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Aleix Palau | 4 May 2022

Ludovic Morlot comes to L’Auditori as resident conductor of Barcelona Symphony Orchestra (OBC) for the 2022-23 season, which takes “Death or Return” as its central theme.

L’Auditori presents the 2022-23 season, with the theme “Third movement: Death or Return”, the last part of an artistic narrative spread over three consecutive seasons.

Ludovic Morlot comes to L’Auditori as resident conductor of Barcelona Symphony Orchestra (OBC) for the 2022-23 season, which takes “Death or Return” as its central theme.

The Casals, Ebène, Jerusalem and Belcea quartets will be topping the bill in the Barcelona String Quartet Biennale, which will open the season.

Sofia Gubaidulina and Hans Abrahamsen, this season’s guest composers.

Marta Gardolińska will be the new Principal Guest Conductor and cellist Nicolas Altstaedt will be the season’s Guest Artist.

Jordi Savall, Teodor Currentzis, Salvador Brotons, Juanjo Mena, Matthias Pintscher, Elim Chan, Isabelle Ruf-Weber, Trevor Pinnock, Jörg Widmann, Vasily Petrenko and Anja Bihlmaier are among L’Auditori’s guest conductors for the 2022-23 season.

Distinguished soloists appearing during the season include Yuja Wang, Sarah Connolly, Maria Joao Pires, Javier Perianes, Yo-Yo Ma, Andreas Ottensamer, Heidi Melton, Albert Guinovart, Lea Desandre, Pinchas Zukerman, Isata Kanneh-Mason, Vilde Frang, Seon-Jin Cho, Martín García García, Bertrand Chamayou, Narek Hakhnazaryan, Alina Ibragimova, Emily d’Angelo, Marta Infante, Audrey Luna, Marta Mathéu, Serena Sáenz, Jorge Navarro Colorado, Pablo Sáinz Villegas and Emmanuel Pahud.

Jon Hopkins, Sandra Monfort, Arnau Obiols, Niño de Elche, Za! & La Transmegacobla and Low will be appearing in the Sit Back and Sessions cycles.

L’Auditori will be taking part in celebrations to mark the centenary of the death of Felip Pedrell and will present some 40 Catalan musical heritage projects and 50 premieres.

L’Auditori presents the 2022-23 season, with the theme “Third movement: Death or Return”, the last part of an artistic narrative spread over three consecutive seasons. The journey began with Creation (2020-21), continued with Love and Hate (2021-22) and will conclude with this final chapter, which takes the listener to the inevitable end, exploring different approaches to death. The season features a wealth of great works expressing mature reflection on the final stages of life. Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children), Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, Brahms Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny), Strauss’s Four Last Songs and the Requiems by Victoria, Morales, Guerrero and Mozart are but a few examples.

The season will open with the Second Barcelona String Quartet Biennale, jointly curated with Cuarteto Casals. This year’s event, focusing on The Art of Fugue by Bach, will bring together eleven groups, featuring the Ebène, Jerusalem and Belcea quartets, and will also include the first performances of works by Octavi Rumbau, Núria Giménez-Comas, Daniel Apodaka and Joan Arnau Pàmies.

Inaugural performances will once again be a fundamental part of the next season at L’Auditori, together with support for projects linked to musical heritage. There will be some fifty first performances (23 of which will be world premieres) and forty heritage projects.

These projects will include a commemoration of the centenary of the death of Tortosa-born composer Felip Pedrell. As part of the commemoration, his work I trionfi has been revived, and will be performed by the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra at L’Auditori and will also feature in its forthcoming tour of Catalonia. Pedrell was one of the most influential figures of his time in Spanish music and his pupils included Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados, Cristòfor Taltabull, Joaquín Turina, Manuel de Falla and Robert Gerhard. As well as the concerts, the celebration of his work will conclude with a symphonic recording dedicated to his work and an exhibition at the Museu de la Música in Barcelona that will explore the composer’s heritage.

In the field of new creative work, L’Auditori’s guest composers for the 2022-23 season will be Sofia Gubaidulina (1931) and Hans Abrahamsen (1952), musicians who have both challenged established tendencies in composition in their own way.

