January 2012: 2012/13 Season Release


Highlights include:

  • Woven Words: “Music begins where words end”: Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor Esa-Pekka Salonen leads a major series celebrating the world of Witold Lutosławski 100 years after his birth: orchestral and chamber concerts, study days, digital and film resources
  • Orango: the European première of the Prologue to Shostakovich’s recently re-discovered satirical opera, reconstructed by Gerard McBurney
  • Salonen opens the season with Beethoven’s Choral Symphony, No. 9 with a stellar cast
  • Rite of Spring Centenary May 2013: a fortnight of special events featuring the return of the Philharmonia’s award-winning digital installation RE-RITE
  • Wagner 200: a gala concert celebrating the bi-centenary of Wagner’s birth, showcasing the British Wagner tradition
  • Britten Centenary: rarely performed works including The Young Apollo, the Spring Symphony and Steuart Bedford’s Death in Venice suite in homage to the 100th anniversary of Britten’s birth.
  • Daniele Gatti leading a cast of great operatic soloists in the Verdi Requiem
  • John Wilson recreating the world of Viennese operetta with a concert performance of The Merry Widow
  • Unsuk Chin’s second season as Artistic Director of Music of Today, with composer portraits including John Zorn, York Hőller and Luke Bedford
  • Concerts conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Andris Nelsons, Yuri Temirkanov, Sir Andrew Davis and Edward Gardner; plus début appearances for David Afkham and Kazuki Yamada

The Philharmonia Orchestra has announced its 2012/13 season at its London home base, Southbank Centre, where it has been Resident Orchestra since 1995. The season will see the Orchestra performing 37 orchestral concerts, together with six small ensemble performances as part of its annual Music of Today series of contemporary composer portraits. The season focuses on the celebration of five key musical anniversaries: Britten, Wagner, Verdi, The Rite of Spring and, most significantly, Lutosławski.

Esa-Pekka Salonen commented:
“This is a season that I am particularly proud to present to London and the world. As well as an outstanding roster of extraordinary artists and extraordinary music-making, the year is headlined by projects that are particularly dear to me personally. Lutosławski, Orango, the Rite of Spring centenary and the Beethoven symphony project are all highlights in the 2012/13 European musical calendar, and I am delighted that the Orchestra is also able to celebrate the other key composer anniversaries in 2013 [this is referring to Verdi, Britten, Wagner]. With the return of RE-RITE in Spring 2013, following our new digital installation Universe of Sound in May 2012, the Orchestra’s commitment to using the highest quality digital technologies to reach new audiences is stronger than ever. Classical music is in a vital and exciting phase in the second decade of the new millennium, and we are committed to remaining at the forefront of its development."

Woven Words: “Music begins where words end”
Lutosławski Centenary 2013

Esa-Pekka Salonen’s tenure as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor has been dominated by landmark multi-disciplinary festivals, exploring the music of key 20th century composers and musical movements in their widest possible cultural, social and historical context. In 2013 the Philharmonia Orchestra marks the centenary of the birth of one of the century’s most influential musical voices with Woven Words: “Music begins where words end”, a pan-European portrait of Salonen’s teacher and mentor, Witold Lutosławski, supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of Polska Music programme. The Series Consultant is the composer and Lutosławski specialist Steven Stucky. Key series headlines include:

  • Orchestral concerts: 3 concerts in London, also touring in Europe, featuring the Piano Concerto performed by its dedicatee Krystian Zimerman; the Cello Concerto; the Concerto for Orchestra, and Symphony No. 4: Salonen conducted the first commercial recording of the work.

  • Chamber concerts: free pre-concert performances of chamber music by Lutosławski and his contemporaries, plus a late-night concert of Lutosławski’s jazz and cabaret arrangements, performed by Polish musicians, arranged in liaison with the Adam Mickiewicz Foundation. The Royal College of Music will also be presenting a programme of chamber concerts as part of the series.

  • Related events: a Study Day in March 2013, led by Steven Stucky with talks and chamber music sessions from Polish music specialists and performers, and a pre-concert series introductory event.

  • Souvenir book: featuring newly commissioned essays by leading academics and Polish music specialists, alongside programme notes, visual imagery and full concert information.

  • Online resources: a major series of new digital resources in four languages (English, Polish, French and German), including:

    • Films documenting Lutosławski’s life and music, the wider Polish cultural and historical context and audio-visual listening guides to key repertoire
    • An interactive composing resource: using previously unpublished fragments of Lutosławski’s music, the Philharmonia will create an interactive resource that will enable website users to re-work and experiment with looping chains of Lutosławski’s music, enabling them to learn about Lutosławski’s compositional techniques
    • Commissioned essays exploring Lutosławski’s life and work
    • Photographic and other archive materials
    • Audio samples of music by Lutosławski and his fellow composers within the series.

Esa-Pekka Salonen commented:
“Lutosławski is quite simply one of the most important voices of the 20th century. This retrospective of his life, in what would have been his 100th birthday year, brings his absorbing, rich, intensely atmospheric music to new audiences, and our digital resources will create a lasting legacy that ensures that this anniversary lasts well beyond its 12 month duration, and the three months of our project. Our partnership with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute is allowing us to access source material, archive and historical material that has never been seen before outside Poland and illuminates Lutosławski’s life and work in unprecedented ways. I can’t wait to show the world everything that we are discovering.”

Season opening: Salonen Beethoven 9th Symphony
The Philharmonia Orchestra’s 2012/13 season opens on 27 September 2012 with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting Kurtág’s Quasi una Fantasia alongside Beethoven’s 1st Piano Concerto (with Leif Ove Andsnes) and Symphony No. 9. The concert continues Salonen’s 2012 pan-European exploration of Beethoven’s symphonies, ahead of a complete symphony cycle at the Bonn Beethovenfest in October 2012.

Rite of Spring centenary May 2013
Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra celebrate the centenary of the first performance of Stravinsky’s iconic ballet, centred around Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting The Rite of Spring at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on 30 May 2013 (100 years and one day after the première). The celebrations will also feature the return to London of the Philharmonia’s acclaimed digital installation RE-RITE, which won two RPS awards in 2009.

Orango: European première
On 16 May 2013 Salonen conducts a concert featuring the European première of the Prologue to Shostakovich’s recently rediscovered unfinished satirical opera Orango, which has been reconstructed by Gerard McBurney. Orango was commissioned in 1932 by the Bolshoi Theatre to commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution and was adapted from a story by Alexander Starchakov about a human-ape hybrid

conceived when a medical experiment goes wrong. It was abandoned after the librettists, Starchakov and Alexei Tolstoy, failed to meet their deadlines, and until 2004 its existence, in sketch form, was unknown.

Wagner 200
The Orchestra is playing its part in the worldwide events marking the bi-centenary of Wagner’s birth with a special gala event (22 May 2013) celebrating the British Wagner tradition. Sir Andrew Davis leads a programme of excerpts from Tannhäuser and Die Walküre featuring soloists Giselle Allen, Susan Bullock and James Rutherford.

Britten Centenary
The Philharmonia’s contribution to the UK-wide commemoration of Benjamin Britten’s 100th birthday will centre upon performances of four rarely-performed works. Edward Gardner conducts a programme featuring the Spring Symphony (17 February 2013), Vladimir Ashkenazy conducts Quatre chansons françaises and Steuart Bedford’s orchestral Suite from Death in Venice (21 and 24 February 2013), while Sir Andrew Davis’s concert on 9 May 2013 opens with The Young Apollo.

Verdi Requiem
In Verdi’s bi-centennial year, Daniele Gatti conducts a stellar Verdi Requiem, featuring a line-up of soloists including Krassimira Stoyanova, Marie-Nicole Lemieux and Samual Youn.

The Merry Widow
Following the huge success of his MGM musical and Gilbert & Sullivan projects over the previous two seasons, John Wilson conjures up the spirit of fin-de-siècle Vienna for a performance of Léhar’s The Merry Widow on 2 December 2012.

Music of Today
Unsuk Chin’s second season as Artistic Director of Music of Today, which is supported by the Meyer Foundation, features six eclectic musical composer-portraits, performed, as ever, as free pre-concert chamber events in Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall ahead of Philharmonia main evening concerts. Featured artists in 2012/13 are York Hőller, Luke Bedford, John Zorn, Claude Vivier and Jukka Tiensuu. The series is completed by the annual Young Composers Academy event, supported by the Royal Philharmonic Society, in which three young musicians are invited to spend a year working alongside Unsuk Chin and Philharmonia musicians to compose new works for performance in concert.

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, Yuri Temirkanov, Matthias Goerne, Angela Denoke, Maria João Pires, Leif Ove Andsnes, Yefim Bronfman and Pierre-Laurent Aimard. The most talented conductors of the next generation are also represented: Andris Nelsons, Edward Gardner, Juraj Valčuha, Tugan Sokhiev, Vasily Petrenko and Jakub Hrůša. The Philharmonia is dedicated to fostering and supporting younger artists also; this season sees Philharmonia débuts for conductors David Afkham and Kazuki Yamada; and the winner of the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition, Daniil Trifonov.

Carl Davis conducts The Thief of Bagdad live and James Bond 50th Anniversary Gala
The Orchestra continues to present annual projects led by Carl Davis, designed to introduce younger, less traditional audiences from other artforms to the experience of a live symphony orchestra. 2012/13’s live film screening is the classic 1940 Thief of Bagdad (1 June 2013), while on 23 November 2012 the 50th Anniversary of James Bond’s first screen appearance is marked with a gala concert featuring music from all of the first 22 Bond films.