Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 9
“Prolog” für Mezzosopran und Orchester auf einen Text von Kerstin Hensel (Uraufführung)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 9 in D minor, op. 125 with final choral of Schiller’s “Ode to Joy”
Vladimir Jurowski - Conductor
Vladimir Jurowski has been Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin since 2017. He has meanwhile extended his contract until 2027. In parallel, he has been General Music Director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich since 2021.
After receiving training at the Moscow Conservatory The conductor, pianist and musicologist Vladimir Jurowski emigrated to Germany in 1990. Here he continued his studies at the music conservatories in Dresden and Berlin. In 1995 he made his international debut at the British Wexford Festival with Rimski-Korsakov’s Mainacht and in the same year at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden with Nabucco. Subsequently he was, among other things, First Kapellmeister of the Komische Oper Berlin (1997- 2001) and Music Director of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera (2001-2013). In 2003 Vladimir Jurowski was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and has been its Principal Conductor since 2007 until 2021. He was also Artistic Director of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra Yevgeny Svetlanov of the Russian Federation until 2021, Artistic Director of the International George Enescu Festival in Bucharest and Principal Artist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in Great Britain. He works regularly with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the ensemble unitedberlin.
Vladimir Jurowski has conducted the major orchestras of Europe and North America, including the Berlin, Vienna and New York Philharmonic Orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the Boston and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.
He is a recurring guest conductor in in London, Berlin, Dresden, Luzern, Schleswig-Holstein und Grafenegg as well as at the Rostopowitsch-Festival. Although Vladimir Jurowski is invited as a guest conductor by top orchestras from all over the world, in future he would like to concentrate his activities on that geographical area which is acceptable to him from an ecological point of view.
In 2022/2023 he performed with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin in concerts in various cities in Germany, Italy and Antwerp in the Netherlands. The joint CD recordings of Vladimir Jurowski and the RSB began in 2015 with Alfred Schnittke’s Symphony No. 3, followed by works by Britten, Hindemith, Strauss, Mahler and soon again Schnittke.
Vladimir Jurowski has been the recipient of numerous awards for his achievements, including various international record prizes. In 2016, he was bestowed an honorary doctorate from Prince Charles at the Royal College of Music in London. In 2018, the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards named him Conductor of the Year. In summer 2020, Jurowski was awarded the Order of Cultural Merit by the Romanian President in recognition of his work as Artistic Director of the George Enescu Festival.
Natalia Ponomarchuk - Conductor
Natalia Ponomarchuk is one of the most demanded orchestra conductors in Ukraine.
She is the Chief Conductor of Kyiv Chamber Orchestra of National Philharmonic of Ukraine. She was Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Dnipro Academic Symphony Orchestra of Dnipro Philharmonic of Ukraine since 2003 to 2020. Ms. Ponomarchuk has also served as the Conductor of National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine (2009-2011).
In addition to these positions, Natalia frequently appears as a guest conductor with National Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra and Lviv Academic Philharmonic Orchestra “INSO- Lviv”. She served as the conductor of National Ensemble of Soloists “Kiev Camerata” in 2007-2009. Natalia has also conducted performances at Ukrainian international music festivals: “Kiev Music Fest”, “First Performances of the Year”, “Kiev Summer Music Evenings”, “Youth Music”, “Contrasts”.
Ms. Ponomarchuk had numerous appearances as an orchestra conductor in all major Ukrainian cities.In addition to her work in Ukraine, Ms. Ponomarchuk has frequently toured, as a guest conductor, throughout Europe, with performances at the following halls: Teatro Real (Madrid, Spain), Auditorio Nacional (Madrid, Spain), Teatro Zarzuela (Madrid, Spain), Palau de la Musica Catalana (Barcelona, Spain), Teatro Colon (Coruna, Spain), Queen Sophia Palace of the Arts (Valencia, Spain), Conference Centre and Concert Hall (Bilbao, Spain), Kursaal (San-Sebastian, Spain), Auditorio de Galicia (Santiago, Spain), Teatro Monumentale (Lisboa, Portugal), Casa da Musica (Porto, Portugal), Sala Verdi Conservatorio (Milan, Italy), Congress Hall (Warsaw, Poland), Thessaloniki Concert Hall (Greece), The Presidential Symphony Orchestra Concert Hall and Choir Buildings, Bilkent Concert Hall (Turkey) etc.
Recently, Ms. Ponomarchuk appeared as a conductor with the following orchestras: Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado do Espirito Santo (Brazil), Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra, Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, Presidential Symphony Orchestra (Turkey), Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra (Greece), Chongqing Philharmonic Orchestra (Chine), Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra etc.
Throughout her career as a conductor, Natalia made numerous audio and video recordings, both in Ukraine and abroad. She served as a conductor at Ukrainian National Radio Company in 1996-1998, with broadcasts on Ukrainian radio and TV. Also, Ms. Ponomarchuk has audio and video recordings on Polish Radio. Natalia appeared in concerts with many internationally renowned soloists, among them: Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Sergei Nakariakov, Vadim Rudenko, Alexander Knyazev, Qian Zhou, Benjamin Schmid, Lukaš Vondraček, Florian Eggner, Laszlo Fenyo, Denis Severin, Otto Sauter, Simonide Braconi, Leticia Moreno, Dominique De Williencourt, Valery Sokolov, Alexey Semenenko, DimaTkachenko, Alexei Grynyuk. Ms.Ponomarchuk is highly regarded by professional musicians. Yevhen Stankovych, one of the foremost contemporary Ukrainian composers, wrote the following words about her: “Although Ms. Ponomarchuk is relatively young, she has already achieved the level of a world-class orchestra conductor. Her conducting style is defined by strong discipline, powerful energy and the ability to deeply understand creative ideas in the music of past and present. That’s why every contemporary Ukrainian composer wants his/her orchestral music to be conducted by Natalia Ponomarchuk.”
Johanna Wallroth - Soprano
“Sparkling Swedish soprano” Johanna Wallroth was thrust into the limelight in 2019 when she took First Prize in the prestigious Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition with her “immediately engaging, intelligent and detailed performance” (Bachtrack). Wallroth has subsequently joined the Opernstudio of Wiener Staatsoper from the 20/21 season and is the recent recipient of the prestigious 2021 Birgit Nilsson Scholarship.
Originally trained at the Royal Swedish Ballet School, Wallroth shifted her principle focus to voice, going on to graduate from Vienna’s Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst (MDW). She made her operatic debut in 2013, as Barbarina (Le Nozze di Figaro) under Arnold Östman at Ulriksdal Palace Theatre, Stockholm and subsequently appearing as Eurydice (Orfeo ed Eurydice) at MDW Wien, Despina (Così fan tutte) at Vienna’s Schlosstheater Schönbrunn and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) at Moscow’s Gnesin Academy. Johanna has since returned to Schlosstheater Schönbrunn as both Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel) and Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), portrayed the role of Ismene in Telemann’s Orpheus at Vadstena Castle and performed the roles of Sandmännchen and Taumännchen (Hänsel und Gretel) in a new production for Norrlandsoperan, Umeå.
Last season, Johanna Wallroth joined Sakari Oramo at Helsinki Music Centre in Mahler’s Symphony No 4, gave solo recitals with pianists Magnus Svensson in Stockholm’s Konserthuset and Berwaldhallen, and Kristian Attila at the Savonlinna Festival and made her role debut as Zerlina in a live-streamed semi-staged performance of Don Giovanni with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Music Director, Daniel Harding.
In addition to her Wiener Staatsoper commitments in the 20/21 season, which included a livestream performance of Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro under Philippe Jordan, Johanna performed Barber and Stravinsky in concert with the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, under Sakari Oramo. The coming season includes appearances with the Wiener Staatsoper alongside Mahler’s Symphony No 4 on tour with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, under Daniel Harding and Mozart’s Requiem with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, under Barbara Hannigan.
Mezzo / Alto
Karolina Gumos - Mezzo / Alto
Karolina Gumos is engaged as a house soloist at the Komische Oper Berlin. Her parts here include Octavian in Strauss´s “Der Rosenkavalier” and the title role Prince Charmant in „ Cendrillon“ by Massenet, Idamante in „Idomeneo“, Polina in “Pique Dame”, Prinz Orlofsky in “The Fledermaus”, Rosina in “The Barber of Seville” and Dorabella in Mozarts “Cosi fan tutte”.
The mezzosoprano Karolina Gumos was born in Gdynia (Poland). She studied the violin before turning to singing. After successfully completing her Recital Diploma at the Poznan Music College with Professor Wojciech Maciejowski she decided to continue advanced studies as a mezzo-soprano with Professor Anneliese Fried at the Hanns Eisler music college in Berlin.
She performed frequently in oratoros by Bach, Händel, Mozart and Pergolesi. Karolina Gumos attended masterclasses and took part in numerous radio and television broadcasts with ARTE and the ZDF in Germany and Polish Radio 1. She has been invited to festivals such as “Ruhrtriennale” in Duisburg and Bochum, „Händel-Festspiele“ in Karlsruhe, “Vratislavia Cantans” in Wroclaw, Schloss Rheinsberg Chamber Opera Festival and the Lutoslawski Festival.
She has been a prizewinner in the international Ada Sari Singing Competition.
Karolina Gumos was engaged as a house soloist at the Dortmund Opera by the director of opera, Christine Mielitz. Here she was singing such roles as Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Annina (Rosenkavalier), Fenena (Nabucco), Cherubino (Figaro), Olga (Eugen Onegin), Suzuki (Madame Butterfly) and Dorabella (Cosi fan Tutte).
She was also engaged as a house soloist at the State Theater Braunschweig. Here she sang roles such as Nicklausse / La Muse (Contes d´ Hoffmann), Ottavia (L´incorinazione di Poppea), Sextus (La Clemenza di Tito) and the title role in the first performance in Germany of Philippe Boesmans´”Julie”.
She has performed with famous conductors (such as Reinhard Schwarz, Peter Schneider, Peter Gülke, Wladimir Jurowski, Friedermann Layer, Sebastian Weigle, Stefan Soltesz, Michael Boder, Michael Hofstetter, Ion Marin, Pedro Halffter, Alexander Vedernikov, Marcus Bosch, Jörg Peter Weigle, Eugeniusz Kus and Arthur Fagen) and she has also worked with opera producers as Willy Decker, Stefan Herheim, Heiner Goebbels, Hans Neuenfels, Barrie Kosky, Damiano Micheletto, Marco Arturo Marelli, Christine Mielitz, Udo Samel, Beverly Blankenship, Lucas Kindermann, Uwe Schwarz and Sebastian Baumgarten. She has guest contracts with the Teatro de la Maestranza in Sevilla, the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, the Semperoper Dresden, the Hamburg State Opera , the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Opernhaus Frankfurt am Main, the BESETO Opera Seoul, and has given concerts in Spain, Poland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Latvia, Belgium, Norway and Korea.
Jeremy Ovenden - Tenor
British tenor Jeremy Ovenden is considered one of the most sought-after Mozart tenors of his generation and a welcome international guest on the opera and concert stage.
Projects in the past season include Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra under Philippe Herreweghe and its Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with the Bamberg Philharmonic, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Zaide with the Munich Radio Orchestra under Rinaldo Alessandrini, Mozart’s Requiem with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Bernard Labadie, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in Bergen and Stavanger, and the title role in Mozart’s Idomeneo at the Teatro Real in Madrid. In Haydn’s Harmoniemesse No. 14 in B-flat major (Hob: XXII), Jeremy Ovenden was featured as soloist at the 2019 Herbstgold Festival in Eisenstadt, conducted by Fabio Biondi. Furthermore, in the 2019/2020 season Jeremy Ovenden performed Handel’s Theodora Concertante at the Vienna Konzerthaus together with Jonathan Cohen and his ensemble Arcangelo, made a guest appearance at New York’s Carnegie Hall under the baton of Bernard Labadie as soloist in Beethoven’s Mass in C major op. 86. Other concert stops in the 2019/2020 season included a European tour of Haydn’s The Seasons under Paul McCreesh and his Gabrieli Consort, Bach’s Mass in B minor with the Orquesta Nacional de España under David Afkham in Madrid, and the Evangelist part in Bach’s St. John Passion with the Danish Sønderjyllands Symfoniorkester.
Other highlights include Britten’s Serenade and its War Requiem with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem at the Edinburgh International Festival and the BBC Proms under Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Haydn’s The Seasons with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester under Andrew Manze, the Gabrieli Consort under Paul McCreesh (also documented as a recording) and with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under Sir Simon Rattle. Jeremy Ovenden’s concert repertoire also includes works such as Mendelssohn’s Elijah and The First Walpurgis Night, Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, Edward Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, and Hector Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ. Jeremy Ovenden also appeared as soloist under the direction of René Jacobs in George Frideric Handel’s oratorios Saul, Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno and La Resurrezione.
Jeremy Ovenden has performed works by Johann Sebastian Bach, including as soloist in his Christmas Oratorio with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski, as Evangelist in the St. Matthew Passion with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, as Evangelist in the St. John Passion with the WDR Sinfonieorchester, and as tenor (arias) in the St. Matthew Passion with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under Ivor Bolton.
