Sunday 01. Oct. 2017, 11.00 am | Laeiszhalle, Kleiner Saal
Kent Nagano is renowned for interpretations of clarity, elegance and intelligence. He is equally at home in music of the classical, romantic and contemporary eras, introducing concert and opera audiences throughout the world to new and rediscovered music and offering fresh insights into established repertoire. He has been Music Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal since September 2006 where his contract has been extended until 2020. In September 2013, he became Artistic Advisor and Principal Guest Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. In September 2015, he took up the position of General Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera and Chief Conductor of the Philharmonic State Orchestra. With his Hamburg orchestra he went on South America Tour in the beginning of season 2016/17, with concerts e.g. in Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo and Bogotá. On 13 January 2017 Kent Nagano conducted the world premiere of a new oratorio by Jörg Widmann as the very first concert with the Philharmonic State Orchestra in the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg on the occasion of the inauguration festivities of the new hall. Since then the traditional Philharmonic Concerts take place in the new Elbphilharmonie. In February 2017 he stood at the rostrum of the orchestra for the premiere of Alban Berg’s “Lulu”. Kent Nagano started his first season with the premiere of Berlioz‘ “Les Troyens”, the world premiere of Toshio Hosokawas “Stilles Meer” followed in January 2016. Messiaen’s symphony “Turangalîla” choreographed by John Neumeier was premiered in early July 2016.
With the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Kent Nagano went on US tour in March 2016. A milestone at the helm of the OSM was the inauguration of the orchestra’s new concert hall “La Maison Symphonique” in September 2011. Highlights with the orchestra include the complete cycles of Beethoven and Mahler symphonies, Schoenberg's “Gurrelieder”, concert versions of Wagner's “Tannhäuser”, “Tristan und Isolde”, “Das Rheingold”, Honegger’s “Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher”, Messiaen's “Saint François d'Assise”, and concert series featuring the works of Dutilleux (2010-11) and Boulez (2011-12). Nagano has taken the orchestra on a coast-to-coast tour of Canada and also to tours to Japan, South Korea, Europe and South America. In October 2014 they embarked on their second tour to Japan. Their recordings together include Mahler’s “Orchestral Songs” with Christian Gerhaher, Beethoven’s Piano Concertos Nos. 4 & 5 and a complete recording of all the Symphonies by Beethoven of which the album “Ideals of the French Revolution” with Symphony No. 5 won a Juno award. In March 2015 Kent Nagano conducted the North American Premiere of “L’Aiglon”, a rare opera of Honegger and Ibert. This production was recorded and released by Decca and has won an ECHO Klassik 2016. “Danse Macabre” followed as second production with Decca, with works by Dukas, Dvořák, Mussorgsky, Balakirev, Saint-Saens and Ives in October 2016.
At the Bayerische Staatsoper, where he was General Music Director from 2006 to 2013, Kent Nagano commissioned new operas such as “Babylon” by Jörg Widmann, Das “Gehege” by Wolfgang Rihm and “Alice in Wonderland” by Unsuk Chin. New productions have included Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” and “Khovanshchina”, “Idomeneo”, “Eugene Onegin”, “Ariadne auf Naxos” and “Die Schweigsame Frau”, “Les Dialogues des Carmélites”, “St François d’Assise”, “Wozzeck”, George Benjamin’s “Written on Skin” and “Der Ring des Nibelungen”. With the Bayerisches Staatsorchester Nagano has toured throughout Europe and in Japan and together they have recorded Bruckner Symphonies No. 4, 7 and 8. In January 2014, Kent Nagano returned to the Bayerische Staatsoper to conduct a revival of Widmann’s “Babylon”.
As a much sought after guest conductor, Nagano has worked with most of the world’s finest orchestras, just as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonics, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, WDR Symphony Orchestra, Concerto Köln, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rom and at Wiener Festwochen. Since 2014 he is forming his own festival as part of the AUDI Sommerkonzerte, called Vorsprung-Festival. He has an ongoing relationship with Sony Classical and has also recorded for Erato, Teldec, Pentatone and Deutsche Grammophon as well as Harmonia Mundi, winning Grammy awards for his recordings of Busoni’s “Doktor Faust” with Opéra National de Lyon, “Peter and the Wolf” with the Russian National Orchestra and Saariaho’s “L’amour de Loin” with the Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin.
A very important period in Nagano’s career was his time as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, from 2000-2006. He performed Schönberg’s “Moses und Aron” with the orchestra (in collaboration with Los Angeles Opera), and took them to the Salzburg Festival to perform both Zemlinsky’s “Der König Kandaules” and Schreker’s “Die Gezeichneten”, as well as to the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden with “Parsifal” and “Lohengrin” in productions by Nikolaus Lehnhoff. Recordings with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin for Harmonia Mundi include repertoire as diverse as Bernstein’s Mass, Bruckner’s Symphonies Nos. 3 & 6, Beethoven’s “Christus am Ölberge”, Wolf Lieder, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 and Schönberg’s “Die Jakobsleiter” and “Friede auf Erden”, as well as Brahms’s Symphony No. 4 and Schönberg’s “Variationen für Orchester” Op. 31. In June 2006, at the end of his tenure with the orchestra, Kent Nagano was given the title Honorary Conductor by members of the orchestra, only the second recipient of this honour in their 60-year history. To this day he has a close friendship to the orchestra.
