Musikfest Berlin 2020

Beethoven and the Music of our times

The Musikfest Berlin takes place from 25 August to 23 September and is organized by the Berliner Festspiele in cooperation with the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation. The new festival programme can be viewed online if you click here.

‘Musikfest Berlin digital‘ is a joint initiative of Berliner Festspiele’s Musikfest Berlin and the Berliner Philharmoniker‘s Digital Concert Hall. To mark the occasion of the 2020 festival edition, 18 guest performances out of a total of 33 events scheduled to take place from August 25 to September 23 as part of the Musikfest Berlin in the the Philharmonie’s large concert hall will be streamed live in the Digital Concert Hall or broadcast with a time delay. They will then be available on the Berliner Festspiele’s streaming platform at ‘Musikfest Berlin on Demand‘ for a further 72 hours.

‘Musikfest Berlin digital’ presents Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas starring pianist Igor Levit and the entire Bach solo suites with cellist Nicolas Altstaedt as well as the Beethoven homages by jazz pianists Michael Wollny, Iiro Rantala and David Helbock. The rest of the concerts enable encounters with the important composers of our time: with a portrait of the works of composer and prize winner of the 2019 Siemens Music Prize Rebecca Saunders, with the music and new pieces of Georges Aperghis, George Benjamin, Milica Djordjević, Enno Poppe and Wolfgang Rihm, interpreted by Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Musikfabrik, Klangforum Wien, the Neuen Vocalsolisten Stuttgart and the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Karajan-Akademie.

In an attempt to circumvent the space restrictions imposed by Corona, the Berliner Festspiele and the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker have launched a joint initiative, the “Musikfest Berlin Digital”, in order to offer as many people as possible the opportunity to experience the Musikfest Berlin: either live or with a time delay from the Philharmonie’s large concert hall. The “Musikfest Berlin digital” concerts in the Digital Concert Hall and on Musikfest Berlin on Demand can therefore be accessed free of charge. By making it possible to view the streamed concerts for another 72 hours the concerts can be enjoyed across all time zones. In doing so, international attention can be drawn to the new start of musical life in Berlin at the Philharmonie under COVID-19 conditions.

Thomas Oberender (artistic and managing director of the Berliner Festspiele) and Winrich Hopp (artistic director of the Musikfest Berlin): „ The live music experience is an existential good that is currently deeply threatened. This makes it all the more important that the audience and the entire music industry can at least find an outlet in the digital experience and that the creative handling of this crisis can open up new realms in the digital world that will last long after the crisis is over. We thank Ms. Zietzschmann and Mr. Maninger and everyone involved in this grandiose effort for making it possible for us to take our already-started project of digitally expanding our festival and events and implement to the Musikfest Berlin, too!”

Andrea Zietzschmann (general manager of the Berliner Philharmoniker) und Olaf Maninger (general manager of the Berlin Phil Media GmbH): “In these special times it is important to share knowledge and experience. It is therefore important to us to broadcast key moments of the Musikfest Berlin in our Digital Concert Hall this year, to provide technical support for transmission onto the Musikfest website and thus to intensify the existing cooperation between the Berliner Festspiele and the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker. We are particularly pleased that an international audience can be reached through these efforts.”

Dates of the Digital Concert Hall concerts you can find on the website of the Berliner Philharmoniker and the On Demand offer on ‘Musikfest Berlin digital‘.

The Berliner Festspiele and the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation are delighted to be able to stage the Musikfest Berlin 2020 despite the restrictions posed by COVID-19. Unfortunately, the European-based and German guest orchestras will not be able to perform as previously announced, but will instead participate in upcoming Musikfest Berlin editions. The main features of the festival programme will nonetheless be retained, with the Philharmonie transforming into a meeting point between Ludwig van Beethoven and the music of our time. Compositions by Georges Aperghis, Milica Djordjević, Christian Jost, Wolfgang Rihm and Rebecca Saunders will be premiered at the festival. Berlin-based British composer Saunders will be the subject of a comprehensive portrait, with performances planned of 15 of her pieces. Interpreting these works are the great ensembles of contemporary music – Klangforum Wien and Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Ensemble Modern and Ensemble Musikfabrik, as well as the Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker. The Berlin-based orchestras launch the new concert season with a series of 20th century works, and will take part in the festival’s Beethoven focus under their chief conductors: the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin will each perform one of his symphonies.

Promptly on 25 August and supported by BTHVN2020, Igor Levit embarks on a comprehensive cycle that features all of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas spread over eight concerts in the Philharmonie’s main concert hall. The Staatskapelle Berlin and Daniel Barenboim will perform the Musikfest’s first orchestra concert on 29 August, with the programme comprised of Mozart’s three final symphonies. The Cellist Nicolas Altstaedt will perform all of Bach’s solo suites in the Philharmonie. The Trumpeter Marco Blaauw will accompany the film Moving Picture (946-3) by Gerhard Richter and Corinna Belz with music of the same name by Rebecca Saunders at an evening featuring Film & Live Music at the Zoo Palast cinema. The festival wraps up on 23 September with a chamber music evening dedicated to composer Wolfgang Rihm and the premiere of his new piece, Stabat Mater, performed by Tabea Zimmermann and Christian Gerhaher.

Information regarding ticket sales for the 2020 Musikfest Berlin can be found on our website. For tickets for Berlin-based orchestra please check the individual websites.

Musikfest Berlin online:


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