Monday 28. Sep. 2020, 8.00 pm | Elbphilharmonie, Großer Saal
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major Op. 58
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13 in B-flat minor Op. 113 “Babi Yar”
Kent Nagano is considered one of the outstanding conductors for both operatic and orchestral repertoire. He has been Music Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) since September 2006 and took up the position of General Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera and Chief Conductor of the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra in September 2015. In 2006 he was appointed Honorary Conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and in 2019 of Concerto Köln, the Baroque orchestra which he is involved in with the Wagner Readings.
In October 2019, Kent Nagano and the orchestra will go on an extensive tour through Latin America, including Sao Paolo, Rio de Janiero, Buenos Aires, with violinist Veronika Eberle, finishing at the Chicago Symphony Center on 15 October with the following program: Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff (soloist Denis Matsuev) and Bartok. In January 2020 the orchestra and Kent Nagano host the first ever Schubert Festival in Montreal, featuring all of the composer's symphonies. Other highlights of the 2019/20 season in Montreal include a concert with works by Messiaen and Fauré and a re-invitation of the orchestra and its Music Director to Carnegie Hall in New York. In summer 2020, the Virée Classique / Classical Spree festival, founded by Kent Nagano, goes into its 9th year.
In Hamburg, the 2019/20 season starts with the premiere of Shostakovich's The Nose in a production by Karin Beier at the Hamburg State Opera. In April 2020, the premiere of Strauss' Elektra, staged by Dmitri Tcherniakov, follows, as well as Olivier Messiaen's cult opera Saint François d'Assise at the Hamburg International Music Festival in a scenographic version by Georges Delnon which he especially developed for the Elbphilharmonie concert hall. In October 2019, Kent Nagano tours Japan with the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra and in January 2020 he and the orchestra present the world premiere of Pascal Dusapin's Waves for organ and orchestra at the Elbphilharmonie.
Kent Nagano’s guest appearances in the 2019/20 season include the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin in Munich and Berlin, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the NHK Symphony Orchestra, the Olso Philharmonic Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. With Concerto Köln he continues the scientific-artistic project Wagner Readings, with theoretically scientistic approaches as well as historically-informed performance practice of Richard Wagner's Ring.
One of the highlights of Kent Nagano's collaboration with the OSM was the inauguration of the orchestra’s new concert hall La Maison Symphonique in September 2011. In October 2016, he conducted the world premiere of José Evangelista’s Accelerando – a commission by the OSM on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Montréal’s metro. In November of the same year he conducted a semi-staged production of the Matthäus-Passion. In previous years, Nagano and the orchestra performed the complete cycles of Beethoven and Mahler symphonies, Schönberg's Gurrelieder, concert versions of Wagner's Tannhäuser, Tristan and Isolde and Das Rheingold, Honegger's Jeanne d'Arc au Bûcher and Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise. In July 2018, Kent Nagano conducted Krzysztof Penderecki’s St. Luke Passion with the OSM on the occasion of the Salzburg Festival opening concert.
Tours have taken Nagano and the orchestra to Canada, Japan, South Korea, Europe, South America and the USA, with stops in Washington, Boston and New York.
Most recently, he and the orchestra toured Europe in March 2019, including Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Paris and Vienna.
His recordings with the OSM on Sony Classical/Analekta include Mahler’s Orchestral Songs with Christian Gerhaher, Beethoven’s Piano Concertos Nos. 4 & 5 and a complete recording of all the Symphonies by Beethoven of which the album Ideals of the French Revolution with Symphony No. 5 won a Juno award. In March 2016, Decca released recording of the North American premiere of L'Aiglon, a rarely performed opera by Honegger and Ibert, conducted by Nagano in March 2015, on CD. Further releases by Decca are Danse Macabre with works by Dukas, Saint-Saens, Ives and others in autumn 2016 and a recording of Bernstein's A quiet place in June 2018 on the occasion of the composer's 100th birthday. In autumn 2019 John Adams' Common tones in simple time & harmony (Decca) and at the end of 2019 the Lukas Passion by Penderecki (BIS) will be released.