Jeremy Ovenden’s most recent operatic appearances include the title role in Mozart’s Lucio Silla in Brussels, Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) at the Edinburgh Festival and Titus in La clemenza di Tito in Toulouse and Madrid. Other roles in his repertoire include Nerone in Claudio Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea and the title role in the latter’s l’Orfeo, George Frideric Handel’s Bajazet (Tamerlano), Grimoaldo (Rodelinda) and Jupiter (Semele), and Belfiore in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera. As Idomeneo in Mozart’s opera of the same name, Jeremy Ovenden makes guest appearances at leading international houses such as the Theater an der Wien, the Teatro Real in Madrid, and the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York.
Jeremy Ovenden’s extensive discography includes works from Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Mark and St. John Passions as well as selections from his cantata oeuvre, George Frideric Handel’s oratorios Saul and L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, and Joseph Haydn’s The Creation and The Seasons. A considerable number of recordings are dedicated to the early operatic works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Il sogno di Scipione, La Betulia liberata, La finta semplice, L’oca del Cairo and Lo sposo deluso). Also entirely dedicated to Mozart is Jeremy Ovenden’s solo album recorded with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Jonathan Cohen, which was released on the Signum Classics label under the title An italian journey.
Markus Marquardt - Basso
German bass baritone Markus Marquardt is a member of the ensemble of Semperoper Dresden and a regular guest on international stages, especially in Italian repertoire and German Helden-Fach.
More recent highlights include the role of Adam in the world premiere of Torsten Rasch’s Die andere Frau at Semperoper Dresden, Wotan/Die Walküre in a concert performance with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski, Nekrotzar in a new production of Calixto Bieto in Le Grand Macabre at Semperoper Dresden, conducted by Omer Meir Wellber, his return to Wiener Staatsoper as Jaroslav Prus/Die Sache Makropulos, Holländer at Volksoper Wien, his house debut at Canadian Opera Company in Toronto as Scarpia, Rigoletto, Nabucco, Amfortas/Parsifal and Jochanaan at Staatsoper Stuttgart, Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder at De Nationale Opera Amsterdam and with the Dresden Staatskapelle under Christian Thielmann, Amfortas at Opéra National du Rhin and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Fabio Luisi.
Furthermore he has appeared as Don Fernando/Fidelio and Doktor/Wozzeck, both at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Jochanaan/Salome at Vienna State Opera, Teatro di San Carlo in Naples and at Cologne Opera, Wotan/Die Walküre and Nabucco, both at Leipzig Opera, Amonasro/Aida and the title role in Hindemith’s Cardillac at Wiener Staatsoper, Holländer, Rigoletto and Wanderer/Siegfried, all at Staatsoper Stuttgart, in the title role in Gianni Schicchi at Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Wotan/Die Walküre at Stadttheater Klagenfurt and Count Adorno in Schrecker’s Die Gezeichneten at Opéra de Lyon.
With round about 60 concerts per season, CD-recordings and international guest performances the Rundfunkchor Berlin is one of the world’s outstanding choral ensembles. Three Grammy® Awards alone mark the success of the ensemble. The exceptional breadth of its repertoire, an unmistakable warm, richly nuanced sound, absolute precision and delight in experimentation all contribute to making it one of the chosen partners of international orchestras and conductors such as Kirill Petrenko, Daniel Barenboim, Sir Simon Rattle, or Yannick NézetSéguin. It is the permanent partner of the Berliner Philharmoniker as well as of Berlin’s Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester and Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester and their Principal Conductors.
Rundfunkchor Berlin’s experimental project series has attracted great worldwide attention. In collaboration with artists from diverse disciplines, the chorus breaks down the classical concert formation and adopts new modes of choral music for a new audience. The interactive scenic version of Brahms’s »Ein deutsches Requiem« staged by Jochen Sandig and a team of Sasha Waltz & Guests – »human requiem« – became a milestone within the choir’s experimental repertoire with guest performances in New York, Hongkong, Paris, Adelaide and Istanbul. In its project »LUTHER dancing with the gods« the choir cooperated with director Robert Wilson and reflected upon Luthers impact within the arts in an extraordinary concert performance with music by Bach, Nystedt and Reich in march of 2017. In the season 2020/21 the Rundfunkchor Berlin presented the transdisciplinary project THE WORLD TO COME based on Beethovens »Missa solemnis«. Directed by Tilman Hecker, contemporary music genres are fusing with the masterpiece by Beethoven, guiding the audience on a musical journey into the world of tomorrow. National and international Artists including Moor Mother, Mohammad Reza Mortazavi, Planningtorock, Colin Self and Birke J. Bertelsmeier, came together to realize the heart of the new season in Berlin’s Vollgutlager.