Gubaidulina, an established international figure in twentieth and twenty-first century music, began composing in the 1960s. It was a risky decision: in the atheistic Soviet Union, with heavy censorship, especially strict in the 1970s, Gubaidulina worked tirelessly to find a language of her own, one that was very close to the spirituality of Catholicism, as is evident in The Lyre of Orpheus. The unusual combination of timbres appears in some of her pieces from the very start of her career: she is not interested in exploring changes in sound patterns merely as an intellectual exercise, but as part of a connection with the inner world, with spontaneity. This can be seen in Music for flute, strings and percussion and Hour of the soul, in which the prominent sinister role of the percussion is combined with the chang, an Uzbek instrument. Eight works by Gubaidulina will be performed, including three national premieres.

Initially trained as a horn player, Danish musician Hans Abrahamsen began composing in the 1970s. He soon renounced the style of the avant-garde composers of the time and became part of a trend known as the New Simplicity. His work will be showcased at L’Auditori in the first performance in this country of his Horn concerto (2019). In some of his compositions, such as Nacht und Trompeten, the brass section has an allegorical role, as if summoning different voices from the past. Abrahamsen is a prolific composer: he has worked for the Royal Danish Academy of Music since 1982, has rethought much of his own work and has orchestrated pieces by composers such as Bach and Schumann. Three of Hans Abrahamsen’s works will be performed in the season.

The OBC begins a new four-year cycle with Ludovic Morlot as resident conductor. The season will constitute a key moment in L’Auditori’s current artistic project. The 2022-23 season will also see the arrival of Marta Gardolińska as Principal Guest Conductor. They will be joined by cellist and conductor Nicolas Altstaedt, who will be L’Auditori’s Guest Artist for the season. All three will contribute to the excellence of the OBC’s artistic project.

The Orchestra’s season will feature a number of leading local and international performers, including mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly, cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan, clarinettist Andreas Ottensamer; violinist Sara Ferrández; sopranos Heidi Melton, Marta Mathéu and Serena Sáenz; tenor Jorge Navarro Colorado; and flautist Emmanuel Pahud
Ludovic Morlot will conduct ten of the OBC’s programmes and Gardolińska will conduct three. Other concerts will be conducted by Zoi Tsokanou, Rebecca Tong, Anja Bihlmaier, Elim Chan, Trevor Pinnock, Vasily Petrenko, Roderick Cox, Juanjo Mena, Cristian Macelaru, Matthias Pintscher, Jörg Widmann, Nacho de Paz, Pablo Rus Broseta and Jordi Francés.

The music, which reflects the season’s underlying theme, includes Mahler’s Fourth and Fifth symphonies, The Noon Witch by Dvořák , Isle of the Dead by Rachmaninoff, Nielsen’s Fourth Symphony, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, Pelleas und Melisande by Schoenberg, Strauss’s Four Last Songs , L’Ascension by Messiaen, Death and Transfiguration by Strauss, Schubert’s Unfinished and Mozart’s Requiem . As well as these major works, the programme includes some less well known pieces, such as Psalm 130 “Du fond de l’abîme” by Lili Boulanger, Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima by Penderecki, Memorial to Lidice by Martinů and Requiem for strings by Takemitsu. The season will also feature the world premieres of works by Octavi Rumbau, Luis Codera Puzo, Maner Ribera, Jörg Widmann and Albert Guinovart.

The Festival Mozart Nits d’Estiu will bring us some of the great classical and classically influenced works, including Mozart’s Requiem and Haydn’s Cello Concerto.

Some projects that had to be postponed because of the pandemic will be resumed, including the exchange scheme with the Spanish National Orchestra and its principal conductor, David Afkham, who will be at L’Auditori de Barcelona while the OBC is at the Auditorio Nacional de Madrid. Also being reinstated is the national premiere of the opera Prisoner of the State by David Lang, based on Beethoven’s Fidelio. Commissioned by L’Auditori, it can be seen during the Festival Grec.

As well as the OBC, Hall 1 Pau Casals at L’Auditori will be welcoming such leading international ensembles as the Philharmonia Orchestra, Belgian National Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Munich Philharmonic, Salburg Mozarteum, Sinfonia Varsovia and MusicAeterna.

TheBarcelona Symphonic Band will also be appearing in L’Auditori’s largest hall with sixteen programmes that are also based on the theme of Death or Return. The Band will be offering four requiems: the Urban Requiem by Michael Colgrass, requiems by Davis Maslanka and John Rutter and A Brussels Requiem by Bert Appermont, as well as works closely linked to the Band’s repertoire, such as Death and Transfiguration by Richard Strauss. Once again, the ensemble led by José R. Pascual-Vilaplana will present concerts highlighting the original repertoire for this type of ensemble.

