Editorial 15/16

Music is for all
20 may 2015

Penser la musique aujourd’hui was the title the then young composer Pierre Boulez gave his book in 1963. Boulez summarised the thoughts of the young post-war generation who wanted to break away from the past and create a musical language for the future. Today, at 90, Boulez has seen a lot of water flow under the Mirabeau bridge and widened his vision of music and the world around him. The French capital’s new concert hall, the Philharmonie de Paris, was created by Boulez and is open to different music genres and varied audiences of all ages, complete with educational activities. What is contemporary today is far beyond what was so 50 years ago. Music is for all.

Boulez’ music and thinking have always been very important to me and are still a source of inspiration when deciding which direction the activities at Gulbenkian Music should take. We should learn from the past to move forward into the future. This means being open to the present-day, innovative and cosmopolitan world around us.

We want our musicians to interact with the world, with the people outside the concert hall. During the spring, musicians from our orchestra took to the streets in small groups and played in impromptu concerts, all over the city, as you can see from the photos in this brochure. In recent years, we have started new cycles which have attracted a diverse audience to our events. Now we will leave our home, at Praça de Espanha, to meet people in other places. At the beginning of the season, the Gulbenkian Orchestra will perform in Praça do Município. And it is our intention to go further afield and reach more people in other regions of Portugal.

The musicians who form the young EGO orchestra (Gulbenkian Workshop for Orchestra) were selected through auditions held all over the country. EGO joins the Gulbenkian Orchestra, conducted by its dynamic artistic director Joana Carneiro for the opening concert of the Gulbenkian Orchestra cycle. Young people will also fill the Gulbenkian grounds during the Young Musician Awards Festival, organised in cooperation with RTP – Antena 2. Additionally, the institution will open its doors to the Rising Stars event, this time associated with the Open Days, bringing together the best Portuguese talent alongside international young musicians.

The recently refurbished Grand Auditorium will continue to be the main base in the future, but the activities will be more varied. The musicians will interact with other art forms. Some concerts will include elements of drama, there will be film and the orchestra will play with musicians from musical genres other than classical, such as Rufus Wainwright, for the Great Performers cycle, which includes singers such as Matthias Goerne, Patricia Petibon and Joyce DiDonato. Within this cycle, we will also introduce various ensembles from the Venezuelan “El Sistema” educational project, which will last two seasons.

The weekly concerts by the Gulbenkian Choir and Orchestra are the backbone of the current season. In addition to concerts on Thursday evenings and Friday afternoons, the Orchestra will perform in the popular Sunday Concert cycle, including a Saint Valentine’s Concert. Acknowledged for its versatility, the Gulbenkian Orchestra also offers alluring performances of baroque (The St. John Passion by J. S. Bach), romantic (L’Enfance du Christ by Berlioz) and contemporary music, this latter category including five premieres of works commissioned by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Aylton Escobar, Nuno da Rocha, Luís Tinoco, Jamie Man, José Júlio Lopes and Victor Gama).

The season’s variety is evident in the cycles that form the mix of our offering to the various audiences: Gulbenkian Choir and Orchestra, Jazz em Agosto, Great Performers, Sunday Concerts, Chamber Music, World Music, Gulbenkian Orchestra Soloists, Early Music, Piano Cycle and MET Live Opera in HD, joined by the Cantabile Festival, the Participatory Concerts and other concerts, such as Music at São Roque – Caminhos da Santa Casa, Orquestra XXI, collaborations with the ENOA network and much more.
I extend a warm welcome to all of you to Gulbenkian Music 2015/16!

Risto Nieminen — Director Of The Music Department

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