Following the great success of Berliner Philharmoniker’s
London concert series in 2011, the week-long residency will feature performances in the Barbican Hall
, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Royal Festival Hall
from 10-15 February 2015. It will bring the two arts centres together in a series of concerts and in creative learning work with young people from a number of London boroughs, both north and south of the river Thames.
Sir Simon Rattle has chosen to mark his 60th birthday with this London residency, choosing music that has a special significance for him: a complete cycle of Sibelius’ seven symphonies in honour of the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and music by pioneering German composer Helmut Lachenmann. At the core of the Barbican concerts (10, 11, 12 February) is the complete cycle of Sibelius’ symphonies, performed in sequence. Southbank Centre’s concerts (13, 14 and 15 February) feature two performances in the Royal Festival Hall of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection) with soloists Kate Royal (soprano) and Magdalena Kožená (mezzo-soprano); and the London Symphony Chorus and City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus. Known as a signature work of Rattle’s, the symphony will be performed alongside Helmut Lachenmann’s Tableau.
In addition to these performances there will also be: a family concert as part of Southbank Centre’s annual Imagine Children’s Festival, featuring the 12 Cellists of the Berliner Philharmoniker (15 February 2015); and a chamber performance in the Queen Elizabeth Hall by The Philharmonic Octet Berlin (13 February 2015), when the group will perform Nielsen’s Serenata in vano, Berwald’s Septet and Schubert’s Octet.
Across the residency, the Barbican and Southbank Centre will join forces to bring together a young mixed-ability orchestra that represents London. These young people aged 7-25 will have the opportunity to make music together as a large orchestra and in a range of other formats. They will debate the value of music in society and the impact it has on their lives, whilst also exploring the music that the Berliner Philharmoniker will be performing and the relationship between London and Berlin. The culmination will be a performance at each of the two venues, led by Sir Simon Rattle.
Sir Simon was asked about the orchestra’s return to the capital: “Coming to London with the Berliner Philharmoniker feels like a homecoming, especially because we are performing repertoire that I love: Sibelius, Mahler and Lachenmann. I first heard Mahler’s second symphony aged 11 in Liverpool, and it inspired me to become a conductor. This work was premiered by the Berliner Philharmoniker in 1895 and is at the heart of what this orchestra loves to perform. Sibelius’ music is not frequently performed in Germany, and it is perhaps surprising that the rich, broad sounds of Sibelius really suit this orchestra – come and hear for yourself! I am thrilled that our friends at Southbank Centre and the Barbican are again working together to invite us to London. We will celebrate great music, a great orchestra, and the great work that these cultural centres do in bringing music to the next generation.”
All concerts will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3
, with the Sibelius symphony cycle concerts also shown on BBC Four
(first episode Sunday 15 February, 20:00). In addition, BBC Two
will broadcast the first television biography of the celebrated conductor in 15 years: ‘Simon Rattle: The Making of a Maestro’, on Saturday 14 February.