The COE and Sir András Schiff
28 September - 9 October 2019
It is with great pleasure that the Chamber Orchestra of Europe will be performing again this year in Kronberg in the context of the Orchestra’s partnership with the prestigious Kronberg Academy and its Festival (25th September – 1st October). This year, the focus of the Festival is ‘Searching for Ludwig’, of course related to Beethoven whose 250th anniversary season will be starting this September. At a concert on 30th September at the Kronberg Stadthalle in a programme by Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart, Sir András Schiff, a great friend and honorary member of the COE, also Principal Professor at the Kronberg Academy since 2018, will present five young soloists from the Academy: violinists Jonian-Ilias Kadesha, Fumika Mohri and Stephen Waarts, violist Timothy Ridout and cellist Aurélien Pascal.
Following our concert in Kronberg, we will then travel with Sir András to Berlin, Milan and Verona, performing a programme featuring works by Haydn – Overture to ‘L’Isola Disabitata’, Keyboard Concerto in D No. 11 and Symphony No. 88 – and Mendelssohn – Piano Concerto No. 1 and Symphony No. 4 ‘Italian’.
Partnership with Kronberg Academy
Last year, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe was invited to perform on the occasion of the Kronberg Academy’s 25th anniversary with a host of Kronberg’s leading tutors and alumni including Gidon Kremer, Christian Tetzlaff, Vilde Frang, Istvan Vardai and Yuri Bashmet. This concert was the opportunity to announce a long-term partnership between the COE and the Academy, establishing the Casals Forum (to be completed in 2021) as an artistic centre of excellence. The partnership underlines the shared quest for excellence by both pan-European organisations and their commitment to support the highest level of music education, as well as chamber and orchestral music making.
The COE will become the first-ever orchestra-in-residence at the Casals Forum Kronberg as from the 2021/2022 season. The residency at the Forum offers the perfect ‘laboratory’ conditions for rehearsals, enabling the Orchestra to develop its work in Frankfurt and the region, in addition to preparing for concert tours across Europe and worldwide as the Orchestra’s central-European base. As a result of this new partnership, students of the Kronberg Academy and members of the COE, together with the many soloists and conductors who work with both organisations, will have the opportunity to work together and develop a variety of joint projects and initiatives.
Raimund Trenkler, Founder and Director of the Kronberg Academy, commented on the new partnership: “The Chamber Orchestra of Europe is one of a kind and our new partnership is groundbreaking for both organisations: the Casals Forum offers the COE ideal rehearsal space with an excellent acoustic in its main Hall, one that allows close listening and lively, intense music making, which are fundamental both to this chamber orchestra as well as the Kronberg Academy. The highest level of musical exchange is another key element of our artistic partnership: students of the Kronberg Academy will be able to develop special musical projects with the COE alongside for example Sir András Schiff, who is a member of the artistic board of the Kronberg Academy and one of the COE’s Honorary Members.”
Simon Fletcher, General Manager of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, states: “The exciting new Casals Forum in Kronberg will be a 21st-century symbol of excellence, creativity, innovation, craftsmanship and cultural leadership. Although we are two very different substantially unsubsidised entities, the Kronberg Academy and the COE are very similar organisations in spirit and aspiration, operating internationally from the heart of Europe with members and artistic partners of the highest calibre. Working in close artistic cooperation will enable both our organisations to nurture and grow our joint creative resources, integrating the students, orchestral musicians, tutors and soloists with all activities. I am truly delighted that the COE will be the first orchestra-in-residence at the Casals Forum and it will be a great pleasure to work closely with Raimund Trenkler and his team over the coming years.”
The COE and Sir András
Significantly, the concert in Berlin will be the Chamber Orchestra of Europe’s 100th with Sir András Schiff since their first project together in 1985. Sir András has been a strong artistic partner of the COE almost since its creation (in 1981) and this very special relationship which has developed over almost 35 years is crystallised in Sir András’s title of Honorary Member of the Orchestra. Together, they have performed across the world in major festivals and venues such as the Berlin, Cologne and Paris Philharmonies and Kammermusiksaal, London’s Royal Albert Hall and Barbican Centre, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Frankfurt’s Alte Oper, Vienna’s Konzerthaus and Musikverein, Zurich’s Tonhalle and the Lucerne and Edinburgh Festivals. Sir András also performed for the COE’s 35th anniversary private concert in St John’s Smith Square in London back in 2016. Together, they recorded Bach concertos BWV 1052 to 1058 to great acclaim for Decca, “a clear first choice” according to the Penguin CD guide.
“There are orchestras, good ones, great ones and then there is the COE. This is a community of individuals who love music and who obviously enjoy being together. Like in good chamber music, there is a constant flow of give and take. It is a unique ensemble. There is no routine. Most of the members play chamber music – in string quartets, wind quintets and different formations – when they are not in the orchestra, so there is a high level of listening to one another. They come from different countries and schools of playing, but they have their very own sound as an ensemble. The collective sensitivity and intelligence of this group is admirable. Together they represent the very essence of Europe. It makes me happy and proud to be associated with this unique ‘orchestra’.”
Sir András Schiff, Pianist and Conductor