Münchner Philharmoniker

The Munich Philharmonic was founded in 1893, and since then, under the direction of renowned conductors, it has vastly enriched Munich’s musical life. Gustav Mahler conducted the orchestra in the world premières of his 4th and 8th Symphonies, and in November 1911, the world première of Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde” took place under Bruno Walter’s direction. Ferdinand Löwe led the first Bruckner concerts and established the orchestra’s Bruckner tradition, which was then gloriously continued by Siegmund von Hausegger and Oswald von Kabasta.

During the Rudolf Kempe era the Philharmonic made its first tour to what was then the U.S.S.R. The legendary Bruckner concerts with general music director Sergiu Celibidache made a major contribution to the orchestra’s international reputation. With chief conductor James Levine the orchestra won the prize for the “Best Concert Program in the 2002/2003 Season” from the German Music Publishers’ Association. The Munich Philharmonic made Zubin Mehta the first “conductor laureate” in the orchestra’s history. For the 100ths anniversary of the première of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in Munich, chief conductor Christian Thielemann conducted two performances of this work. He was succeeded as chief conductor by Lorin Maazel, who held the position until his death in 2014.

As of the 2015-16 season, the position of chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic is held by Valery Gergiev. Tours have taken the Munich Philharmonic to numerous European cities as well as Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan and the USA. Programme highlights conceived by Valery Gergiev include performances of symphonic cycles by Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Rachmaninov as well as new formats, such as the “MPHIL 360°” festival. Concerts are regularly broadcast via live stream and on radio and TV. In September 2016, the first CD recordings documenting the Munich Philharmonic’s work were released under the orchestra’s own label, “MPHIL”. Currently, the Munich Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev are working on a complete recording of Anton Bruckner’s symphonies in the church of St. Florian abbey.

With “Spielfeld Klassik”, the Munich Philharmonic has developed a comprehensive music education programme for young and old. Up to 35,000 people of all ages attended the more than 150 events held each year. Concerts for children, pupils and young people, opportunities for watching rehearsals of the Philharmonic, demonstrations of musical instruments and concert subscriptions for school pupils and students provide especially children and young people with varied opportunities for listening to and learning about classical music and the day-to-day work of a large symphony orchestra. Under the motto of “MPhil vor Ort” (MPhil on Site), the Munich Philharmonic also leaves its home base – the Philharmonie Gasteig – to appear in unusual and varied locations, such as the Hofbräuhaus tavern as well as alpine meadows, clubs and industrial halls.

Amsterdam Sinfonietta

Amsterdam Sinfonietta was founded in 1988, with Lev Markiz as its first artistic director. Candida Thompson has been the orchestra’s concertmaster since 1995, as well as its artistic director since 2003. During the past seasons Amsterdam Sinfonietta has made international tours of Europe, China, South America and Australia. It has appeared at major venues such as the Barbican Hall in London, Cité de la Musique in Paris, the National Centre of Performing Arts in Beijing, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and the Konzerthaus in Vienna.

The ensemble comprises 22 string players who perform under the leadership of its concertmaster and artistic leader Candida Thompson. This approach to music-making, without a conductor, is what distinguishes the group from ‘regular’ chamber orchestras. It calls for an extremely intense degree of involvement from all the musicians. The repertoire covers a variety of styles, from baroque repertoire to contemporary works. Alongside performances of mainstream repertoire, the orchestra frequently champions unjustly neglected and new works. Amsterdam Sinfonietta has recently premièred compositions by Jörg Widmann, Thomas Larcher, John Zorn, David Lang, Sofia Gubaidulina, Joey Roukens, Tigran Mansurian, Kate Moore, Michel van der Aa, Sally Beamish and Dobrinka Tabakova.

The ensemble has gained a reputation for creating highly innovative programmes; its trademark versatility earned it the prestigious Dutch classical music prize De Ovatie [The Ovation] in 2013. It presents original and compelling combinations of works, initiates surprising collaborations and embraces groundbreaking concepts involving video art, dance or theatre. Amsterdam Sinfonietta has worked with a host of internationally renowned musicians, such as Thomas Hampson, Vilde Frang, Eva Maria Westbroek, Claron McFadden, Nicolas Altstaedt, Janine Jansen, Martin Fröst, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Steven Isserlis, Isabelle Faust, Alexander Melnikov, Sol Gabetta, Thomas Oliemans, Rufus Wainwright, Marc-André Hamelin and Pierre Audi.

