The programming of Bologna Festival 2024, which is enriched this year with two new projects and some repertoire crossovers, includes the cycle of events Carteggi Musicali (March 13 – April 4), the series Great Interpeters (March 18 – May 31), Talents (June 6 – July 8), The New, The Ancient, The Faraway (September 24 – November 6), and the two new projects Vivaldi Perspective (May 20 – 23) branching into concerts-readings, events, guided tours, and film screenings, and Classica in Sneakers (May-July) presenting five musical events by young performers for young audiences, in an unconventional venue and with an unusual mode of musical presentation. This is how “music embraces the city”: embracing its diversity of spaces and audiences.
The 43rd edition of Bologna Festival, from March to November, features some of the most interesting conductors in today’s music scene, such as Teodor Currentzis, making his debut in Bologna with his orchestra musicAeterna, Vladimir Jurowski with the Bayerisches Staatsorchester, and Paavo Järvi with Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. András Schiff, in the dual role of pianist and conductor, presents himself for the first time at Bologna Festival with his orchestra Cappella Andrea Barca. Notable soloists hosted in the spring series Great Interpreters include violinists Janine Jansen and María Dueñas, pianist Emanuel Ax, and two rising stars in the new piano scene, Bruce Liu and Alexandre Kantorow.
In a season preview, on Monday, February 5th, at 8:30 PM at the Teatro Auditorium Manzoni, there will be an extraordinary fundraising concert in support of Susan G. Komen Italy featuring Myung-Whun Chung and the Filarmonica della Scala, performing Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. The concert is dedicated to the memory of Claudio Abbado on the tenth anniversary of his death.
Teodor Currentzis and his ensemble musicAeterna, making their debut in the city’s music scene, are the protagonists of the inaugural concert of the 43rd edition of Bologna Festival on Monday, March 18, at 8:30 PM at Teatro Auditorium Manzoni. The program, conceived by Currentzis, weaves Mozart’s Requiem into a musical tapestry with mysterious contours that embraces eight centuries of music, from medieval to contemporary, “a musical flow that seamlessly unfolds between sacred and profane vocal and instrumental music” – in the words of the Greek conductor, who progressively designates the chapters of an unprecedented musical narrative without revealing its title, summoning the orchestra soloists, choir, and a Byzantine choir.
The second appointment of the Great Interpreters series takes place on Sunday, March 24, featuring the Amsterdam Sinfonietta string orchestra and violinist Janine Jansen, who wields her wonderful Stradivari for a program entirely dedicated to the music of the beloved Johann Sebastian Bach, ranging from Concertos for solo violin to the third Brandenburg Concerto.
On Tuesday, April 9, pianist Alexandre Kantorow, born in 1997 and winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, known for his luminous clarity and transcendental virtuosity, takes the stage. With an already-packed concert schedule in the world’s most important halls and a repertoire focused on composers like Liszt and Brahms.
On Sunday, April 21, the rising star of international violinism, María Dueñas, aged 22, with her volcanic personality and vitality, performs Max Bruch’s Concerto No. 1. She is joined by the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and conductor Paavo Järvi, tackling Schubert’s first two symphonies, No. 1 in D major and No. 2 in B-flat major, composed within a few months between the ages of sixteen and seventeen.
Bruce Liu, emerging pianist born in Paris in 1997 to Chinese parents but musically raised in Montreal, winner of the Chopin Competition, presents a recital on April 30. The program includes Chopin’s Sonata No. 2, along with sonatas by Haydn, Beethoven, and Prokofiev, as well as the unusual “jazzistic” Variations by Russian composer Nikolaj Kapustin.
András Schiff, an artist with a long-standing connection to Bologna Festival, presents himself for the first time with his orchestra Cappella Andrea Barca on Tuesday, May 7. Founded in 1999, the orchestra quickly became the ideal interpreter of Viennese classical instrumental repertoire. In the dual role of pianist and conductor, Schiff takes on two piano concertos by Mozart and one of Haydn’s legendary “London” Symphonies, No. 99.
