January 2015: 2015-16 Season Release



Highlights include:

  • Myths and Rituals: Stravinsky’s Journeys: a flagship series for the 70th Anniversary season devised and led by Esa-Pekka Salonen
  • A 70th Anniversary Gala Concert featuring a stellar cast and conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi
  • A three-concert partnership between Esa-Pekka Salonen and Lang Lang, exploring the music of Grieg, Prokofiev and Bartók
  • Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting Rachmaninov’s major orchestral works and Daniil Trifonov completing his Rachmaninov Piano Concerto Cycle
  • Andris Nelsons returns to London to continue his Bruckner Symphony Cycle
  • Part 2 of Paavo Jarvi’s Nielsen Series
  • Jakub Hrůša leading Mahler’s mighty Symphony No. 3
  • Two concerts with Håkan Hardenberger celebrating the virtuosity of the trumpet
  • An expanded Philharmonia at the Movies series
  • The return of the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition to London with the Philharmonia performing the opening and closing concerts
  • Six Music of Today performances curated by Unsuk Chin and focusing on composers including Julian Anderson, Param Vir, Friedrich Goldmann and Dieter Ammann
  • A new series of free pre-concert chamber music concerts, programmed and performed by members of the Orchestra and open to all
  • Return visits from artists including Daniele Gatti, Herbert Blomstedt, Yuri Temirkanov, John Wilson and Arcadi Volodos.


The Philharmonia Orchestra and its Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor, Esa-Pekka Salonen, have announced their 70th Anniversary season at the Orchestra’s London home base, Southbank Centre, where the Philharmonia has been Resident Orchestra since 1995. The season will see the Orchestra performing 44 orchestral concerts, together with six small ensemble performances as part of its annual Music of Today series of contemporary composer portraits and six chamber music concerts programmed and performed by members of the Orchestra. The year’s programme is headlined by Salonen’s Myths and Rituals, a major series exploring Stravinsky’s life, music and influences.


Esa-Pekka Salonen commented:


This is a particularly important season for the Philharmonia Orchestra and me. As part of the orchestra’s 70th Anniversary, we are celebrating one of the most significant figures in music, Igor Stravinsky, with the multi-disciplinary project Myths and Rituals: Stravinsky’s Journeys. Ritual is at the very heart of Stravinsky’s craft. His creative life ranged from his origins as a late Russian Romantic composer to the near universal status that he achieved later in his life. His compositions would become a synthesis of almost every stylistic idea of the 20th century, and yet the identity and voice are always his, and only his. 


This series is very personal. I’m conducting music that I’ve performed over many years; music that I used to conduct a lot in my youth, and music that I’ve never conducted before. My hope is that that this project—which travels from the early Russian ballets to the late, great work of the American years—will illuminate Stravinsky’s own journey, and bring this extraordinary, imaginative, powerful music newly to life.


Myths and Rituals: Stravinsky’s Journeys

The Philharmonia Orchestra’s keynote 70th Anniversary series is Myths and Rituals: Stravinsky’s Journeys, which aims to build on the success of recent projects led by Esa-Pekka Salonen that explore the life and legacy of composers including Lutosławski and Bartók, and the musical legacy of both Vienna and Paris in the early 20th century. It promises to be one of the most significant projects undertaken by the Orchestra in recent years.


Highlights include:

  • Five all-Stravinsky orchestral concerts (four at Southbank Centre, one at St John’s Smith Square), exploring the themes of Rituals, Tales, Myths, Faith and Tragedy
  • Performances of Stravinsky’s large-scale works including the Symphony of Psalms, Perséphone and Oedipus rex alongside the more intimate sound-words of his In Memoriam works dedicated to Aldous Huxley, Dylan Thomas and TS Eliot, and his Requiem Canticles, Mass and Cantata
  • A major series of chamber concerts in London, in association with the Royal College of Music
  • “Explore Stravinsky” immersion days
  • Free pre-concert and post-concert performances
  • A major portfolio of digital and online resources, including a series of specially commissioned documentary films that were made on location in Europe and the USA
  • Partnerships with key cultural organisations in the UK and internationally


70th Anniversary Gala Concert: 27 September 2015

The Philharmonia Orchestra’s 70th Anniversary season opens on Sunday 27 September with a gala performance of Beethoven’s Choral Symphony No. 9, conducted by Honorary Conductor for Life, Christoph von Dohnányi. Martin Helmchen performs Schumann’s Piano Concerto in the first half. A stellar cast of singers (Charlotta Larsson, Ruxandra Donose, Robert Dean Smith and James Rutherford) joins the line-up alongside the Rodolfus Choir and the Philharmonia Voices.


