Next Wednesday, the Estonian conductor Paavo Järvi will be officially taking office as Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich (TOZ). In his suitcase, he will be bringing sounds from the far North and an ambitious objective: “I intend to position the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich among the world’s best orchestras. Ever since our first encounter I have felt a very strong chemistry and was overwhelmed by the commitment of both the musicians and management. I look forward to strengthening those musical and personal relationships and embarking on a new chapter of our musical lives together.”

For the inaugural concerts, which will be given next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 2, 3, and 4 October at Zürich’s Tonhalle Maag, Järvi has chosen Kullervo, Jean Sibelius‘s epic Symphonic Poem. This is a work that has always remained close to Paavo Järvi’s heart and one which he introduces Zürich audiences to for the first time. The large-scale line-up includes soloists Johanna Rusanen and Ville Rusanen and a male choir featuring singers from both the Zürich Sing-Akademie, under the direction of Florian Helgath, and the Estonian National Men’s Choir.

Paavo Järvi will also bring with him to Zürich an amusing and unconventional short composition by fellow Estonian, Arvo Pärt. More than forty years after composing Wenn Bach Bienen gezüchtet hätte… (If Bach Had Raised Bees…), Pärt has created a new and expanded arrangement of his original work especially for Järvi ‘s inauguration in Zürich for which the composer will be present.

Olivier Messiaen – first CD release

Järvi’s initial appearances with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich were enthusiastically received and bear witness to a promising, successful partnership. The first recorded testimony of this is a CD featuring both early and late orchestral works by Olivier Messiaen, that is released by Alpha Classics to coincide with next week’s inaugural concerts.

“The Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich is now entering an important new chapter in its recording history,” says Artistic and Executive Director Ilona Schmiel of their debut CD together. “It may come as a surprise that Paavo Järvi’s first work with the orchestra should focus on Olivier Messiaen’s little-known works. The result subtly draws the listener’s attention to the composer’s unique handling of tonal colour in these compositions. And it is certainly an indication of what we are all looking forward to in this collaboration.”

This recording project will be followed by a complete cycle of the Tchaikovsky symphonies which will be released on Alpha Classics in March 2021, coinciding with the orchestra’s return it its original home - the iconic Tonhalle on Lake Zurich - following an extensive renovation.


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