Music for enquiring minds

Two world premieres with soloists of the Berliner Philharmoniker

Matthew McDonald about “AURORA”

It is something very special when a composer writes a piece for a particular musician. Not only does it highlight their very individual style of music-making, but it also gives them the opportunity to transcend boundaries and explore new sound worlds. Peter Eötvös, an artistic companion of the Berliner Philharmoniker for many years, has composed a new work for Matthew McDonald, first principal bass with the Berliner Philharmoniker: AURORA for double bass solo and string ensemble, commissioned by the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Karajan Academy. In our video, Matthew McDonald explains why Nordic light plays such an important role in this work, what technical features Peter Eötvös has incorporated for him, and why he enjoys this work so much. The world premiere with scholarship holders of the Karajan Academy will take place under the direction of the composer on 8 December.

Outstanding soloists: Matthew McDonald and Stefan Dohr

Another world premiere follows just six weeks later, this time with principal horn Stefan Dohr. The Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen, a leading figures in his country’s contemporary music scene who has already been commissioned with compositions by the Berliner Philharmoniker on several occasions, has written a horn concerto for him. Abrahamsen’s style is characterised by the fact that he has not completely abandoned the rules of the harmonic triad, and formulates them again and again in new and unconventional ways. The result is music full of tonal intensity and captivating appeal. Like Matthew McDonald, Stefan Dohr accompanied the development of his concerto in a lively exchange with the composer, so that he can ideally express all his musical abilities.

Stefan Dohr (R.) and Paavo Järvi preparing for the world premiere of Abrahamsen's Horn Concerto
(Photo: Monika Rittershaus)