The Qatar Philharmonic will bring several particularly famous musicians to Doha in upcoming months. On 10 January Rudolf Buchbinder will perform Johannes Brahms’ First Piano Concerto in D Minor with Dmitrij Kitajenko conducting. Buchbinder is firmly established as one of the world’s foremost pianists. Buchbinder’s emphasis lies in his meticulous study of musical sources. He owns 35 complete editions of Beethoven’s sonatas and has an extensive collection of autograph scores, first editions and original documents. Indeed, he possesses copies of the autograph scores and piano parts of the Brahms concerto that he will play with the Philharmonic.
Performing with the MDR Radio Choir
Perhaps the most famous professional chorus for symphonic work is the MDR Radio Choir of Leipzig, which will sing in performances of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) Theatre on 31 January and Sergei Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky at Katara Opera House on 6 February. The international cast of singers that will join them as soloists include soprano Felicitas Fuchs, alto Elisabeth Meister, tenor Robert Gambill, bass baritone David Jerusalem and, in the Prokofiev, soprano Linda Watson. The MDR Radio Choir is at the very top of the wish list when great orchestras plan a work with choral work. Herbert von Karajan, Kurt Masur, Sir Colin Davis, Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Neville Marriner, Seiji Ozawa, Lorin Maazel, Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Muti, Georges Pretre and Sir Roger Norrington have praised the choir over the years. The ensemble is an excellent partner for major orchestras and has proven itself with many highly acclaimed ‘a cappella’ works as well. Secular and sacred music, ensemble singing and choral symphonic works belong equally in the repertoire that encompasses virtually a thousand years of musical history. As a specialist ensemble for contemporary music the 73 singers have created a name for themselves through numerous world and European premières. Nearly 200 LPs and CDs have been recorded by the ensemble during its more than 60-year history.
Performing with Gerhard Oppitz
On February 28 the Philharmonic will be joined by Gerhard Oppitz in performing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 21st Piano Concerto in C Major. The concerto gained popular notice by the inclusion of Madigan. Oppitz was born in the Bavarian Forest in 1953 in Frauenau. At the age of five he began to play piano and debuted with a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D Minor when he was eleven. After studies with Paul Buck, Hugo Steurer and Wilhelm Kempff he was awarded first prize at the Artur Rubinstein Competition after convincing an international jury, with Artur Rubinstein himself at its head, by performing the Fifth Piano Concerto by Beethoven and the First Piano Concerto by Brahms. Again and again, Oppitz has demonstrated his particular fondness for presenting major groups of work cycles, such as Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, Mozart’s 18 Sonatas, Beethoven’s 32 Sonatas, all the solo works by Schubert and Brahms’ complete piano works. Since 1981 he has been teaching post-graduate students at the Academy of Music in Munich.
Sayaka Shoji is no stranger to Doha, having performed last season as well as earlier this season. On 6 March, Shoji will perform Sergei Prokofiev’s difficult Second Violin Concerto. Since taking first prize at the 1999 Paganini Competition – the first Japanese and youngest artist ever to do so – Sayaka Shoji has performed with the world’s leading conductors including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir Colin Davis, Charles Dutoit, Mariss Jansons, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Semyon Bychkov, Paavo Järvi and Antonio Pappano. In addition to a busy schedule of concerto performances, Shoji appears regularly as a recitalist and chamber musician alongside artists such as Joshua Bell, Vadim Repin, Julian Quentin, Itamar Golan, Yefim Bronfman and Steven Isserlis. Recent festival appearances have included Verbier, Ravenna, Evian, Schleswig Holstein and Annecy festivals, Fêtes Musicales en Touraine, Accademia Musicale Chigiana and Folles Journées in Nantes, Warsaw and Tokyo.
Last but certainly not least, Christian Tetzlaff will perform Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto on 25 April. For over 20 years, Christian Tetzlaff has enjoyed a fulfilled concert life with 100 concerts per year. Tetzlaff’s discography for Virgin Classics and other labels includes the major concerto repertoire, Bartok Sonatas with Leif Ove Andsnes, and the three Brahms Violin Sonatas with Lars Vogt. Christian Tetzlaff has received several awards for his recordings: the Diapason d’Or twice, the Edison prize, the Midem Classical Award as well as the ECHO Klassik prize and several nominations for the Grammy Awards. Christian Tetzlaff plays a violin by German violinmaker Peter Greiner and teaches regularly at the Kronberg Academy near Frankfurt. Jeremy Eichler of the Boston Globe has written, ‘…I think what ultimately moves people is the emotional openness and deep sincerity of Tetzlaff’s playing.’ Kurt Meister, executive director of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra since its founding in 2008, says, ‘We’re delighted to be hosting such superb musicians this season. A major part of our mission is to help the adults and children of Qatar to appreciate and understand classical music. Our guest performers are famous precisely because they’ve enabled audiences all over the world to enjoy music. I can’t wait to see how concert goers in Doha respond to these great artists.’
[accordion][acc title=”Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra: the origin”]Since its founding seven years ago the 101-musician Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra has developed into an ensemble noted for its spirited performances. This season the roster of guest artists has taken a step forward, as several of the world’s most noted soloists will visit Katara Opera House. Earlier this season the Philharmonic was invited to perform in London’s Royal Albert Hall as part of The BBC Proms (pictured left), the world’s largest classical music festival. All tickets were sold out in the 5,500-seat hall. Denis Matsuev was the soloist in Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto in a performance that The Guardian called ‘full-throttle’. Two days later Boris Berezovsky was the pianist as the Philharmonic moved to Rome’s Renzo Piano-designed Santa Cecilia Hall in the Parco della musica, Europe’s most active concert venue. Both Denis Matsuev and Boris Berezovsky were Gold Medal prizewinners at Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Competition, the most prestigious of all piano competitions. The Philharmonic wasn’t always so well known internationally. In 2007 Kurt Meister was asked what it would take to create an orchestra from scratch. ‘I’d created festival orchestras of high quality in Europe on several occasions. Musicians commit to a short period in a known music centre, and it’s fairly straightforward. This was different. We were asking people to relocate to a different part of the world. And Qatar is far better known today than then. I knew many people in the business, though, and I think that helped us attract musicians.’ Ultimately 3,000 musicians auditioned for the orchestra in a variety of European and Middle Eastern cities. It was quite an adventure to recruit the right judges, then line up venues in different locations with multiple audition studios, pianos, accompanists, recording facilities and practice rooms. The logistics of travel, paperwork and ultimately recruitment were none too easy, either. Yet in 2008 the fully-formed Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra performed in the National Theatre with the late Lorin Maazel at the podium.[/acc][/accordion]
Further information on the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra can be found at qatarphilharmonicorchestra.org.
Note: This article has been extracted from Marhaba’s Issue No 61 Winter 2014/15 from the ‘Special Features’ section. For more information about Qatar, pick up Marhaba’s Issue No 61 for only QR20 from the nearest hypermarket or bookstore to you.
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