Amsterdam Sinfonietta’s educational KleuterSinfonietta performances are enjoyed by thousands of young children in the Netherlands each year. The ensemble also organises the Sinfonietta Strijkersdagen [Sinfonietta String Players Days], giving young musicians the opportunity to participate in workshops and perform in public in specially formed string orchestras. And in 2017, an annual programme was launched, a co-production with the Conservatory of Amsterdam, wherein Masters students are given the opportunity to rehearse and go on tour with the ensemble.

Within the past decade Amsterdam Sinfonietta has produced an impressive array of CDs under Candida Thompson’s leadership, in collaboration with the high-quality Channel Classics label. These include The Argentinian Album (2014), Schubert String Quintet (2015), Tides of Life (2017), and Bartók Brahms (2018). Recently the orchestra has also recorded CDs for labels such as ECM, Sony Classical and Deutsche Grammophon.

Orchester im Treppenhaus

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the world’s oldest orchestras, dates back to 1765 and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2015. Edvard Grieg had a close relationship with the Orchestra, serving as its artistic director during the years 1880 – 82. The one-hundred-and-one strong orchestra has status of Norwegian national orchestra. Edward Gardner is Chief Conductor. The Orchestra enjoys a high international standing through recordings, extensive touring and international commissions.

During the last few seasons the orchestra has played in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, at the Edinburgh International Festival, in the Wiener Musikverein and Konzerthaus, in Carnegie Hall, New York, and in the Philharmonie, Berlin. It toured Germany, Sweden, England and Ireland.

The orchestra established in 2015 its own free live stream service, BergenPhiLive.no. A youth symphony orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, is also established, and gives four to six concerts per year.

The Orchestra has an active recording schedule, at the moment releasing four CDs every year. Enjoying long-standing artistic partnerships with some of the finest musicians in the world, the Orchestra has recorded with Leif Ove Andsnes, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, James Ehnes, Gerald Finley, Stuart Skelton, Alban Gerhardt, Vadim Gluzman, Stephen Hough, Freddy Kempf, Truls Mørk, Steven Osborne, and Lawrence Power, among others.

 

Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken-Kaiserslautern

For more than ten years now, the German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra has been an integral part of the German orchestral music scene which is like no other in the world. The orchestra was created following the merger of the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra (SR) and the Radio Orchestra Kaiserslautern (SWR). As one of the ARD radio symphony orchestras, it performs at the orchestra’s resident locations in Saarbrücken and Kaiserslautern as well as participating in the Saarländischer Rundfunk (Saarland Broadcasting) and the Südwestrundfunk (Southwest Broadcasting) cultural programmes or giving concerts on the SR/SWR and ARTE television channels. The German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra regularly gives concerts in nearby France and Luxembourg as well as in Mainz, Karlsruhe and Mannheim. Over the past few years, the orchestra has toured Switzerland, Poland, China and Japan, and has also visited South Korea three times.
Finnish conductor Pietari Inkinen will take over the office of Chief Conductor of the German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra at the beginning of the 2017/2018 season. He succeeds Briton Karel Mark Chichon, who held the position from 2011 to 2017, and Christoph Poppen, who was in charge from 2007 to 2011. The late Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, who passed away in February 2017, was closely connected with the orchestra as the Principal Guest Conductor. In 2015, at the age of 92, he was appointed Conductor Emeritus.

Core works from the classical-romantic period are at the heart of the orchestra’s repertoire, but it also regularly performs premières of contemporary music and commissioned works. Thanks to the “Saarbrücken Composers’ Workshop”, the German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra provides young composers with an opportunity to present their first orchestral works. Historically informed interpretations of pre-classical works that are prepared with specialists are also regularly featured in concert programmes along with new or rediscovered works by hitherto lesser known composers including Franco-German Romantic composer Louis Théodore Gouvy, exiled composer Werner Wolf Glaser or Israeli composer of German descent Tzvi Avni.

Promoting music is one of the orchestra’s key aims. “Classical music comes to school”, which features a range of children’s concerts, family concerts and workshops, or the ARD School Symphony Orchestra project, is aimed at a young audience.

