»We are all suffering from the effects of the current Corona pandemic. It therefore feels a bit strange to announce a concert season that is supposed to start in September, when at the moment it is impossible to tell for sure what the situation will be like at that time,« the manager of the orchestra Michael Traub says. »Nevertheless, we want to announce this season, since it was already fully planned before the outbreak of Covid-19.« We hope to be able to see as many of the big names and extraordinary collaborations on stage as possible.
2020/21 Concert Season of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony
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The new season of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony will be the last one under the Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada. Together with the Frankfurt Radio Bigband, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony will present a festival called »sounds of finland«, featuring the new »Artist in Residence« Pekka Kuusisto. The star violinist Hilary Hahn will be the »Principal Guest« in two concerts at the Alte Oper Frankfurt and will join the orchestra for a tour through Germany. Furthermore, Bryce Dessner, also known as the guitarist of the band »The National«, will enrich the season for the first time as »Composer in Residence«. The concert with the currently much talked about and highly praised pianist Igor Levit promises to be another highlight of the upcoming season
Saying farewell to Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada
»For me, this will always remain a highlight of my life, in every aspect«, Andrés Orozco-Estrada comments on his time with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, of which he has been the Music Director since 2014. He hopes »that the musicians will also have pleasant memories of what we have experienced together, both, musically and personally, all the concerts, tours, CD productions or the Europa Open Air«. After seven years of successful work, he will give up his position as Music Director in Frankfurt in 2021 and doing so, he reminds the local audience »to never forget what a great orchestra this city has«.
He will start his last season with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony with a spectacular concert including the works of Samuel Barber and Leonard Bernstein as well as the concerto for two pianos by Bryce Dessner. Orozco-Estrada will finish the Mahler cycle with the Symphony No. 9 at the Alte Oper Frankfurt and the Symphony No. 2 at the opening of the Rheingau Music Festival. For the last time, the audience will be able to see him in »Spotlight«, a mix of lecture and concert which he will host himself. This time the focus will be on Leonard Bernstein's »West Side Story«.
Festival between tradition and the present: »sounds of finland«
Consisting of a weekend of four concerts at the beginning of March 2021 and one Forum N a week before, the festival »sounds of finland« will take the audience on a journey of discovery to a world between classical music and jazz, between tradition and the present. Beyond the music of Jean Sibelius, who is known as the great father figure of Finnish music, the focus will also be on works by contemporary composers such as Kaija Saariaho, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jukka Tiensuu, Lotta Wennäkoski and Magnus Lindberg. Pekka Kuusisto, the »Artist in Residence«, will act as the connecting element between these works.
A Crossover artist between classical music and jazz: »Artist in Residence« Pekka Kuusisto
»I am deeply excited about this residency,« the Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto, who will work with the orchestra in the upcoming season, says. »I met the Frankfurt Radio Symphony already a long time ago, and have always had a great deal of respect for their work. It is an honour for me to be a guest here. Residencies like these also always offer the opportunity to discover a city, and I am very much looking forward to the impulses that Frankfurt has to offer.« Pekka Kuusisto is considered to be an exception. The playful virtuosity of the 43-year-old artist and his talent for improvisation are simply fascinating, as is his ability to ingeniously combine classical music with other genres and styles.
As »Artist in Residence«, Pekka Kuusisto will enrich the concerts of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony with his refreshing musicality for four weeks. In addition to this, he will act as a key figure in the »sounds of finland« festival, where, besides other works, he will perform Magnus Lindberg's Violin Concerto No. 1, about which he says: »In my opinion, it is one of the most significant concertos for one instrument of the past 20 years. (...) For fans of Finnish music, one can recognise some motifs that bring to mind the work of Sibelius. For fans of advanced electronic music, one can appreciate the metric modulations that adjust the pressure in the concerto. And for fans of Lindberg, one can still feel the echoes or his breakthrough piece ›Kraft‹.« In a second concert project, Pekka Kuusisto will premiere Bryce Dressner’s violin concerto at the Alte Oper Frankfurt. Furthermore, he will appear as a conductor and chamber musician in other concerts.
Rock and contemporary classical music: »Composer in Residence« Bryce Dessner
The creative composer and guitarist of the US rock band »The National« Bryce Dessner is going to be »Composer in Residence« of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony this season. The Paris-based US-American will be part of several concerts of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony and enrich them with his original compositions influenced by minimal as well as rock and ambient music. Furthermore, he will play the electric guitar in the upcoming Music Discovery Project. Among other works, Dessner will compose a Violin Concerto on behalf of the Hessischer Rundfunk for his friend Pekka Kuusisto, which will be premiered in March 2021.
