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Philharmonix

(c) Max Parovsky

Philharmonix, a seven-member ensemble made up of musicians from the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, will be going on a world tour in 2019 with a new programme. Its trademark is an ability to breathe fresh life into great musical history with ingenious arrangements and new compositions that are spiced in masterly fashion with jazz, folk, pop and other elements. And this all ranges from classical music and jazz to rock, from Ludwig van Beethoven and Henri Mancini to Queen. The accompanying studio album of the “Vienna Berlin Music Club”, as the ensemble is also known, will be released by Deutsche Grammophon in the coming year as Volume 2. The French-German cultural TV broadcaster ARTE is also already producing a special documentary about this exceptional septet.

“Klassik ohne Grenzen” (“Classic Without Borders”) – rarely has this description fitted better than in the case of Philharmonix, which has just received the OPUS KLASSIK 2018 award in this category. Thilo Fechner (viola), Daniel Ottensamer (clarinet) and Ödön Rácz (double bass) from the Vienna Philharmonic and Stephan Koncz (cello) and Noah Bendix-Balgley (violin) from the Berlin Philharmonic, joined by Christoph Traxler (piano) and Sebastian Gürtler (violin), electrified the international music scene from the outset. With their cheeky mix of styles and their own compositions and clever arrangements, most of them by Koncz and Gürtler, they immediately created a distinctive hallmark. The fact that all members are proven experts on classical music has not proven to be a barrier here. Instead, it acts as an inspiring door opener into new aural worlds: “Brilliant hybrids are created that play around with styles intelligently and wittily and constantly cause listeners to say ‘That’s whatsitsname’ when a familiar melody flashes by amid the virtuosic bustle of the different parts. The musical gags follow one another so closely and the seven musicians are so virtuosic in their musical juggling that it almost dizzies the audience in the chamber music hall,” the German daily Der Tagespiegel wrote enthusiastically in February 2018 about the Philharmonix’ debüt album “The Vienna Berlin Music Club Vol. 1”.

The new Philharmonix programme also includes the Queen anthem “Don’t Stop Me Now” (which can almost be taken as a motto for the ensemble) alongside a waltzful Johann Strauss, and a swinging Beethoven next to a jazzy Gershwin, while Bartók skips along beside the slinking theme from “The Pink Panther” by Henry Mancini. So it will be musical déjà-vus with a high pleasure potential that concertgoers will experience in the Konzerthaus Berlin (22 December), and in the new year in the Tonhalle Düsseldorf (24 January 2019), the Philharmonie Berlin (9 February) and some weeks later twice in Vienna’s Konzerthaus – where Philharmonix is the season’s ensemble-in-residence – with “Balkan Party – Philharmonix go gipsy” (25 February) and “La vie en rose” (13 May).

Overseas fans can also look forward to concerts: in keeping with their programming style, Philharmonix will be guests in the “city of contrasts” (Die Welt) at the Beirut Festival (10 December), before travelling on to Asia and the “Land of the Rising Sun” on a Japanese tour (11-20 December). After two US performances in Boston and Washington, the septet will perform in Bergen in Norway (26 May) and Utrecht in the Netherlands (30 June), before finishing off the season with a little tour of Austria.

> Media Release 18/19

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