Kent Nagano's past 4 years in Hamburg include the premieres of Berlioz‘ Les Troyens, Hosokawa’s Stilles Meer, Messiaen’s Turangalîla with the Hamburg Ballett and John Neumeier, the premieres of Wagner’s Parsifal and Beethoven’s Fidelio, Berg’s Lulu and Strauss’ Frau ohne Schatten and the „Philharmonische Akademie“ – a project in the tradition of musical academies of the 18th/19th century –, as well as the South America Tour with the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra and the world premiere of Jörg Widmann’s oratorio ARCHE – composed on the occasion of the inauguration of the Elbphilharmonie in January 2017. The live recording of this concert was released on CD by ECM in autumn 2018.
As a much sought-after guest conductor, Kent Nagano has worked with the world's leading international orchestras, including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, the NHK Symphony Orchestra, the Finnish Radio Orchestra, the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In 2014-2016, he led his own festival as part of the AUDI Sommerkonzerte, called Vorsprung-Festival. Other special projects included productions of Mozart's Idomeneo with Concerto Köln and the Bernstein opera A quiet place with the Ensemble Modern in a new version premiered in Berlin in November 2013.
At the Bayerische Staatsoper, where he was General Music Director from 2006 to 2013, Kent Nagano commissioned new operas such as Babylon by Jörg Widmann, Das Gehege by Wolfgang Rihm and Alice in Wonderland by Unsuk Chin. New productions included Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov and Khovanshchina, Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos and The Silent Woman, Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmelites, Messiaen’s Saint François d'Assise, Berg’s Wozzeck, George Benjamin's Written on skin and Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. Tours took Nagano and the Bavarian State Orchestra through Europe and Japan. In addition to Bruckner's Symphonies Nos. 4 and 7 (Sony), Kent Nagano has released several opera performances with the Bavarian State Orchestra on DVD: Unsuk Chin's opera Alice in Wonderland (2008) and Mussorgsky's Chowanschtschina (2009) with unitel classica/medici arts, Dialogue des Carmélites with Bel Air Classiques (2011) and Lohengrin (2010) with Decca.
Another very important period in Nagano’s career was his time as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin from 2000-2006. He performed Schönberg’s Moses und Aron with the orchestra (in collaboration with Los Angeles Opera), and took them to the Salzburg Festival to perform both Zemlinsky’s Der König Kandaules and Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten, as well as to the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden with Parsifal and Lohengrin in productions by Nikolaus Lehnhoff. Recordings with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin for Harmonia Mundi include repertoire as diverse as Bernstein’s Mass, Bruckner’s Symphonies Nos. 3 & 6, Beethoven’s Christus am Ölberge, Wolf’s Mörike-Lieder, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, Schönberg’s Die Jakobsleiter and Friede auf Erden, as well as Brahms’s Symphony No. 4 and Schönberg’s Variationen für Orchester Op. 31. In June 2006, at the end of his tenure with the orchestra, Kent Nagano was given the title Honorary Conductor by members of the orchestra, only the second recipient of this honour in their 60-year history. To this day he has a close friendship to the orchestra.
Kent Nagano became the first Music Director of Los Angeles Opera in 2003 having already held the position of Principal Conductor for two years. His work in other opera houses has included Shostakovich's The Nose at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin, Rimsky-Korsakoff's The Golden Cockerel at the Châtelet in Paris, Hindemith's Cardillac and Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites at the Opéra National de Paris as well as Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann and the premiere of Saariaho's L’amour de loin at the Salzburg Festival. Other world premieres he has conducted include Bernstein's A White House Cantata and the operas Three Sisters by Peter Eötvös and The Death of Klinghoffer and El Niño by John Adams.
Nagano has worked with labels such as Decca, Sony Classical, FARAO Classics and Analekta for many years, but he has also recorded CDs with BIS, Berlin Classics, Erato, Teldec, Pentatone, Deutsche Grammophon and Harmonia Mundi. He was awarded Grammys for his recordings of Busoni’s Doktor Faust with Opéra National de Lyon, Prokofjew’s Peter and the Wolf with the Russian National Orchestra and Saariaho’s L’amour de Loin with the Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin.
In October 2019, Kent Nagano and Mari Kodama will expand their joint recordings of Beethoven's works for piano and orchestra with Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 0 E-flat Major WoO 4, a nearly unknown youth work of the composer, and his Rondo for Piano and Orchestra WoO 6 with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. The 4-CD edition will be released by the label Berlin Classics.
Born in California, Nagano maintains close connections with his home state and was Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra from 1978-2009. His first major successes came with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1984, when Messiaen appointed him assistant to conductor Seiji Ozawas for the premiere of his opera Saint François d'Assise. Nagano’s success in America led to European appointments: Music Director of Opéra National de Lyon (1988-1998) and Music Director of the Hallé Orchestra (1991-2000).
