Munich’s Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2023-24

GermanyGermany Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra 2023-24 Season Presentation with Sir Simon Rattle: Nikolaus Pont (orchestra manager) and Sir Simon Rattle (chief conductor). Munich, 17.5.2023. (RF)

Sir Simon Rattle, new Chief Conductor of the Bavarian Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra, giving his presentation © BR/Vera Johannsen

The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra presented its programme for the 2023-34 season, the first under the long-awaited musical direction of Sir Simon Rattle. In a press conference together with orchestra manager Nikolaus Pont it was announced that Rattle will conduct a wide range of subscription concerts, special concerts, a ‘Musica Viva’ concert, the orchestra academy and the Bavarian Youth Orchestra. He will also be scouring the Bavarian countryside for five brass bands to play in a ‘Symphonischer Hoagascht’ together with the BRSO. He said that he has felt very much at home with the orchestra since first conducting it in 2010. The press conference made it clear that Rattle will be involved in all possible activities, including outreach and education.

Guest conductors include the usual suspects: Iván Fischer, John Eliot Gardiner, Daniel Harding, Riccardo Muti, Robin Ticciati and Frank Welser-Möst. Herbert Blomstedt will conduct the four Brahms symphonies. They will be joined by newcomers including David Afkham, Krzysztof Urbański, Shiyeon Sung and Maxim Emelyanchev. Commissions include works by Thomas Adès, Lorenz Dangel and Betsy Jolas.

Rattle said that it is of special value to have such an excellent chorus as part of the organisation. The Bavarian Radio Chorus under the management and dramaturgy of Susanne Vongries and the artistic direction of Peter Dijkstra will be busy performing with the BRSO, with other organisations and in its own well-attended concerts.

Orchestral works to particularly look forward to include Berio’s Coro, Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder and a concert performance of Rattle favourite Idomeneo, all including the chorus.

During the questions, there was great interest in the reaction of orchestra management to the pause in activity on the long-awaited new concert hall that was recently announced by the Bavarian government. Although there is no set date for start of construction, Nikolaus Pont insists that ‘the process is ongoing’. There is a will to work with government ministers on the ‘cultural cascade’ of impending renovations and construction. Sir Simon Rattle said, ‘I am here more often. I can be more irritating more often.’

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Richard Foster

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