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Festival: Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival


September 14th – 17th 2017

The Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival in a nutshell. When Valery Gergiev became Principal Conductor in 1995 he and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra decided to hold an ambitious multi-day musical event. One year later, they presented the Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival.

What began in 1996 as a themed concert series grew into a large-scale music festival. The 2001 edition was a major milestone, because it adopted a multi-disciplinary format to spotlight Shostakovich and his War Symphonies. In 2003 the Festival chose a ‘difficult composer’ in Prokofiev, but thanks to the wide range of programmes it managed to attract a record number of visitors. Further successes were achieved in the festival featuring Tchaikovsky (2004) and the edition entitled Fin-de-siècle Icons (2005) with music including works by Wagner and Strauss.

In 2006 the Festival entered its second decade, with Freedom as its motto. There was now no focus on a particular composer or musical period, but a theme that gives every opportunity to place the music in a wider context. That course was pursued in the editions Night of Love, Heaven and Earth, Eternal Youth and a festival triptych about Rotterdam: Resurrection (2010), Sea & the City (2011) en Sea & You (2012). And in 2013, exactly 25 years after his debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra the festival marked Valery Gergiev’s ‘silver’ affiliation with the city.

This years theme of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival is Russian avant-garde. Exactly 100 years after year of the revolution 1917, the festival highlights the most adventurous time in Russian music with composers such as Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich. With four symphonic concerts, two chamber music programs and one family concert, the festival focuses on the experimental period of Russian avant-garde.

For full information, visit the Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival website. 


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A new world from the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Nézet-Séguin at the Gergiev Festival

Aaron Copland was one of the most important American composers of the last century. The inclusion of his Clarinet Concerto and Dvořák’s Symphony no. 9 made this program one inspired by the US. The theme of this year’s Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival, Sea & You, of course suits this beautifully – after all, we hear the skyscrapers coming up from the sea in Dvořák’s symphony.
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Opening of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival

Rachmaninov’s symphonic poem The Isle of the Dead is an intense piece of music. Inspired by a painting by Böcklin, Rachmaninov tells us of the journey to the underworld. The first moments of the piece are crucial to any performance, and Valery Gergiev lead the Rotterdam Philharmonic into a heavy and emotionally laden rendition.
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