Since 2005 Kent Nagano is honorary doctorate of McGill University in Montréal, since 2006 honorary doctor of the Université de Montréal and since May 2018 of San Francisco State University.
Till Fellner’s international career began in 1993 with the 1st prize at the renowned Concours Clara Haskil in Vevey (Switzerland). Since then, he has been a sought-after guest at the major orchestras and the major music centres of Europe, the USA and Japan, as well as at numerous festivals.
He made his debut with the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, London Symphony Orchestra and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra and at the Kulangsu Piano Festival in China. In autumn 2019 Till Fellner served as jury president of the 62nd International Piano Competition Ferruccio Busoni in Bolzano.
Till Fellner has collaborated with Claudio Abbado, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Christoph von Dohnnyi, Christoph Eschenbach, Bernard Haitink, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Manfred Honeck, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Neville Marriner, Kurt Masur, Kent Nagano, Jonathan Nott, Kirill Petrenko, Hans Zender among many others.
In the field of chamber music, Till Fellner regularly collaborates with British tenor Mark Padmore and with the Belcea Quartet. In spring 2019, he toured the US with cellist Johannes Moser.
Over the past few years he has dedicated himself to two milestones of the piano repertoire: The Well-Tempered Clavier of Johann Sebastian Bach and the 32 piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven. He performed the Beethoven cycle from 2008 to 2010 in New York, Washington, Tokyo, London, Paris, and Vienna. Till Fellner has premiered works by Kit Armstrong, Harrison Birtwistle, Thomas Larcher, Alexander Stankovski and Hans Zender.
The ECM label, for whom Till Fellner is an exclusive recording artist, has released the First Book of the Well-Tempered Clavier and the Two & Three-Part Inventions of J. S. Bach, Beethoven’s Piano Concertos Nos. 4 & 5 with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Kent Nagano, chamber music by Harrison Birtwistle, and most recently a CD ”Till Fellner in concert” with live recordings of works by Liszt and Beethoven. In 2016 Alpha Classics released the recording of the piano quintet by Brahms with the Belcea Quartet, this recording received the ”Diapason d’Or de l’Annee”.
In his native Vienna, Till Fellner studied with Helene Sedo-Stadler before going on to study privately with Alfred Brendel, Meira Farkas, Oleg Maisenberg, and Claus-Christian Schuster.
Hailed by The Guardian as ”one of the great Wagner basses of our time”, Ain Anger made his Bayreuth Festival debut as Fafner (Das Rheingold) and Siegfried under Christian Thielemann, and his debut at Teatro alla Scala as Daland (Der fliegende Holländer) under Hartmut Haenchen. As Hunding (Ring Cycles), he has appeared at Bayerische Staatsoper under Kent Nagano, Wiener Staatsoper under Franz Welser-Möst, Oper Frankfurt under Sebastian Weigle, Lyric Opera of Chicago under Sir Andrew Davis, and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden under Sir Antonio Pappano. As Pogner (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Anger debuted at San Francisco Opera under Sir Mark Elder, and he is a frequent guest of Deutsche Oper Berlin with whom he also appeared at the BBC Proms in ”Tannhäuser” under Donald Runnicles. Most recent seasons have brought further expansion of the Wagner repertoire with debuts as Hagen (Götterdämmerung) for the Canadian Opera Company conducted by Johannes Debus, and as König Marke (Tristan und Isolde) for the Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst.
A mainstay at Wiener Staatsoper stage since his house debut as Monterone (Rigoletto) in 2004, Ain Anger has sung more than forty roles there ranging from Dosifei (Khovanshchina) conducted by Semyon Bychkov, König Heinrich (Lohengrin) under Christian Thielemann, and Philippe II (Don Carlos), to Zaccaria (Nabucco) and Fiesco (Simon Boccanegra). Estonian-born Anger gave his acclaimed first performances as Boris Godunov in Richard Jones’ production at Deutsche Oper Berlin, the same production that marked his debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Pimen. At Opéra National de Paris, he has appeared most recently in new productions of ”Boris Godunov” and ”Don Giovanni”, and is a regular guest of Bayerische Staatsoper where he recently sang Cardinal Brogni (La Juive) under Bertrand de Billy.
