The Dresden Philharmonic can look back on a 150-year-tradition as the orchestra of Saxony’s capital Dresden. Ever since 1870, when Dresden was provided with its first large concert hall, its symphony concerts have been an integral element of the city’s cultural life. The Dresden Philharmonic has remained a concert orchestra to this day, with regular excursions into concert performance and oratorio. Its homestead is the state-of-the-art concert hall inaugurated in April 2017 in the Kulturpalast building at the heart of the historic district. Since the 2019/20 season, Marek Janowski is chief conductor of this orchestra.
The musical and stylistic bandwidth of the Dresden Philharmonic is great. On the one side, the orchestra has managed to preserve its very own “Dresden sound” in the romantic repertoire. And on the other, it has developed a tonal and stylistic flexibility for the music of the Baroque and First Viennese School as much as for modern works.
World premieres continue to play an important part in the programme to this day. Guest performances around the world attest to the high esteem enjoyed by the Dresden Philharmonic in the world of classical music.
LIVE, with LOVE, and FOR ALL in the highest QUALITY – for 150 years, the musicians of the Dresden Philharmonic have strived to provide audiences with experiences of this sort and they will continue to do so in the upcoming 2020/21season. The orchestra will celebrate its anniversary with an array of concerts in addition to exhibitions, talks and publications.
The focus of the programme for autumn 2020 lies in musical contributions dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the Dresden Philharmonic and Beethoven’s 250th birthday. Maestro Janowski will open the season with one of Beethoven’s late masterpieces, Missa Solemnis, followed by a cycle of Beethoven’s piano concertos with soloist Seong-Jin Cho, winner of the 2015 international Chopin Competition. Shortly before Christmas, Janowski will conduct a programme comprising an orchestral version of Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 131 as well as Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, played by the young virtuosa María Dueñas. At the end of the year, Janowski will revive an old tradition of performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in a series of New Year’s concerts.
The end of November marks the highlight of the 150th anniversary year of the Dresden Philharmonic. Three large programmes were planned, conducted by Marek Janowski at the end of November, comprising works by Schumann, Wagner, Strauss and Bruckner pay tribute to the musical traditions of the orchestra, while a world premiere of a commissioned piece by Salvatore Sciarrino (Composer in Residence) hints at the future. On the 29th of November 2020, the 150th anniversary of the orchestra’s founding, the orchestra will present a gala concert featuring Dr. Thomas de Maizière, who will begin the event with a gala key note addressing the question “Whom does music serve?”.
The Corona pandemic changed everything. The gala concert will take place without audience but will be broadcast via radio and videostream (Deutschlandfunk Kultur, MDR, MDR Klassik, MDR Kultur, arte concert, facebook page and website of the Dresden Philharmonic).
It is important to Marek Janowski to direct the memorial concert on the 13th of February 2021, during which the orchestra will perform Hans Werner Henze’s Symphony No. 9, a symphony featuring lyrics taken from Anna Segher’s novel “The Seventh Cross”. The concert is a joint production of the Dresden Philharmonic and the MDR Rundfunkchor and highlights the close and successful cooperation of the two institutions. In addition, Janowski will conduct Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7, Schumann’s Symphony No. 9 (The Great Symphony) in C Major, Schönberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire” and Mahler’s “Kindertotenlieder”, the final two of which will feature soloist Elisabeth Kulman (Artist in Residence). “Palastorganist” this season will be Thierry Escaich.
In April 2020, the Dresden Philharmonic released its first CD with Marek Janowski, a live recording of a concert performance of Pietro Mascagni’s “Cavalleria rusticana” (Pentatone). They have now also released a CD with “Il tabarro” by Puccini and “Fidelio” by Beethoven, both on Pentatone.