Composers celebrate premières in Kronberg – Three world first performances at Kronberg Academy Festival 2021

The 2021 Kronberg Academy Festival is enticingly around the corner and anticipation of Kronberg Academy’s biggest concert event is growing. This year will again see world-renowned string players return to the picturesque castle town of Kronberg to captivate us with their skills from 29 September to 3 October. They will lend their talents to 26 compositions by women from across the ages, as well as to compositions that were influenced by women in other ways. Three works have been commissioned by Kronberg Academy especially for this autumn’s Festival – these, too, all from women, as befits the theme of “Women Power Music”. The three contemporary composers Ágnes Peregi, Birke Bertelsmeier and Raminta Šerkšnytė will witness the premières of their works at Kronberg Academy, which are to be performed by Christian Tetzlaff and Gidon Kremer with his internationally acclaimed Kremerata Baltica. At the Festival, Kremer’s chamber orchestra will be directed by Austrian-Spanish conductor Teresa Riveiro Böhm, who will make her debut in Kronberg. The Festival “Women Power Music” broaches questions as to the role played by women in classical music, especially in a “practical” sense. Music composed by women, inspired by women and, needless to say, performed by women will take centre stage and provide audiences with an opportunity to discover rarely heard gems. With Mischa and Lily Maisky, Tabea Zimmermann, Kirill Gerstein, Alina Ibragimova and many other distinguished artists, the numerous concerts and workshops at this Kronberg Academy Festival offer a new perspective on classical music.

A work commissioned from renowned Lithuanian composer and pianist Raminta Šerkšnytė entitled “This too shall pass” will open the “Seven Words” concert on 30 September at Kronberg’s Stadthalle (Municipal Hall). The première performance with Kremerata Baltica and Gidon Kremer, directed by Teresa Riveiro Böhm, will be a study in different aspects of time. In the words of the composer: “For me, “This too shall pass” is one of the most moving phrases. It is both comforting and tragic at the same time. It expresses the transience of everything that happens in the natural world and in human lives. But it also leads us to look for everlasting things, to cherish every moment of our lives and to make ourselves conscious of how quickly they pass.” Changing times play a key role with regard to the changing roles of women in music and beyond. In “This too shall pass”, the violin (Gidon Kremer), orchestra (Kremerata Baltica directed by Teresa Riveiro Böhm) and vibraphone speak of change and transience – perhaps also of a new era in music history that women are actively helping to write…

Desire for just such a new era is certainly felt by 27-year-old Hungarian composer Ágnes Peregi: “I think it’s a step in the right direction that greater attention is increasingly being paid to equality in the music world, and that more female composers are able to find fulfilment and the scope to have their works performed. In the long term, this will help to modernise our society and will allow us to better judge the qualities and the music of all female composers, regardless of their social standing.” Equality is likewise a central facet of her work “Drei” (Three). A modern trio of cello, snare drum and electronics interact on an equal level and, in spite of their differences, form a harmonious unit. The première, to be given as part of the “Wolke und Mond” (Clouds and Moon) Promenade Concert, will be performed by cellist and Kronberg Academy student Manuel Lipstein, Japanese percussionist Fumika Namba and the young composer herself on stages in barns around Kronberg. 

Birke J. Bertelsmeier’s compositions have already been performed by great artists including Tabea Zimmermann and Christoph Eschenbach. Her catalogue of compositions encompasses music theatre and film music as well as orchestral works, chamber music and solo pieces. For the Kronberg Academy Festival she has composed a “Partita” for violin, which will be performed by one of the most innovative violinists of our time, Christian Tetzlaff, who will give the première performance of this work on 1 October in Kronberg’s Johanniskirche.

Classical music lovers have five full days of carefully curated programmes to look forward to, featuring world-class artists against the backdrop of the idyllic Taunus scenery. In addition to the three world first performances there are many more rich and varied concerts all devoted to the theme of “Women Power Music”. Alongside the concerts, five workshops will give first-hand insights into how great maestros teach, when they give public lessons to selected young players. Three enriching talks from three female professors based in Hamburg and Vienna will critically examine the role of women in how classical music is taken up by and handed down to new generations. As with every Kronberg Academy Festival, Kronberg will host a mobile, open workshop where repairs to violins, violas and cellos can be carried out on site.

The Kronberg Academy Festival “Women Power Music” is enabled by the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain. Financial support is also provided by the Dagmar Westberg Stiftung, the German Federal Ministry for Culture and Media under its Initiative Musik and Neustart Kultur programmes, and by the Sparkassen-Kulturstiftung, Finanzgruppe Hessen-Thüringen and Taunus Sparkasse. In addition, the longstanding media partners of Kronberg Academy, hr2-kultur, Deutschlandfunk and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, cooperate in implementing the event.

Tickets for all concerts and workshops can be purchased via the ticket hotline on +49 (0) 6173 783377 (Mon-Fri 10.00am-5.00pm), via email to karten(at) or online via the Kronberg Academy website konzerte.