Esa-Pekka Salonen/Lang Lang

In spring 2012 as part of his pan-European Beethoven Cycle, Esa-Pekka Salonen joined forces with Lang Lang for performances of all five piano concertos at London’s Royal Albert Hall. They renew their artistic collaboration in Autumn 2015 with three concerts over a week, programmed to reflect their shared musical enthusiasms. The first concert (26 November) focuses on Edvard Grieg, pairing the Piano Concerto with a semi-staged performnance of the incidental music from Peer Gynt. On 1 December Lang Lang performs Bartók’s 2nd Piano Concerto alongside orchestral works by Beethoven; and on 3 December the series concludes with Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3, coupled with extracts from Romeo and Juliet and Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy.


Vladimir Ashkenazy and Daniil Trifonov: Rachmaninov

The Philharmonia Orchestra’s Conductor Laureate, Vladimir Ashkenazy, joins the Orchestra for three concerts over the course of the 2015/16 season (5 November, 3 March and 14 April), each focused on one of Rachmaninov’s major symphonic works: the 2nd and 3rd symphonies, and the Symphonic Dances.  Meanwhile the sensational young pianist Daniil Trifonov, winner of the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition, completes his two year series of concerts performing Rachmaninov’s four piano concertos, plus his Variations on a Theme of Paganini, with concerts on 8 and 15 October featuring the 2nd and 4th concertos and the Variations, conducted by Rafael Payare (making his Philharmonia début) and Jakub Hrůša.


The Trumpet Shall Sound: Håkan Hardenberger

Star trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger returns to the Philharmonia for two performances that continue his exploration of both the virtuosity of the instrument and of composition for it during the 20th century, which he begins in February 2015 with a performance of HK Gruber’s Aerial (22 February 2015).  Berne Alois Zimmermann’s Trumpet Concerto, which Hardenberger performs under Andris Nelsons’s baton on 6 December 2015, is titled Nobody knows de trouble I see, and incorporates the iconic African-American spiritual tune into its jazz-influenced form. He then returns to the Royal Festival Hall on 28 January 2016 with conductor Santtu Mathias-Rouvali to perform Bridge, Rolf Martinsson’s first Trumpet Concerto, which was written for him and ingeniously encodes his name into the virtuoso solo part.


Andris Nelsons: Bruckner Symphony Cycle

The Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra returns to London to continue his exploration of Bruckner’s symphonies. He opens his Bruckner Symphony Cycle with the 3rd Symphony with the Philharmonia as part of the current season on 8 February 2015, and returns in December 2015 to lead the 8th Symphony, in a performance that also sees him reunited with February 2015 soloist Håkan Hardenberger. Andrew Clements described Nelsons’s Bruckner as “thoughtful and distinctive” in The Guardian in November 2014:  “athletic, direct and texturally interesting”.


Paavo Järvi: Nielsen Series Part 2

Paavo Järvi continues his highly regarded series exploring Nielsen’s orchestral repertoire, which in 2015/16 season introduces two of the concertos alongside symphonic repertoire, also showcasing the talent of Philharmonia Principal Wind players. Principal Flute Samuel Coles performs the Flute Concerto alongside the 5th Symphony (19 November 2015) and Mark van de Wiel plays the Clarinet Concerto in a pairing with the 3rd Symphony on 19 May 2016. Both programmes open with a Haydn symphony.


Jakub Hrůša: Mahler 3

The sensational young Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša returns to London for two concerts in 2015/16, working with Daniil Trifonov on the final concert of his Rachmaninov Concerto Cycle on 15 October and then returning to the Royal Festival Hall on 11 February 2016 for a performance of Mahler’s towering 3rd Symphony, together with mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink and the Philharmonia Voices.


Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition

In 2016 the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition returns to London for the first time in 12 years to celebrate the centenary of its illustrious namesake. Yehudi Menuhin performed with the Philharmonia throughout his life, and the Philharmonia Orchestra will be performing both the Competition’s opening and closing concerts at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. In the opening concert on 7 April 2016, three former winners of the Competition – Tasmin Little, Ray Chen and Rennosuke Fukuda – all perform solo works intimately connected with Menuhin himself, including the Brahms Violin Concerto and Franz Waxman’s inimitable Carmen Fantasie.. The concert also includes a new work for violin and orchestra by Roxanna Panufnik. The competition closes, following 11 days of concerts and events, with a Gala performance on 14 April featuring Julia Fischer (who plays the Bartók First Violin Concerto) and all the Competition prize-winners. More information can be found at www.menuhincompetition.org.


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 launched a new strand of programming exploring the relationship between music and films in 2014/15. Highlights in 2015/16 include live screenings of Charlie Chaplin’s Kid Auto Races at Venice, A Dog’s Life and Shoulder Arms (10 April), the former of which features the first ever appearance of the iconic little tramp character; a celebration of James Bond title music to mark the release of the new Bond film Spectre  (25 October); and a revival of the Orchestra’s hugely successful collaboration with BBC Earth to present a concert version of its iconic Planet Earth  series, in a specially devised version curated and scored by George Fenton (31 January).


