Tour with Sir Simon Rattle and Magdalena Kožená – June 2024
19 June - 1st July 2024


The Chamber Orchestra of Europe worked for the first time with Sir Simon Rattle at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, giving two concerts at the Berlin Philharmonie with Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang to a much reduced audience when the restrictions had slightly eased, in October 2020. It was a very emotional time for the COE musicians who had not had the opportunity to play together since February that year. They were also unsure when they would be able to play again after these concerts. The Orchestra had been trying to work with Sir Simon for years but somehow dates could never align. This first meeting was a rare ray of sunshine for everyone involved, in the midst of the global gloom, and the COE made a strong impression on Sir Simon. The feeling was mutual with him saying he had “fallen in love” with the Orchestra.

Fast-forward to 2022 and they joined forces again, this time with mezzo-soprano (and Sir Simon Rattle’s wife) Magdalena Kožená and tenor Andrew Staples for a five-concert tour to Dresden, Luxemburg, Cologne, Vienna and Hamburg. Together they performed Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, and also Strauss’s Metamorphosen. The COE had not performed Das Lied before, and as violist Dorle Sommer said: “We began this unique tour in unknown territory and travelled together to a place so much richer and more magical than anything we could have ever imagined.” This first full-sized project together was a major success and according to the COE’s second oboe Rachel Frost, “the power and beauty of the Orchestra in the concert is a reflection of Sir Simon Rattle‘s enormous warmth, trust and deeply honest music-making”.

It is therefore with great anticipation that the COE is looking forward to this year’s series of five concerts with both Simon and Magdalena – this time, travelling to Eisenstadt, Lugano, Evian’s Rencontres Musicales, Ravenna and Athens, where they will be part of the Epidaurus Festival – the modern version of the festival that Aristophanes and Euripides wrote for two and a half thousand years ago. The programme features Dvorak’s Scherzo Capriccioso, Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder, Bartok’s 5 Hungarian Folk Songs and Schubert’s “Great” C Major Symphony.


Sir Simon Rattle

Sir Simon Rattle was born in Liverpool and studied at the Royal Academy of Music. He is Chief Conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Laureate of the London Symphony Orchestra. He is a Principal Artist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and a Founding Patron of the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. He was Principal Conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker from 2002 to 2018. In 2024 Sir Simon was announced as the Principal Guest Conductor, Rafael Kubelik Chair, of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

Read more on the Askonas Holt website


Magdalena Kožená

One of the leading mezzo-sopranos of her generation, Magdalena Kožená was born in Brno, Czech Republic and studied piano and voice at Brno Conservatory and later at Bratislava’s Academy of Performing Arts.

She said: “To work with COE is always an incredibly special event for me and one of many reasons why I feel so is that the  musicians treat each project as if it was a very unique and festive event for them as well. To be supported by players with so many years of experience, knowledge and respect for each other  inspires me, enables me to perform in a free and creative atmosphere  and often brings me closer to a deeper understanding of what is essential in music.”

​Magdalena is a celebrated recitalist and regularly partners with some of the most renowned pianists of our time, including Mitsuko Uchida, Yefim Bronfman, Malcolm Martineau, Daniel Barenboim, Sir Andras Schiff and Sir Simon Rattle. These collaborations have seen Magdalena perform all over the world including at Alice Tully and Carnegie Halls, New York; Wigmore Hall, London; Musikverein and Konzerthaus Vienna; Pierre Boulez-saal, Philharmonie and Konzerthaus Berlin, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Rudolfinum Prague to name but a few.

​Equally in concert, Magdalena is in demand worldwide and has appeared with the New York, Berlin, Vienna, Czech and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestras, Bayerische Rundfunkorchester, Deutsche Sinfonie-orchester Berlin, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Les Musiciens du Louvre under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, Sir Roger Norrington and Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

​Continuing to dazzle audiences on the opera stage, recent appearances for Magdalena include Octavian Der Rosenkavalier at the Metropolitan Opera, Idamante Idomeneo at the Staatsoper Berlin, Lady Macbeth in Pascal Dusapin’s Macbeth in the Underworld at La Monnaie, Brussels and the Waitress in Kaija Saariaho’s world premiere Innocence at Festival Aix en Provence.

Read more on Lewis Holland Artist Management’s website.

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