Konzerthausorchester Berlin / Lothar Zagrosek
With this year’s performance in the Philharmonic Hall the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and head conductor Lothar Zagrosek make their first appearance at the musikfest berlin. Praised for its cutting-edge programme, the orchestra from the Gendarmenmarkt appears with a thoroughly American contribution which includes Antonin Dvořák’s New World Symphony and the monumental Holidays Symphony by the “grand old man” of American music, Charles Ives. Ives, whose works are a main theme of this year’s musikfest berlin, is one of America’s most fascinating composers. His work combines aspects both of European and American musical traditions as well as a pioneering spirit with a musical sense of adventure and buoyant free-spiritedness. In Holidays Symphony, Ives conjures up idyllic images of his childhood in New England. Like Gustav Mahler, Ives was a master in blending contradicting elements. His works combine a variety of styles, such as church, military and popular music, to create daring combinations which one would otherwise seldom experience in the concert hall. European and American elements also flow together in the final decade of Antonin Dvořák’s career, the first European composer of note to follow America’s call. His encounters with American folklore, intensified by the distance to his native Bohemia, had an unexpectedly stimulating effect on Dvorák and inspired him to compose his most outstanding works.