© Monika Rittershaus
© Monika Rittershaus
Staatskapelle Berlin | Daniel Barenboim
With his Sinfonia eroica of 1803, Ludwig van Beethoven introduced an epoch-making work that defied the previous standards of the genre. The first two movements are longer than an entire Haydn symphony. The opening chords, as solid as supporting columns, along with the biting dissonances that Beethoven uses in the opening movement, had a shocking effect on the audience of the time. The pathos of the “Marcia funebre,” with its echoes of French revolutionary music, and the ideological exaggeration of the finale, which alludes to the Prometheus myth, opened up layers of extra-musical messages. For some contemporaries, this went too far. The young Franz Schubert, for example, composed the antithesis with his Fifth in 1816: a symphony using slender instrumentation and a sound pattern modeled after Mozart. And yet Schubert need not fear comparison with Beethoven at all. The graceful lyricism and playful agility of his music, its naturalness and artful simplicity, show this composer, who was only 19 years old at the time, also to be a master of his craft.
Staatskapelle Berlin © Monika Rittershaus
The Staatskapelle Berlin, which was founded by the Brandenburg Elector Joachim II as a court orchestra and which was mentioned in documents for the first time in 1570, ranks among the world’s oldest orchestras. When Frederick the Great opened the Royal Opera in 1742, the ensemble’s activities expanded: since that time the orchestra has enjoyed a closer association with the opera house Unter den Linden. Famous musical figures have led the concert series, which was established in 1842: the list of conductors ranges from Spontini, Mendelssohn, and Meyerbeer through Weingartner, Strauss, and Furtwängler to Karajan, Konwitschny, and Suitner. Even Richard Wagner worked with the Court Orchestra – and since then his works have been cornerstones of its repertoire. Since 1992 Daniel Barenboim has helmed the ensemble; in 2000 the orchestra named him Conductor for Life. Along with subscription concerts at the Berlin Philharmonie and the Konzerthaus, the Staatskapelle regularly tours to the musical centers of Europe, Israel, Japan, China, and North and South America. As part of an annual festival the musicians also often present work cycles, including two rounds of the ten great Wagner operas. In the area of concert music they performed the nine Bruckner symphonies in Tokyo at the beginning of 2016; in the 2016-17 season they will present the complete cycle in New York and Paris as well. The Staatskapelle Berlin has been named Ensemble of the Year five times by the magazine Opernwelt; in 2003 it received the Furtwängler Prize and a Grammy Award and, in 2007, the Echo Klassik. With the Orchestra Academy, which was founded in 1997, the members are also active in the field of training; many of them additionally volunteer as part of the Musikkindergarten, which Daniel Barenboim founded in 2005.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut in September 1994 with two concepts of works by Beethoven, Wagner, and Verdi under the direction of Daniel Barenboim.
August 2016Other dates
Daniel Barenboim © Priska Ketterer/LUCERNE FESTIVAL
The conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim, both of whose parents were piano teachers, was born in Buenos Aires in 1942 and began performing in public at the age of seven. In 1952 his family moved to Israel, where the American-Israel Cultural Foundation Competition awarded him a scholarship to study with Nadia Boulanger in Paris in 1953. He also took courses in conducting with Igor Markevitch and, in 1954, was introduced to Wilhelm Furtwängler, who described him as a “phenomenon.” During the first phase of his career, Barenboim toured as an internationally successful concert pianist. Since making his conducting debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1967, he has been in demand by all of the leading orchestras. Barenboim’s first permanent position was helming the Orchestre de Paris (1975 to 1989); from 1991 to 2006 he was Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which then named him Honorary Conductor. He made his operatic debut in 1973 with Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Edinburgh Festival; in 1981 he debuted at Bayreuth, returning there every summer until 1999. Since 1992 Barenboim has been General Music Director of the Berlin Staatsoper; the Staatskapelle Berlin appointed him Chief Conductor for Life in 2000. He was closely associated with La Scala in Milan from 2007 to 2014, most recently as Music Director. In 1999 Barenboim founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which unites young musicians from Israel, the Arab countries, and Spain. In March 2017 he opened the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin, where he performs works ranging from the Classical era to the present with his newly founded Boulez Ensemble. For his artistic and cultural-political work, Barenboim has received such distinctions as the Prince of Asturias Concord Prize, the Buber-Rosenzweig Medal, the Siemens Music Prize, the Goethe Medal, and Japan’s Praemium Imperiale Award.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 25 August 1966, performing piano concertos by Mozart and Beethoven with the English Chamber Orchestra.
Further Information: www.danielbarenboim.com
July 2019Other dates