Kansas City Symphony

Matthias Pintscher, Conductor

100 years “Rhapsody in Blue”
Ives / Gershwin / Copland

Costumed girl with US flag

New England Holiday: girl, celebrating the 4th of July 1916, dressed as Liberty. © Glasshouse Images / Alamy Stock photo

In Kansas City Symphony, Berlin will encounter a young American orchestra – founded in 1982, it now attracts a wide audience with its innovative programming. On its debut tour with new Music Director Matthias Pintscher it will explore the rich American composing tradition with pieces by anniversary artist Charles Ives, Aaron Copland and George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” which is celebrating its centenary this year. 

18:00, Exhibition Foyer of the Chamber Music Hall
Instead of an introduction: “Critics’ Quartet”

Kansas City Symphony has been acclaimed enthusiastically by the international press for some time, who have called it a world class orchestra. Matthias Pintscher, distinguished as both a composer and conductor – he also directs the Paris-based Ensemble intercontemporain, founded in 1976 by Pierre Boulez – shares this view: “It was as if we’d already known each other for a long time and we just had to start making music again from where we had left off .” Pintscher takes over as the top American orchestra’s fifth Music Director at the start of the 2024/25 season. For his debut tour he has chosen “Decoration Day” and “The Fourth of July” by Charles Ives, whose double anniversary – 150 years since his birth and 70 years since his death – will be celebrated in 2024. Ives described these pieces as “a grown man’s memory of childhood holidays” which, notwithstanding the many hymns and patriotic songs that can be heard, are “closer to nature than cheering patriotism.” They are followed by “Rhapsody in Blue”, a “musical kaleidoscope of America” (George Gershwin), that went down in musical history as an American classic some time ago. The evening is rounded off by Aaron Copland’s Third Symphony whose finale quotes his “Fanfare for the Common Man,” which was written after the United States entered the Second World War. The music of this large-scale work with a lavish cast ranges from finely spun lines by alternating groups of instruments to intense concentrations of sound from the full orchestra – and it swiftly became a national symbol that the composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein wished to see placed alongside the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.


Charles Ives (1874 – 1954)
Decoration Day (1915/24)
The Fourth of July (1914/31)

George Gershwin (1898 – 1937)
Rhapsody in Blue (1924)

Aaron Copland (1900 – 1990)
Symphony No. 3 (1946)


Conrad Tao – piano

Kansas City Symphony
Matthias Pintscher – conductor

A Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin event