At the Musikfest Berlin, the Berliner Festspiele’s international orchestra festival, international guest orchestras and solists kick off the concert season by joining forces with Berlin-based orchestras to create a broad festival programme over 19 days. The central venue is the Philharmonie Berlin. First-time guests include the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Lucerne Festival Academy.

The Musikfest Berlin 2018 (31 August to 18 September), a joint cooperation between the Berliner Festspiele’s international orchestra festival and the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation, kicks off with a piano evening by Alexander Melnikov and Claude Debussy’s complete Préludes on 31 August. The festival is formally opened on 1 September with the Staatskapelle and Daniel Barenboim’s performance of “Rituel” by Pierre Boulez and “Le Sacre du Printemps” by Igor Strawinsky.

The guest and Berlin-based orchestras and the international soloists – in total over 1,700 musicians – present works by Pierre Boulez, Anton Bruckner, Richard Wagner, Anton Webern, George Benjamin and Mathias Spahlinger. The main focus of the festival programme is the performance of central works by the composers Claude Debussy (100th anniversary of his death), Bernd Alois Zimmermann (100th birthday) and Karlheinz Stockhausen (90th birthday).

The following guests are scheduled to perform in the city until 18 September: Andris Nelsons with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam with Manfred Honeck and singer Anett Fritsch, the Münchner Philharmoniker with Valery Gergiev and the actors Michael Rotschopf and Josef Bierbichler, the Ensemble intercontemporain from Paris and the Ensemble Modern Orchestra from Frankfurt as well as the Orchestra of the Lucerne Festival Academy under Peter Eötvös with Stockhausen’s “INORI – Adorations for one or two soloists and orchestra”.

The first concerts of the Berliner Philharmoniker are conducted by the composer George Benjamin. His music is present in a total of three portrait concerts during the festival. The Berliner Philharmoniker under François-Xavier Roth participates in the portrait of the composer Bernd Alois Zimmermann with the performance of the violin concerto with Carolin Widmann as soloist, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra with the “Symphony in One Movement” and the Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin with the orchestral works “Photoptosis” and “Silence and Reversal”.

The Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin with Frank Strobel will perform the restored version of Abel Gance’s silent film “J’accuse” with new music by Philippe Schoeller. The Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, with its chief conductor Robin Ticciati and soloists, plays Claude Debussy’s “Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien” in a concertante version. And Philippe Herreweghe conducts Dvořák’s “Reqiuem” at the Konzerthausorchester concert.

In addition to pianist Alexander Melnikov recitals include cellist Nicolas Altstaedt and French pianist Florent Boffard. Tabea Zimmermann and other soloists will be performing in a late-night with the Schola of the Rundfunkchor. Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard initiates the Karlheinz Stockhausen focal point at the end of the festival on 13 September and will perform on three evenings in various constellations, among others with pianist Tamara Stefanovich and percussionist Dirk Rothbrust. The Ensemble Metamorphosen will perform at the IPPNW charity concert.

The 27 Musikfest Berlin 2018 events take place at the Philharmonie Berlin and its Kammermusiksaal, at the Grosse Sendesaal of the rbb, at the Konzerthaus Berlin, at the Pierre Boulez Saal and in the St. Matthäus-Kirche.


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