COE’s räsonanz concert at musica viva festival, Munich
5-10 June 2018

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On 9 June the Chamber Orchestra of Europe is joined by American conductor David Robertson to explore contemporary works by Elliott Carter, George Benjamin, Enno Poppe and György Ligeti in a special concert as part of the musica viva festival at the Prinzregententheater in Munich.

On this singular occasion, the COE welcomes back one of the finest violists in the world Tabea Zimmermann, who is a keen advocate of new repertoire for the viola and has inspired many composers such as Sally Beamish, Heinz Holliger and Jörg Widmann to write for her instrument. She will perform Enno Poppe’s Filz for viola, four clarinets and strings, which she premiered in 2015 together with Ensemble Resonanz, conducted by the composer himself.

The concert opens with Instances, the last fully completed orchestral work by American composer Elliot Carter, followed by George Benjamin’s Three inventions that stems from a 1995 Salzburg Festival commission. A second work by Carter sees the COE divided into five groups of four players each. Originally written for Pierre Boulez’ ensemble InterContemporain, Penthode is a slow movement in which a continuously unfolding line is passed on from player to player. A sense of connectedness and isolation are suggested by the five groups of varied instrumentalists.

Carter was also an inspiration to pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, who paired his work to Mozart during the COE concerts at the 2015 Salzburg Mozartwoche. As a renewed advocate of contemporary repertoire and familiar soloist with the COE, Aimard draws the programme to an end with György Ligeti’s Piano Concerto.

Who better to lead the COE on this experimental musical journey than the American conductor David Robertson, valued worldwide as a champion for contemporary music? As former BBC Principal Guest Conductor and current Chief Conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, he has recently been announced as the Director of Conducting Studies at The Juilliard School, a role he will take up this autumn.

This räsonanz concert is supported by the patrons of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation. As part of BR-Klassik’s musica viva weekend, it was broadcast on 26 June at 20:05 CET.

COE's violist Simone Jandl speaks with her former teacher Tabea Zimmermann. Note: in German!

Rehearsing Elliott Carter's Instances with David Robertson as seen from the brass section.

 

The Chamber Orchestra of Europe “established itself internationally as a first-rate ensemble for contemporary music, which makes competitors think twice” – commented the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung following our räsonanz concert in Munich. The article says furthermore:

In Ligeti, piano and orchestra are even rivals. Aimard mastered the exorbitantly difficult solo part with such competence that it made the piano an equal counterpart to the Orchestra, who performed the complicated layering of rhythms with bursting energy, subtly blending colours within the work with exemplary precision and attention to detail. Before the interval, Tabea Zimmermann had given a performance of the Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra by Enno Poppe with similar brilliance. The programme was enhanced with works by George Benjamin and Elliott Carter.

This concert was the peak of perfection in orchestral contemporary music making as part of the concert series by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, organised since 2016 by the musica viva festival in collaboration with the Lucerne Festival. Their aim is to bring the most important works of the last seventy years into the standard repertoire by interpretations which set the benchmark. Ligeti’s Piano Concerto as well as the Chamber Orchestra of Europe itself guarantee success.

(Extract from „Acht Hörner bei dialektischen Klimmzügen“, F.A.Z., 11/06/2018 written by Max Nyffeler © Copyright reserved. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung GmbH, Frankfurt. Provided by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Archiv.)

Also, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reviewed the concert and commented that our playing was “focussed and responsive” and the Neue Musikzeitung describes the COE as “wahrlich phänomenal” and “admirable both in historically informed as well as contemporary repertoire”.

 

A consummate and deeply collaborative musician, David Robertson is hailed for his intensely committed music making and the COE is thrilled about this first collaboration. Having appeared at BR-Klassik’s musica viva festival in 2016 where he conducted the world premiere of Moritz Eggert’s Muzak for voice and orchestra in memory of David Bowie, Robertson is renowned as a champion of contemporary composers. The former Music Director of the Ensemble InterContemporain and protégé of Pierre Boulez is aside from new music, a highly sought-after podium figure in the worlds of opera and orchestral music.

Currently in his final season as Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and his fifth season as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, he appears regularly in Europe with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic, the Bayerische Rundfunk and the Dresden Staatskapelle, and at the Berlin and Edinburgh Festivals and BBC Proms.

 

Recognized as one of the most popular and renowned musicians of our time, German violist Tabea Zimmermann is highly committed to 20th century repertoire. She has inspired numerous composers to write for the viola and introduced many new works into the standard concert and chamber music repertoire.

In April 1994, she gave a highly successful world premiere of the Sonata for Solo Viola by György Ligeti, a work composed especially for her. Heinz Holliger dedicated his Recicanto for Viola and Orchestra to Tabea as well, which she performed during her first appearance with the COE under Holliger’s baton in 2004 at the Cité de la Musique in Paris. Two further appearances followed in 2005 and 2007 with Tabea directing the COE from the viola in Brahms’ Serenade No. 2 in a concert programme featuring chamber music by Paul Hindemith. For two subsequent seasons Tabea has been artist-in-residence with the Ensemble Resonanz, with whom she premiered new work by Enno Poppe.

Watch this video of Tabea Zimmermann performing Enno Poppe's 'Filz' with the Ensemble Resonanz at the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg in 2015

 

Pierre-Laurent Aimard has performed with the COE for almost two decades of which the Beethoven piano concertos under Harnoncourt and directing Mozart from the keyboard highlight the ongoing relation. Aimard said about the COE, that “It’s a pleasure to share music with them – an indestructible joy.”

Widely acclaimed as a key figure in the music of our time and as a uniquely significant interpreter of piano repertoire from every age, Pierre-Laurent Aimard enjoys an internationally celebrated career. He has had close collaborations with many leading composers including Kurtág, Stockhausen, Carter, Boulez and George Benjamin and is one of the world’s foremost interpreters of Ligeti. Recent seasons have included the world premieres of Harrison Birtwistle’s piano concerto Responses: Sweet disorder and the carefully careless, as well as Carter’s last piece Epigrams for piano, cello and violin, which was written for Pierre-Laurent. In recognition of a life devoted to the service of music he was awarded the prestigious International Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 2017.

Pierre-Laurent Aimard on his collaboration with György Ligeti

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