Institut Ramon LLull

Orfeó Català will join Berliner Philharmoniker for performances in Berlin, Madrid and Barcelona this spring

Music.  17/04/2023

The tour, organized with the support of the Institut Ramon Llull, represents a historical challenge for the Orfeó and is part of a relationship that dates back to 1908, when the German orchestra performed in the Palau de la Música for the first time.

Orfeó Català will perform together with the Berliner Philharmoniker this spring on a tour including four performances with the support of the Institut Ramon Llull. The concerts will take place at the Berliner Philharmonie (April 27 and 28), in Barcelona at the Sagrada Família (May 1), and in Madrid at the Auditorio Nacional (May 3). They will perform Mozart’s Coronation Mass, under the direction of Kirill Petrenko. This “historic” tour is the result of the efforts for the internationalization of the choirs and the work done by Simon Halsey, ambassador of the Palau, to develop partnerships with prestigious ensembles and international directors.

The concerts will mark only the second time the Orfeò, currently under the direction of Pablo Larraz, has performed with the Berliner ensemble, with the first collaboration taking place in 2013 at the Palau de la Música Catalana. This will also be the first time the choir performs under the direction of Kirill Petrenko, director of the Berliner Philharmonic. It is a challenge for the Orfeó to return to the international stages performing one of Mozart’s best- known religious compositions, in which the choir has a major role throughout the work. The concerts at the Sagrada Família and Auditorio Nacional will also feature Mozart’s Ave verum. The Barcelona program also includes Valentin Silvestrov’s Prayer for Ukraine.

Mozart wrote the Coronation Mass in Salzburg for the celebration of Easter in 1779. It is a piece of great beauty with many remarkable moments. The piece is part of the repertoire of the Catalan ensemble, which will also perform it at the Palau de la Música Catalana on April 16 with the Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès, and under the direction of Simon Halsey.

The relationship between the Orfeó and the Palau de la Música with the Berliner orchestra dates back to 1908 when three months after the inauguration of the concert hall, the German ensemble performed three concerts conducted by Richard Strauss in a true celebration of symphonic music.

A new international challenge

The performances in Germany mark the first international tour of the Catalan choir in 2023, after a successful tour with the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Gustavo Gimeno, in May 2022 (included in the cycle Palau 100), the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, and at the Luxembourg Philarmonia with Puccini’s Messa di Gloria. In the recent years, the Orfeó has made its debut at the Vienna Konzerthaus and the Gulbenkian Hall in Lisbon, it has toured Italy with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Daniele Gatti, and it has performed in London on three occasions: in 2015 at the Royal Festival Hall, and in 2017 and 2019 at the Royal Albert Hall, for The Proms. In 2018 made its debut in China, and in the summer of 2019 (June-July) toured with Gustavo Dudamel and the Munich Philharmonic, with the Choir of Chamber of the Palau, performing at the Palau de la Música Catalana, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca and Munich Mahler’s Second Simphony Mahler.

The partnership with Berliner Philharmoniker

The Berliner Philharmoniker is considered one of the world’s best orchestras. After 1908, the ensemble returned to the Palau de la Música in April 1941, conducted by Karl Böhm, performing two concerts organized by Conciertos Pro-Arte. In May 1968, the Patronat Pro-Música closed its tenth season at the Palau with two programs by the German orchestra conducted by Herbert von Karajan. The Patronat Pro-Música invited them to perform again on June 7, 1975.

Twenty-two years after, in October 1997, the ensemble returned to the Art Noveau building with a concert directed by Claudio Abbado. On May 8, 2003, the orchestra, by then conducted by Mariss Jansons, was invited again to the cycle Palau 100. Ten years later, on July 1, 2013, the German ensemble performed under the direction of Simon Rattle and for the first time with the Orfeó Català and the Cor de Cambra del Palau to perform Fauré’s Requiem, again within the program of Palau 100. Five years later, in June 2018 the Berliner was invited by Barcelona Clàssics to perform one last time in Palau de la Música, once again conducted by Rattle.

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