January 2011: 2011/12 Season Release


Highlights include:

  • Esa-Pekka Salonen opening the season with Sibelius’s epic choral symphony Kullervo
  • Part III of Salonen’s 2011 Bartók retrospective, Infernal Dance: Inside the World of Béla Bartók, travelling to 9 European cities and featuring a semi-staged production of Duke Bluebeard’s Castle
  • The conclusion of Lorin Maazel’s Mahler Symphony Cycle, featuring the final three symphonies and Das Lied von der Erde
  • Philharmonia Orchestra’s Universe of Sound: The Planets: an immersive digital installation, the successor to RE-RITE, sitting at the heart of the Philharmonia’s contribution to the London 2012 cultural celebrations
  • The launch of Philharmonia Digital, a new company to expand the reach of the Orchestra’s award-winning digital projects through international touring
  • Unsuk Chin’s inaugural season as Artistic Director of Music of Today
  • Salonen Beethoven symphony series culminating in a complete cycle at the Bonn Beethovenfest; each symphony paired with 20th/21st century masterpieces
  • A celebratory weekend marking the 150th Anniversary of Delius’s birth
  • Concerts conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Kurt Masur, Daniele Gatti, Sir Andrew Davis, Andris Nelsons and Edward Gardner

The Philharmonia Orchestra has announced its 2011/12 season at its London home residency, Southbank Centre. The season will see the Orchestra performing 36 orchestral concerts, together with five small ensemble performances as part of its annual Music of Today series of contemporary composer portraits. Esa-Pekka Salonen, Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor, opens his fourth season with a performance of Sibelius’s epic choral symphony Kullervo; concludes his year-long pan-European Bartók retrospective, Infernal Dance: Inside the World of Béla Bartók; inaugurates a Beethoven symphony series; and gives the opening and closing concerts of “The still point of the turning world”: Music that defines an era, with performances of Dallapiccola’s 1944-48 opera Il prigioniero and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection.

The Philharmonia’s award-winning digital programme continues to widen access to the Orchestra; summer 2012 will see the launch of Universe of Sound: The Planets, an immersive digital installation and keenly-anticipated follow- up to its virtual orchestra, RE-RITE, which will sit at the heart of the Philharmonia’s contribution to the London 2012 cultural celebrations. The Orchestra is also delighted to announce the launch of Philharmonia Digital, a new trading company to expand the reach of the Orchestra’s award-winning digital projects through international touring.

Infernal Dance: Inside the World of Béla Bartók

The third and final part of Salonen’s year-long exploration of the life, influences and music of Béla Bartók, Infernal Dance: Inside the World of Béla Bartók, travels to 9 European cities in autumn 2011 and features a semi-staged production of Bartók‘s only opera, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, with Sir John Tomlinson and Measha Brueggergosman as Bluebeard and Judith. The staging, directed by the digital artist collective yeastCulture, will use immersive video environments to bring the opera to life. Bluebeard is a Philharmonia production with co-producers Konzerthaus, Dortmund and Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon.

Maazel: Mahler Cycle 2011

The season also sees the conclusion of a second flagship, year-long project; Lorin Maazel’s Mahler Symphony Cycle. The only complete Mahler cycle presented in London during this anniversary year is brought to a close with performances of the composer’s final three symphonies and Das Lied von der Erde.

Philharmonia Orchestra Universe of Sound: The Planets: Digital installation

Summer 2012 will see the launch of Universe of Sound: The Planets, the keenly-anticipated follow-up to award- winning RE-RITE, when Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia will once again invite members of the public to step inside the enormous virtual Philharmonia; this time as they perform Holst’s The Planets. The immersive digital installation will employ the latest digital and interactive technologies to reveal the inner workings of each orchestral section and invite the public to interact, create and explore, further developing the core principles of RE-RITE. The project, which will also include a live performance of The Planets, the commission of a new work to allow the audience to develop their own musical journey, and animateur-led workshops, will sit at the heart of the Philharmonia’s contribution to the London 2012 cultural celebrations. Full details will be announced in January 2012.

Esa-Pekka Salonen commented:
"Universe of Sound: The Planets, like the hugely successful RE-RITE, is an invitation to come and join our orchestra. We’ll be investigating yet more ways to bring the audience even closer as they join us for a fascinating classical music experience.”

Launch of Philharmonia Digital

Over the last 5 years the Philharmonia has established itself as a digital innovator: a pioneer and leader in the use of digital technologies to widen access to orchestras, and a creator, using the latest digital technologies to develop new work - PLAY.orchestra (co-production with Southbank Centre, 2006) and RE-RITE (2009) - that is genuinely ground-breaking. The Philharmonia has recognised that these major projects command huge interest and is proud to announce the launch of a new trading company, Philharmonia Digital, to expand the reach of this award- winning work through international touring. RE-RITE has already been revived in Leicester (April 2010) and Lisbon (January 2011) and will next tour to Dortmund in November 2011.

