LSM Newswire

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Third annual Grafenegg Music Festival in Austria opens August 20 with Tan Dun as Composer in Residence



20th August 6th September 2009

Rudolf Buchbinder, Artistic Director

Tan Dun, Composer in Residence

"The Festival has connected with its audience and also with musicians, including at this year's festival Nicolaj Znaider, Colin Davis, Charles Dutoit and Jean-YvesThibaudet, all of whom appeared to relish the atmosphere and the acoustics of the two halls." FINANCIAL TIMES, 4th October 2008

London The Grafenegg Music Festival launched in 2007 under the artistic direction of Rudolf Buchbinder, Austria's most eminent pianist. Now, with the announcement of the programme for 2009, Grafenegg has proved itself the premier location for relaxed, open-air music making, with exceptional artists. Located in glorious parklands, Grafenegg boasts a fine open-air auditorium Wolkenturm built for the purpose with a capacity of 1730, and a new 1300-seat auditorium.

The Grafenegg Music Festival is the culmination of a summer programme that opens on Friday June 19th with a Midsummer Night's Gala featuring Lang Lang and Janine Jansen. Musical Summer is a series of Saturday evening concerts, five with the Tonknstler Orchestra - Grafenegg's resident orchestra - and two each from the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO). The orchestras will be resident in Grafenegg from two to four weeks. Buchbinder who is the artistic director for both Musical Summer and for the Festival resents the straight-jacket imposed on artists by 'themed' festivals, and consequently gives the artists that he invites carte blanche to perform the repertoire of their choice. "Our maxim is and will remain quality, and that applies to our artists just as much as it does to the programmes we offer at Grafenegg." As a performer, Buchbinder is confident of his audiences' ability to discern and the Festival's box-office receipts would seem to bear out his confidence.

Testament also to Buchbinder's strategy is the line-up for orchestras and soloists for this year's Festival. Zubin Mehta, who appeared with the Israel Philharmonic in 2007, is returning in 2009 with the Vienna Philharmonic; the London Symphony Orchestra whose first concerts at the Festival were with Valery Gergiev, are returning this year for two concerts with Sir Colin Davis, who last year conducted the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra in Grafenegg. The Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra are also returning in 2009, this time with Jonathan Nott and Matthias Goerne. New to Grafenegg are the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic under Sakari Oramo, the Budapest Festival Orchestra with Ivn Fischer, the Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with Sir Roger Norrington. Also appearing are soloists Leonidas Kavakos, David Blackadder, Annette Dasch and Emanuel Ax, as well as Andreas Scholl who will be appearing with The Shield of Harmony.

The Festival opens with opera stars, Joseph Calleja and Ferruccio Furlanetto singing a programme of arias and duets, and accompanied by the Tonknstler Orchestra conducted by Andrs Orozco-Estrada, the orchestra's newly appointed chief conductor. Tonknstler's subsequent performances at the Festival include a performance of Carmina Burana conducted by outgoing chief conductor, Kristjan Jrvi (29th August), and the final concert of the Festival, when the Festival's composer in residence Tan Dun will conduct the world premiere of his own Earth Concerto for stone and ceramic instruments with orchestra.

Oscar and Grammy winning composer Tan Dun composed Earth Concerto for stone and ceramic instruments with orchestra as the result of a commission from Grafenegg Music Festival and will conduct its premiere alongside Piano Concerto "The Fire", also written by Tan Dun, and Manuel de Falla's Suite El Amor Brujo. Earth Concerto is the third and final work of a concert trilogy, the other parts of which - Paper Concerto for paper percussion and orchestra and Water Concerto for water percussion and orchestra - will be performed the previous week. Earlier on September 6th will be a concert of Tan Dun's chamber music and a screening of his films The Map and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

In addition to the main concerts, there will be Prlude concerts on Saturdays and Sundays at 4.30pm; and pre-concert talks by eminent musicologists before each of the main concerts. In all, 15,000 tickets will be available ranging in price from Ǩ10 to Ǩ99, including access to the magnificent grounds of Grafenegg Castle any time during the day of the concert.

The completion of the 1300-seat auditorium in 2008 in a recently converted riding school completed the Ǩ25 million development at Grafenegg, which started in 2007 with the opening of the Wolkenturm, a 1730-seat open-air auditorium. Set in 32 hectares of landscaped gardens, Grafenegg Music Festival takes place in the grounds of Grafenegg Castle, which belongs to the family of Tassilo Metternich-Sndor, Prince of Ratibor and Corvey. Grafenegg is in the Wachau valley - bordering the Danube an area known for its picturesque medieval villages, and to wine connoisseurs, as the home of the Grner Veltliner, a variety of grape that produces some of the world's finest white wines.

"Beyond a doubt, the Music Festival remains the highlight of Grafenegg. With the expansion of the Musical Summer we now want to put the facility to its best possible use and at the same time offer a summer residence for young, dynamic orchestras." RUDOLF BUCHBINDER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Artistic Director: RUDOLF BUCHBINDER

Pianist and musical ambassador, Rudolf Buchbinder has a formidable reputation and is dedicated to the performance of what has been called the 'New Testament' in piano literatureall 32 piano sonatas by Beethoven. He has played concerts featuring the complete cycle of the Beethoven Sonatas in more than 30 cities worldwide, including Berkeley, Munich, Vienna, Hamburg, Zurich, and Buenos Aires. He owns more than 18 complete editions of Beethoven's sonatas and has an extensive collection of autograph scores, first editions, and original documents. With a discography that extends to more than 100 recordings, Buchbinder has received numerous accolades for his performances, of which a recent highlight was a series of concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic featuring Mozart's twelve piano concertos recorded for DVD.


The new 1300 seat auditorium has been designed by Dortmund based architects Schrder Schulte-Ladbeck and compliments the open-air stage Wolkenturm (Pillar of Cloud) with which the first festival was inaugurated in 2007.

Orchestra in Residence: TONKNSTLER ORCHESTRA

The Tonknstler Orchestra is one of the most important institutions of traditional Austrian musical culture, but for several years now it has also been pursuing unconventional paths into the orchestral future. As Austria's first orchestra to employ an education officer, the Tonknstler brings its special expertise to the Grafenegg Music Festival, a series of Sunday morning family education workshops Tonspiele designed to enable audiences to develop their own relationship with the orchestra.

"Not by chance do events take place on the grounds of Schloss Grafenegg , the ancient castle of the Metternich family. Indeed, the festival is the result of a confluence of separate but complementary interests. One is the urge of the Tonknstler Orchestra of Vienna to have a summer home. Another is the desire of the government of Lower Austria to attract tourists to the regions, which is also home to some of the country's finest wine-producing areas. Prince Tassilo Metternich-Sndor, the family patriarch, saw possibilities for safeguarding the renovation and maintenance of the castle, a tourist attraction in its own right. When the eminent Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder signed on as artistic director, he brought with him a pipeline to top talent." INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE 5 September 2008

Complete Festival programme at

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