Andrea Zietschmann

Dear members of the audience, 

Congratulations to Musikfest Berlin on its 20-year anniversary! I am grateful that we have been able to play an active part in this unique festival for two decades: with the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation as a co-operation partner and the Philharmonie Berlin as a venue.

The world visits Berlin for Musikfest. From the most prestigious orchestras to the numerous international ensembles who are appearing in our city for the first time, from the music of the Middle Ages to world premieres of works composed especially for the festival – Musikfest is now one of the great international orchestral festivals with an ambitious programme and a variety of concerts that always arouses curiosity.

This year the focus lies overseas – in America. There is an established tradition of inviting leading orchestras from the USA, such as the Cleveland Orchestra and the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra who appear this year. In addition to them, we welcome two Brazilian ensembles: the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and São Paulo Big Band. Their programmes will present very different American musical traditions and cultural identities, ranging from works by Charles Ives and Alberto Ginastera to arrangements of pieces from South America. And other ensembles will also tackle composers from this part of the world such as Allison Loggins-Hull, Ruth Crawford Seeger and Duke Ellington. Musikfest Berlin has also always been a place for social debate. So Jordi Savall will make an important contribution by putting together a concert evening of creole songs, slave songs and early music from the Old and New Worlds. 

The Berliner Philharmoniker have close connections with America, through our many touring engagements and through our collaborations with the continent’s artists and composers. So we are particularly pleased to make an active contribution to Musikfest Berlin with two concert programmes. 

In one, the orchestra under its Chief Conductor Kirill Petrenko will perform “In-Schrift” by Wolfgang Rihm, our Composer in Residence this season, together with Anton Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony. Rihm’s work, written for St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, and Bruckner’s Symphony, a cathedral of sound written by a composer of profound religious faith, touch on questions of meaning and transcendence that also have a place in the Berliner Philharmoniker’s second programme, under Jonathan Nott. At the heart of this lies the Fourth Symphony by Charles Ives, who uses it to raise “the nagging question of the what and why of life” (Henry Bellamann). 

And I am also delighted that the Karajan Academy will make a special contribution to Musikfest with Messiaen’s “Des canyons aux étoiles …” conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, and that two other concerts by the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation will help to shape the programme for 2024: one is an evening in our Philharmonic Chamber Music series, the other is a concert by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra with Antonello Manacorda and Anna Prohaska from the International Chamber Orchestra series. 

In this anniversary year I would like to say a very warm thank you for the trusting and creative collaboration that we have with Musikfest Berlin and wish it continued success in forthcoming editions. May Winrich Hopp and his team enjoy an eventful and successful festival that is extremely popular with you, our audience. 

I look forward to your visit and wish you an exciting Musikfest 2024.

Kind regards
Andrea Zietzschmann

General Manager of the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation