Tour with Sir András Schiff – May 2024
19 May - 2 June 2024

Programme

It is always an immense pleasure for the musicians of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe to work with their long-standing friend and COE Honorary Member Sir András Schiff with whom they have performed 111 concerts since their first encounter in 1985 at the Lichfield Cathedral. To hear the whole story, and more, please listen to our interview with Sir András on the COE podcast here.

This particular tour starts with a chamber music concert in the context of Sir András’s Building Bridges initiative. Building Bridges helps talented young pianists to emerge in today’s classical music world through recitals and chamber music concerts where they have a chance to really display their musical personality and skills. András said: “A recital programme is like a business card – you show musically who you are, what currently captures your curiosity, what supra-musical ideas are important to you. I ask all music lovers to listen with open hearts and open ears, and I wish everyone involved much joy in discovering these young talents.” The two pianists involved in this concert are Martina Consonni and Itai Navon, both alumni of the Building Bridges project. Together with COE Leader Lorenza Borrani, viola Nimrod Guez and COE co-principal cello Richard Lester, they will perform chamber works by Haydn, Dohnanyi and Brahms at the Schloss Esterhazy in Eisenstadt on 22nd May. The two piano pieces (Haydn and Brahms) have in common a link to the Gypsy style of music as both last movements are marked ‘all’Ongarese’ and ‘alla zingarese’, which is part of the cultural heritage of Eisenstadt and the wider Burgenland.

This chamber music concert will be followed on 26th May by a full orchestra concert with Sir András at the Schloss Esterhazy featuring Brahms’s Haydn Variations, Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante for Oboe (Kai Frömbgen), Bassoon (Rie Koyama), Violin (Lorenza Borrani) and Cello (Richard Lester) and Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1. This programme was suggested by András and we are very grateful that he included the Sinfonia Concertante as it is a unique opportunity for audiences to hear some of the COE principals. The same programme will be performed at Hamburg’s Laeiszhalle on 28th May, Teatro Donizetti in Bergamo on the 30th (in the context of the Piano Festival) and Teatro Comunale in Ferrara on 1st June.

 

The COE and Sir András

It is indeed a great joy for us to be able to perform again with Sir András, with whom our last project dates back to September 2022 when we performed together at the Herbstgold Festival in Eisenstadt and also at the opening of the brand new concert hall of the Kronberg Academy, the Casals Forum, where the COE has been resident since. 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.

 

Building Bridges artists

Martina Consonni

Born on October 16, 1997 in Como, she graduated in piano with honors at the early age of fourteen, and then continued her studies with Enrico Pace at the International Academy ‘Incontri col Maestro’ in Imola.

She obtained two soloist Master’s Degree with the highest honors at the Pavia Conservatory and at the HMTM in Hannover with Professor Arie Vardi, a Master’s Degree in Chamber Music with top marks at the National Academy “Santa Cecilia” in Rome and an Artist Diploma Degree at the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin with Sir András Schiff.
She has been selected to participate in numerous masterclasses, meeting musicians of international renown such as Daniel Barenboim, Kirill Gerstein, Steven Isserlis and Christopher Eschenbach.

She is now one the four piano student selected for the Sir András Schiff Performance Programme at the Kronberg Academy, generously funded by the Henle Scholarship endowed by the Horizon Foundation.

For more information, please visit Martina Consonni’s website.

Itai Navon

Israeli pianist Itai Navon is performing frequently as a soloist and a chamber musician in many concert halls across Europe, including Wigmore Hall in London, Victoria Hall in Geneva, Berlin’s Konzerthaus and Pierre Boulez Saal, Ehrbar Saal in Vienna, Beethovenhaus in Bonn, and deSingel Art Centre in Antwerp.

Itai has participated in renowned music festivals, such as “Kronberg Festival”, “Klavierfestival Ruhr”, “Kultursommer Nordhessen” and “Musikfestspiele Saar” in Germany, “Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad” and “Menuhin Festival” in Switzerland, “Bath Music Festival” in the UK, and “Aspen Music Festival” in the USA.

At the invitation of pianist Sir András Schiff, Itai Navon appeared in the 2018-19 season of the “Building Bridges” concert series, which included solo recitals throughout Europe. In 2021 he participated in a series of filmed masterclasses with Daniel Barenboim on Beethoven solo piano and cello sonatas.

For more information, please visit Itai Navon’s website.

