Imagine music that sounds like it’s been spun from pure crystal. When the glass harmonica was first invented in the 18th century, listeners thought they were hearing the voices of angels, and Mozart was enchanted. His rarely heard Adagio is the little glint of magic at the centre of a concert that features two of his very greatest symphonies, conducted by livewire and all-round musical Renaissance man Jörg Widmann – who’s written his own, shimmering tribute to this instrument from another age.
Repertoire includesMozart - Symphony No40 K550 Jörg Widmann - Armonica Mozart - Adagio for Glass Harmonica in C major K356 Mozart - Symphony No41 Jupiter K551
SoloistsChrista Schönfeldinger - Glass Harmonica
Conductor / Clarinet Jörg Widmann
Clarinetist, composer, and conductor Jörg Widmann is one of the most versatile and intriguing artists of his generation. As Carnegie Hall’s 2019/20 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer Chair his work was the season’s focus. Future performances see him appear in all facets of his work. He appears as soloist with orchestras such as New World Symphony Orchestra and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and is artist in residence at WDR Sinfonieorchester and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
Chamber music performances will see him in concerts with long-standing chamber music partners such as Daniel Barenboim, Denis Kozhukhin, the Quiroga and the Hagen Quartet at Philharmonie Essen, Dresdner Musikfestspiele, Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin, Grand Interpretes Toulouse and Wiener Konzerthaus amongst others.
Continuing his intense activities as a conductor, Jörg Widmann performs this season with the National Symphony Orchestra Taiwan, Mozarteumorchester Salzburg, as Visiting Composer with Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Philharmonique de Radio France.
Widmann studied clarinet with Gerd Starke in Munich and Charles Neidich at the Juilliard School in New York. He performs regularly with renowned orchestras, such as Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Orchestra National de France, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, National Symphony Orchestra Washington, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He collaborates with conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, and Christoph von Dohnányi.
Widmann gave the world premiere of Mark Andre’s Clarinet Concerto über at the Donaueschinger Musiktage 2015. Other clarinet concerti dedicated to and written for him include Wolfgang Rihm’s Musik für Klarinette und Orchester (1999) and Aribert Reimann’s Cantus (2006).
Widmann studied composition with Kay Westermann, Wilfried Hiller and Wolfgang Rihm. His works continue to receive many awards such as the prestigious Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Elise L. Stoeger Prize (2009), the Paul Hindemith Prize in 2001, the Arnold Schönberg Prize by the Vienna Arnold Schönberg Centre and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (2004) and both the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg’s composition award and the Berliner Philharmoniker Academy’s Claudio Abbado Composition Award in 2006.
Widmann’s compositions are performed regularly by conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Daniel Harding, Valery Gergiev, Kent Nagano, Christian Thielemann, Mariss Jansons, Andris Nelsons and Simon Rattle and premiered by orchestras such as the Wiener and Berliner Philharmoniker, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and many others. This season sees the world premiere of Jörg Widmann’s new trumpet concerto, commissioned by Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and Boston Symphony Orchestra for Håkan Hardenberger and conducted by Andris Nelsons.
Widmann’s appointment as Daniel R. Lewis Young Composer Fellow at the Cleveland Orchestra established an extraordinary artistic collaboration with the orchestra and its Principal Conductor Franz Welser-Möst including the world premiere of Widmann’s Flute Concerto, Flûte en suite in May 2011 followed by its European premiere in 2012/13 by the Berliner Philharmoniker and Emmanuel Pahud under Simon Rattle. Cleveland Orchestra featured Flûte en suite as centrepiece in their 2014 European tour, and dedicated an entire evening to Widmann’s works at the Berliner Philharmonie. His opera Babylon was premiered in 2012/13 at Bayerische Staatsoper under the baton of Kent Nagano.
Am Anfang by Anselm Kiefer and Jörg Widmann was premiered in July 2009 as part of the 20th anniversary of the Opéra Bastille, in which Widmann acted as composer, clarinetist and made his debut as conductor.
Widmann was Artist in Residence at leading Festivals and Orchestras such as Lucerne Festival and Salzburger Festspiele, Bamberger Symphoniker, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich’s creative chair 2015/16, and both BOZAR and Elbphilarmonie’s artist in residence in its opening season. He was featured in Artist Portraits at Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Frankfurt’s Alte Oper and Cologne’s Philharmonie. In the 2017/18 season he was featured as the first ever Gewandhaus Composer in Leipzig’s history.
Widmann is Fellow at the Wissenschaftskollegs in Berlin and a full member of the Bayerischen Akademie of Schönen Künste, and since 2007, the Freien Akademie der Künste Hamburg, the Deutschen Akademie der Darstellenden Künste and the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur Mainz. He is professor for composition at the Barenboim-Said Academy, Berlin.
Glass Harmonica Christa Schönfeldinger
Christa Schönfeldinger discovered the world of glass music at the beginning of the 1990s. Viennese-born, she had trained as professional violinist and had already begun orchestral career when a music riddle in the newspaper attracted her attention to a very special instrument: the Glass Armonica. This was to have a determining impact on her further professional life and led to the founding of the Vienna Glass Armonica Duo, together with her husband Gerald, also a violinist.
Thus she rediscovered and revived an instrument which, after enjoying a sensational wave of popularity in the 18th century, had been virtually forgotten for almost two hundred years.
Today Christa Schönfeldinger is one of the world’s leading performers on the glass armonica. She has succeeded in bringing historic playing techniques to a new level of perfection and has also expanded the scope of performance on the glass armonica by adding new techniques and contemporary music aesthetics.
Numerous CD recordings by the Vienna Glass Armonica Duo are offering the public a sensitive symbiosis of poetic chamber music and sound experiences of extraordinary intensity far from the beaten path of the concert world.
Her repertoire ranges from the traditional standard works for glass armonica (W. Mozart, J. Reichardt, C. Röllig, A. Schulz) to orchestral and opera literature (G. Donizetti, C. Saint-Saëns, R. Strauss, J. Widmann) as well as numerous arrangements ( W. Mozart, J. Haydn, E. Grieg, E. Satie, E. Morricone) and avant-garde works (A. Pärt, Ph.Glass).
Christa Schönfeldinger performed with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, NDR and SWR Orchestra, New Tokio Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra Washington. She worked together with Pierre Boulez, Kent Nagano, Christian Thielemann, Christoph Eschenbach, Franz Welser-Möst, Fabio Luisi, Sylvain Camberling, Kirill Petrenko and John Axelrod.
As a soloist and with the Vienna Glass Armonica Duo she has given concerts all over Europe, United States, Canada and Japan.