Kent Nagano became the first Music Director of Los Angeles Opera in 2003 having already held the position of Principal Conductor for two years. His work in other opera houses has included Shostakovich’s “The Nose” (Staatsoper Berlin), Rimsky Korsakov’s “The Golden Cockerel” (Châtelet, Paris), Hindemith’s “Cardillac” (Opéra national de Paris), “Dialogues des Carmélites” (Metropolitan Opera) and at the Salzburg Festival “Les Contes d’Hoffmann”, Zemlinsky’s “Der Koenig Kandaules”, Schreker’s “Die Gezeichneten” and the world premiere of Saariaho’s “L’amour de loin”. Other world premieres include Bernstein’s “A White House Cantata” and operas by Peter Eötvös (“Three Sisters”), and John Adams (“The Death of Klinghoffer” and “El Niño”).
Born in California, Nagano maintains close connections with his home state and was Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra from 1978-2008. His early professional years were spent in Boston, working in the opera house and as assistant conductor to Seiji Ozawa at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He played a key role in the world premiere of Messiaen’s opera “Saint François d’Assise” at the request of the composer, who became a mentor and bequeathed his piano to the conductor. Nagano’s success in America led to European appointments: Music Director of Opéra National de Lyon (1988-1998) and Music Director of the Hallé Orchestra (1991-2000).
The Philharmonic State Orchestra is Hamburg’s largest and oldest orchestra, looking back on many years of musical history. When the “Philharmonic Orchestra” and the “Orchestra of the Hamburg Municipal Theatre” merged in 1934, two tradition-steeped orchestras combined. Philharmonic concerts have been performed in Hamburg since 1828, artists such as Clara Schumann, Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms being regular guests of the Philharmonic Society. The history of the opera company goes back even further: Hamburg has been home to musical theatre since 1678, even if a regular opera or theatre orchestra was only formed later. To this day, the Philharmonic State Orchestra has embodied the sound of the Hansa City, a concert and opera orchestra in one.
During its long history, the orchestra encountered great artist personalities. Apart from composers of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, such as Georg Philipp Telemann, Piotr I. Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Sergey Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky, since the 20th century chief conductors such as Karl Muck, Eugen Jochum, Joseph Keilberth, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Horst Stein, Gerd Albrecht, Ingo Metzmacher and Simone Young have shaped the orchestra’s sound. Renowned conductors of the pre-war era such as Otto Klemperer, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, Karl Böhm and Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt gave brilliant performances, as did outstanding conductors of our times: suffice it to mention Sir Neville Marriner, Christian Thielemann, Semyon Bychkov, Kirill Petrenko, Valery Gergiev and Sir Roger Norrington.
Starting with the 2015/2016 season, Kent Nagano has taken on the position of Hamburg’s General Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Philharmonic State Orchestra and the Hamburg State Opera. In his first season Kent Nagano initiated a new project, the Philharmonic Academy at St. Michaelis, focusing on experimentation and chamber music. In 2016 Nagano and the Philharmonic undertook a successful three-week concert tour in South America. Since 2017 Kent Nagano and the Philharmonic State Orchestra have continued the traditional Philharmonic Concerts at the new Elbphilharmonie, for which they commissioned Jörg Widmann to compose the oratorio ARCHE, which was given its world premiere during the hall’s opening festivities.
The Philharmonic State Orchestra offers approximately 35 concerts per season and performs more than 240 performances per year at the Hamburg State Opera and the Hamburg Ballet – John Neumeier, making it Hamburg’s busiest orchestra. The stylistic bandwidth covered by the 134 musicians, ranging from historically informed performance practice to contemporary works and including concert, opera and ballet repertoire, is unique throughout Germany. Chamber Music has a long tradition at the Philharmonic State Orchestra: what began in 1929 with a concert series for chamber orchestra has been continued since 1968 by a series of chamber music only, which celebrates its 50-year anniversary in 2017/18.
In 2008 Simone Young and the Philharmonic State Orchestra won the Brahms Award of the Schleswig-Holstein Brahms Society. In 2012 Simone Young received a Helpmann Award for performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and Wagner’s Rheingold with the Philharmonic in Brisbane, Australia. The orchestra has recorded the complete Ring by Wagner as well as the complete symphonies of Johannes Brahms and Anton Bruckner – the latter in the rarely-performed original versions – as well as works by Mahler, Hindemith and Berg, and has released DVDs of opera and ballet productions by Hosokawa, Offenbach, Reimann, Auerbach, J.S. Bach, Puccini, Poulenc and Weber.
The members of the Philharmonic State Orchestra feel equally beholden to the Hansa City’s musical tradition and responsible for the city’s artistic future. Since 1978 the musicians have been participating in education programmes in Hamburg’s schools. To this day, the TV format Musikkontakte initiated by Gerd Albrecht during his tenure as General Music Director is unforgotten. Today, the orchestra maintains a broad education programme, including school and kindergarten visits, patronage for music projects, introductory events for children and family concerts. The orchestra’s own academy prepares young musicians for their professional careers. The Philharmonic’s musicians thereby make an equally enjoyable and valuable contribution to tomorrow’s music education in the music metropolis of Hamburg.
Chamber Music has a long tradition at the Philharmonic State Orchestra: what began in 1929 with a concert series for chamber orchestra has been continued since 1968 by a series of chamber music only, which celebrates its 50-year anniversary in 2017.
Venue: Laeiszhalle, Kleiner Saal, Gorch-Fock-Wall 29, 20355 Hamburg