Be it with live concerts in concert halls, on the radio, television or on CD, the German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra aims to make the extensive repertoire of a radio symphony orchestra available to classical music lovers in outstanding artistic quality. Several CDs from the orchestra’s extensive discography have received international awards: recordings of piano concertos by Grieg and Moszkowski with pianist Joseph Moog were nominated for the 2016 Grammy awards, “Meditation” with mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca won the 2015 “ECHO Klassik” music award, and the recording “French Trombone Concertos” with soloist Fabrice Millischer won the 2014 “ECHO Klassik” music award. The recordings of Dvorák symphonies conducted by Karel Mark Chichon received international acclaim. CD series have been recorded of symphonies by composers Brahms, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Schumann. Thanks to podcasts and streaming, it is increasingly possible for the orchestra to reach its audience via the Internet.

Anima Eterna Brugge

Anima Eterna Brugge was founded in 1987 by Jos van Immerseel. The aim was to perform orchestral and chamber music with the instruments and techniques known to the composer. The orchestra is based on research, the joy of experimentation, commitment and the joy of making music. Anima Eterna Brugge enjoys a special international reputation for music of the 17th to 20th centuries. The orchestra resides in the Concertgebouw Brugge and is associated with the Opéra de Dijon as an “ensemble associé”. Concert tours take the ensemble from Mexico to Sydney, and thanks to its discography (Outhere Music/Alpha Classics) its music fills numerous living rooms worldwide. With “Anima Next Generation”, young talents are to be promoted even more strongly.

Collegium Vocale & Collegium 1704

Prague baroque orchestra and vocal ensemble

The Collegium 1704 and Collegium Vocale 1704 ensembles were founded by the harpsichordist and conductor Václav Luks in 2005 on the occasion of the Bach–Prague–2005 project, marking the beginning of residential collaboration with the Prague Spring International Music Festival.

 

Since 2007, after their huge success with Zelenka’s Missa votiva in France, Collegium 1704 has been regular guest at festivals around Europe besides performing the fundamental pieces of baroque repertoir, promoting work of Czech masters like Jan Dismas Zelenka and Josef Mysliveček.

 

In 2008, they began the Prague-Dresden Musical Bridge concert series, which continues the rich cultural traditions of the two cities. Collaboration with the renowned soloists Magdalena Kožená, Vivica Genaux, and Bejun Mehta naturally led, in 2012, to a second concert series, called Collegium 1704 in the Rudolfinum (formerly Baroque Opera Stars), held at the Rudolfinum – Dvoák Hall in Prague. Since autumn 2015, the two concert series merged into one Season held in Prague and Dresden.

 

Following international successes with opera performance of Handel’s Rinaldo (directed by Louise Moaty) in 2009, the year of 2013 was devoted to rediscovery of the Czech composer Josef Mysliveček. His opera lOlimpiade (directed by Ursel Herrmann) was presented by Collegium 1704 in Prague, Caen, Dijon, Luxembourg, Theater an der Wien and nominated for The International Opera Awards. In 2017, Collegium 1704 gave the modern-era world premiere of Antonio Vivaldi’s Arsilda, regina di Ponto, its first hearing in over 300 years, in Bratislava. Further performances took place at the Opéra de Lille, in Luxembourg, at the Opéra Royal Versailles, and in Caen.

Recent and upcoming guest performances include appearances at the Salzburg Festival, the Lucerne Festival, the Chopin Festival in Warsaw, the Festival Wratislavia Cantans, the Berliner Philharmonie, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Theater and der Wien, the Konzerthaus Wien, and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. The ensemble will also serve as artist-in-residence at the renowned Utrecht Early Music Festival and the Leipzig Bach Festival.

Radio and television stations throughout Europe broadcast many Collegium 1704 concerts live and recorded. In 2014, Collegium 1704 and Vaclav Luks collaborated with Bejun Mehta on a DVD project of Gluck’s opera Orfeo ed Euridice and a BBC Two documentary “Mozart in Prague”, starred by Ronaldo Villazon. Its recordings on the Accent, Zig-Zag Territoires and Supraphon labels are continuously acclaimed by the general public and music critics alike (including Diapason d’Or, Coup de Coeur by TV Mezzo, nomination for The Gramophone Awards by Gramophone Magazine etc.). In 2013, the long-awaited Collegium 1704 recording of J. S. Bach’s Mass in B minor was issued, in 2015, the world premiere recording of Missa Divi Xaverii by J. D. Zelenka. The most recent projects are Zelenka’s virtuoso Sonatas as well as Josef Mysliveček’s violin concertos in D major, E major, and A major.

