From 22 January, Filarmonica della Scala will mark Beethoven's 250th anniversary year with performances in some of the most prestigious concert halls in Germany and France, before touring in Japan.
The programme features Beethoven's Egmont overture, his symphonies no. 5, 6 and 8 and the Violin Concerto, as well as Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto no. 3 and Shostakovich's Symphony no. 5.
Renaud Capuçon, Nikolai Zneider, Denis Matsuev and Jan Lisiecki are the guest soloists.
The international tours are supported by UniCredit, the orchestra's Main Partner, that shares a common objective with the Filarmonica: to promote the enjoyment of music within the communities in which they both operate.
A series of concerts dedicated to Beethoven: this will be the contribution of Riccardo Chailly and Filarmonica della Scala to the rich European calendar of initiatives marking the 250th-anniversary of the composer's birth. Following the next instalments of the ongoing full symphonic cycle at Teatro alla Scala, Filarmonica will perform in Germany, France and the rest of Europe, before embarking on a tour of Japan.
Chailly will conduct a programme featuring Beethoven's Egmont overture, Symphony no. 8 and Symphony n. 5 in Cologne (22 January), Antwerp (23 January) and Essen (24 January), as well as two concerts at the Philharmonie de Paris. The first will be of the Beethoven programme (27 January), and the second of Beethoven's Violin Concerto featuring Renaud Capuçon, together with Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky/Ravel (28 January).
In an additional concert, Chailly will conduct the Orchestre de Paris and the Chœur de l'Orchestre de Paris in Beethoven's Symphony no. 9 (31 January) with soloists Christina Landshamer, Gerhild Romberger, Steve Davislim, and Dimitry Ivashenko.
"Filarmonica della Scala has developed an increasingly international profile," said Maurizio Beretta, President of the FDS and Head of Group Institutional Affairs & Sustainability at UniCredit, the orchestra's Main Partner. "In this year of the Beethoven celebrations, it will, together with Riccardo Chailly, internationally share its heritage which encompasses culture, civilisation and beauty, and continues to be amongst the most important in modern history, forming part of our European identity. This marks another key artistic milestone reached in recent years through a shared mission, and a dedication to providing music every day to the communities in which we live."
The 2020 tour program will continue with a concert in Rome's Auditorium Parco della Musica on 24 February: Jan Lisiecki will be the soloist for Grieg's Piano Concerto, before Chailly conducts Sibelius's Finlandia and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.
There will be two April concerts at Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie. Chailly will conduct Egmont and the 8th and 5th Symphonies (27th April), as well as Arvo Pärt's Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten, Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto no. 3 with Denis Matsuev and Shostakovich's Symphony no. 5 (28th April).
In May, the orchestra returns to Germany with concerts in Nuremberg (4 May), Munich (5 May) and Freiburg (6 May). Chailly will conduct Beethoven's "Pastoral" Symphony n. 6 and the Violin Concerto with Nikolaj Zneider.
Filarmonica returns to Japan in autumn 2020, its first visit since touring the nation with Myung-whun Chung in 2008. There will be three concerts in Tokyo (at the Bunka Kaikan on 29 September, NHK Hall on 30 September and the Suntory Hall on 1 October) and in Nagoya (at the Aichi Prefectural Arts Theater on 2 October).
Filarmonica's close relationship with Beethoven has roots in a number of major projects with prestigious conductors. Between 1992 and 1993, Carlo Maria Giulini conducted the orchestra's first studio recordings of the composer's symphonies (excluding the 9th). Riccardo Muti conducted a full cycle at Teatro alla Scala in 1998. Daniel Barenboim conducted a further cycle in 2011, and played the concertos as part of a Beethoven-Schönberg series in 2009.
Nine years after Chailly's Leipzig tenure ended, a period in which he made significant contributions to aesthetic and musicological debates related to the works of Beethoven, Chailly has returned to the nine symphonies at La Scala with the theatre's various ensembles, and in Europe with Filarmonica della Scala.
"We can present ourselves in these musical metropolises as an authoritative Beethovenian orchestra," says Chailly, whose interpretative vision has borne a contemporary reading of Beethoven that follows in the footsteps of such interpreters as Toscanini, Karajan and John Eliot Gardiner. "I have always listened to Beethoven, both in concerts and on discs: Toscanini, the pioneer of the modern Beethoven interpretations, struck me and has influenced me. A further inspiration has been Karajan, whose approach I heard and studied in the 1980s, while I was principal director of the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester in Berlin. I have also studied the results that Gardiner has obtained on original instruments, which reveal previously unheard details." For Chailly, these represent the three different roads leading to Beethoven, to which he adds a third backed up by over 30 years of work.
In Filarmonica's previous three seasons, Chailly has delivered 64 concerts outside of La Scala. He has conducted 80 concerts since being appointed music director, with 48 of these taking place on international tours, and has delivered an average of 15 concerts per year in Europe's most prestigious concert halls. This figure is impressive especially considering Filarmonica, an independent institution, received no public funds.
The international tours are supported by UniCredit, the orchestra's Main Partner, that shares a common objective with Filarmonica: to promote the enjoyment of music within the communities in which they both operate. Together, the two organisations are opening up classical music to broader and more diverse audiences, bringing in new generations of listeners and supporting projects that promote a sense of community and well-being.
Riccardo Chailly is Music Director of Teatro alla Scala and Principal Conductor of Filarmonica della Scala. He has been Kapellmeister of the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, the oldest orchestra in Europe, and he guided for 16 years the Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra as Principal Conductor.
He is Music Director of the Lucerna Festival's Orchestra, a position held in the past by Claudio Abbado.
He regularly conducts the most important European symphonic orchestras, among which the Wiener Philharmoniker, Berliner Philharmoniker, New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He is regularly invited to festivals such as Salzburg Festival and London's BBC Proms.
His career as opera conductor counts productions at Teatro alla Scala, Wiener Staatsoper, New York Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, London Covent Garden, Bayerische Staatsoper and Opernhaus Zurich.
Riccardo Chailly is a Decca exclusive artist. He has been honoured for his more than 150 CDs with many prizes, including two times, 2012 and 2015, the ECHO Klassik; among the most recent prizes the Gramophone Award as Recording of the Year for the complete edition of Brahms' Symphonies. The recording activity with Filarmonica della Scala, renewed in 2013 with Viva Verdi for the celebration of the 200th year from Verdi's birth, includes a recently released CD with Overtures, Preludes & Intermezzi from Operas that had their first representation at Teatro alla Scala; a new CD, dedicated to Nino Rota's music, has been published in 2019.