Sun, Apr. 02, 2023, 11.00 am | Elbphilharmonie, Grand Hall
Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90
Igor Strawinsky: Les Noces
Kent Nagano is considered one of the outstanding conductors for both operatic and orchestral repertoire. He has been General Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera and Chief Conductor of the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra since 2015. From 2006 to 2020 he was Music Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM); 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 working together with in the project “Wagner Readings”.
Kent Nagano's past 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 and 19th centuries, which launches each new opera and concert season and features not only special performance venues, but also a major open-air concert on Hamburg’s Rathausmarkt. Nagano and the Philharmonic undertook successful concert tours in South America, Spain and Japan. 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 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. In January 2020 Nagano and the orchestra presented the world premiere of Pascal Dusapin's Waves for organ and orchestra at the Elbphilharmonie.
A highlight 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 2006 he conducted a semi-staged production of the Matthäus-Passion. In previous years, Nagano and the orchestra have 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. 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 of Beethoven’s symphonies, for which the album Ideals of the French Revolution with Symphony No. 5 won a Juno award. In March 2016, Decca released a 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. John Adams’ Common tones in simple time & harmony (Decca) was released in 2019 and the Lukas Passion by Penderecki (BIS) in June 2020.
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, called Vorsprung-Festival, as part of the AUDI Sommerkonzerte. 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 maintains a close friendship with 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, and 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 expanded 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 youthful work by the composer, and his Rondo for Piano and Orchestra WoO 6 with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. The 4-CD edition was released on the Berlin Classics label.
In 2015 Kent Nagano published "Erwarten Sie Wunder!" in Berlin Verlag, a passionate appeal for the relevance of classical music in today's world. In 2019 the book was published in English by the Canadian McGill-Queen's University Press under the title ″Classical Music - Expect the Unexpected" and in 2015 under "Sonnez, merveilles!" in French by Éditions du Boréal.
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).
Kent Nagano was awarded an honorary doctorate from McGill University in Montréal in 2005, an honorary doctorate from the Université de Montréal in 2006, and an honorary doctorate from San Francisco State University in 2018.
Conducting at the Conservatory in Vilnius, Bachelor's degree in singing at the Lithuanian Academy for Music and Theatre, Erasmus exchange programme at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Master's degree with Josef Wallnig and KS Elisabeth Wilke, Lied studies with Breda Zakonik, Young Singer's Project at the Salzburger Festspiele, International Opera Studio at the Hamburg State Opera
Dr. Wilhelm Oberdörffer-Preis of the Foundation for the Support of the Hamburg State Opera, winner of the Fransisco Vinas Competition in Barcelona, first prize at the International Competition Grand Prix de l'Opera in Bucharest, second prize at the Montserrat Caballé Competition in Zaragoza as well as first prize at the Marcello Giordani Competition in Catania, et al. Furthermore, she won various singing competitions in Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Romania, et al.
Violetta Valéry (La Traviata), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Adina (L'Elisir d'Amore), Juliette (Roméo et Juliette), Gilda (Rigoletto), Nannetta (Falstaff), Musetta (La Bohème), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Marzelline (Fidelio), Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel), Valencienne (Die lustige Witwe), Zdenka (Arabella), Najade (Ariadne auf Naxos), Oscar (Un ballo in maschera), Frasquita (Carmen), Lucy (Bliss), Ighino (Palestrina), Death (Death Knocks), Antoinette (Le Bal), Regina (Mathis der Maler), Blume 1/1 (Parsifal), Waldvogel (Siegfried), Woglinde (Das Rheingold), Woglinde (Götterdämmerung), Ortlinde (Die Walküre), Anna (Hans Heiling), et al.
George Enescu Festival, Oper Graz, Lithuanian National Theatre of Opera and Ballet, Nürnberger Meistersingerhalle, Theater an der Wien, Concertgebouw, Konzerthaus Wien, Salzburger Festspiele, et al.
Cooperation with directors:
Andreas Baesler, Jürg Baur, Christof Loy, Stefan Herheim, Roland Geyer, et al.
Cooperation with conductors:
Bertrand de Billy, Ivor Bolton, Frank Beermann, Michael Boder, et al.