Top-class soloists and guest conductors
Hilary Hahn and Igor Levit can certainly be regarded as the two most outstanding guests who will join the Frankfurt Radio Symphony in the upcoming season. Other guests will be renowned and exceptional up-and-coming artists such as the pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Frank Dupree, the cellists Bruno Philippe and Truls Mørk and the mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital. There will be a reunion of the well-known violinist Isabelle Faust, the violist Antoine Tamestit and the organist Iveta Apkalna. The Frankfurt Radio Symphony will furthermore welcome international guest conductors, including Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Manfred Honeck, Ton Koopman, Christoph Eschenbach, Andrew Manze, Bejun Mehta, Klaus Mäkelä, André de Ridder, Constantinos Carydis as well as Ariane Mathiak.
Postponed: Europa Open Air of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony and the European Central Bank
The Europa Open Air, which usually takes place on the banks of the river Main in August, and the European Cultural days, have both been postponed to 2021 due to the Corona pandemic. As a kick-off for the European Cultural Days, the concert was going to focus on Poland this year. »We very much regret that this popular event will unfortunately not take place this summer,« the Director of Hessischer Rundfunk Manfred Krupp said, »but we hope to see you again next year for this unique open-air concert in the familiar atmosphere on the Main.« The date for the Europa Open Air 2021 will be announced shortly.
Music education for children and young people
Usually, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony reaches more than 20,000 children and adolescents throughout the state of Hesse with its education work every year. As far as possible, this successful work is to be continued in the shape of numerous activities in the upcoming season as well, such as the »Spielzeitschule« project, in which the Frankfurt Radio Symphony works together closely with schools in Hesse. The adolescents will meet the guest soloists, they will present a Young Concert at the Alte Oper Frankfurt and under guidance, they will create a multimedia report on the music and the artists involved. In May 2021, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band will again invite young people to the family day »Backstage for everyone!«. Launched two years ago, the junior edition of the Young Concert for children between the ages of ten and 14 has proven to be a success. In the upcoming season, the approximately one-hour concert, which usually takes place during the carnival season, will be presented under the motto »Fools, Pranksters, and Co«. The program will also include the popular Hesse Shool Tour, the music education program »Hast du Töne?« and the »Super-X-Orchestra«, in which students from all over Hesse together with the musicians of the Radio Symphony orchestra form a super orchestra of around 200 musicians. A family concert with »Till Eulenspiegel's funny pranks« will round off the extensive music education program.
Guest concerts and tours
In addition to its concert activities in Hesse, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony will make guest appearances in Hamburg, Duisburg, Aschaffenburg and Vienna. A tour of Germany with six stops will furthermore take the orchestra to Cologne, Freiburg, Munich, Nuremberg, Regensburg and Dortmund.
102 concerts, including 90 concerts in Hesse - with wide media coverage
The Frankfurt Radio Symphony will give a total of 102 concerts in the 2020/21 season, 90 of which will take place in Hesse: In addition to the concert series in Frankfurt and the concerts at the Rheingau Music Festival, the orchestra can also be heard at the Schlosstheater Fulda, the Weilburger Schlosskonzerte, the Stadttheater Gießen and the traditional New Year's Concert at the Wiesbaden Kurhaus. The Frankfurt Radio Symphony will furthermore put numerous guest concerts and special projects into practice, such as the Music Discovery Project, the Wandelkonzert in the Städelmuseum and a new concert format in Frankfurt's Palmengarten. 22 chamber music concerts will round off the orchestra's extensive concert activities. Most of the performances will be broadcast live by hr2-kultur and also internationally via the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The concerts at the Alte Oper Frankfurt will usually be available as a video livestream on www.hr-sinfonieorchester.de. Selected concert events will also be broadcast by hr-fernsehen, 3sat and Arte Concert.
Tickets and subscriptions
After five years of remaining the same, ticket prices for subscriptions and individual tickets will be moderately raised in the 2020/21 season, so that viewers can continue to experience the highest artistic quality at reasonable prices. Subscriptions can be purchased under the headings »Sinfonie@Alte Oper« and »Klassik@Sendesaal«. Attractive discounts are again available for all hr-Musikcard holders. Subscriptions and individual tickets can be purchased immediately.