Kronberg Academy Festival and BeethovenFest 2023
17-26 September 2023
This year the Kronberg Academy celebrates both its 30th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of Pablo Casals’s death the underlying theme of this year’s Festival is “Humanity comes first!” Music for humanity is certainly a motto that would have pleased the great cellist and humanist Pablo Casals to whom the Casals Forum is dedicated.
This tour actually merges two projects in one – the Kronberg Academy Festival and Bonn’s BeethovenFest – and there will be four different programmes to perform. The concerts will feature one of the Orchestra’s greatest friends, Robin Ticciati, with whom we undertake several projects every year. The Orchestra will also be joined by an array of soloists including mezzo-soprano Alice Coote, tenor Allan Clayton, violinists Maria Ioudenitch, Christian Tetzlaff, Augustin Hadelich and pianist Kirill Gerstein.
After a few days rehearsing at the Casals Forum – Kronberg Academy’s new concert hall, launched last year – the COE will open the Kronberg Academy Festival on 21st September with performances of Schubert’s Konzertstück (with Maria Ioudenitch), Mozart’s Piano Concerto in G K. 453 (with Kirill Gerstein) and Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde” (with Alice Coote and Allan Clayton). The Orchestra will travel to Bonn the next day, performing Brett Dean’s Pastoral Symphony and Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde” that evening. The concert, taking place at Bonn’s Kreuzkirche will be broadcast on radio. On the 24th the COE’s concert at the Bonn opera house, bringing the BeethovenFest to a close, features Adams’ “Ten Thousand Birds”, Berlioz’s “Scène d’Amour” from Romeo and Juliet, Schumann’s Violin Concerto (with Christian Tetzlaff) and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. On the 25th the Orchestra will travel back to Kronberg where they will give their last two concerts of the tour that evening: Haydn’s Violin Concerto in C Major (with Augustin Hadelich) and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 at 18.30 and Berlioz’s “Scène d’Amour” and Schumann’s Violin Concerto at 20.30.
The COE and Robin Ticciati
Our first project with Robin dates back to 2015 and the Orchestra’s special rapport with him is captured in the interview below (audio only) with the COE’s podcast presenter Simon Mundy. Robin says that working with the COE for the first time was for him a ‘seminal’ moment because of the whole ‘mystique’ surrounding the Orchestra. However, during our first project, performing at the Cologne Philharmonie with Alina Ibragimova a programme by Bruch, Bach, Widmann and Haydn, Robin felt that the COE had more to give. It was only when “they got dirty with Beethoven” (in his own words!) in Dubai in 2017 that he felt he really unleashed the COE’s potential. Since then we have had wonderful musical adventures with Robin, meeting with him several times a year (a feat for an orchestra without a principal conductor!), performing concerts featuring soloists such as Lisa Batiashvili, Bryn Terfel, Christian Tetzlaff, Francesco Piemontesi, Jean-Guihen Queyras, as well as singers Louise Alder and Magdalena Kožená. Last spring, we were delighted that his 40th birthday happened to occur while he was on tour with us and we made sure we celebrated all together and in style in a nice restaurant in Bordeaux!
Listen to Robin’s full interview below:
Robin Ticciati talks about his COE adventure
The COE in Kronberg
The COE in Kronberg
It was in the evening on 23rd May 2022 that the COE set foot for the first time in the newly-built, not yet open, Casals Forum, a concert hall commissioned by the Kronberg Academy for its students to perform in a hall that truly showcases the outstanding level of music education provided by the Academy. For a number of years, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Kronberg Academy have been working in Partnership, with the COE being invited to perform a number of times in Kronberg, including for the celebration of the Academy’s 25th anniversary in 2018. We are thrilled that this partnership has resulted in an invitation to become orchestra-in-residence at the Casals Forum where we can rehearse ahead of tours as well as perform smaller scale concerts with some of the Kronberg Academy students and teachers.
The brand new Casals Forum was officially inaugurated in September 2022 and the COE performed a number of launch concerts for the Friends of the Kronberg Academy and also for the general public on 24th and 25th September. Artists performing with the COE on that occasion included Vadim Gluzman, Steven Isserlis, Janine Jansen, Sir András Schiff, Antoine Tamestit, as well as Kronberg Academy alumni and students Irène Duval, Seiji Okamoto, Timothy Ridout and Mishka Rushdie Momen. The repertoire of all concerts spanned many centuries, showcasing the versatility of the COE and its ability to perform incredibly wide-ranging repertoire, sometimes within the same concert. Indeed the greatest chronological gap between composers was achieved in the first of our two concerts on 24th September, with French violist Antoine Tamestit: we performed Dowland’s “If my complaint could passions move” – a lute song from 1600 beautifully arranged for alto and strings by Antoine himself – followed without a break by Britten’s Lachrymae for alto and strings from 1950, a set of variations on Dowland’s song. The Orchestra is always particularly keen on creative programming and this Dowland/Britten combination with Antoine certainly didn’t disappoint!