University of Oradea and the Gheorghe Dima Academy of Music in Romania
With Fabio Luisi, Brigitte Fassbaender, Ann Murray, Francisco Araiza and Christoph Loy
First Prize in the third International Music Competition “Vox Artis” in Romania (2012); third Prize at the International Festival and Voice Competition “Hariclea Darclee” in Romania (2012); second Prize at the József Simándy International Singing Competition in Hungary (2012)
Federica (Luisa Miller), Waltraute (Die Walküre), Grimgerde (Die Walküre), Azucena (Il Trovatore), Eboli (Don Carlo), Ulrica (Un Ballo in maschera), Maddalena (Rigoletto), Cieca (La Gioconda), Madelon (Andrea Chenier), Second Maid/Die Schleppenträgerin (Elektra), Fenena (Nabucco), Mistress Quickly (Falstaff), Erda (Siegfried), Carmen (Carmen), et al.
Opernhaus Zürich, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Teatro Municipal de Santiago, Opera Nationala Romana Timisoara, Teatro Verdi di Padova, Israeli Opera Tel Aviv, Teatro alla Scala, Berliner Philharmonie, Edinburgh International Festival, Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Teatro Municipal de Santiago de Chile, Royal Swedish Opera, et al.
Cooperation with directors:
Graham Vick, Robert Carsen, Barrie Kosky, Damiano Michieletto, Andreas Homoki, et al.
Cooperation with conductors:
Ivan Repusic, Donald Runnicles, Alberto Veronesi, Daniel Oren, Riccardo Chailly, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Sir Andrew Davis, Daniel Harding, Alain Altinoglu, Nello Santi, Marco Armiliato, Fabio Luisi, et al.
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Glinka Choir School, Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory
Lohengrin (Lohengrin), Tannhäuser (Tannhäuser), Bayan (Ruslan and Lyudmila), False Dimitrij (Boris Godunov), Lenskij (Eugene Onegin), Vaudémont (Iolanta), Vakula (Night before Christmas), Young Gypsy (Aleko), Ivan (The Nose) Kuragin and Pierre Bezuchov (War and Peace), Nemorino (Elisir d'Amore), Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Foresto (Attila), Macduff (Macbeth), Alfredo (La Traviata), Messaggiero (Aida), Erik (The Flying Dutchman), Calaf (Turandot), et al.
Mariinsky Theatre, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Royal Opera Stockholm, Metropolitan Opera, Teatr Wielki, Bolshoi Theatre, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Edinburgh Festival, Bavarian State Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, Konzerthaus Berlin, Teatro alla Scala Milano, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Dallas Opera, et al.
Cooperations with conductors:
Kent Nagano, Valery Gergiev, Michael Tilson Thomas, James Gaffigan, Carlo Rizzi, Jurij Temirkanov, Riccardo Muti, Vladimir Jurowski, et al.
Rimsky-Korsakov Staatskonservatorium in St. Petersburg bei Professor Nikolai Okhotnikov (2009-2014), Young Artist Programme Bolschoi-Theater in Moskau (2014-2016)
With Elena Obraztsova, Edda Moser, Dmitry Vdovin, Evgeny Nesterenko, Irina Bogacheva, Lubov Orfenova, Neil Shicoff, Bernd Weikl, Carol Vaness, John Fisher
Third prize in the first International Music Competition in Harbin (2018), third and special prize in the Queen Sonja International Music Competition (2017), second prize in the second International Opera Singing Competition of Portofino (2017), special prize in the 36th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition (2017), grand prix and audience prize in the second International Eva Marton singing competition in Budapest (2016), second prize in the sixth Galina Vishnevskaya International Opera Singers Competition (2016), grand prix in the Special Foundation Of The President Of Belarus Supporting Talented Youth (2016), first prize in the seventh International Competition of Opera Singers in Saint-Petersburg (2015), diploma in the 10th Elena Obraztsova International Competition Of Young Opera Singers (2015), special prize in the first International Christmas Vocal Competition in Minsk (2014), grand prix in the 42nd Russian National Vocal Graduates Competition in St. Petersburg (2014)
Relation to the Hamburg State Opera:
Ensemble member of the Hamburg State Opera since 2016/17
Malyuta Skuratov (Die Zarenbraut), Mephistopheles (Faust), König Dodon (Der goldene Hahn), Colline (La Bohème), Bartolo (Le Nozze de Figaro), Commenadatore, Masetto (Don Giovanni), Brander (La Damnation de Faust), Il Conte di Monterone (Rigoletto), 5.Jude (Salome), Lodovico (Otello), Il Sagrestano und Cesare Angelotti (Tosca), Raimondo Bidebent (Lucia di Lammermoor), Peter Quince (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Lo zio Bonzo (Madama Butterfly), Don Basilio (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Fafner (Das Rheingold), Fafner (Siegfried), Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), King René (Iolanta), Banco (Macbeth), Prince Gremin (Eugen Onegin), Daland (Der Fliegende Holländer), Vodnik (Rusalka), Dulcamara (L’Elisir d’Amore), Ali Baba (Ali Baba), et al.
