The Year’s Finale
New orchestral work (world premiere)
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.
Iwona Sobotka - Soprano
Iwona Sobotka achieved international acclaim as the Grand Prize winner of the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition in Belgium. Other awards include First Prize at the Warsaw Polish Art Song Competition and First Prize at the East & West Artists International Auditions in New York, that resulted in her debut concert in Carnegie Hall.
Recent and upcoming engagements include, among others, concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle in Beethoven’s “Christ on the Mount of Olives”, the London Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Festspiele Baden-Baden, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg under Marek Janowski in Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder.
Iwona Sobotka made her operatic debut at the National Opera in Paris in 2004, where she performed the roles of the First Lady (“The Magic Flute”) and Ygraine (Dukas’ “Ariane et Barbe-Bleue”). She also appeared at the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival in the title role of Halka and Liù (Puccini’s “Turandot”) to great critical acclaim. Other roles have included Tatyana (Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin”) and Donna Anna (Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”) under Teodor Currentzis for the Tchaikovsky Perm State Opera; and Violetta (Verdi’s “La traviata”), Pamina (“The Magic Flute”) and Mimi (Puccini’s “La bohème”) for Opera Podlaska. In 2017 she made her Komische Oper Berlin debut as Pamina, performing also with Komische Oper Berlin on tour to Australia, New Zealand, Macao and Taiwan. She made her Osterfestspiele Baden-Baden debut as Blumenmädchen in Wagner’s Parsifal with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle one year later.
Past performances on the concert stage include a concert tour in Asia with the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; as well as appearances with the London Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, Vienna Symphony, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. With the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin she has appeared numerous times.
In 2010, Sobotka took part in a ‘Szymanowski Focus’ programme curated by distinguished Polish pianist Piotr Anderszewski to promote the music of Karol Szymanowski in London at the Wigmore Hall and in New York at Carnegie Hall. Following her graduation from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, Iwona continued her studies with the renowned artist and pedagogue Tom Krause at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid.
Vasilisa Bershanskaya - Alto
Since the 2017/18 season Vasilisa Berzhanskaya is an ensemble member at Deutsche Oper Berlin, where she sings roles such as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Marchesa Melibea in Il Viaggio a Reims, Sonyetka in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Siebel in Faust among others. Other engagements include Angelina in La Cenerentola at Theater Basel and Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Salzburger Festival and Mikhailovsky Theater, St-Petersburg.
Vasilisa’s future engagements include her house debuts at ROH Covent Garden, Bavarian State Opera, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Dutch National Opera and Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, numerous main roles at Deutsche Oper Berlin. She will also return to Salzburger Festival, Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro and Theater Basel. Her future engagements include such roles as as Vagaus in Juditha Triumphans, Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Vittelia in La Clemenza di Tito, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Alt Solo in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Aristea in L’Olimpiade, the title role in Carmen, La Muse/ Nicklausse in The Tales of Hoffmann, Olga in Evgeny Onegin etc.
Highlights of 2016/17 season include her debut at Bolshoi Theater Moscow as Despina in Cosi fan tutte and as Marchesa Melibea in Il Viaggio a Reims at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro. In the 2016/17 season she also debuted at the Salzburg Festival 2017 as Madame Pfeil in Mozart’s Schauspieldirektor and participated in a Gala Concert as a member of the Young Artists Program.
In the seasons 2015/17 Vasilisa Berzhanskaya was member of Young Artist Opera Program of Bolshoi Theater. Since then her vocal couch is Dmitry Vdovin.
Vasilisa Berzhanskaya appeared in Vladivostok Opera theatre, in Mariinsky Theatre in St-Petersburg, Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow, and participated at the 2015 International Musical Olympus Festival in St-Petersburg Philharmony, Tonhalle Zürich and at the Carnegie Hall, New York.
Born 1993 in Yessentuki, Russia, Vasilisa Berzhanskaya graduated from the vocal department of Stavropol Territorial Musical College (STMC) named after V. I. Safonov and the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music (Master’s degree, Prof. R. Lisitsian).
David Butt Philip
David Butt Philip - Tenor
In the 2019/20 season, Butt Philip makes a series of exciting debuts including Florestan in a new Fidelio at Glyndebourne and in Prague; Prince Rusalka at ENO, where audiences can also see him as Don Jose Carmen; a major role and house debut as Lohengrin with Opera Australia; and a company debut at Oper Köln in the title role of Brett Dean’s Hamlet in a new production by Matthew Jocelyn. Highlights on the concert platform include Verdi Requiem with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and performances of Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin at New Year, and with the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder at Bridgewater Hall and the Barbican.