On Friday, May 31, Vladimir Jurowski, the permanent conductor of the Bayerisches Staatsorchester, and pianist Emanuel Ax collaborate on a program paying homage to the great German musical tradition of the early 19th century. The program features the Overture from Weber’s Oberon, Schumann’s Symphony No. 3 “Rhenish,” and Beethoven’s renowned Piano Concerto No. 5, the Emperor.
PERSPECTIVE ON VIVALDI
The project dedicated to Antonio Vivaldi, spanning from May 20th to May 23rd 2024, unfolds in concerts with readings, meetings, guided tours, and projections in various city spaces, including the Church of Santa Cristina della Fondazza, the Museum of Music, and the Cinema Modernissimo. Maddalena da Lisca, artistic director and superintendent of Bologna Festival, explains, “The project aims to pay homage to the definitive consecration, following recent studies, of the portrait preserved in the Museum of Music in Bologna as the true face of the ‘red priest.’ But it will also be an opportunity to involve the audience in a fascinating story about his music, a story that many of those who passionately listen to it today probably do not know. An articulated program that will make us familiar with the ‘strange’ story of Vivaldi, who, after enjoying the highest recognitions, miserably fell into complete oblivion in the last years of his life, only to reappear, 200 years after his death, among the most performed composers today, with an extensive and acclaimed repertoire on stages worldwide.” Opening the Vivaldi week on May 20th, Federico Maria Sardelli, now counted among the foremost Vivaldi experts, with his ensemble Modo Antiquo presents the concert-reading “L’affare Vivaldi,” the passionate tale of a vast and complex musical heritage, between oblivion and rediscovery. On May 21st at 6 PM, it moves to the Museum of Music for a guided tour in the 18th-century room, facing the ‘true’ face of Vivaldi; followed by the round table “Vivaldi Renaissance. The virtuous dispute for the rebirth of the “red priest'” with the participation of Stefano Jacoviello (responsible for cultural projects at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena), Federico Maria Sardelli (head of the Vivaldi Werkverzeichnis, RV), Francesco Fanna (director of the Italian Institute Antonio Vivaldi of the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice). A diverse film program on May 21st and 22nd includes movies, documentaries, and a talk dedicated to Vivaldi’s film scores. Finally, back in the Church of Santa Cristina della Fondazza on May 23rd at 8:30 PM, for the concert-reading directed by Sardelli, “Il volto di Vivaldi,” which will be the occasion to hear, for the first time in modern times, an unpublished work by Vivaldi.
The “Perspective on Vivaldi” project is realized in collaboration with the International Museum and Library of Music in Bologna, Cineteca di Bologna, Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italian Institute Antonio Vivaldi of the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice. Special thanks to ILLUMIA for supporting the project.
CLASSICA IN SNEAKERS
Classica in Sneakers is an experimental project by Bologna Festival designed to bring young people closer to classical music and ignite a new spark in their musical universe. Five events of music made by young people for young people, between May and July, organized in a different context than the theater or concert hall: Birreria Popolare, in the center of Bologna, at aperitif time, where entry is with a special tasting ticket for music and drinks, the “birriglietto”. All the musicians involved in these concerts are winners of the call for artists open to young people under 30. For further information on the competition, news and concert dates, visit the website bolognafestival.it.
