Concert

Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Sir George Benjamin, conductor
Benjamin | Knussen | Purcell | Stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky’s “Movements” for piano and orchestra is considered the most rigorous work in the composer’s œuvre. The idiosyncratic piano concerto, which has no actual concertante piano part, will be juxtaposed with the music of Oliver Knussen and Henry Purcell. To round off the program, the German premiere of George Benjamin's “Concerto for Orchestra”, who will also conduct the concert, will be performed.

George Benjamin

George Benjamin

© Javier del Real, Teatro Real

Past Dates

Programme booklet Mahler Chamber Orchestra 02.09.2021 PDF, 5.7 MB

Concerts online
Live stream of the concert in the Digital Concert Hall,
available 2 September 2021, 20:00
Recording of the concert at Musikfest Berlin on Demand,
available 3 September 2021, 16:00 – 13 September 2021, 16:00

Do nomads have a home? The Mahler Chamber Orchestra may not return to Berlin every year, but it does so time and again for the Musikfest Berlin. The international orchestra has established a reputation for being constantly on the move, and its motto of “live … play … dream” has elevated it to one of the world's best orchestras. This Musikfest Berlin concert season, British conductor and composer Sir George Benjamin join them during their visit to the River Spree.

In writing a new concerto for this outstanding chamber orchestra, George Benjamin pays tribute to the musicians with whom he has enjoyed an inspiring and successful collaboration that began in 2012 with the premiere of his opera “Written on Skin” in Aix-en-Provence. George Benjamin succeeds repeatedly in making an orchestra shine. He designs soundscapes imbued with a love for each individual instrument. This is the best possible prerequisite for a “Concerto for Orchestra”.

Igor Stravinsky’s “Movements” for piano and orchestra – performed here with pianist Tamara Stefanovich, who is as spirited as she is experimental – is not a classical solo concerto either. The uncompromisingly short work is by far the most radical from his late creative phase: compact, “antitonal”, often intimate in chamber music terms, and with a piano part that shrugs off all clichés of virtuosity. The Mahler Chamber Orchestra presents Benjamin’s new orchestral concerto alongside Stravinsky’s “Movements” and works by the Baroque master Henry Purcell as well as the British composer Oliver Knussen: a combination that promises unexpected contrasts.

Concert Programme

Oliver Knussen (1952 – 2018)
The Way to Castle Yonder (1990)
for orchestra

Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695)
Three Consorts (1680)
from: Consort Music for strings
transcribed for chamber orchestra by George Benjamin (2021)

Igor Strawinsky (1882 – 1971)
Movements (1958/59)
for piano and orchestra

George Benjamin (*1960)
Concerto for Orchestra (2019 - 2021)

Composition commissioned by Mahler Chamber Orchestra,
funded by Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, and BBC Radio 3.

German premiere

Igor Stravinsky
Pulcinella Suite (1922/1949)
for orchestra

With kind support of Klangwert-Ensemble-Förderung of Aventis Foundation, of Rudolf Augstein Foundation and Ilse and Dr. Horst Rusch-Foundation.


null    Logo Aventis Foundation


Logo Rudolf Augstein Stiftung    Rusch Stiftung


A Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin event