January 2014: 2014/15 Season Release


Highlights include:

  • City of Light: Paris 1900-1950, led by Esa-Pekka Salonen: a major series of concerts and related events, the successor to the award-winning 2009 City of Dreams Vienna project
  • Esa-Pekka Salonen’s three year Berlioz project: continues with a performance of the monumental Grande Messe des Morts, opening the season
  • Vladimir Ashkenazy leads a Sibelius Series marking the 150th Anniversary of the composer’s birth, with soloists including Vadim Repin and Helena Juntonen
  • Tchaikovsky and the Mighty Five: a two year project devised by the sensational young Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša, celebrating the musical legacy of Tchaikovsky on the Mighty Five group of composers: Mussorgsky, Balakirev, Borodin, Cui and Rimsky-Korsakov.
  • A Nielsen Symphony Cycle, led by Paavo Järvi over two seasons
  • The UK première of James MacMillan’s Percussion Concerto No. 2, as part of Southbank Centre’s Colin Currie Festival
  • A special concert to mark Christoph von Dohnányi’s 85th Birthday
  • A performance as part of the World War One commemorations, conducted by Nicholas Collon
  • A two-year project with pianist Daniil Trifonov performing all Rachmaninov’s major works for piano and orchestra
  • The Orchestra’s annual series of free pre-concert composer portraits curated by Unsuk Chin,  Music of Today
  • Philharmonia at the Movies: a new series exploring the relationship between music and film, featuring a screening of Buster Keaton’s silent films One Week and The General
  • Return visits from artists including Daniele Gatti, Andris Nelsons, Lorin Maazel, Yuri Temirkanov, Mitsuko Uchida and Viktoria Mullova.

The Philharmonia Orchestra and its Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor, Esa-Pekka Salonen, have announced their 2014/15 season at the Orchestra’s London home base, Southbank Centre, where it has been Resident Orchestra since 1995. The season will see the Philharmonia performing 35 orchestral concerts, together with six small ensemble performances as part of its annual Music of Today series of contemporary composer portraits. The year’s programme is dominated by Salonen’s City of Light, a flagship project exploring the cultural landscape of Paris between 1900 and 1950.

Esa-Pekka Salonen commented:

“This is a season of concerts that the Philharmonia Orchestra and I are very proud to offer to London and the world. It is a particular pleasure to me personally to have realised our long-held ambition to present a follow-up project to City of Dreams and to be exploring a city and a period as rich and complex as Paris between 1900 and 1950. Paris in the first half of the 20th century was a melting pot for new music and new artistic ideas. Leading writers, artists and dancers of the age were drawn to the City of Light, collaborating with composers to create sumptuous music in a celebration of sheer luxiance of sound. For us, the chance to offer audiences the experience of Debussy’s Pelléas, Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges or Messiaen’s Turangalîla-symphonie in the context of the Art Deco and Art Nouveau movements, the Ballets Russes, Surrealism, or the politics of a city and a society that had to survive two World Wars, is exciting; we know from our Vienna project how rich and rewarding this immersive approach to concert presentation will be.”

City of Light: Paris 1900-1950

The Philharmonia Orchestra headlines its 2014/15 season with City of Light: Paris 1900-1950, Esa-Pekka Salonen’s keenly anticipated follow-up to the acclaimed 2009 Vienna project, City of Dreams. City of Light explores Paris from La Belle Époque and Les Années folles to the aftermath of World War II, using music from Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande to Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie as the soundtrack to an exploration of the art, literature, dance, architecture and social and political history that drew the leading artists of the age to Paris from across Europe. It promises to be one of the most significant projects undertaken by the Orchestra in recent years.

Highlights include:

  • Five orchestral concerts at Southbank Centre (four by the Philharmonia, one by the Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra), including complete performances of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges and Messiaen’s Turangalîla-symphonie.
  • A major series of chamber concerts in London, in association with the Royal College of Music.
  • An associated programme of orchestral and chamber concerts in Cardiff, in association with the University of Cardiff, with artists including the Gould Piano Trio.
  • Two “Explore Paris” days, one focussed on Pelléas, the other investigating the cultural, social and political landscape of Paris in this period.
  • Free pre-concert performances of Furniture Music and a free post-concert performance of cabaret music in collaboration with the Institut Français.
  • A major portfolio of digital and online resources, including a series of specially commissioned documentary films.
  • A series of French film screenings in association with the Institut Français
  • A Symposium in association with the Institute of Musical Research.
  • Partnerships with key cultural organisations in the UK and Paris, including the Musée d’Orsay, the Bibliotèque National, the Musée de la Musique, the Royal College of Music and the Institut Français.