The Estonian National Male Choir (RAM) was founded in 1944 by the legendary composer and leader of the Estonian choral movement, Gustav Ernesaks. Since then the choir has been conducted by several highly esteemed Estonian choral conductors, including Olev Oja, Kuno Areng, Ants Üleoja, and Ants Soots. From 2005 till 2008 Kaspars Putninš from Latvia was chief conductor. The current chief conductor is Mikk Üleoja.
In a co-operative project with conductor Paavo Järvi, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ERSO), the Estonian Girls Choir ”Ellerhein”, and the Estonian National Male Choir (RAM) won a Grammy Award in 2004 in the category ”Best Choral Performance” for their recording of Sibelius’ Cantatas (Virgin Classics, 2003). A year later their recording of Edvard Grieg’s ”Peer Gynt” (recorded by the same label) was voted the orchestral album of the year in BBC Music Magazine.
In over 70 years, RAM has performed more than 7,000 concerts all across Estonia, the former Soviet Union, many Western European countries, Israel, Canada and the United States. In the early years, the Choir devoted its working repertoire almost exclusively to a cappella choral music, most of it was composed by its founder Gustav Ernesaks. Since that time, RAM has divulged itself into the classical mainstream and is now most famous for its interpretations of large-scale orchestral works, frequently performed with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors. At any given time, RAM has approximately 30 large-scale orchestral works available in its repertoire, and most of the current tours abroad are large-scale projects.
During the last decade, the choir has paid homage to the musical trends and performance styles of several different periods and regions, working Robert Sund, Josep Prats, Roman Toi, Chifuru Matsubara (Japan), Kaspars Putninš, Anatoly Grindenko, Lone Larsen (Sweden), Timothy Brown (UK), Vytautas Mishkinis, Toomas Siitan and Jaan-Eik Tulve. Performing oratorios, RAM has worked under the direction and became a favourite of world-famous Estonian maestros such as Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Kristjan Järvi and Eri Klas, and of conductors such as Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Riccardo Muti, Paavo Berglund, Leif Segerstam, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Saulius Sondeckis, Leo Krämer, Christoph Spering, Gintaras Rinkevičius, Arvo Volmer, Andres Mustonen, Paul Mägi, Jüri Alperten, Vello Pähn, Tõnu Kaljuste, Nikolai Alekseev and many others.
Touring projects over the past years included the performance of the oratorio Des Jona Sendung by Estonian composer Rudolf Tobias with Neeme Järvi in St. Petersburg (May 2003) and Brahms’ Rinaldo in Lahti and Tampere, Finland (October 2003). In 2004, RAM opened the concert season of the Detroit Symphony, conducted by Maestro Neeme Järvi, followed by performances with the Cincinnati Symphony, conducted by Maestro Paavo Järvi. In 2005 and 2006 RAM performed again Sibelius’ ”Kullervo” in Sweden, a.o. with the Swedish Radio Symphony in Stockholm. In 2005 the choir participated in the Festival of Estonian culture in Scotland. In autumn 2006 RAM undertook two very successful trips to Germany, performing with the Bochum Symphony and with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony. In 2007 RAM participated in the Sibelius Festival of Konzerthaus Dortmund (a cappella and ”Kullervo” with Tampere Philharmonic and John Storgårds) to greatest critical acclaim. 2008, RAM was invited to perform at the Bergen International Festival (a cappella and Schönberg’s Gurrelieder), the Swansea Festival (Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex), and with the Tapiola Sinfonietta in Finland. Projects in 2010 included performances with the Bremen Philharmonic (Markus Poschner), the Tampere Philharmonic (Hannu Lintu), the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra (Lothar Zagrosek), and the Orchestra de Paris (Paavo Järvi). In April 2011, RAM performed ”Kullervo” with the NDR Radio Philharmonic Hannover (Eivind Gullberg Jensen), and October 2011 has seen RAM at the Festival d’Ile de France.
RAM has recorded more than 15 CDs for Deutsche Grammophon, Sony, Virgin, Finlandia, CCn'C, Forte, Alba and other record labels, among them a project of 5 CDs with Veljo Tormis’ complete male choir repertoire. This recording is a ground-breaking and exciting view on Estonian choral music.