… and why 1704?

1704 is a symbolic year of Jan Dismas Zelenka, our armorial composer. In August 1704 the church of St. Nicholas in Prague witnessed the magnificent performance of Zelenka’s Jesuit allegory play – Via Laureata. As we don’t know anything about Zelenka’s previous life, this event signifies the arrival of some of the most remarkable personalities of the 18th century music of the European music scene.

Venice Baroque

Founded in 1997 by Baroque scholar and harpsichordist Andrea Marcon, the Venice Baroque Orchestra is recognized as one of the very finest period instrument ensembles. The orchestra has received wide critical acclaim for its concert and opera performances throughout North America, Europe, South America, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China, and has appeared in many more cities across the United States than any other Baroque orchestra in history.

Committed to the rediscovery of 17th- and 18th-century masterpieces, under Mr. Marcon’s leadership VBO has given the modern-day premieres of Francesco Cavalli’s L’Orione, Vivaldi’s Atenaide, Andromeda liberata, Benedetto Marcello’s La morte d’Adone and Il trionfo della poesia e della musica, and Boccherini’s La Clementina. With Teatro La Fenice in Venice, the Orchestra has staged Cimarosa’s LOlimpiade, Handel’s Siroe, and Galuppi’s L’Olimpiade, and reprised Siroe at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York in its first full staging in the United States. The orchestra has been seen worldwide through several television specials, including films by the BBC, ARTE, NTR (Netherlands), and NHK. They are the subject of three recent video recordings, and their performances were also featured on Swiss TV in the documentary film by Richard Dindo, Vivaldi in Venice.

2016-17 season highlights include performances of Vivaldi’s Juditha triumphans at London’s Barbican Centre and the Brussels Palais des Beaux-Arts, marking the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the oratorio’s premiere in Venice; performances with violinist Viktoria Mullova at Vienna’s Musikverein and in Budapest; an 18-city tour of the US featuring violinist Nicola Benedetti; and a tour of Japan with mandolinist Avi Avital.

Performance highlights include extensive tours of Europe, the United States and Asia with countertenor Philippe Jaroussky; concerts with contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux in France and Belgium; concerts with mandolinist Avi Avital in Italy, Croatia, Germany, Spain, France, Mexico, and a twelve-concert tour of the United States and Canada; performance in the Frauenkirche with soprano Karina Gauvin for the Dresden Music Festival; and a tour with mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená including the Istanbul Festival and the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. Highly unusual for a Baroque ensemble, the VBO premiered Philip Glass’s violin concerto The American Four Seasons. With violinist Robert McDuffie, the orchestra appeared in 28 cities across the continent in 2010.

The orchestra’s latest recording, of Vivaldi concertos with Avi Avital, was released by Deutsche Grammophon in 2015. The previous release, featuring Philippe Jaroussky in Porpora arias on the Erato label, received a Grammy nomination. The 2012 release on Naïve, a pasticcio of Metastasio’s L’Olimpiade featuring the recording premieres of many 18th-century opera arias, was awarded Choc du Monde de la Musique. The VBO has an extensive discography with Sony and Deutsche Grammophon. Their world-premiere recording of Andromeda liberata for DG was followed by violin concertos with Giuliano Carmignola; Vivaldi sinfonias and concertos for strings; Vivaldi motets and arias with soprano Simone Kermes, two discs with Ms. Kožená—Handel arias and Vivaldi arias; Vivaldi violin concertos with Viktoria Mullova and Mr. Carmignola, and Italian arias with Ms. Petibon. The orchestras earlier discography on Sony with Mr. Carmignola includes The Four Seasons, previously unrecorded Vivaldi concertos, and a collection of Bach arias featuring Angelika Kirchschlager. The orchestra has also been honored with the Diapason d’Or, Echo Award, and the Edison Award.