Music of Today and première by Joseph Phibbs

2011/12 heralds the start of Unsuk Chin’s appointment as the new Artistic Director of the Philharmonia’s Music of Today series. The series of five pre-concert composer portrait events, which is supported by the Royal Philharmonic Society, are free to all, and this season includes music by Ivan Fedele, Johannes Schöllhorn, Ondrej Adamek, Perttu Haapanen and Gérard Grisey together with world premières by three young composers from the Orchestra’s Young Composers Academy. Unsuk Chin’s own Violin Concerto features in the season; to be performed by Viviane Hagner under Esa-Pekka Salonen in March 2012. The Orchestra, with The Anvil Basingstoke, has also commissioned a new work by composer Joseph Phibbs which receives its London première on 28 June 2012.

Salonen and Beethoven

Esa-Pekka Salonen inaugurates a Beethoven symphonic series in 2012, an exploration which culminates in a complete cycle at the Bonn Beethovenfest in October 2012. In London in the spring Salonen conducts symphonies nos. 1, 3, 5 and 7; each symphony will be paired with a 20th or 21st century work that illuminates and complements it including Dallapiccola’s Il prigioniero, Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto, Unsuk Chin’s Violin Concerto and Kurtág’s ...Quasi una Fantasia.

Key artist relationships

The Philharmonia is delighted to welcome the world’s finest artists to the Royal Festival Hall podium. In addition to Salonen’s performances, the Philharmonia’s other titled conductors, Christoph von Dohnányi (Honorary Conductor for Life) and Vladimir Ashkenazy (Conductor Laureate) feature throughout the season. The Orchestra is also delighted to welcome distinguished artists including Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Daniele Gatti, Sir Andrew Davis, Viktoria Mullova, Yefim Bronfman, Simon Keenlyside, Matthias Goerne and Mitsuko Uchida. The Philharmonia is dedicated to fostering and supporting younger artists also; this season Arturo Alvarado, Darrell Ang and Yordan Kamdzhalov make their Royal Festival Hall débuts on 13 October in a concert marking the culmination of the 2011 International Conductors’ Academy of the Allianz Cultural Foundation, an annual joint initiative of the Allianz Cultural Foundation, the Philharmonia and London Philharmonic orchestras and Southbank Centre. The season also sees Philharmonia débuts for pianists Martin Helmchen and Nobuyuki Tsuji, violinist Valeriy Sokolov and cellist Alisa Weilerstein.

“The still point of the turning world”: Music that defines an era

The Philharmonia’s series for 2012, “The still point of the turning world”: Music that defines an era, features iconic works of the late 19th and 20th centuries; works that both reflect the spirit of their age and that continue to resonate in the present day. All these works have a particularly personal resonance for their conductors: Esa-Pekka Salonen (Dallapiccola’s 1944-48 opera Il prigioniero and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection), Christoph von Dohnányi (Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem), Vladimir Ashkenazy (Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, Babi Yar) and Lorin Maazel (Britten’s War Requiem). Each programme will be associated with significant works of poetry to reflect and illuminate the major themes of these defining works.

A celebration of English music

In addition to Universe of Sound: The Planets the Philharmonia also celebrates Delius’s 150th birthday to the day (29 January 2011) with an all-English programme featuring the composer’s own Cello Concerto and Brigg Fair and a film screening of Ken Russell’s Delius - Song of Summer; the 500th Anniversary of the founding of St John’s College Cambridge (15 December 2011); and an afternoon of great English music in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (3 June 2012).

Sunday matinee series and Education programme

The Philharmonia’s Sunday afternoon matinée concert series, 6 concerts annually that feature fresh, dynamic performances of core repertoire with renowned artists, continues to go from strength to strength. The Orchestra once again joins forces with Carl Davis (Ben Hur) and John Wilson (Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Yeoman of the Guard) to bring film and musical theatre to the concert hall as part of this series.

The Orchestra also continues its annual series of Family Music Days at Queen Elizabeth Hall – mornings of music workshops and a specially presented concert to introduce classical music to children from ages 4-11. The Family Music Days form part of the Orchestra’s Education Programme, which in London includes the Explore... programme (pre-concert talks, study days and online resources); All About Roots, a three-year project in which the Orchestra is in residence in four Lambeth Primary Schools, working closely with the school and its teachers to embed music within its everyday life; and Play On, a project in partnership with Hounslow & Kingston Music Services, and supported by the Mayor of London’s Music Education Fund, that encourages students learning instruments to engage in community ensembles through their music services.

Esa-Pekka Salonen commented:
“As I enter my fourth season as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra I’m proud to present another great season, bringing together extraordinary music and extraordinary artists. Our live season combined with our expanding and award-winning digital programme will ensure that the Orchestra’s work is available to an ever greater number of people inside and outside the concert hall. The opportunities opened up by Universe of Sound: The Planets and our new digital company make for truly exciting possibilities for the next era of the Philharmonia.”