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Keyvisual Musikfest Berlin 2020: Detail of a spherical object made of concrete with rough surface and gold traces

Musikfest Berlin on Demand

From 19 August

This year‘s festival will not only take place on site in the Philharmonie, but also online: We will present recordings of selected concerts in a joint initiative of the Musikfest Berlin, the Berliner Festspiele and the Digital Concert Hall of the Berliner Philharmoniker, exclusive discussions with participating artists as well as essays about the Musikfest Berlin 2020.
To the programme

What’s On

Musikfest Berlin 2020 – Beethoven and the Music of Our Time

25 August to 23 September 2020
33 performances, nine world premieres
Updated programme, new dates

Musikfest Berlin 2020 will approach the beginning of the concert season with caution. Its new programme will follow the rules that protective measures from the COVID-19 pandemic have placed on public concerts. Many of the projects that have been prepared across Germany to mark this Beethoven year have fallen victim to the coronavirus crisis and have been postponed until next year.

We are all the more pleased that within Musikfest Berlin 2020 we can hold on to the core of the original programme in order to make the Philharmonie a place where the music of Ludwig van Beethoven encounters works by composers of our own time: with a comprehensive portrait consisting of 16 works and five world premieres by the composer Rebecca Saunders, with world premieres by Georges Aperghis, Wolfgang Rihm, Milica Djordjević and Christian Jost as well as compositions by George Benjamin and Enno Poppe. For the music of our time we have invited leading ensembles and prestigious performers on the international musical scene: the Ensemble Modern, the Ensemble Musikfabrik, Klangforum Wien and the Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Marco Blaauw, Christian Gerhaher, Juliet Fraser, Tamara Stefanovich, Christian Tetzlaff, Jörg Widmann, Tabea Zimmermann and many more.

The pianist Igor Levit will tackle the pinnacles of writing for the piano: Ludwig van Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas in eight concerts. Berlin’s leading orchestras will contribute Beethoven’s Fourth (Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin), Fifth (Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin), Sixth (Berliner Philharmoniker) and Eighth symphonies (Konzerthausorchester Berlin), combined with music by Joseph Haydn and 20th century works by Béla Bartók, Alban Berg, Anton Webern and Alfred Schnittke. The first orchestral concert as part of Musikfest Berlin 2020 will be given by Daniel Barenboim with the Staatskapelle Berlin performing the final three symphonies of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

We regret that the following events which were originally announced for this year’s Musikfest Berlin 2020 cannot take place and some of them will be postponed until future years:

  • the visiting concert by the Concertgebouworkest;
  • the visiting concert by Les Siècles;
  • the world premiere of ‘A House of Call’ by Heiner Goebbels, which has been postponed until 30. August 2021 as part of Musikfest Berlins 2021;
  • the visiting concert by the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and the Monteverdi Choir;
  • the visiting concert by Lucerne Festival Accademy;
  • the visiting concert by the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester;
  • the visiting concert by the Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Roma with Sir Antonio Pappano and Igor Levit.

With the exception of the screenings of the films of Samuel Beckett and the film “Moving Picture” by Gerhard Richter and Corinna Belz with live music with the same title by Rebecca Saunders at the Zoo Palast cinema on 14 September 2020 , all the events will take place in the Main Hall (Großer Saal) at the Philharmonie Berlin.

Some events have had to be rescheduled within the festival period. The originally published March versions of those concert programmes that have been retained have been scrupulously reviewed to comply with the existing guidelines on distancing, stage capacity and the length of performances (a maximum of 90 minutes and without an interval). Tickets are consequently available subject to reduced and approved seating capacities. Tickets that were purchased before sales were halted by the Coronavirus pandemic are no longer valid. These will be refunded or may be exchanged.

We would like to thank all the participating artists and ensembles, especially those who are sadly unable to be here, for their flexibility, understanding and helpful collaboration. Special thanks also go to our hosting and co-operation partner the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker and its Artistic Director Andrea Zietzschmann, the Berlin-based partner orchestras, the Capital Cultural Fund, the Aventis Foundation, BTHVN2020 Jubiläums GmbH and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Minister of State Monika Grütters, for funding the Berliner Festspiele.

We wish you a most enjoyable visit to the performances of Musikfest Berlin 2020

Winrich Hopp
Artistic Director Musikfest Berlin

The Musikfest Berlin

Musikfest Berlin sees itself as a forum for the innovative creative work carried out by large-scale orchestras and ensembles in the genre of classical and modern music. It presents an ambitious festival programme with alternating focal points.
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