This year, the Kronberg Academy Festival will take place from 25 September to 1 October 2019 in Kronberg and Frankfurt am Main. Entitled “Searching for Ludwig” and taking place on the “eve” of his 250th birthday, it is dedicated to Ludwig van Beethoven, his predecessors, contemporaries and his musical heirs. Seventy-four soloists will present a total of 21 concerts, including complete cycles of Beethoven’s violin and cello sonatas and performances with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Ensemble Modern, Kremerata Baltica and Frankfurt Radio Symphony. Great soloists such as Gidon Kremer, Sir András Schiff, Steven Isserlis, Antoine Tamestit, Tabea Zimmermann and the students and alumni of Kronberg Academy are among the Festival artists, as, for example, is the actor and narrator Christian Brückner. In musical terms, the Festival programme ranges from Bach to Widmann and features premieres of works commissioned from Johannes X. Schachtner, Moritz Eggert and Jüri Reinvere. The Festival’s patron is Marta Casals Istomin, widow of the great cellist Pablo Casals and a member of Kronberg Academy’s Artistic Council.
The artistic directors of the Festival – Prof. Dr Friedemann Eichhorn, Director of the Kronberg Academy Study Programmes, and Raimund Trenkler, Founder and Chairman of the Board of the Kronberg Academy Foundation – presented the Festival programme on 24 June 2019.
“We are looking forward to a Festival rich in variety and contrast. As always in Kronberg, performances from great masters together with the young soloists of Kronberg Academy act as focal points. They, and the other Festival artists, will venture to present unique programmes that illuminate Beethoven’s works and allow us to relive the things that influenced him, the effect he had on composers who were his contemporaries and those who followed, and the impact he still has today,” said Friedemann Eichhorn. Raimund Trenkler added: “Our 14th Festival brings together classical, modern classical and contemporary works in a way that is unprecedented here. To have three premieres of works commissioned by Kronberg Academy, four orchestras and two cycles of the complete violin and cello sonatas on the programme is something special, even for us. The Festival will, again, give us the opportunity for first-hand, intense, direct experiences of the music and musicians.”
Four orchestras and great masters presenting young soloists The Frankfurt Radio Symphony directed by Christoph Eschenbach will get the Festival under way on Wednesday, 25 September. In a youth concert featuring works by Beethoven, it will present three of Kronberg’s young soloists: violinists Lara Boschkor and JiYoung Lim, and Jonathan Roozeman (cello). The concerts in Kronberg will begin on Thursday, 26 September with Kremerata Baltica, which will again be the orchestra in residence for the Festival. Violinists Marie-Astrid Hulot and Itamar Zorman, a student and alumnus of Kronberg Academy respectively, as well as cellists Julius Berger and Mario Brunello will then play with the great violinist Gidon Kremer. The programme includes works by Beethoven, Mieczysław Weinberg and a premiere of the commissioned work “Mehr Ausdruck der Empfindung als Malerei” (More expression of feeling than painting) by composer and conductor Johannes X. Schachtner, who was born in 1985. Kremerata Baltica will also give another performance on Sunday, 29 September, this time with Kronberg alumna Christel Lee (violin) and Mario Brunello (cello), presenting works by Beethoven, Jean-Louis Duport, Léo Ferré, Joseph Haydn and Giovanni Sollima.
On Monday, 30 September, Kronberg will play host to the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. The renowned chamber orchestra is to be the first orchestra in residence of the Casals Forum, Kronberg Academy’s new chamber music hall. They will be conducted on this occasion by Sir András Schiff, who will present the young Kronberg soloists Jonian-Ilias Kadesha, Fumika Mohri, Stephen Waarts (all violin), Timothy Ridout (viola) and Aurélien Pascal (cello) with works by Beethoven, Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The finale on Tuesday, 1 October will likewise be an orchestral concert. Ensemble Modern will play Alfred Schnittke’s Concert No 3 for Violin and Chamber Orchestra with Gidon Kremer, as well as works by Conlon Nancarrow and Jörg Widmann under the baton of Fuad Ibrahimov. This evening will also be a chance to hear the premiere of a commissioned work as Ensemble Modern and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras perform the cello concerto “Inter Lacrimas et Luctum” by Estonian composer Jüri Reinvere.
Elsewhere in the programme, Steven Isserlis (cello) is set to perform with Young Soloists of Kronberg Academy in a further presentation concert. On 28 September, these will be the pianists Mishka Rushdie Momen and Jean-Sélim Abdelmoula from the new study programme led by Sir András Schiff. They will perform works by Beethoven, György Kurtág and Marta Kurtág. Finally, Sir András Schiff will present Kronberg soloists Marc Bouchkov and Mairéad Hickey (both violin) as well as cellists Hayoung Choi and Ivan Karizna in his concert on 29 September featuring compositions by Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Claude Debussy and Robert Schumann.
Complete cycles of Beethoven’s violin and cello sonatas Additional Festival highlights include the complete cycles of Beethoven’s ten violin and five cello sonatas – which will be performed by almost as many renowned violinists and cellists, with Antje Weithaas, Nikita Boriso-Glebsky, Soyoen Kim, Mihaela Martin, Alina Pogostkina, Linus Roth, Baiba Skride, Vadim Gluzman, Stella Chen, Hyeyoon Park, Steven Isserlis, Truls Mørk, Santiago Cañón Valencia and Eckart Runge among them. From 27 to 30 September, the cycles will form a thread running through a total of nine concerts, each evocatively complemented by works from Beethoven’s contemporaries and modern classical pieces.
Each violin sonata will be accompanied by a composition from “Mir mit dir. 10 Vor- und Nachgedanken zu den Beethovenschen Violinsonaten” (Me and you. Ten fore and afterthoughts on the Beethovenian violin sonatas), a work commissioned from composer Moritz Eggert by Kronberg Academy. The great viola players Antoine Tamestit and Tabea Zimmermann will place their instrument centre stage in their concert on 29 September.
Together with the young Kronberg cellists La Li and Aleksey Shadrin, as well as alumnus Bruno Philippe, also a cellist, they will perform works by Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, George Benjamin and Frank Bridge.
“The Kreutzer Sonata” and more late night concerts There is a special tradition of late-night concerts at the Kronberg Academy Festival, and this year there are set to be five. One of these, on Saturday, 28 September, will be dedicated to the Kreutzer Sonata. After opening the concert with the corresponding section of Moritz Eggert’s work, Hyeyoon Park (violin) will play Beethoven’s Sonata No 9 in A major for Violin and Piano, Op 47, the “Kreuzer Sonata”, together with Daniel Heide (piano). Christian Brückner will then read from Leo Tolstoy’s novella “The Kreutzer Sonata”, which will be followed by Leoš Janáček’s String Quartet No 1, “Kreutzer Sonata”, with the Aris Quartett.
Violin Makers’ Exhibition “Scroll, frog & spike” In addition to a series of talks and open workshops with Festival artists, Kronberg is also organising a specialist exhibition entitled “Scroll, frog & spike”. From across Europe, violin makers, bow makers, manufacturers of strings, cases and other accessories, publishing houses and instrument dealers will come to exhibit their wares from 27 to 29 September. The “Open Workshop” with master luthier Ekkard Seidl from Markneukirchen and master bowmaker C Jochen Schmidt from Dresden will again visit Kronberg from 26 September to 1 October.