Franui

“Franui” is the name of a mountain pasture in Innervillgraten/Austria, a small East Tyrolean village located 1,402 meters above sea level where most of the Franui musicians grew up. The word is of Rhaeto-Romanic origin and refers to the proximity of Innervillgraten to the Ladin-speaking region in the Dolomite Alps.

The Musicbanda of the same name have been playing together in nearly the same line-up since 1993 and are frequently invited to perform at major festivals and venues (e.g. Wiener Konzerthaus, Burgtheater Wien, Salzburg Festival, Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg, Tiroler Festspiele Erl, Bregenzer Festspiele, Ruhrtriennale, Radialsystem V Berlin, KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen, Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, Schauspielhaus Hamburg, Philharmonie Köln, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Theater Basel, Philharmonie and Grand Théatre Luxembourg, Les Nuits de Fourvière Lyon, Holland Festival).

The song-play “Steine und Herzen” (Ruhrtriennale 2005) marked the beginning of an intense collaboration between Franui and the actor and director Sven-Eric Bechtolf, with Bechtolf regularly performing with the Musicbanda as a reciter. In addition to their concerts Franui have also realized a number of music theater productions over the years, e.g. “Fool of Love,” a compilation of Shakespeare sonnets realized in collaboration with the singer and pianist Karsten Riedel and the puppeteer Nikolaus Habjan (Burgtheater Wien), “Meine Bienen. Eine Schneise” (Salzburg Festival 2012, libretto: Händl Klaus). On the occasion of their twentieth anniversary the ensemble hosted a sensational concert in the original “Franui” mountain pasture, at 2,300 meters above sea level, and some 1,500 visitors embarked on a three-hour hike to reach the location. Since May 2015 Franui are part of the annual festival “Gemischter Satz” hosted by Wiener Konzerthaus, which presents new forms of interaction between music, art, literature and wine.

Franui’s albums are released with the label col legno and have won several prizes (German Record Critics’ Award, Ö1 Pasticcio Award, Toblacher Komponierhäuschen).

Ensemble Masques

Renowned as much for their expressiveness and vitality as for their integrity and precision, Masques is an ensemble which fully embodies the dynamic spirit of the Baroque. The name of the group is inspired by the masques of Elizabethan England — dramatic entertainments that incorporated music, dance and poetry. The six members of Masques each have impressive individual careers, with a collective résumé that encompasses a prestigious roster of international early music ensembles. When they come together, their combined breadth of experience is felt in an uncommon interpretive depth, bound together by an equally uncommon chemistry which continues to mesmerize audiences and critics alike.

A chamber group without conductor, Masques benefits from the creative involvement of each member. Their shared curiosity has lead them, and their audiences, along an ever-evolving path of discovery. From their deep immersion into the fascinating world of 17th century German music, to the unveiling of Telemann’s universalism, humour and humanism, to their interest in the initiatory journey of “The Grand Tour,” Masques’ artistic choices are underpinned by the same appetite for trade, blending, borrowing and mixing that was the very breath of the Baroque era itself. It is a spirit reflected in the diverse nationalities of Masques’ musicians, who hail from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland and France — and through their playing, made new.

Masques’s concert schedule has taken them to Germany, Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Poland and Austria; to The Netherlands at Amsterdam’s Musiekgebouw and Utrecht’s renowned Early Music Festival; to Belgium at Brussels’ Bozar, Antwerp’s AMUZ and Gent’s Bijloke. They have also appeared in most major centres in Canada and the United States, including New York, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Los Angeles. An exclusive artist for the ALPHA label, their discs dedicated to17th century Austrian composers Johann Heinrich Schmelzer and the almost unknown Romanus Weichlein have enjoyed unanimous critical praise, between them receiving the Diapason d’Or, the “ffff” Telerama, the two “Chocs” de Classica and Gramophone Magazine’s “Editor’s Choice” award. Most recently, they have celebrated the music of Georg Philipp Telemann with an acclaimed recording of his Theatrical Overture-Suites, in honour of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death in 1767. Other critically acclaimed albums have been recorded on the ATMA, Dorian and Analekta labels. Two forthcoming recording projects for ALPHA are slated for release in 2019.

Mécénat Musical Société Générale is the primary sponsor of Ensemble Masques.