Young people and
classical music

Kirill Petrenkos Family Concerts

When Kirill Petrenko took up his post as chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker, one topic was at the top of his wish-list: concerts for families and young audiences – because he is convinced that a love of music can be awakened most readily and most effectively between parents and children and between young people themselves. To this end, he wants to play exceptional works with the Berliner Philharmoniker and talk personally about the pieces, the composers and making music.

When the family concerts planned for January and February 2021 had to be cancelled, Kirill Petrenko quickly proposed a new format for, and with, young adults. In this new format, rehearsal and concert excerpts, conversations with special guests (such as actor Ulrich Matthes) and video interviews with young people will provide insights from a personal perspective into the worlds of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Kurt Weill.

The format, entitled Close-up, also shows how a composition, life and its contemporary history are closely related and influence each other.  The series will continue in the future to complement the family concerts.

»Close-up«: Kurt Weills Berlin Symphony

The most important things needed to enjoy music are curiosity and an open ear. It becomes even more fascinating when you know a bit more about how music is created: how it is composed and how it is played. To this end, Kirill Petrenko not only wants to perform excerpts from the works in the family concerts, but also, for example, to present the works' instruments with members of the orchestra. He also wants to show which arts inspired the composers, and how other art forms responded to the works.

Above all, there will be a lot of music: the season opens, for example, with Stravinsky’s fairy-tale ballet The Firebird – a musical invitation to the garden of the dangerous sorcerer Koschei who holds 13 princesses captive – in which the connection between music and dance can be felt with great orchestral power and colour in every fibre and every rhythm.

In January 2022, the opera Iolanta will take young audiences to a completely different paradise garden: enchanted by love, the blind title character regains her sight, and Tchaikovsky’s passionate melodies allow both young and old to share in the story’s transformation.

With this new concert series and other film projects, Kirill Petrenko hopes to awaken a love of classical music in young people with authentic insights and his enthusiasm, and to discover together what it can tell us about people and life.

Malte Krasting