Conductor Rafael Payare © BGE
In Unsuk Chin’s Concerto for cello and orchestra, “a competitive tension between soloist and orchestra occupies centre stage”, as the composer puts it. Staatskapelle Berlin and the American cellist Alisa Weilerstein will take on this work at Musikfest Berlin. With them on the podium will be Venezuelan conductor Rafael Payare, who after the interval will present the Berlin audience with a symphonic heavyweight that is equally late Romantic and modern: Gustav Mahler’s Fifth Symphony.
In Unsuk Chin’s Concerto for cello and orchestra, as the composer puts it: “a competitive tension between soloist and orchestra occupies centre stage.” Not only the solo part, but also the orchestral voices in this brilliant multi-coloured work call for extreme virtuosity, using the advanced playing techniques demanded in the score. At Musikfest Berlin 2023, Staatskapelle Berlin and the American cellist renowned for her temperament Alisa Weilerstein will take on this work, in which two symphonic outer movements frame a short, motoric scherzo and an intimate slow movement. With them on the podium, they will have the Venezuelan newcomer Rafael Payare, whose charismatic energy and special gift for communication is capable of “electrifying” any orchestra (Los Angeles Times). Like Gustavo Dudamel, Payare discovered his love of music through the Venezuelan music project “El Sistema” – he was then a horn soloist in the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar before training as a conductor with El Sistema’s founder José Antonio Abreu. Rafael Payare is now Music Director of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra in California and has succeeded Kent Nagano as Music Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, one of Canada’s most prestigious orchestras. After the interval he will present the Berlin audience with a symphonic heavyweight that is equally late Romantic and modern: Gustav Mahler’s Fifth Symphony.
Unsuk Chin (*1961)
for cello and orchestra (2006 – 2008/2013)
Gustav Mahler (1860 – 1911)
Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor (1901 – 1904/1911)
A Staatsoper Unter den Linden event in cooperation with Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin
The concerts with contemporary works are part of the contemporary music month of the field notes initiative.