Every year we have the pleasure of organizing a new season of events – and every year we are confronted with the same question: How can we offer you, our esteemed public, a varied program that appeals to you, while meeting our aspiration to promote the arts and that is also practicable. Sometimes that is like squaring the circle: We consider themes and areas of focus, gather ideas and endeavor to realize them. Organizational and financial limitations are the most obvious constraints. Often, it is not possible to organize an event in Leverkusen because it is too close to somewhere where the same performers have already been booked. Or an orchestra has to alter its plans for a variety of reasons. As you can see, dealing with all the eventualities is no easy task – especially as the plans have to be finalized by the editorial deadline for the prospectus.
But sometimes we are lucky and everything falls into place perfectly. The Irish Chamber Orchestra is a good example. This is an orchestra with an international reputation, yet it is affordable and is known for its exciting programs and passion for high-quality performances. The orchestra’s principal conductor is Jörg Widmann, a fascinating and highly versatile musician. It was his own personal wish to give a concert here and introduce “his” orchestra to us. Incidentally, the program includes Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik, a really popular “hit” that is seldom performed these days. And as the organizers, we are really delighted if something on the program fits in with one of our principal themes – in this case, the circus. That is a reference to Prokofiev's ballet music Trapèze, which will be performed in Leverkusen with real trapeze artistes.
Another piece of music that is a good fit with our circus theme is The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns, which the Bayer-Philharmoniker will be performing with the piano duo Silver/Garburg at a family concert. (The duo will also be playing at a chamber music concert with the Novus String Quartet.) This concert has something really special: Additional animals will be added to the original composition. Adults can also look forward to hearing what else our musicians conjure up. The Bayer-Philharmoniker will be giving a symphony concert (including Mendelssohn’s 2nd symphony) and playing at our New Year’s concert (a Soiree Royale).
As our orchestra in residence, l’arte del mondo regularly gives at least two concerts each season. This orchestra is unbelievably versatile, so it is easy to present new aspects again and again. This year’s opera, Orfeo 2.0, is a blend of baroque and rock, while the symphony concert features modern instruments and a large orchestra.
Personally, I am particularly interested in working for and with young artists and performers, so I am particularly pleased that our stARTacademy is growing. Given the steady advancement of their careers, the academy goes well beyond simply presenting “upcoming” artists and performers – and that is a real win-win situation. Last but not least, our program includes some musical greats. As outlined above, it is not always easy to obtain such engagements, but that makes it even more gratifying that we are able to offer three such performances - with Stephen Isserlis, Martin Stadtfeld and Till Fellner – and of course Jörg Wildman (see above) ...
Ultimately, how the program is put together is less important than whether it appeals to you. I would be delighted if you were to trust our judgment, come along with an open mind, and spend many interesting evenings in the Erholungshaus.