Late Night with Barbara Hannigan | on 3Sat

To be sure, there are pianists who also conduct, and concert masters who lead their orchestra from the violin desk. But a star soprano who coordinates a large instrumental ensemble while at the same time negotiating the trickiest coloratura singing is something entirely new. That is, until Barbara Hannigan came along to reveal this remarkable skill with such high-profile orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia. “I was never afraid,” says the Canadian “artiste étoile,” “but now, with this weird conducting thing, I’m really on a path that’s my own. It’s like walking on virgin snow: there are no footsteps where I’m going.” For Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre she will also be performing onstage, decked out in an S&M-style leather bodice and temporarily unable to maintain eye contact with the orchestra. How exactly does that work? It’s all a matter of psychology…

Gioachino Rossini: Overture to La scala di seta
Wolfgang Amadé Mozart: Vado, ma dove? O Dei!, K. 583; Un moto di gioia, K. 579; Misera, dove son?, K. 369
György Ligeti: Concert Românesc; Mysteries of the Macabre
Gabriel Fauré: Pelléas et Mélisande, Op. 80

Recorded at Lucerne Festival in Summer 2014.

Beethoven 5 – Pablo Heras-Casado, Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth , the “Symphony of Fate”, is one of the most popular works of classical music and marked a highlight of the Lucerne Festival 2013. Under the musical direction of Pablo Heras-Casado, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra – once founded by Claudio Abbado – performed the piece with such power and emotion that the audience gave it a standing ovation. The Spanish conductor is one of the most versatile and exciting conductors of his generation – a reputation he impressively proved he fits with this extraordinary concert.

A production of Accentus Music in co-operation with ZDF/Arte.


Broadcast: 3 October 2016, 00h15 on ARTE.


Picture: Priska Ketterer/LF

Zhu Xiao-Mei: How Bach Defeated Mao

Music, especially Bach’s music, gave this artist the strength to survive unimaginable challenges. Zhu Xiao-Mei belongs to the “Lost Generation” that endured the worst excesses of Mao’s regime: several years of “re-education”, five years in a work camp, her family destroyed, endless deprivation and political intrigue… “Zhu Xiao-Mei: How Bach defeated Mao” is a portrait of an artist whose life is inextricably tied to Mao’s disastrous Cultural Revolution. In 1980 Zhu Xia-Mei emigrated to the United States, then decided to settle in Paris in 1984. In this film for the first time after 35 years she returns as a celebrated concert pianist to her roots with a triumphal tour to modern China.

Produced and directed by Paul Smaczny

A production of Accentus Music in co-production with ZDF/Arte and supported by Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung.


Broadcast: 23 October 2016, 23h35 on ARTE.

Beethoven Violin Concerto – Nikolaj Znaider, Riccardo Chailly, Gewandhausorchester

Muscular yet elegant, eloquent and charismatic – terms that flow from journalists’ pens when referring to Nikolaj Znaider. The Danish artist once again affirmed his reputation as one of the most distinguished violinists of our time with his performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s violin concerto with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig under the baton of its musical director Riccardo Chailly. Znaider himself speaks of Beethoven’s popular work as “the bible in a violinist’s concert repertoire.”

Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Concert in D major Op. 61

Nikolaj Znaider, violin
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Riccardo Chailly

A production of Accentus Music in co-operation with MDR/Arte.


Broadcast: 23 October 2016, 18h25 on ARTE


Reger Piano Concerto & Beethoven 6 – Blomstedt, Serkin, Gewandhausorchester

Max Reger (1873-1916)
Piano Concerto in F minor, Op. 114

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Symphony No. 6 in F major

Peter Serkin, piano
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Herbert Blomstedt

Max Reger’s Piano Concerto Op. 114 was created in the summer of 1910 in Leipzig and was there brought into the world by pianist Frieda Kwast‐Hodapp and the Gewandhausorchester under Arthur Nikisch. Reger was thrilled by the pianist’s performance and jokingly dubbed her “Mrs. Kwast‐Hat’s Off.” To date, few other artists have dared to undertake this pianistic challenge: The American Peter Serkin, however, is one of those few whose repertoire includes this rare piece. On the occasion of the centenary of Max Reger’s death, this whirlwind piece resounded yet again at the site of its world premiere, this time under the baton of Herbert Blomstedt.

In the second part of the concert, the Swedish Honorary Conductor approached Beethoven’s evocative impressions of nature in the “Pastoral”. With the Symphony No 6, Blomstedt thus continues the musical journey into the sound cosmos of Beethoven with “his” orchestra. To this day, there remains a special relationship between the Leipzig orchestra and its former Gewandhaus conductor, which is demonstrated once again with this joint collaboration on Beethoven’s symphonic works. This cooperation will reach its peak in 2017 with the release of the complete audio recording of all nine symphonies to mark Blomstedt’s 90th birthday.

A production of Accentus Music in co-operation with MDR/Arte.

