in Mozart, wrote Die Zeit, one can marvel at her exceptional qualities: “the warmth of her timbre, crystalline lightness, subtle humour”.
Another multi-talent among the newcomers to the Philharmonie this season is Finnish-born Klaus Mäkelä: originally a cellist, now a conductor on the way to a dream career. At the age of only 26, Mäkelä is chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic and the Orchestre de Paris and has also conducted great international orchestras from Chicago to Amsterdam. His style is characterized by spontaneity and precision, which he will demonstrate in a Russian programme with the Berliner Philharmoniker.
The final debut of the season, in May of 2023, will feature the Venezuelan pianist Sergio Tiempo, a traveller between worlds – both in a geographical and a cultural sense. He impresses listeners with his sensitively modulated tone in works by Bach and Chopin. During our concert with Gustavo Dudamel, however, he will prove himself to be an advocate of South American Modernist music when he performs Alberto Ginastera’s stunningly percussive Piano Concerto No. 1.
Keine Neubegegnung, sondern ein schönes Wiedersehen gibt es mit Esa-Pekka Salonen und Simone Young, die beide nach längerer Pause zu den Berliner Philharmonikern zurückkehren. Esa-Pekka Salonen ist dabei als Dirigent und als Composer in Residence dieser Saison zu erleben. Simone Young wiederum, Chefdirigentin des Sydney Symphony Orchestra und regelmäßiger Gast an den großen Opernhäusern der Welt, wird Olivier Messiaens Turangalîla-Symphonie präsentieren – ein Werk, das ihr besonders am Herzen liegt und mit dem sie schon oft ein »Feuerwerk an Farben und Leidenschaft« (Neue Zürcher Zeitung) entzündet hat.