The Munich Philharmonic’s 2021/22 season

The Munich Philharmonic’s first season in the brand-new Isar Philharmonic Hall conveys a mood of opti-mism, a sense of anticipation and a thirst for adventure. The Isar Philharmonic Hall will be the fourth home where the Munich Philharmonic has been based as the resident orchestra during its 128-year history.
The programme for the orchestra’s first season in its temporary home will fill the new musical heart of Mu-nich with the full breadth of its diverse repertoire, along with some fresh musical highlights. The program also features three festivals:; a “Fokus: Tanz” (“Focus: Dance”) running throughout the season; a symphonic portrait of composer Richard Strauss; and “Neo”, a month-long festival in January with three world premières.

MPhil festivals

The Munich Philharmonic is expanding the festivals it offers to enable more members of a diverse and ea-ger public to access its performances. The programme will focus on selected weekends during the season, with music aimed at families and younger audience members during the day, major symphony concerts in the evening, and then live acts into the night time.

Principal conductor Valery Gergiev will open the season in October with the very first concert in the Isar Philharmonic Hall, with acclaimed pianist Daniil Trifonov performing all five of Beethoven’s piano concertos in one cycle; something he has never done before. Valery Gergiev will also launch the “Fokus: Tanz” with works by Ravel and Stravinsky, as well as the portrait of Strauss with A Hero’s Life. Along with two more recent masterpieces from Henri Dutilleux and Olga Neuwirth, two world premières – from Thierry Escaich and Rodion Shchedrin – give us yet more occasions to look ahead into the future.

The Munich Philharmonic’s second festival, in February 2022, will see the orchestra celebrate the mood of optimism of the 1920s, with the century-old Hall E providing the perfect backdrop and linking the pro-gramme together. Working with Wayne Marshall, who is renowned for his ability to straddle the boundary between jazz and classical music, the Munich Philharmonic has curated an exciting programme that blends the sounds of jazz, dance and symphony. Once evening falls, Hall E will then transform into the setting for the Moka Efti of Munich.

In June 2022, Krzysztof Urbanski will create a festival weekend celebrating Stanley Kubrick’s classic film “2001: Space Odyssey” and whisking the audience away on a voyage deep into our cosmos. The familiar sounds of Ligeti and Strauss from Kubrick’s film will join the atmospheric violin concerto “Concentric Paths” by Thomas Adès, with violinist Augustin Hadelich. Film music fans can also look forward to an interactive concert, as well as other fringe events exploring the exciting relationship between music, astronomy and film.

Focus: Dance

The sense of anticipation as the Munich Philharmonic looks ahead to the first season in its new home is probably most evident in the “Fokus: Tanz”, featuring a diverse range of captivating ballet and dance music. Energy, vitality, movement – all words that express the orchestra’s feelings about the move to Sendling; feelings that the musicians will convey to the audience through the music of Stravinsky, Piazolla, Kodaly, Ravel, Milhaud, Künneke and Bernstein in no fewer than six separate programmes throughout the season. And after each concert is over, transforming Hall E into a dance floor – once the pandemic allows it – makes absolute sense.  

Richard Strauss: A musical portrait of a Munich son

Like Anton Bruckner and Gustav Mahler, the music of Richard Strauss is a key element of the core repertoire of the Munich Philharmonic and has helped to shape the unique sound for which the orchestra is famous internationally. To give audiences the opportunity to enjoy this distinctive sound in all its glory thanks to the wonderful acoustics created by Yasuhisa Toyota in the new auditorium, the Munich Philharmonic has includ-ed most of Richard Strauss’s symphonic works in the programme for the 2021/22 season. Performances will be conducted by Valery Gergiev, Zubin Mehta, Tugan Sokhiev, Krzystzof Urbanski, Barbara Hannigan and Francois-Xavier Roth, and Camilla Nylund will sing the Four Last Songs on her first guest appearance with the orchestra. This long orchestral tradition will be focused in future seasons with special programme highlights.