Mahler 8 – Riccardo Chailly, Lucerne Festival Orchestra

“To be responsible for this outstanding artistic project that Claudio Abbado has initiated is not only a privilege but it has touched me deeply.”

These are the very words Riccardo Chailly uses to describe his new job in Lucerne. The conductor, who left his post as music director of the Gewandhaus Leipzig and became principal conductor at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan last year, follows in this new position Arturo Toscanini and Claudio Abbado, thus becoming the third chief conductor of this unique orchestra.

On August 12, 2016, Riccardo Chailly premiered as conductor of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra with an opening concert: The orchestra and its principal conductor paid their respects to the late Abbado with Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, thereby completing his unfinished Mahler cycle. An inaugural concert that with its superb cast of musicians became a memorable event!

The concert, a production of Accentus Music in co-production with SRF and Arte G.E.I.E., will be broadcast on August 28, 2016, at 17h40 on arte.


LIVE  from the Semperoper Dresden!

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
Symphony No. 2 in C major, op. 61
Concerto for cello and orchestra in A minor, op.129

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, op.67

Jan Vogler, cello
Dresden Festival Orchestra
Ivor Bolton

Five years since its creation, the Dresden Festival Orchestra and its top-class musicians have developed into one of the highlights of the festival circuit and music scene. In 2016, the ensemble placed emphasis on the 19th century in yet another example of its dedication to historically informed practice. Under the baton of its musical director Ivor Bolton, the orchestra plays two works by Robert Schumann, who had spent a few years in the city at the river Elbe: his Symphony No. 2 as well as the cello concerto with the festival’s director Jan Vogler himself as the soloist. Ludwig van Beethoven’s »Fate Symphony« marks a powerful end to this year’s festival in Dresden.

Alban Berg – Wozzeck

Opera in three acts (15 scenes) after Georg Büchner’s “Woyzeck”

Fabio Luisi, Conductor
Andreas Homoki, Stage Director

Philharmonia Zürich, Chor der Oper Zürich
Christian Gerhaher (Wozzeck)
Gun-Brit Barkmin (Marie)

The soldier Wozzeck (Christian Gerhaher) flits through a world that he is unable to decipher. The doctor torments him with absurd medical experiments; the captain humiliates and ridicules him. And Wozzeck’s lover, Marie (Gun-Brit Barkmin), with whom he has a child, cuckolds him with the drum major. Wozzeck becomes a murderer, stabbing Marie to death. Georg Büchner’s drama fragment, on which Alban Berg based his first opera, is an unflinching case study of social injustice and human suffering. But it is also a grotesque piece that thrives on exaggeration – and in which only a fine line separates the unfathomable from the ridiculous. Accordingly, director Andreas Homoki forgoes all realism. His nightmarishly radical production is inspired by puppet theatre. Christian Gerhaher’s role début as Wozzeck can only be described as sensational: his capacity for vocal and dramatic subtlety is simply breath-taking. At the rostrum of the Philharmonia Zurich, Fabio Luisi explores both the expressionistic and the more intimate aspects, reminiscent of chamber music, in Berg’s seminal score.

Kirill Gerstein plays Rachmaninov’s 2nd piano cocerto

“Gerstein’s blistering technique is matched only by his deeply soulful connection to standard repertoire,” the Time out New York says about the Russian pianist. With the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig under the baton of Semyon Bychkov, Kirill Gerstein testified to these qualities: He put emphasis on expression and effect in Sergei Rachmaninov‘s Second Piano Concerto. Thus, the concerto gained a new life in music, whose impact can sometimes be blunted by its own popularity: Finely balancing constructive rigor and thoughtfulness this performance becomes a fresh, fruitful artistic joint venture.

Segei Rachmaninoff
Concerto for piano and orchestra No. 2
Kirill Gerstein, paino

Semyon Bychkov
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig

Satiesfictions on arte

Always armed with a bowler, wisecracks and affectations, he is not only on the outside one of the strangest fellows in French music history: Erik Satie was not just a composer, he was also a designer, church founder, PR pioneer, master of aperçus, author, wayfarer, professional self-publicist and inventor of “Musique d’ameublement.”

The music documentary “Satiesfictions” details the overall phenomenon of Satie in playful episodes with a wink and a smirk – and also takes him quite literally: His countless ads conceived in private evolve into real commercials and his drawings of jetliners and swaying hotels take on a life of their own as cartoons.

Music à la Satie turns performers into “musical furniture” in swimming pools, factories or at rail stations, allows aging divas to forget their performances and even four-legged animals including their bones into the limelight with pieces written for dogs. Pianists tickle the ivories on pianos stacked atop each other or are adorned with snowflakes. Natural landscapes, scenes from everyday life and impressions of the city pair up with Satie’s cosmos of word and sound.

The world as Erik Satie saw it is interwoven with eyewitness accounts and interviews with Satie experts. They go back and forth between outlining this artist’s colorful personality and drawing their own picture of certainly the most unusual protagonist of the early 20th century French avant-garde.