 

COE Soloists

Lorenza Borrani, COE Leader

Lorenza Borrani was appointed Leader of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in 2008, aged 25. She also performs as Leader, director, soloist and chamber musician in Europe and the world’s major concert halls and festivals – including the Berlin Philharmonie (Berlin’s Musikfest), the Edinburgh Festival, the Cologne Philharmonie, the Paris Philharmonie, the Aldeburgh Festival, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Sydney’s Opera House.

To hear Lorenza talking about her COE experience, please listen to this episode of the COE podcast.
To find out more about Lorenza, please click here.

Nimrod Guez, Viola

Born in Israel in 1977, Nimrod Guez started playing the violin at the age of seven. His teachers were Nahum Liebermann, Ilona Feher, Shlomo Tintpulver and Haim Taub. After meeting Tabea Zimmermann at the age of 16, he decided to shift to viola and started studying at her class at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts in 1996. After five years, he moved to Luebeck in 2001 and continued his studies at the violin class of Professor Nora Chastain. Alongside his violin studies, Nimrod Guez attended viola classes with Professor Barbara Westphal from 2002 to 2004. Nimrod Guez was a first prize winner of the”Aviv” competition in 2002.

In 2005 he became 1st principal violist at the Gewandhaus Orchester zu Leipzig. From 2008 to 2012 he held the same position at the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks. Out of his great affection for early music, he has been playing the baroque violin since 2010. With musicians from the Bavarian Radio Symphonic Orchestra he founded “L’accademia giocosa”, an ensemble for early music. In 2012, Nimrod Guez was appointed professor for viola at the Wuerzburg University of Music.

Nimrod Guez performs as a violin, viola and baroque violin soloist. He is a highly sought-after chamber musician. He plays alongside well-known artists such as Janine Jansen, Vilde Frang, Liza Ferschtman, Sebastian Klinger, Nicolas Altstaedt and Maximilian Hornung at various festivals, for instance the “Utrecht Kamermuziek Festival”(NL), the “Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival” (AT) and “ErstKlassik”(Sarnersee, CH).

Richard Lester, COE Co-Principal Cello

Richard Lester has been Principal cello of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe since 1989. Leading chamber-musician, solo-cellist, orchestral principal and renowned teacher, Richard Lester appears regularly at the world’s foremost concert venues and festivals.

To find out more about Richard, please click here.
Richard also features in this episode of the COE podcast, which delves into the truly European identity of the orchestra.

Kai Frömbgen, Oboe

Born in Koblenz, in 1977, Kai studied first at the Luxemburg Conservatoire with Norbert Mattern. He received first prize of the federal competition “Jugend musiziert” three times, in 1991, 1993 and in 1995 and was pre College student with Professor Ingo Goritzki. After passing his A-level exams, he started studying with Professor Christian Wetzel in the Highschool of Music and Drama “Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy” in Leipzig. He received scholarships from the Foundation „Studienstiftung des deutsche Volkes”, the Villa Musica and the Richard Wagner Society.

He played in the EUYO for two years, in 1998 and 1999. In 1999, he got the co- principal oboe position in the Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz in Ludwigshafen and then he became the principal oboe of the Bamberger Symphonikern – Bayerische Staatsphilharmonie in 2003. In 2005, 2006 and in 2007, he was the principal oboe of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, directed by Claudio Abbado. From 2012 to 2018, he was the principal oboe of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and played with world-renowned conductors Bernard Haitink and Nikolaus Harnoncourt, amongst others.

Kai is a keen chamber musician and performed as a soloist and chamber music partner with Frank-Peter Zimmermann, Isabelle Faust and Bläserensemble Sabine Meyer. He is member of the Linos Ensembles.

From 2013, he started to teach, first at the Musikhochschule Saar, Saarbrücken, 2014 to 2018 at the Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf and from 2018 at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien, Hannover.

Rie Koyama, COE Principal Bassoon

Rie Koyama joined the COE as Principal Bassoon in summer 2023.

Born in Stuttgart in 1991, Rie grew up in Germany. She studied with Akio Koyama in Trossingen and with Dag Jensen in Munich.

She won first prizes in 24 national and international competitions, including The Muri Competition and in 2012 the Deutscher Musikwettbewerb. The greatest success of her career was when she won the International Music Competition of the ARD in 2013 in the category bassoon. She was also awarded with the special prize for the best interpretation of the commissioned piece at this competition.

As a soloist she has performed with numerous orchestras in Europe and Asia and is a regular guest at renowned music festivals. Her regular chamber music ensembles include the Trio Walter, the Veits-Quintett and the »franz ensemble«.

Since 2015, Rie  has been principal bassoonist with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen under the baton of Paavo Järvi and in November 2020 she joined the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra as a principal bassoonist.

 

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