Mikhailovsky Theater, Bolschoi Theater, Tschaikowsky-Konzertsaal in Moskau, Bolschoi Theater in Weißrussland, St. Petersburger Philharmonie benannt nach Schostakowitsch, Ungarische Staatsoper, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Teatro alla Scala, Metropolitan Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, Berliner Philharmoniker, et al.
Cooperation with directors:
Rimas Tuminas, Calixto Bieito, Tito Capobianco, Paul Curran, Stanislav Gaudasinsky, Peter Stein, Alexey Stepaniuk, Achim Freyer, Liliana Cavani, Mariusz Trelinski, Melly Still, Jan Bosse, et al.
Cooperation with conductors:
Adam Fischer, Robin Ticciati, Henrik Nanasi, Vladimir Jurowski, Ainars Rubikis, Daniele Rustioni, Tugan Sokhiev, Fabio Mastrangelo, Anton Grishanin, Michal Klauza, Gregor Bühl, Kent Nagano, Paolo Carignani, Renato Palumbo, Pier Giorgio Morandi, Yves Abel, Stefano Ranzani, Carlo Rizzari, Christof Prick, Nathan Brock, Sergei Stadler, Yuri Simonov, Michail Jurowski, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Alexander Anisimov, et al.
The State Choir Latvija is one of the tallest lighthouses in the Latvian cultural panorama; its musical radiance complete with the warmest, refined and perfect instrumentation of the vocal culture and the specific sound of Latvian choral tradition is a miracle known the world over – the largest professional choir of the Baltic States is regularly wanted on the concert programmes of the world’s most prominent conductors and orchestras. Since 1997 Māris Sirmais is Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the choir, and Māris Ošlejs is its Director. In 2017 the State Choir Latvija celebrated its 75th anniversary.
The musical intelligence and vocal skill of the 50 choristers make Latvija a universal instrument capable of depicting subtle a capella paintings as well as conjuring up grand vocal symphonies accompanied by a triple orchestra. Choir Latvija has collaborated with such world-renown symphony orchestrasas Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Bavarian Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Gustav Mahler Chamber Orchestra and others. It has performed with such outstanding conductors as Mariss Jansons, Andris Nelsons, Naeme Järvi, Pavo Järvi, Vladimir Ashkenazy, David Zinman, Valery Gergiev, Zubin Mehta, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Simone Young, Tõnu Kaljuste, Andres Mustonen and others. The cooperation with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam and its conductor Mariss Jansons on the world tour dedicated to the 125th anniversary of the orchestra ranks among the highest achievements of the choir.
This is a label internationally acclaimed and an academic value as well; the choir is open to innovative projects ranging from the cooperation with Sigur Rós and Kristjan Järvi’s electro-acoustic group Absolute Ensemble, to performanceof Joe Zawinul’s jazz compositions and recordings of the music for computer games and films, and to performances of concert operas and large-scale vocal and instrumental opuses.
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.
“It is pure love, and the heart soars as one listens to it,” said Antonín Dvořák, Brahms’ friend and colleague, about the beauty of the shortest of Johannes Brahms’ symphonies. Since its first performance in 1883, the Hanseatic composer’s Third Symphony has regularly led to rapturous enthusiasm. At its very beginning, Brahms quotes a motto he frequently used in his youth as an expression of his unbound and uncompromising nature: “Frei, aber froh” – “Free, but happy”. The work by Brahms, who remained unmarried his entire life, is combined in this concert, as if in musical answer from the modernist age, with a 1923 wedding depiction: Igor Stravinsky’s “Les Noces”. Variously described as a dance cantata or ballet with vocal parts, Stravinsky set the four tableaus of a Russian peasant wedding for a quartet of singers, chorus, four pianos and extensive strings. The libretto by the composer himself is based on Russian wedding poetry. It is pure love…
Venue: Elbphilharmonie, Grand Hall, Platz der Deutschen Einheit 4, 20457 Hamburg
Prices: € 83,00 / 65,00 / 51,00 / 36,00 / 14,00
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