The Talents series, from June 6th to July 8th, in the Cloister of the Basilica of Santo Stefano, focuses on new performers, young artists, or chamber ensembles at the beginning of their careers. The series opens with the winner of the Paganini Prize, Simon Zhu, a 23-year-old violinist from Tubingen, Germany, presenting a well-balanced program between classicism and virtuosity, featuring the “irresistible” Caprices by Paganini and a specially commissioned piece for solo violin by composer Silvia Colasanti for the Paganini Prize. As every year, there will be an opportunity to listen to the winner of the Venice Prize, awarded in 2023 to pianist Giacomo Menegardi. The series is complemented by a Baroque concert for flute and harpsichord with the duo Fabiano Martignago-Angelica Selmo, who, alongside well-known works by Handel, Telemann, and Vivaldi, include rarely heard composers such as Galliard and Barsanti; the concert by the talented violinist Valentina Benfenati, accompanied on the piano by Leonardo Pierdomenico, featuring an all-French program paying homage to the sisters Nadia and Lili Boulanger, Gabriel Fauré, and César Franck. The group formed by violinist Federico Zaltron, guitarists Duved Dunayevsky, Francesco Greppi, and double bassist Martino De Franceschi offers a unique program, “Paris in the Thirties: Django Reinhardt and Surroundings,” dedicated to Manouche music. To conclude the series, on July 8th, there will be an operatic gala with the winners of the Bologna International Vocal Competition 2023: the Russian soprano Anastasia Lerman, the Croatian countertenor Franko Klisović, and the South Korean baritone Ettore Chi Hoon Lee, accompanied on the piano by Nicoletta Conti. The Talents concert series also intersects this year with the Pianofortissimo series promoted by Inedita per la Cultura, featuring an “open-air” program resonating in some of the city’s most architecturally significant historic places.
THE NEW, THE ANCIENT, THE FARAWAY
The autumn concert series (September 24th – November 6th) dedicated to ancient and contemporary music is enriched this year with an excursion into Eastern music in two stages: “Non fu mai uomo che cercasse tanto,” a concert-performance of music, images, and words tracing the footsteps of Marco Polo on the 700th anniversary of his death; “Suoni dal mondo arabo,” a concert dedicated to the sounds and atmospheres of the Arab musical tradition with the Jordanian musician Rula Jaradat, a qanun virtuoso, accompanied by Nadin Qubain on the req.
The series opens on September 24, in the Church of Santa Cristina della Fondazza, with the King’s Singers presenting a sophisticated program, “Angels e demons,” intertwining five centuries of vocal music, from Palestrina to Arvo Pärt, with iconic symbols of Christianity. Stefano Montanari, a baroque violinist of unparalleled flair, presents a program dedicated to the practice of the baroque sonata a due, from the historical matrix of Corelli’s Op.5 to the concertante style of Vivaldi. A sensational flutist, the very young Lucie Horsch, uses ten different variants of the recorder for her program “Metamorphosis,” ranging from Dutch folk music to Kurtág, from Bach to Berio, from Telemann to Stravinsky. The contemporary section features two specialists in today’s music, the Quartetto Prometeo and pianist Maria Grazia Bellocchio. In the Quartetto Prometeo’s concert, “Archi solforici,” produced in collaboration with Ferrara Musica, Francesco Antonioni’s Second String Quartet “Surfarara” will be premiered in Italy, alongside Bartók’s Quartet No.4. In the program “Forms through the time”, Maria Grazia Bellocchio moves through the keyboard music repertoire, creating echoes, reflections, and resonances between Rameau, Ligeti, Scarlatti, and contemporary composers Alessandro Solbiati and Fabio Nieder. In the new show produced and conceived by Bologna Festival, “Non fu mai uomo che cercasse tanto,” Marco Polo and his Milione come to life through selected pages in Franco-Venetian dialect read by Sandro Cappelletto (dramaturgy and narration) alternating with the improvisations of two masters of Persian music, Kayahn Kalhor (kamancheh) and Kiya Tabassian (setar), retracing the routes of his legendary journeys of knowledge in the distant East, passing through Persian lands.
It is an introductory prelude to the concert season and its programs, the cultural exploration series “Carteggi Musicali” taking place at the Museum of Music starting from March 13th: three events led by renowned music commentators. The first meeting, on March 13th at 6:30 PM, features Fabio Sartorelli narrating the tumultuous history of a legendary piece like Mozart’s Requiem. Following this, on March 26th at 6:30 PM, Giovanni Bietti discusses Chopin, both as a pianist and composer, while on April 4 at 6:30 pm, Enzo Restagno talks about Béla Bartók, the master among masters, with musical interventions on the piano by Albertina Dalla Chiara.