Music of Today

Artistic Director of Music of Today Unsuk Chin has programmed five eclectic musical composer-portraits and, in a new departure, one performance that is focused on a performer rather than a composer: the extraordinary young German-Korean cellist Isang Enders (18 February 2016), who will perform a programme of music by Ligeti, Boulez and Esa-Pekka Salonen. All the events are performed as free pre-concert chamber events in Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall ahead of Philharmonia main evening concerts. Featured composers in 2015/16 include Param Vir, Julian Anderson, Friedrich Goldmann and Dieter Ammann, with highlights including premières of Raga Fields (Param Vir, London première) and two UK premières of works by Dieter Ammann, Violation for Solo Cello and six players and a new piece for 20 players.




Pre-concert chamber music series

In a new initiative from 2015 onwards, members of the Philharmonia Orchestra will be performing a series of free pre-concert chamber performances, programmed by the players themselves. To launch the initiative, the Philharmonia Chamber Players will present two concerts in May and June 2015, the first (10 May) a performance of the Schubert String Quintet, and the second (25 June) featuring Nielsen’s Serenata in vano and Brahms’s String Quintet No. 2. Six concerts will then follow during the 2015/16 concert season, on 1 October, 3 November, 13 December, 11 February, 14 April and 9 June.  As with Music of Today and all the Philharmonia’s free pre-concert events, these concerts will be unticketed and open to all, whether audiences are attending the main evening performance or not.


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 2015/16 include Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting Sibelius’s 5th Symphony in the year of his 150th Anniversary (1 November); Yuri Temirkanov conducting Elgar’s Enigma Variations with Nikolai Lugansky performing Brahms’s 1st Piano Concerto (3 April); John Wilson conducting an English programme featuring Vaughan Williams’s Sea Symphony (24 January); a live screening of three Charlie Chaplin short films conducted by Carl Davis (10 April); and special programmes for both Christmas (13 December) and Valentine’s Day (14 February).


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, with Dohnányi opening and closing the season. The Orchestra is also delighted to welcome distinguished artists including Daniele Gatti, Yuri Temirkanov, Andris Nelsons, Lang Lang, Håkan Hardenberger, Paavo Järvi, Herbert Blomstedt, Nikolai Lugansky and Arcadi Volodos. The most talented conductors of the next generation are also represented: Jakub Hrůša, Nicholas Collon, Edward Gardner, John Wilson, Tugan Sokhiev and Juraj Valčuha. The Philharmonia is dedicated to fostering and supporting younger artists; this season sees Santtu-Matias Rouvali, Jérémie Rhorer, Kazuki Yamada, Pablo Heras-Casado and Diego Matheuz make return visits to the Orchestra,with Philharmonia London season débuts for conductors Alain Altinoglu, Rafael Payare and Lavha Shani.



For further information, interviews, biographies and photographs, please contact Jim Follett ([email protected]; direct line +44 207 921 3932) or Alice Walton at the Philharmonia Orchestra ([email protected]; direct line + 44 7931 845493).



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 2015/16 the Orchestra is performing more than 150 concerts, as well as presenting live digital events and recording scores for films, CDs and computer games. Since 1995 the Orchestra has been Resident at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall and Bedford Corn Exchange, and also has long-term UK residencies in Leicester, Basingstoke, Canterbury and at the Three Choirs Festival.


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. The 2014-2015 season will find him as the first-ever Creative Chair at the Tonhalle Zurich Orchestra, which has commissioned a new piece for orchestra and chorus from him and will perform nine other Salonen pieces during the season.


Trained in the austere world of European modernism and enjoying a close relationship with the sunny city of Los Angeles, Salonen composes works that move freely between contemporary idioms, combining intricacy and technical virtuosity with playful rhythmic and melodic innovations. Salonen has written several works for symphony orchestra, including Foreign Bodies (2001), Insomnia (2002), and Wing on Wing, which received its world premiere at Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2004. Salonen's extensive recording career includes a disc of his orchestral works performed by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, which he also conducted; his Piano Concerto and Dichotomie, both performed by Yefim Bronfman, and Helix, as well as Out of Nowhere, featuring Leila Josefowicz and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, a collection of Nyx and Salonen's Violin Concerto, which won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award.


During the 2014-15 season, Salonen will make guest conducting appearances with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Orchestra, among others.  Throughout their relationship, Salonen and the Philharmonia have curated landmark multi-disciplinary projects, such as the award-winning RE-RITE and Universe of Sound installations, which allow members of the public to conduct, play, and step inside the orchestra with Salonen through audio and video projections of musicians in performance. Salonen also drove the development of a much hailed app for iPad, The Orchestra, which allows the user unprecedented access to the internal workings of eight symphonic works. Last spring, he was featured in a television commercial for iPad. 



Management by Fidelio Arts: fidelioarts.com

Public Relations by First Chair Promotion: firstchairpromo.com

Publishing by Chester Music Ltd: musicsalesclassical.com