Schumann Cycle 1

Lucerne Symphony Orchestra | Michael Sanderling | Steven Isserlis

Weber | Schumann

Sun, 22.08. | 19.30 | No. 211313

KKL Luzern, Concert Hall

Vergangenes Konzert

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Summer Festival

10.08.-12.09. 2021




    Schumann Cycle 1

    Lucerne Symphony Orchestra | Michael Sanderling | Steven Isserlis

    Carl Maria von Weber (1786–1826)
    Overture to Der Freischütz, Op. 77 
    Robert Schumann (1810–1856)
    Concerto for violoncello and orchestra in A minor, Op. 129
    Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120

    The dawn of a new era: this evening Michael Sanderling launches his tenure as the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra’s new Principal Conductor.  And what’s more, he will present two milestones in the major Schumann cycle, in which Lucerne Festival is tracing the composer’s last 15 years, from his happiest period to his tragic end in a mental hospital. Sanderling devotes himself to the Fourth, which spans an entire decade in Schumann’s life. The original version was written as early as 1841, but ten years later Schumann revised the work and changed the orchestration, making it darker and heavier. The Cello Concerto, for which Sanderling (himself originally a cellist) has engaged the British virtuoso and Schumann expert Steven Isserlis, also dates from this late phase, in which posterity has sought to identify traces of mental disintegration. But Isserlis rejects any suspicion of that: “Anyone who believes that Schumann’s works are products of madness is mistaken. He did not compose at all during phases of depression.”

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    Lucerne Symphony Orchestra

    Founded in 1805, the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra is one of the oldest orchestras in Switzerland. In addition to various concert series it performs at the Culture and Convention Center Lucerne (KKL), it appears in all opera productions at the Luzerner Theater and presents the Zaubersee Festival of Russian chamber music. Its repertoire embraces not only the Classical-Romantic tradition but also rarities and contemporary works. Examples of the latter commitment include commissions that have been given to Wolfgang Rihm, Sofia Gubaidulina, Rodion Shchedrin, and Thomas Adès. The past decade was defined by James Gaffigan’s stewardship as Principal Conductor; his tenure lasted from 2011 until the summer of 2021. As of tonight, Michael Sanderling takes over this post. Significant influences on the ensemble have come from guest conductors Constantinos Carydis, Thomas Dausgaard, Lawrence Foster, Marek Janowski, Juanjo Mena, Andris Nelsons, Vasily Petrenko, John Storgårds, and the former Chief Conductor, Jonathan Nott, whose tenure was from 1997 to 2002. Such renowned soloists as Martha Argerich, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Hélène Grimaud, Hilary Hahn, Daniil Trifonov, and Krystian Zimerman appear in the subscription series. The orchestra regularly goes on tour, including, to date, to some 30 countries and 90 cities. Numerous recordings, some of them award-winning, document its work. The orchestra maintains its own training academy, promotes young talent through the Rising Stars series, and offers a comprehensive music education program that received the Young Ears Prize in 2018.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 23 August 1993, with Vladimir Kiradjiev conducting works by Schnittke.

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    Michael Sanderling

    At the start of the 2021-22 season, Michael Sanderling will take over as Principal Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra: this evening, he gives his inaugural concert. Born in Berlin in 1967 as the son of the double bassist Barbara Sanderling and conductor Kurt Sanderling, he began his career as a cellist. After studying at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music and taking courses with William Pleeth, Yo-Yo Ma, Gary Hoffman, and Lynn Harrell, Sanderling won first prize at the Maria Canals Competition in Barcelona in 1987 and was engaged as principal cellist in the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra that same year. From 1994 to 2006, he held the same position with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin. He has appeared as a soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Orchestre de Paris, among others. Parallel to his performances on cello, Sanderling embarked on a conducting career: he first ascended the podium at a concert by the Berlin Chamber Orchestra in 2000. He was associated with the German String Philharmonic as Principal Conductor from 2003 to 2013, and, from 2006 to 2010, served as Artistic Director of the Potsdam Chamber Academy. For eight years, from 2011 to 2019, Sanderling stood at the helm of the Dresden Philharmonic; with this orchestra he gave 345 concerts in 78 countries and recorded complete cycles of Shostakovich’s and Beethoven’s symphonies. Sanderling has appeared as a guest conductor with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. He made his debut with the Royal Concertgebouworkest in 2018 and with the Berlin Philharmonic in 2019. Sanderling has also made his mark as an opera conductor, leading productions of Prokofiev’s War and Peace in Cologne and Glass’s The Fall of the House of Usher in Potsdam.

    Sanderling previously appeared twice at Lucerne Festival (IMF) as a cellist: on 26 August 1989 with the Trio Ex Aequo and on 19 August 1992 in Brahms’s Double Concerto, which he performed with Antje Weithaas and the Swiss Festival Orchestra under Kurt Sanderling.

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    Steven Isserlis

    British cellist Steven Isserlis, who was born in London in 1958, studied with Jane Cowan at the International Cello Centre and with Richard Kapuscinski at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He has performed worldwide as a soloist and chamber musician for some 40 years. Highlights of recent seasons have included concerts with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Mozart Week, and the London Philharmonic under Vladimir Jurowski at the Dresden Music Festival. Isserlis regularly collaborates with such renowned chamber orchestras as the Mahler, Australian, Scottish, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestras, often taking on the musical direction as well. He performs chamber music with Joshua Bell, Isabelle Faust, Janine Jansen, Tabea Zimmermann, Jeremy Denk, Steven Hough, Alexander Melnikov, Olli Mustonen, and Dénes Várjon, among others. Isserlis’ repertoire and interpretations reflect the diversity of his interests, which range from historically informed performance practice and Romanticism — in particular, the works of Robert Schumann — to contemporary music. He has premiered new works by John Tavener, Thomas Adès, Wolfgang Rihm, David Matthews, and György Kurtág. Isserlis also devotes himself with great passion to special concerts for children; he wrote the children’s books Why Handel Waggled His Wig and Why Beethoven Threw the Stew. He is also a contributing writer for daily newspapers, trade journals, and radio stations. His rich discography includes music ranging over three centuries, from Bach to the present. His most recent album, No Longer Mourn for Me, features works by Tavener and won the 2021 BBC Music Magazine Award. Steven Isserlis is a recipient of the Robert Schumann Prize; in 2017, he received the Glashütte Prize of the Dresden Music Festival.

    Debut on 17 March 2002, when he performed the Dvořák Cello Concerto with the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées under Philippe Herreweghe.

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