The 2016/2017 concert season shows the rich diversity of classical music, from the new – such as the music of John Adams, the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Composer in Residence for the season, who also conducts some of his own compositions – to many famous works from the orchestral repertoire: symphonies by Gustav Mahler with chief conductor Sir Simon Rattle, Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique with Andris Nelsons, Mahler’s Lied von der Erde with Bernard Haitink, works by Bruckner with Christian Thielemann, Verdi’s Requiem with Riccardo Chailly, Dvořák’s Symphony From the new world with Gustavo Dudamel, and many more. Another highlight is a guest appearance by Kirill Petrenko, chief conductor designate of the Berliner Philharmoniker, with Mozart’s Haffner Symphony and Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique. Opera fans are also catered for when Simon Rattle presents concert performances of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre and Puccini’s Tosca. The Berliner Philharmoniker’s contributions to Musikfest Berlin 2016 include a portrait concert of John Adams and an all-French programme. The first highlight of 2016/2017 is the season opening concert with Gustav Mahler’s Seventh Symphony and Pierre Boulez' orchestral work Éclat. With the latter, the Berliner Philharmoniker commemorate the composer who died in January 2016 and who was a respected artistic associate of the orchestra for many years.
Renowned conductors, young talent
Many big-named, long-standing guest conductors have been secured for the new season: Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Iván Fischer, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti and Christian Thielemann. The younger generation is also represented at the conductor’s desk of the Philharmoniker. In some cases, these conductors made their debut here only a few years ago but have already become regular guests at Philharmoniker concerts: Gustavo Dudamel, Daniele Gatti, Alan Gilbert, Daniel Harding, Manfred Honeck, Andris Nelsons, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Tugan Sokhiev. In addition to these established forces, we can look forward to two exciting conducting debuts: the Colombian-born and Viennese trained Andrés Orozco-Estrada, currently chief conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and music director of the Houston Symphony, and John Adams, who in this case continues an orchestral tradition: ever since the orchestra was founded, the Berliner Philharmoniker have invited pioneering composers of their time to conduct performances of their own works.
International guests, celebrated virtuosos
The list of guest soloists is no less impressive: it includes the pianists Leif Ove Andsnes, Emanuel Ax, Rudolf Buchbinder and András Schiff, the violinists Gidon Kremer, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Anne-Sophie Mutter – who celebrates 40 years of performing with the orchestra this season – and Frank Peter Zimmermann, plus the cellist Gautier Capuçon. There are two wonderful comebacks: After 13 years, the violinist Pinchas Zukerman returns to the Berliner Philharmoniker, and the British pianist Imogen Cooper will once again be a guest of the orchestra for the first time in 26 years. Making their debuts – and as performers of Rachmaninov – this season, we welcome the pianist Nikolai Lugansky with the Paganini Rhapsody, and Daniil Trifonov with the Third Piano Concerto. Also, fans of vocal music can look forward to appearances by Christian Gerhaher, Matthias Goerne, Christiane Karg and Joyce DiDonato.
Lieder, piano and chamber music recitals
Joyce DiDonato is also a guest of the Philharmoniker’s chamber concerts, which feature a wide range of musical styles. In the series Singers – the World of Vocal Music, the American mezzosoprano will give a concert of Baroque arias on the theme of “war and peace”. The baritones Christian Gerhaher and Gerald Finley also present their own recitals. The series Chamber Music Prism provides a forum for chamber music-making to both individual members of the Berliner Philharmoniker and Philharmoniker ensembles such as Bolero Berlin, the Brass Ensemble and the Scharoun Ensemble Berlin. The high art of the quartet is demonstrated by the Emerson String Quartet, the Jerusalem Quartet and the Philharmonia, Varian Fry and Tetzlaff quartets. The Piano series will be opened by a young pianist who appears with the Berliner Philharmoniker for the first time this season and will also be heard in orchestral concerts: in his debut piano recital, Daniil Trifonov plays works by Robert Schumann, Shostakovich and Igor Stravinsky. Marc-André Hamelin spans the programmatic arch of Haydn and Beethoven through Brahms and Ravel to the unjustly forgotten Russian composer Samuil Feinberg. On two evenings, Igor Levit performs Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations and Frederic Rzewski’s 36 Variations on The People United Will Never Be Defeated!. Maurizo Pollini also makes a guest appearance with a solo recital, and in a special concert series, the Hungarian pianist András Schiff will perform works by Bach, Bartók, Janáček and Schumann.
From early music to jazz
Lovers of early music will be delighted with the Original Sounds series which sees performances by ensembles such as the Venice Baroque Orchestra under Andrea Marcon, Hespèrion XXI and Tembembe Ensamble Continuo under Jordi Savall, Concerto Melante and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin with Georg Kallweit. Established series such as the concerts of the Orchestra Academy, the Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic series, the Philharmonic Salon, the organ matinees and the Late Night concerts will continue to transport their audiences to musical and sound worlds beyond conventional concert programming. Plus there is a new discussion series, the Philharmonic discourse, in which a key issue will be taken as an opportunity for a thorough debate – in the 2016/2017 season, the theme is the relationship between music and biography.