Experience supreme violin, viola and cello playing at first hand, performed jointly by great virtuosos and talented young players – this is the formula that has attracted guests from across the globe to Kronberg Academy’s concerts and musical projects for over 25 years. In its 2020 season, the Academy’s diverse musical programme comprises stand-alone concerts as well as five event series with over 50 concerts and some 200 public masterclasses, rehearsals and talks. Whilst the majority of these are set to take place in Kronberg im Taunus and Frankfurt am Main, in November the Academy will co-host an international cello competition in Berlin. The season begins with a sellout New Year’s concert on 29 January and ends in November 2020.
Concerts with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe occupy a prominent place in the Kronberg Academy annual calendar following the launch of their collaboration at the end of last year. The future orchestra in residence of the Casals Forum, currently under construction, will give two performances with the Academy in 2020: on 26 May in Kronberg with violinist Renaud Capuçon and on 3 October at the Alte Oper Frankfurt with Vilde Frang (violin) and young soloists of Kronberg Academy. Works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert and Johann Sebastian Bach are among those to be featured in the programmes.
It is almost something of a tradition for children to take centre stage at the opening and close of each Kronberg Academy season. Jam-packed full of surprises, the Classic for Kids concert series, aimed specifically at children aged 5 to 10 years, actively encourages youngsters to get hands on, making classical music tangible, awakening their curiosity and enabling them to join in. On 29 March, 23 August and finally 1 November, the series will present three different instrument families: Theo Plath will introduce the bassoon, the Barrios Guitar Quartet the guitar and Maurice Steger the recorder. The colourful earwigs Theolina and Theophil will again be in on all the action along with musical narrator Christoph Gotthardt who, together with the musicians, will guide the audience through an instrumental wonderland. In addition, the Friends of Kronberg Academy invites all its members, as well as those who wish to become part of the family, to join the Musical Family Excursion led by experienced music teachers on 6 September.
Two intensive weekends of public rehearsals are on the agenda for the “Mit Musik – Miteinander” youth projects running from 17 to 19 April and 23 to 25 October. In each case, three Kronberg Academy alumni will perfect chamber music works with groups of talented teenagers – all winners of the German and Austrian national competitions “Jugend musiziert” and “prima la musica”, as well as the Swiss Youth Music Competition. Tutors for the spring event are Mairéad Hickey (violin), Georgy Kovalev (viola) and Anastasia Kobekina (cello), and those in the autumn will be William Hagen (violin), Karolina Errera (viola) and Edgar Moreau (cello). All rehearsals are open to the public, and each weekend concludes with a workshop concert on the Sunday.
The highlight of the season this spring is the international chamber music workshop Chamber Music Connects the World, taking place from 1 to 11 May. Four world-famous “Seniors”, violinists Gidon Kremer and Christian Tetzlaff, cellist Steven Isserlis and the clarinettist and composer Jörg Widmann, will rehearse works for seven concerts with around 20 “Juniors”, the next generation of aspiring musicians from across the globe. The doors open on 3 May, allowing all to experience first-hand in the public rehearsals how music is created with enthusiasm and passion, how the ensembles grow together – music and individuals alike – in short, how chamber music connects the world. Following the opening concert on 1 May, concerts from 5 May onwards provide a forum for the musicians to present jointly rehearsed works by Johannes Brahms, Antonín Dvořák, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Dmitri Shostakovich, Jörg Widmann, Richard Strauss and others. Running in parallel, the fringe programme includes an exhibition in honour of Frankfurt-based photographer Barbara Klemm, which is devoted to her artist portraits.
The Masters in Performance concert series running from 12 to 16 June is dedicated to the young students of Kronberg Academy. These young soloists will present their skills in end-of-semester and examination concerts, which form a marathon of almost 30 concerts, each around an hour in length. The musical programmes, selected by the musicians themselves, include highlights of the classical sonata literature as well as virtuoso showpieces and expressive compositions from the 20th and 21st centuries. As well as in Kronberg, several concerts will take place at Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts, the collaborative partner that co-confers the Academy’s Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Recitals from young soloists on the postgraduate Professional Studies programme will form a grand finale to the week, staged in the atmospheric and intimate setting of Kronberg’s Jugendstil Town Hall, Villa Bonn.
From 25 September to 2 October, Kronberg will again be buzzing with the second big highlight of the 2020 season. Over 150 cello students from across the entire world will travel to the Cello Masterclasses & Concerts in the “World capital of the cello” (Mstislav Rostropovich) to receive tuition from Frans Helmerson, Gary Hoffman, Jens Peter Maintz, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt und Jérôme Pernoo. The masterclasses are open to the public, enabling everyone to watch these great cellists of our time up close and away from the concert platform. Three concerts featuring “cellists of the future” will round off the week of teaching: Anastasia Kobekina and Bruno Philippe on 27 September, László Fenyö and István Várdai on 29 September, and young soloists of Kronberg Academy on 30 September. Selected masterclass students will perform on 1 October followed by presentation of the sponsorship awards to outstanding young cellists. Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra will be a guest partner in Kronberg twice during the event, performing with the five tutors at the opening on 25 September and then with the prize winners at the grand final concert on 2 October. The parallel fringe programme includes an instrument making exhibition and an open workshop with a master luthier and master bowmaker.
Pure competition excitement will fill Berlin from 16 to 22 November 2020 as Kronberg Academy and the Domenico-Gabrielli Foundation of Berlin University of the Arts (UdK Berlin) host the Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann. Following an opening concert with Alexander Buzlov (2010 prize winner) and Aurélien Pascal (2014 prize winner), twelve upcoming cellists will compete in three public rounds in a bid to win the prestigious international cello competition, whose patron is Daniel Barenboim. First comes a recital round
– with works such as that composed especially for the competition by Jörg Widmann – followed by the semi-final featuring chamber music with members of the Boccherini Trio and with the ensemble Metamorphosen Berlin. In the final round, three musicians will perform a cello concerto with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin conducted by Josef Bastian. On 22 November, Emanuel Feuermann’s birthday, the prize winners will give a chamber concert and a final concert, likewise with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin under the baton of Josef Bastian.
Current event information: www.kronbergacademy.de
Advance ticket sales begin on 3 February for “Classic for Kids” and “Chamber Music Connects the World”, on 1 May for “Masters in Performance”, on 1 June for the “Cello Masterclasses & Concerts” and on 1 September for the “Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann”. Entry to “Mit Musik - Miteinander” is free. Advance tickets for the Chamber Orchestra of Europe concert on 26 May go on sale on 3 February; tickets for the concert on 3 October can be booked via Alte Oper Frankfurt.
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