Salonen: Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts

Esa-Pekka Salonen continues his three year exploration of Berlioz’s most significant choral and dramatic works, opening the season with a rare performance of the mighty Grande Messe des Morts (25 September) with tenor Sébastien Droy, together with Gloucester Choral Society and the Philharmonia Voices.

Sibelius Series: Vladimir Ashkenazy

Vladimir Ashkenazy leads a series of three concerts exploring the life and music of Jean Sibelius in his 150th Anniversary Year (19 March, 17 May and 11 June). The series features soloists including Vadim Repin and Helena Juntunen, with repertoire including Lemminkäinen, the tone poem Luonnator and songs, alongside more familiar concerto and symphonic works. The series will also tour to seven UK cities, including Leeds, Cardiff and Nottingham, and abroad to Madrid.

Nielsen Cycle: Paavo Järvi

Paavo Järvi leads the Orchestra in a two year series of concerts centred around Carl Nielsen’s four symphonies. The series pairs Nielsen’s music with music by Haydn and Beethoven, with soloists including Viktoria Mullova and Martin Helmchen, and offers the opportunity to hear Denmark’s greatest composer interpreted by a conductor who has a particularly personal affinity with his music.

Tchaikovsky and the Mighty Five

The sensational young Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša follows up his 2014 Bohemian Legends series with a two year project exploring the music of Russia’s Mighty Five group of composers: Mussorgsky, Borodin, Balakirev, Cui and Rimsky-Korsakov, alongside the work of some of the composers that most closely influenced them, including Tchaikovsky, Glinka and Glazunov. In this first season, Hrůša conducts two performances, the first exploring the music of the composers that inspired the formation of the Mighty Five and the Russian Nationalist movement, and one focusing on the music of the Mighty Five themselves, centred around excerpts from Mussorgsky’s towering operatic masterpiece Boris Godunov.

Christoph von Dohnányi 85th Birthday

The Orchestra and Honorary Conductor for Life, Christoph von Dohnányi, join forces on 5 October 2014 to mark his 85th birthday. A special concert featuring music by Mendelssohn and Beethoven see von Dohnányi returning to repertoire that has defined his career and his musical legacy over a career spanning more than 60 years. The performance also launches a European tour marking his birthday, with concerts across France and Germany.

MacMillan Percussion Concerto No. 2 UK première: Colin Currie

The Philharmonia Orchestra is delighted to present the UK première of James MacMillan’s Percussion Concerto, featuring Colin Currie as soloist, with conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali (11 December). The concerto is a joint commission by international partners including the Philharmonia Orchestra and Southbank Centre, and is presented as part of Southbank Centre’s Colin Currie Festival.

World War One Commemoration concert

Nicholas Collon leads the Philharmonia in a programme of music meditating on the carnage of the First World War: Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin; Elgar’s Cello Concerto; and Vaughan Williams’s haunting Pastoral Symphony No. 3 (12 October). The concert is part of the worldwide events commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of World War One, and will also be performed in Bruges as a centrepiece of their commemorative plans, and in Canterbury.

Daniil Trifonov Rachmaninov Project

The sensational young pianist Daniil Trifonov, winner of the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition, performs Rachmaninov’s three piano concertos, plus his Variations on a Theme of Paganini, over two years, opening in 2014/15 with the 1st and 3rd concertos (26 April and 17 May).

Philharmonia at the Movies

Following the success of its partnership with Carl Davis over recent seasons, bringing live orchestral screenings of great silent films, including 2014’s Napoleon, to Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, the Philharmonia is introducing a new strand of programming exploring the relationship between music and films. Highlights in 2014/15 include live screenings of Buster Keaton’s One Week and The General (24 April), the latter of which was voted as the 15th best film of all time by Sight and Sound Magazine; a concert of music from legendary Science Fiction films (15 October); and a collaboration with BBC Earth to present a concert version of its iconic Blue Planet series, in a specially devised version curated and scored by George Fenton (22 January).