Eight world premières, one “Neo” festival and several modern masterpieces

The 2021/22 season features no fewer than eight world premières by the Munich Philharmonic, as well as some of the most significant masterpieces by modern post-war composers. The Munich Philharmonic aims to use music to convey eagerness and a thirst for adventure with its “Neo” festival in January 2022. Over three consecutive weeks, the orchestra will perform new works from Fazil Say (1970– ), Julian Anderson (1967– ) and Lera Auerbach (1973– ) here in Munich. Within the individual programmes, these world premi-ères are set in contrast against some very well-known works from the repertoire, which were still regarded as bold, innovative or even revolutionary when they were created. These late works include Antonín Dvořák’s 9th symphony, Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony” and Sibelius’s 7th symphony. Other world premières are scheduled for this season for Claudia Montero (1962–2021), Anders Hillborg (1954– ), Thierry Escaich (1965– ) and Rodion Shchedrin (1932– ). As well as current and cutting-edge music, the programme also features masterpieces from post-war com-posers including Henri Dutilleux’s Métaboles, György Ligeti’s Atmospheres, Francis Poulenc’s La voix humaine and Olivier Messiaen’s monumental Turangalila symphony.

Renowned soloists and a breath of fresh air in Sendling

The musicians of the Munich Philharmonic are not the only people looking forward to live music in the Isar Philharmonic Hall; many long-standing friends of the orchestra have taken up the invitation to the first sea-son in Sendling. Popular guests including violinist Lisa Batiashvili and pianists Yefim Bronfman, Rudolf Buchbinder and Jean-Yves Thibaudet are excited about being able to get closer to the audience in the new auditorium. Brothers Renaud and Gautier Capucon will premiere two concertos that have been written spe-cially for them. Soloists including Ksenija Sidorova (accordion) and Jess Gillam (saxophone), along with debuting conductors Giedre Slekyte and Simone Menezes also promise to give fresh impetus to Sendling. Carolin Widmann and Nicolas Altstaedt will make their first appearances with the Munich Philharmonic, while previous guest Isabelle Faust will make a welcome return after long time.

Great moments in choral symphonies

The Philharmonic Choir is also moving to Sendling and, in addition to the traditional performance of Bee-thoven’s 9th symphony at New Year, audiences also have several other great moments in choral sympho-nies to look forward to during the first season. Philippe Herreweghe will make his debut with the orchestra with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem and a first-class ensemble of soloists. In the week leading up to Easter 2022, Paavo Järvi will conduct the German Requiem by Johannes Brahms, with soloists Mari Eriksmoen and Matthias Goerne. And last but definitely not least, the Buddha Passion by Tan Dun, which was premièred by the Munich Philharmonic in Dresden in 2018 to rapturous applause, will finally receive its delayed Munich première in May 2022.

New family musical to curdle your blood

The Munich Philharmonic intends to build on the sustained success of the “Ristorante Allegro” musical over the last ten years with a new production. In partnership with the Münchner Volkstheater, Munich’s own thea-tre, the family musical “Senta und die verfluchte Partitur” ("Senta and the cursed musical score”) will be premièred in May 2022. As well as playing the actual music, the orchestra will also have a more active scenic role in the musical. The story has been developed by Spielfeld Klassik, the education department of the Munich Philharmonic, and the music was written by composer Felix Janosa, who is also known for the chil-dren’s book series “Ritter Rost”.

Balanced programme with something for everyone

As the Munich Philharmonic moves to the Isar Philharmonic Hall, ensuring that it offers a diverse pro-gramme that has something for all music lovers in the city has become more of a priority than ever. The works that are on the programme for the 2021/22 season are a balanced mix in terms of when they were written. Around one third of the programme is dedicated to music written before 1900 – mainly the romantic repertoire with the occasional departure into classical and baroque – while another third looks at music writ-ten between 1900 and 1950, and the remaining third is works written as recently as from 1950 to 2022. Over-all, around one work in six on the programme highlights contemporary music, from the last two decades to the present day.