With its community projects for various target groups – the big Sing-along Concert in the Berlin Philharmonie, the Festival of Choral Cultures for international choirs and the Liederbörse (Song Exchange) for children and young people – Rundfunkchor Berlin invites people of all ages to become immersed in the world of singing. Its long-term education programme SING!, encourages singing in Berlin’s elementary schools as an ongoing staple in everyday classes. With its Academy and Schola for young professional singers as well as the Berlin International Masterclass for highly qualified young choral conductors it supports the next generation.
Founded in 1925 the choir celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2015. Since its foundation the ensemble was shaped by conductors including Helmut Koch, Dietrich Knothe, Robin Gritton and Simon Halsey. As of season 2015/16 Gijs Leenaars has taken up his post as Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of Rundfunkchor Berlin. Simon Halsey was appointed Conductor Laureate and will retain his ties to the ensemble as regular guest conductor.
Rundfunkchor Berlin is an ensemble of RundfunkOrchester und -Chöre gGmbH Berlin (Shareholders: Deutschlandradio, the Federal Republic of Germany, the State of Berlin and Radio BerlinBrandenburg).
Benjamin Goodson - Chorus Master
In 2016/17 Benjamin Goodson took up his post as assistant of the principal conductor of the Rundfunkchor Berlin. Born in London in 1990 the British conductor studied music and musicology at the University of Oxford. Furthermore he studied conducting with renowned teachers and conductors like Sir Colin Davis, Paul Spicer and Ulrich Windfuhr.
In England he is the musical director of the award-winning Bath Camerata, which he took over in 2015. In the same year – by the age of 24 – he was named by the university to become Oxford’s youngest director of music, a position that he gave up for the Berlin engagement, while he still holds the position as chorus master at the Dorset Festival Opera. Moreover he is a regular guest conductor of various choirs and orchestras with a broad repertoire ranging from early music to contemporary works. In the season 2017/18 he worked with the, the MDR Rundfunkchor Leipzig, the NDR Chor Hamburg, the Netherlands Radio Choir and the London Symphony Chorus, which he prepared for a performance at the BBC Proms.
In the Rundfunkchor Berlin’s 2018/19 season Benjamin Goodson prepares the choir for several works such as Ralph Vaughan Williams’s “Sea Symphony” und Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2. In 2020/21 he will become principal conductor of the Netherlands Radio Choir.
Hope and Utopia
Would Beethoven ever have composed the Ninth if he had known how much it would be appropriated and abusively glorified by the left and the right on the one hand, and how much it would seemingly be reduced to absurdity again and again by warmongering and attacks on human freedom on the other? Yes, he would have composed it because he believed in the positive in people.
Ralf Hoyer, who was commissioned by the RSB to compose a work on a text by Kerstin Hensel, which Vladimir Jurowski had already planned to preface the symphony in 2020/2021, but which could not take place due to the pandemic, is also clear about this. “I am concerned with a meaningful addition that does not seem superfluous but, as a symphonic prologue for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, marks a contemporary starting point that already opens up a different listening perspective on the beginning of the symphony.”
Natalia Ponomarchuk, a conductor from Ukraine, will take over the baton from Vladimir Jurowski in the RSB’s New Year’s Eve concert to conduct two movements of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. “This is our homage to the culture of a country in the greatest existential danger.” (Vladimir Jurowski)
In 2022, millions of Ukrainians will have to spend the New Year without electricity, heating, water and with limited medical care. As part of the RSB concert, we would like to draw your attention to the work of Ukraine-Hilfe Berlin e.V.. The orchestra and its principal conductor have already helped the volunteer association to provide people in Ukraine with urgently needed relief supplies. With a direct donation to the Ukraine-Hilfe Berlin e.V. association, you too can give hope and strength to those affected by the war.
If you would like to support the work of the association, you can make your donation via the website Ukraine-Hilfe-Berlin.de.
Live broadcast on 30.12.2022 in the Zeiss-Großplanetarium with starry sky projection.
Radio broadcast DLF Kultur 6 on 31.12.2022, 3:05 p.m.
Christmas Concert – Singing Christmas
Family and school concert