Last season, Butt Philip debuted the title role of Der Zwerg in a new production by Tobias Kratzer at Deutsche Oper Berlin which earned him huge international critical acclaim. He also returned to Madrid to sing Froh Das Rheingold in the new Ring Cycle production of Teatro Real. British audiences saw him at Royal Opera House as Grigoriy Boris Godunov; ENO in Daniel Kramer’s new production of Britten’s War Requiem for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award; and at Opera Holland Park in his debut as Count Vaudemont in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta. His busy concert season included Beethoven Symphony No. 9 on New Years’ Eve with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin and Vladimir Jurowski, Dream of Gerontius at Gloucester Cathedral, Tippet’s A Child of our Time in Lisbon, Beethoven Missa Solemnis with Rundfunkchor Berlin and Kammerakademie Potsdam, Verdi Requiem with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall and Faust La damnation de Faust with the Hallé Orchestra.
Recent engagements include his company debut with Teatro Real as Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex in Sir David McVicar’s new production of Gloriana as well as taking on the title role of Brett Dean’s Hamlet with Glyndebourne on Tour. Other highlights include Erik Der fliegende Hollander at Opéra de Lille Folco in Mascagni’s Isabeau at Opera Holland Park, Laertes in the premiere of Brett Dean’s Hamlet at Glyndebourne, Narraboth Salome at Royal Opera House and Laca Jenufa with Opera North. On the concert platform, Butt Philip performed Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder, Verdi’s Requiem with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Britten’s War Requiem with Opera Orchestra National Montpellier and Orquestra Sinfonica Portuguesa, Brett Dean’s From Melodius Lay with Vladimir Jurowski and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and Prokofiev’s Seven, they are seven with the Philharmonia under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy. He also made his role debut as Faust La damnation de Faust in a concert performance with the Orchestra of Opera North.
On the concert platform he has performed Froh Das Rheingold with the Hallé Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Tanglewood Festival, Beethoven 9 with both the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo and the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with the Tonnkünstler Orchestra at Musikverein Vienna, Handel’s Messiah with the Mozart Festival Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, Prokofiev’s Seven, they are seven with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms, Mahler Das Klagende Lied with Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle at the Barbican and Haydn Nelson Mass with the Hallé under Sir Mark Elder.
Butt Philip was born and brought up in Wells in Somerset and was a chorister at Peterborough Cathedral. He is a graduate of Royal Northern College of Music, the Royal Academy of Music, and the National Opera Studio and also a Samling Artist, an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music and winner of the prestigious John Christie Award in 2011.
Paul Gay - Basso
French bass-baritone Paul Gay is known internationally for his portrayals of leading roles in the French repertoire. He collaborates with conductors such as Ivan Fischer, Seiji Ozawa, Michel Plasson, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Semyon Bychkov, Philippe Jordan, Alain Altinoglu, William Christie, Emmanuelle Haïm and has been invited for new productions by Willy Decker, Luc Bondy, Peter Stein, Richard Jones, Claus Guth, Laurent Pelly, Krzysztof Warlikowski, Robert Carsen.
His principle repertoire includes Golaud (Pelléas et Melisande), a role he has sung at the Paris Opera, at La Monnaie Brussels, in Oslo, Frankfurt, Torino and in Lyon, and Mephisto (Faust), which he has been invited to sing at the Paris Opera, the Maggio Musicale Firenze and at the Bordeaux Opera. Other signature roles include Saint François, which he debuted in a new production at the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, where he has also appeared in productions of Der Zwerg, I Capuletti e i Montecchi, L’enfant et les sortilèges.
Paul is a regular guest at the Paris Opera where his roles have included Don Fernando (Fidelio), Harasta (The Cunning Little Vixen), Achilla (Giulio Cesare), Don Diègue (Le Cid), Flint (Billy Budd) and Le Comte des Grieux (Manon). He also appears regularly in Brussels, Frankfurt and Lyon and he made his North American debut as Escamillo (Carmen) at the Canadian Opera Company. 2016 also saw him appear as Frère Laurent in Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette in Amsterdam.
He has taken part in several contemporary creations including ‘L’Ecole des Femmes’ by Rolf Liebermann at the Bordeaux Opera and Philippe Boesmans’ opera, Yvonne Princesse de Bourgogne, a production seen in Paris, Brussels and Vienna.
Having completed his studies, winning a ‘Premier Prix’ at the Paris Conservatory, Paul went on to gain his first operatic experience as a company member in Osnabrück, performing roles such as Colline (la Bohème), a role which he returned to in Barcelona in 2016, Walter (Luisa Miller) and the title role of Don Quichotte. He gained attention as a prize-winner in several international vocal competitions and he continued his vocal development, taking lessons in Cologne with the renowned bass Kurt Moll.
2017/2018 saw his return to the role of Mephisto at Monte Carlo, as well as productions of Aida in Hong Kong, and Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Dutch National Opera. He appeared at Oviedo Opera in Pelléas et Mélisande and at the Dorset Opera Festival as Don Diegue in Massenet’s Le Cid. He also sang in L’Enfant et les Sortilèges with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Seiki Ozawa, for which he received a Grammy Award in 2016 for best opera recording with the same conductor.
Rundfunkchor Berlin - Chor
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.
A festive farewell to 2018 with Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and a worl premiere
Concert introduction: No pre-concert talk
Concert introduction: No pre-concert talk