The Münchener Kammerorchester and Alexander Lonquich
In 2016, the Munich Chamber Orchestra will perform Beethoven's 5 piano concertos - split in 2 evenings - together with soloist/conductor Alexander Lonquich.
Leer (Ostfriesland): 27. & 28. August 2016
Unusually creative programming and ever greater sonic homogeneity: more than 60 years after it was founded, in the immediate post-war period, the Münchener Kammerorchester (MKO) is a shining beacon in German orchestral life. Under its Artistic Director, Alexander Liebreich, the ensemble has increased its subscription numbers by 50 per cent in recent years, notwithstanding its consistently challenging programmes. With a distinctive theme for each season (Light, Politics, the Alps, Architecture, Eastwards, Drama or Childhood) the MKO’s programmes – inspired, exciting and often surprising – juxtapose works from the past with music from our own time.
Since 1995, when Christoph Poppen became Artistic Director and established its unmistakably dynamic profile, the ensemble has presented over seventy world premieres. Composers such as Iannis Xenakis, Wolfgang Rihm, Tan Dun, Chaya Czernowin and Jörg Widmann have written works for the ensemble, and since 2006 alone the MKO has commissioned pieces from Erkki-Sven Tüür, Thomas Larcher, Bernhard Lang, Nikolaus Brass, Samir Odeh-Tamimi, Klaus Lang, Mark Andre, Peter Ruzicka, Márton Illés, Miroslav Srnka and Tigran Mansurian. In cooperation with the RIAS Kammerchor and financed by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation the MKO has commissioned three outstanding composers of our time – Salvatore Sciarrino, Pascal Dusapin and Georg Friedrich Haas – writing new works for choir and orchestra. During the premieres in several European Cities in the years 2014 until 2016 the commissioned works will be faced with other important repertoire works.
Alexander Liebreich, who succeeded Poppen in 2006/07, believes in the experiential power and communicative intensity of contemporary music. And the tendency to think in conflicting aesthetic categories that particularly in Germany has dominated the response to musical innovation for decades now is in any case alien to Liebreich. His goal is a deeper engagement with unfamiliar sounds, particularly through repeat and follow-up performances.
Besides its Thursday evening performances in the Prinzregententheater, the orchestra’s main venue, in recent years the MKO has also introduced a number of more unusual concert formats. For the last eleven years a large, extremely well-informed audience has supported the “Night Musics” in the Rotunda of the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, where each concert is exclusively devoted to works by a single composer from the twentieth or twenty-first century.
Alexander Liebreich has moulded the twenty-six string players (the permanent core of the MKO) into an ensemble capable of immense stylistic variety. The musicians switch with great agility from historically informed performances of Baroque and Classical works to the very particular technical demands of contemporary music. Able to draw on a permanent pool of outstanding wind and brass soloists from Europe’s finest orchestras, the MKO, in the form of a “slim” symphony orchestra, can take advantage of its special sound when it comes to setting new standards in the interpretation of some of Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann’s most important works. Renowned guest conductors and a phalanx of outstanding international soloists regularly provide new artistic impulses. In addition to this, a well-established feature of the subscription series and of the orchestra’s guest performances are the concerts conducted by one or other of the MKO’s two concert masters. And it is on these evenings that the sense of responsibility and the unconditional commitment of each individual musician are especially apparent.
Founded by Christoph Stepp in 1950, the Münchener Kammerorchester was subsequently guided and conducted by Hans Stadlmair for almost four decades, starting in 1956. The MKO receives funding from the City of Munich, the Bavarian state and the district of Upper Bavaria. European Computer Telecoms AG (ECT) has been the MKO’s official main sponsor since the season 2006/07.
The MKO is a modern, flexible ensemble that is not only committed to an extensive musical repertoire, for it has also developed other very different activities outside its subscription series. The orchestra presents a further sixty concerts all over the world. In the last seasons the orchestra toured to Asia, Spain, Scandinavia and South America and did several projects in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut, e.g. a sensational academy in Pyongyang in autumn 2012 where the MKO got the possibility to work with North Korean music students.
The MKO’s recordings for ECM Records include works by Hartmann, Gubaidulina, Bach and Webern, Mansurian, Scelsi, Barry Guy, Valentin Silvestrov, Thomas Larcher, Isang Yun and Joseph Haydn as well as Toshio Hosokawa. Other recordings of the MKO have also been issued by Sony Classical amongst others a CD with Rossini Ouvertures or Gabriel Faurés Requiem with the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks (ECHO Classical-Award 2012) and in May 2014 a new CD with Mozarts Requiem.
The Münchener Kammerorchester regularly participates in the Munich Biennale and collaborates with the Bayerische Theaterakademie, the Villa Stuck, the Haus der Kunst, the Ludwigs-Maximilian-Universität and the Technische Universität München. An important aspect of the activities that Alexander Liebreich has initiated with the Munich Chamber Orchestra is the orchestra’s integrative work under the auspices of its “Munich Project”. Concerts and workshops, a mentoring scheme and other initiatives have been set up with the aim of activating links between the orchestra and its hometown of Munich and of developing collaborative schemes with institutions serving the needs of young people and society at large. The desire to shoulder social responsibility also underpins the MKO’s Aids Concert that has become a permanent fixture in Munich’s concert calendar since the first concert in 2007.