The Philharmonic State Orchestra is Hamburg’s largest and oldest orchestra, looking back on many years of musical history. When the “Philharmonic Orchestra” and the “Orchestra of the Hamburg Municipal Theatre” merged in 1934, two tradition-steeped orchestras combined. Philharmonic concerts have been performed in Hamburg since 1828, artists such as Clara Schumann, Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms being regular guests of the Philharmonic Society. The history of the opera company goes back even further: Hamburg has been home to musical theatre since 1678, even if a regular opera or theatre orchestra was only formed later. To this day, the Philharmonic State Orchestra has embodied the sound of the Hansa City, a concert and opera orchestra in one.
During its long history, the orchestra encountered great artist personalities. Apart from composers of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, such as Telemann, Tchaikovsky, Strauss, Mahler, Prokofiev and Stravinsky, since the 20th century chief conductors such as Karl Muck, Joseph Keilberth, Eugen Jochum, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Horst Stein, Aldo Ceccato, Christoph von Dohnányi, Gerd Albrecht, Ingo Metzmacher and Simone Young have shaped the orchestra’s sound. Renowned conductors of the pre-war era such as Otto Klemperer, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, Karl Böhm and Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt gave brilliant performances, as did outstanding conductors of our times: suffice it to mention Christian Thielemann, Semyon Bychkov, Kirill Petrenko, Sir Neville Marriner, Valery Gergiev and Sir Roger Norrington.
Starting with the 2015/2016 season, Kent Nagano has taken on the position of Hamburg’s General Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Philharmonic State Orchestra and the Hamburg State Opera. In his first season Kent Nagano initiated a new project, the Philharmonic Academy, focusing on experimentation and chamber music. In 2016 Nagano and the Philharmonic undertook a successful three-week concert tour in South America, a tour of Spain followed in 2019. Since 2017 Kent Nagano and the Philharmonic State Orchestra have continued the traditional Philharmonic Concerts at the new Elbphilharmonie, for which they commissioned Jörg Widmann to compose the oratorio ARCHE, which was given its world premiere during the hall’s opening festivities. The concert recording has been released at ECM.
The Philharmonic State Orchestra offers approximately 35 concerts per season and performs more than 240 performances per year at the Hamburg State Opera and the Hamburg Ballet John Neumeier, making it Hamburg’s busiest orchestra. The stylistic bandwidth covered by the 140 musicians, ranging from historically informed performance practice to contemporary works and including concert, opera and ballet repertoire, is unique throughout Germany. Chamber Music has a long tradition at the Philharmonic State Orchestra: what began in 1929 with a concert series for chamber orchestra has been continued since 1968 by a series of chamber music only.
In 2008 Simone Young and the Philharmonic State Orchestra won the Brahms Award of the Schleswig-Holstein Brahms Society. The orchestra has recorded the complete Ring by Wagner as well as the complete symphonies of Johannes Brahms and Anton Bruckner – the latter in the rarely-performed original versions – as well as works by Mahler, Hindemith and Berg, and has released DVDs of opera and ballet productions by Hosokawa, Offenbach, Reimann, Auerbach, J.S. Bach, Puccini, Poulenc and Weber.
The members of the Philharmonic State Orchestra feel equally beholden to Hamburg’s musical tradition and responsible for the city’s artistic future. Since 1978 the musicians have been participating in education programmes in Hamburg’s schools. Today, the orchestra maintains a broad education programme, including school and kindergarten visits, patronage for music projects, introductory events for children and family concerts. The orchestra’s own academy prepares young musicians for their professional careers. The Philharmonic’s musicians thereby make an equally enjoyable and valuable contribution to tomorrow’s music education in the music metropolis of Hamburg.
The enormous radius of “life and world” embodied in the genre of the symphony and its possibilities is illustrated by the 1st Philharmonic Concert. The programme features Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, also known by its epithet “Babi Yar”, a place of terror near Kiev. It is a work of protest against racism and exploitation in the Soviet Union. The symphony pleads for humanity and the freedom of opinion, painting a picture of Jewish suffering from Egyptian slavery to the horrible mass murder to thousands of Ukrainian Jewish families in the gorge of Babi Yar in 1941. The juxtaposition of this work with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 speaks to an aspect which is of fundamental importance for the “symphony” and its history: the tension between the human gaze inwards and reflection of the outside world within us on the one hand and the perception and experience of a world of politics and society on the other hand, which is fateful and overwhelming to humans, but must be dealt with by each individual alone.
Venue: Elbphilharmonie, Großer Saal, Platz der Deutschen Einheit 4, 20457 Hamburg
Prices: € 83,00 / 65,00 / 51,00 / 36,00 / 14,00
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