Music of Today

Artistic Director of Music of Today Unsuk Chin has programmed six eclectic musical composer-portraits, performed as free pre-concert chamber events in Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall ahead of Philharmonia main evening concerts. Featured composers in 2014/15 include Olga Neuwith, Mark-André Dalbavie, Giacinto Scelsi and Anders Hillborg, whose spectacular Peacock Tales includes elements of dance as well as musical performance. 

Sunday Matinee Series

The Philharmonia Orchestra’s annual series of Sunday Matinee performances has become a popular element of its Southbank Centre season over the last few years, offering a wide spectrum of audiences, including families with older children and older people for whom evening travel is difficult, an opportunity to hear the finest conductors and soloists at a time that suits their needs. Highlights in 2014/15 include Jakub Hrůša conducting Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 as part of the Tchaikovsky and the Mighty Five series, Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting Sibelius as part of the Sibelius 150th Anniversary Series, Paavo Järvi conducting Nielsen and John Wilson conducting English music by Bax, Walton and Vaughan Williams.

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, Daniele Gatti, Mitsuko Uchida, Yuri Temirkanov, Andris Nelsons, Paavo Järvi, Viktoria Mullova, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Barbara Hannigan. The most talented conductors of the next generation are also represented: Jakub Hrůša, Nicholas Collon, Lionel Bringuier, Edward Gardner, Vasily Petrenko, Tugan Sokhiev and Juraj Valčuha. The Philharmonia is dedicated to fostering and supporting younger artists; this season sees Philharmonia London season débuts for conductors Santtu-Matias Rouvali, Jérémie Rhorer and Krzysztof Urbanski.


For further information, interviews, biographies and photographs, please contact Alice Walton at the Philharmonia Orchestra ([email protected]; direct line + 44 20 7921 3931).



PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA www.philharmonia.co.uk

The Philharmonia Orchestra is one of the world’s great orchestras. Acknowledged as the UK’s foremost musical pioneer, with an extraordinary recording legacy, the Philharmonia leads the field for its quality of playing, and for its innovative approach to audience development, residencies, music education and the use of new technologies in reaching a global audience. Together with its relationships with the world’s most sought-after artists, most importantly its Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Philharmonia Orchestra is at the heart of British musical life.

Today, the Philharmonia has the greatest claim of any orchestra to be the UK’s National Orchestra.  It is committed to presenting the same quality, live music-making in venues throughout the country as it brings to London and the great concert halls of the world. In 2014/15 the Orchestra is performing more than 150 concerts, as well as presenting live digital events and recording scores for films, CDs and computer games.                                                                    

Box office information for all Philharmonia Orchestra performances at Southbank Centre:

Philharmonia Orchestra Box Office: Freephone 0800 652 6717 or www.philharmonia.co.uk

Southbank Centre Box Office: 0844 847 9921 or www.southbankcentre.co.uk

ESA-PEKKA SALONEN www.esapekkasalonen.com

A lauded composer and world renowned conductor, Esa-Pekka Salonen has a restless innovation that marks him as one of the most important artists in classical music. Salonen is currently the Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra and Conductor Laureate for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he was Music Director from 1992 until 2009. 

September 2013 marked the 30th anniversary of Salonen’s début with the Philharmonia Orchestra. He bookends his 2013/14 season with the Philharmonia with concerts throughout Europe, including the Grafenegg, Berlin and Lucerne festivals, and ending in June with performances at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. Also this season, Salonen will celebrate the 10th anniversary of Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in several concerts including the world première of Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels. With both the LA and the New York philharmonics, he conducts his Grawemeyer Award-winning Violin Concerto with Leila Josefowicz. In April, Salonen will lead the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and in May, he returns to La Scala in Milan to conduct Patrice Chéreau’s critically acclaimed production of Elektra. 

Salonen’s extensive recording career includes a CD of his orchestral works performed by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, which he also conducted, as well as a disc of his Piano Concerto and his works Helix and Dichotomie. 2012 saw the release of the first-ever recording of Shostakovich’s previously undiscovered opera prologue Orango with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the release of Out of Nowhere, a collection of his Violin Concerto and Nyx, featuring Leila Josefowicz and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 2009, a new collaboration with Signum was launched with the release of a live recording of Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder; other recent recordings with the Philharmonia on Signum include Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique and Mahler's Sixth and Ninth symphonies.