Musikfest Berlin 2022
Start of the season in international musical life:
Berlin’s major orchestras and choirs and guest ensembles from Europe, America and Asia
From 27 August to 19 September 2022, Berlin's concert season begins anew with the Musikfest Berlin, presented by the Berliner Festspiele in cooperation with the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker. More than 50 works by some 40 composers will be presented in 27 performances by 33 ensembles and numerous soloists from Berlin and abroad at the Philharmonie, its chamber music hall, the Konzerthaus Berlin, the Haus der Berliner Festspiele and the Kirche Am Hohenzollernplatz.
The Philadelphia Orchestra with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Cleveland Orchestra with Franz Welser-Möst will visit us from The United States; from Great Britain, we will have John Eliot Gardiner with his Monteverdi Choir and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique as well as Sir Simon Rattle with the London Symphony Orchestra; from the Netherlands, the Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam with Klaus Mäkelä and the Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest with Lahav Shani will also be with us; from Belgium, Philippe Hersreweghe's Collegium Vocale Gent with its instrumental ensemble; from Italy, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia choir and orchestra conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano; and from Leipzig, we welcome the Gewandhausorchester with Andris Nelsons conducting.
Helpful as they have been over the past two years, keeping the Musikfest Berlin going through the difficult phase of the pandemic when international guests were unavailable, our Berlin-based partner orchestras – the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the orchestras of the ROC and the Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin – will of course also be on stage at the Musikfest Berlin this year.
In addition to the great works of the repertoires of Beethoven, Mahler, Sibelius and the early modernism of the 20th century, our local orchestras will offer rarities and pieces by composers previously unheard in Berlin. These include works by Florence Price, Willem Pijper, pieces ranging from masters such as Ferruccio Busoni to Bernd Alois Zimmermann, Morton Feldman and composers of the present day.
For some of these composers, this year’s Musikfest Berlin also marks a number of significant dates that were denied recognition due to limitations imposed by the pandemic, such as the birthdays of Sofia Gubaidulina, Wolfgang Rihm, Kaija Saariaho, Gerald Barry and Aribert Reimann. And in honour of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Iannis Xenakis, the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, the Ensemblekollektiv and the JACK Quartet will all be turning their attention to his music.
The Greek-French composer and architect Iannis Xenakis was born in the same year as jazz legend Charles Mingus, whom the Deutsche Oper Berlin BigBand will honour with a premier of his evening-long opus magnum, “Epitaph”, conducted by Titus Engel, at the Philharmonie. Mingus’ vision of a stylistically unbounded big-band formation corresponds to the recent ensemble composition, Körper, by Enno Poppe, in which Poppe rediscovers the potential of the historical big-band sound. Körper was written for the Ensemble Modern, who will perform the new work under the composer's direction at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele.
Australia-based composer Liza Lim, currently a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin, is one of the leading international artists whose work exemplifies contemporary transcultural themes. From her extensive oeuvre, Musikfest Berlin presents the German premieres of two grand works: the ensemble piece, “Machine for Contacting the Dead”, and “String Creatures”, a new chamber-music composition written for the JACK Quartet.
John Eliot Gardiner's premier of the “Missa solemnis” – originally scheduled to be performed in 2020 but cancelled due to the coronavirus – widens the festival spectrum to include the music of a time when there was no such thing as a symphony orchestra, and the European music that is marketed today as “classical“ was still emerging from religious and ritual milieus. These pieces include Claudio Monteverdi's “Vespro della Beata Vergine” (performed by the Collegium Vocale Gent), the psalm settings of Heinrich Schütz, the music of William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons (performed by the RIAS Kammerchor Berlin), and the 24-hour Divine Office at the Kirche Am Hohenzollernplatz, with music ranging from Gregorian chant to compositions by Thomas Tallis and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, et al. (in performances by the Vokalensemble sirventes Berlin, the Georgian Choir Ensemble Basiani, the Tenebrae Choir London and the Staats- und Domchor Berlin).
Finally, during its tour of Germany, the National Gugak Center, South Korea’s stronghold of traditional Korean music and performative arts, will perform the 600-year-old, royal-ritual ancestral music of the Joseon Dynasty, Jongmyo Jeryeak. This Confucian ceremony, a unique synthesis of music, song, dance and costumes, was included in the Representative UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008.
My colleagues at the Berliner Festspiele, the Musikfest Berlin team and I would like to thank all of the participant artists and institutions, including the Stiftung der Berliner Philharmoniker for its cooperation and role as host, its general manager, Ms. Andrea Zietzschmann, the Berlin-based partner orchestras for their outstanding cooperation, the Hauptstadtkulturfonds Berlin for supporting our project partners and Musikfest Berlin contributors Ensemblekollektiv and NoonSong e.V., the Aventis Foundation for supporting the guest performance of the Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest and, finally, the Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien, Claudia Roth, for supporting the Berliner Festspiele’s Musikfest Berlin.
I truly hope you enjoy the Musikfest Berlin 2022 performances.
Artistic Director of Musikfest Berlin