Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival: "Beethoven and the Songs of Romanticism"

14 March 2019

The 23rd Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival will be held in Warsaw from 7 to 19 April. Over 13 days, it will present 12 symphonic concerts, 4 chamber concerts, 2 song recitals and a concert for children. Elżbieta Penderecka, the General Director of the Festival, has invited outstanding Polish and foreign philharmonic orchestras and an array of internationally acclaimed soloists, among them pianists Rudolf Buchbinder, Beatrice Rana, Mackenzie Melemed, and violinists Pekka Kuusisto and Francesco Manara.

The central theme of this year’s edition, Beethoven and the Songs of Romanticism, is prominently featured in the concert programmes, allowing audiences to hear many music works that are rarely heard on the concert stage. These include Les nuits d’été, a song cycle by Hector Berlioz, Modest Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death, Gustav Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Alexander Zemlinsky’s Lyrische Symphonie, Richard Strauss’s Vier letzten Lieder, and recitals of Schubert, Schumann and Beethoven songs.

The Festival will open with Sinfonia Varsovia under Maestro Lothar Zagrosek, who will conduct works by the festival’s patron and compositions of Hector Berlioz. The soloists will be rising stars of the concert scene: Taiwanese violinist Yu-Chien Tseng, Spanish cellist Pablo Ferrández and Polish pianist Szymon Nehring. In the closing concert we will hear Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem under the baton of Maestro Jacek Kaspszyk.

The most eagerly awaited concerts include those by the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich under Paavo Järvi, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under Susanna Mälkki, the orchestra’s Chief Conductor, the Dresdner Philharmonie led by Michael Sanderling, and the Korean KBS Symphony Orchestra with its Artistic Director Yoël Levi. Conductor Massimiliano Caldi will lead the I Virtuosi del Teatro alla Scala to present a programme of works by the Italian masters Verdi, Rossini, Vitali and Nino Rota.

The renowned Shanghai Quartet will give the first three concerts in its series of Complete Beethoven Quartets, which will be continued next year to mark the 250th birth anniversary of the master from Bonn in 2020.

Another important anniversary for Polish culture – the 200th birthday of Stanisław Moniuszko, celebrated this year – will be highlighted in a concert featuring his opera Paria conducted by Łukasz Borowicz.

This year’s edition of the Festival and its central theme provided an opportunity to invite vocalists who are highly regarded in operatic and concert circles, such as Ekaterina Scherbachenko, Stéphanie d’Oustrac, Aga Mikolaj, Matthias Goerne, Benjamin Bruns, Dietrich Henschel, Raymond Ayers, Steve Davislim, Michael Kupfer-Radecky.

In keeping with tradition, the regular concerts are accompanied by cyclic accompanying events: the Exhibition of Musical Manuscripts at the Jagiellonian Library and the International Symposium that addresses the central theme of the 23rd Festival, as well as Urszula Kryger’s vocal master classes. The Festival is announced by Kinga Nowak’s poster.

The 23rd Ludwig van Beethoven Festival is held under the Honorary Patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland. The project is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage as well as by the City of Warsaw. LOTTO is the Main Partner of the Festival and PKN Orlen SA is the Patron of the Festival.

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