Top-level orchestras from Berlin and guest orchestras from the USA, England, the Netherlands and Germany present European music from the dawn of the modern era.
The Musikfest Berlin 2013 begins on 30 August, hosted by the Berliner Festspiele in cooperation with the Berlin Philharmoniker Foundation. This international orchestra festival raises the curtain on the Berlin concert season by presenting 65 works by 24 composers over 20 festival days with 24 concerts. For the opening concert, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Manfred Honeck with Anne-Sophie Mutter as soloist, will perform music by Richard Strauss, Janaček und Lutosławski. Other guests at the Musikfest Berlin 2013 are the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam conducted by Daniele Gatti with the pianist Yefim Bronfman, the Philharmonia Orchestra London with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the baritone Mathias Goerne, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks with chief conductor Mariss Jansons, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe conducted by Pierre-Laurent Aimard and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Berlin’s top orchestras and their chief conductors including Sir Simon Rattle and Daniel Barenboim will be taking part as well as with soloists such as Martha Argerich, Isabelle Faust, Maxim Rysanov, Klaus Florian Vogt, Mihoko Fujimura and Christian Gerhaher.
Thomas Oberender, Director of the Berliner Festspiele said: “I am proud that the Musikfest Berlin at Berliner Festspiele is able to present the best orchestras and soloists from all over the world together with Berlin’s top orchestras, and invites the audience to immerse itself into an incredibly exciting period of music history – the dawn of the modern era. In the festival programme 2013, Winrich Hopp makes the era of this transition tangible in the form of a unique musical experience, a densely, intricately woven musical tapestry. I am looking forward to these enriching 20 festival days and would like to thank the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation and all the supporters of the Musikfest Berlin.”
The focal point of this year’s festival is formed by music from three central European composers. They come from three countries with different musical traditions and span 140 years of music history in successive generations: the Czech composer Leoš Janaček (1854-1928), the Hungarian composer, pianist and music ethnologist, Béla Bartók (1881-1945) and the Polish composer Witold Lutosławski (1913-1994), whose 100th birthday will be celebrated this year. England’s great composer Benjamin Britten was also born 100 years ago. A selection of his works, which are rarely performed on the German stage, will be presented by the Musikfest Berlin, together with the symphonies by his fellow composer Dmitri Shostakovich. The works of these central composers have been integrated into the Musikfest Berlin programme alongside music by J. S. Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, Dorati, G. F. Haas, Kagel, Ligeti, Mahler, Martinů, Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Mozart, Mussorgsky, Prokofiew, Ravel, R. Strauss, Verdi and B. A. Zimmermann.
As a special premiere, “Les Noces” by Igor Stravinsky will be performed at the Musikfest Berlin 2013. The version with mechanical pianola, which was originally arranged by Stravinsky and completed by Theo Verbey in 2007, will be presented for the first time ever in a live performance by the RIAS Kammerchor and the Ensemble musikFabrik. Rex Lawson will be on the pianola, and the conductor is James Wood. Public rehearsals the day before the concert will be moderated by Habakuk Traber and are aimed at pupils and students.
“Intimate Letters”, the string quartet by Leoš Janáček in the original version with the viola d’amore, will be played for the first time in Berlin by the Quatuor Diotima with Garth Knox as guest violinist. Further highlights of the chamber music section of the Musikfest Berlin are the string quartet cycle, comprising all six Bartók quartets performed by the Emerson String Quartet and the Philharmonia Quartett Berlin, the solo evening with Carolin Widmann and the benefit concert with András Schiff and Hanno Müller-Brachmann, all proceeds of which will go to Human Rights Watch.