The season's world premieres stand not only for the innovative power of classical music, but also for its colourfulness and diversity. There are artists who devote themselves to different styles and genres with productive curiosity and a broad view, creating new works from the most diverse cultural circles and sound worlds.
“Children, create something new!” Richard Wagner encouraged his younger colleagues. We support this appeal during the 2022/23 season with four world premieres and a German premiere. One of the composers of these new works is Toshio Hosokawa, who was born in Hiroshima in 1955 and is the most long-standing partner of the Berliner Philharmoniker – the orchestra already played one of his works during a composition competition in 1982. Japan’s best-known composer draws his musical language from the tension between the Western avant-garde and the traditional culture of his homeland. In his music, beauty always grows out of transience: “We hear the individual notes and appreciate, at the same time, the process of how the notes are born and die: a sound landscape of continual ‘becoming’ that is animated in itself.” Hosokawa frequently writes works dealing with nature, such as the horn concerto Moment of Blossoming, composed for the Berliner Philharmoniker and their hornist Stefan Dohr in 2011, in which he depicts the blossoming of a lotus flower. A violin concerto follows this season, written for the first concertmaster Daishin Kashimoto.
Miroslav Srnka has already collaborated with Kirill Petrenko on a spectacularly successful world premiere: the opera South Pole, which was presented at the Bavarian State Opera in 2016. An instrumental work now follows, again conducted by Petrenko. Srnka, who was born in Prague in 1975, describes his compositional approach as follows: “I am interested in generating structures which break out of their own isolated world, which move in extreme situations and are similar to human beings – structures that overcome themselves and are clearly absorbed in sound and movement.” The musical results of these reflections are powerful polyphonic interweavings: iridescent bands of sound, fanned out again and again, from which individual lines or sound patterns develop.
At the close of the season, Kirill Petrenko introduces two composers to the Berliner Philharmoniker audience. The first is the American Julia Wolfe. In 1987, she was one of the founders of the spectacular New York music collective Bang on a Can, which changed the city’s musical scene permanently. This forum enabled young composers to develop new forms of expression outside the mainstream music industry and experiment with unconventional techniques. Julia Wolfe’s music knows no dogmas. Her sources of inspiration include classical music as well as rock, minimalist and folk music, and she enjoys breaking down the barriers between these genres. Her music often demands the utmost of performers technically and expressively, so that every premiere of one of her works becomes a challenge for its interpreters.
Along with Julia Wolfe, Lisa Streich will also be heard with a new work during the same concert. The composer and organist, who was born in Norra Råta, Sweden, in 1985, dispenses with programmatic titles, texts and commentaries on her works. Their spiritual backdrop is nevertheless clearly recognizable: one hears that they are always about essentials; existential experiences are explored. The intensity of her musical language is due to complex, fully differentiated structures. For example, she often specifies several tempo levels with which string players adjust their bowing, harpists sweep their hands across the strings and trombonists play glissandos with their slides. Lisa Streich’s music is both serious and playful, powerful and meaningful, physical, brutal and tender – but always innovative and original.
Another brand-new work on our programme is an organ concerto by Esa-Pekka-Salonen, composed for both the Latvian organist Iveta Apkalna and Olivier Latry, the organist of Notre-Dame de Paris. After the world premiere with Iveta Apkalna in Katowice on 9 January 2023, Esa-Pekka Salonen will conduct the German premiere at the Philharmonie Berlin on 19 January, with Olivier Latry at the organ. Salonen, an internationally acclaimed conductor and composer, is Composer in Residence with the Berliner Philharmoniker this season. Few other composers are able to write as effectively and eloquently for orchestra as Salonen, who was born in Finland in 1958. If there is also an organ, we can look forward to unprecedented, highly expressive soundscapes.