The festival begins on 30 August

The opening concert on 31 August presents “Benvenuto Cellini” by Hector Berlioz

Berliner Festspiele’s Musikfest Berlin, hosted in cooperation with the Foundation Berliner Philharmoniker, marks the beginning of Berlin’s new 2019/20 concert season. International guest orchestras, Berlin’s own orchestras and prominent soloists will present works by Hector Berlioz, Richard Strauss, Peter Tschaikowsky, Olivier Messiaen, Claude Debussy, Edgar Varèse, Iannis Xenakis, Arthur Honegger, Peter Eötvös, Olga Neuwirth, Helmut Lachenmann und Louis Andriessen. The Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and Les Siècles from Paris will be making their debut at the Philharmonie. Other guest orchestras include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Münchner Philharmoniker.

Musikfest Berlin 2019 will begin on 30 August with a long night of piano music, featuring Pierre-Laurent Aimard and his performance of Olivier Messiaen’s “Catalogue d’Oiseaux”. The official opening will take place on 31 August with a semi-staged performance of Berlioz’ opera comique “Benvenuto Cellini”, presented by the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, the Monteverdi Choir and international soloists conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

Just like the orchestra of the opening concert, the orchestra Les Siècles also places great value on authenticity and plays its concerts on historical instruments from the time of the works’ creation. Conducted by François-Xavier Roth, they will present works by Rameau and Lachenmann on 15 September, as well as “Harold en Italie” by Berlioz with the violist Tabea Zimmermann as soloist.

Further highlights include a concert of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and conductor Tugan Sokhiev on 2 September presenting the first Symphony by Tschaikowsky. Their performance of Andriessen’s “Mysteriën” for orchestra, written on the occasion of the RCO’s 125th anniversary, will mark the beginning of Musikfest Berlin’s 2019 focus on Louis Andriessen. On 4 September, Ensemble Modern and conductor Brad Lubman will present Andriessen’s “De Stijl” from the musical theatre work “De Materie” at the Philharmonie. And the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sakari Oramo, will perform the European premiere of Andriessen’s latest work “The Only One” for voice and orchestra, featuring singer Nora Fischer. The concert will also include Jean Sibelius’ 5th Symphony. Håkan Hardenberger will play the trumpet concerto “…miramondo multiplo…” by Olga Neuwirth, another composer who the festival will focus on. Composer Peter Eötvös will conduct the first concerts by Berliner Philharmoniker (on 7 and 8 September) and lead the German premiere of his third violin concerto “Alhambra” with soloist Isabelle Faust. On 8 September, Eötvös, the Ensemble Musikfabrik and the Nō-performer Ryoko Aoki will present his work “Secret Kiss” which is inspired by Japanese traditions as well as his “Sonata per sei” for three pianos and three percussionists. Furthermore there will be a Nō-theatre guest performance by the company of the Umewaka Kennokai Foundation from Tokyo at the Philharmonie on 3 September.

In his concert with Münchner Philharmoniker on 10 September, Valery Gergiev will continue his interpretations of Bruckner at Musikfest Berlin with the composer’s Sixth Symphony, combining it with Alfred Schnittke’s monumental First Symphony. On 15 September, towards the end of the festival, the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie conducted by Jonathan Nott will play Richard Strauss’ “Ein Heldenleben” and, together with the Jack Quartet, Helmut Lachenmann’s famous “Tanzsuite mit Deutschland”. The day after, on 16 September, Zubin Mehta will pay a visit to Musikfest Berlin as part of his Farewell Tour with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the soloist Gil Shaham.

There will be an introductory lecture for every concert. The following events offer additional background information: Critics’ Quartet, 31 August, book presentation and talk featuring Peter Eötvös and philosopher László F. Földényi Parlando – Rubato (4 September, 4.30 pm) and Perspektivwechsel (Change of Perspective) with Olga Neuwirth and Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson (4 September, 6 pm).

Please take note of the following cast changes for the opening concert “Benvenuto Cellini”: Maurizio Muraro (bass) will take over Matthew Rose’s part of “Giacomo Balducci”; Vincent Delhoume (tenor) will take over for Krystian Adams (“Francesco”).


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