We are also commemorating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Joan Lamote de Grignon and the centenary of the birth of Manuel Oltra (two leading figures in our musical heritage). We will also have the opportunity to enjoy the world premiere of a work by Agustí Charles, commissioned by Barcelona Creació Sonora, and a piece by Gubaidulina will also have its national premiere.

The Early Music programme will include four projects in the cycle El So Original, directed by Jordi Savall with his ensembles. Schubert’s Eighth and Ninth Symphonies, the Te Deum by Charpentier, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross by Schütz and Haydn are also featured in the programme. The last piece will also be performed by Ensemble O Vos Omnes and the Gerhard Quartet, conducted by Xavier Pastrana, in the Chamber season.

The Festival Llums d’Antiga will fill Barcelona’s mediaeval churches with music by some of Catalonia’s leading choral groups, including Cor Cererols, Cantoría, Cor Francesc Valls and O Vos Omnes. We shall be welcoming mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre to the Festival with lutenist and theorbo player Thomas Dunford, and have the opportunity to enjoy the debut of Tiento Nuovo, directed by Ignacio Prego. The programme will feature such significant works as the requiems by Victoria, Morales and Guerrero.

Next season will see the birth of a new series of programmes: Trànsits, a cycle organised by the Museu de la Música with support from Barcelona City Council’s Office of Religious Affairs, offering a journey through the religious rites of six different communities in the city. The event will take place in the centre of worship of each religion in conjunction with a religious ceremony. The venues that will host these musical events include the Barcelona Synagogue and Saint George’s Orthodox Church.

The exploration of music from other traditions, such as Indonesian funeral rites, traditional Indian music and even works that develop ideas from composers in the past will include sessions in Hall 4 Alicia de Larrocha.

In the Sampler Sèries, the cyclical idea of the eternal return will lead us to discover the work of composers such as Maryanne Amacher, precursor of psycho-acoustic phenomena, and Éliane Radigue, the French electronic music composer.

The cycle will begin with a session devoted to the work of Enno Poppe and will include first performances of works for ensemble by Montserrat Lladó and José Mora with Frames Percussion and Crossing Lines. The prestigious Latvian Radio Choir will offer the first performance of Llum (Light) by Ramon Humet, which was suspended because of the pandemic. Ricardo Descalzo and the Barcelona Modern Ensemble will be dedicating a special session to Sofia Gubaidulina.

Reflecting L’Auditori’s interest in modern music and multidisciplinary creative work, the Sessions, Sit Back and Escenes programmes will focus on the use of new languages that offer avant-garde visions of music.

They will include work by Arnau Obiols, Brutter, Jakob Bro and Arve Henriksen, Thomas Stronen, Jamie Branch and two great ensembles, the Barcelona Art Orchestra and the ensemble conducted by Toni Vaquer. There will be performances by Sandra Monfort, Low, Jon Hopkins, Niño de Elche and b1n0, who will be appearing with artists such as Tarta Relena, Ferran Palau and El Petit de Cal Eril.

The Escenes series will approach the 2022-23 season’s theme of Death or Return through the creative work of three teams: Constanza Brnčić, Aurora Bauzà and Pere Jou, and Los Sara Fontán + Sònia Gómez.

Young musical talent will once again be featured at L’Auditori in Festival Emergents Barcelona: four days which will include, as in previous years, a free eight-concert chamber music marathon in Hall 2 Oriol Martorell.

As well as some old favourites, L’Auditori’s Educational Project will include the first performance of the new show Monstres, which takes its inspiration from the myths about monsters in different cultures. The programme will also include the first performance of Cantània Les portes del món, which composer Raquel García-Tomás, winner of the National Music Award, was commissioned to write. The show L’OBC balla Ravel will be revived in Hall 1, directed by Antonio Ruz, also a National Award winner, although in the dance category in his case.

Each quarter, a large sound installation will be exhibited in the foyer of Hall 1 Pau Casals at L’Auditori, a project supported by the Museu de la Música. The first will be Phonos, by Marc Vilanova.

Finally, L’Auditori’s digital content platform will change its name to L’Auditori Play, offering a range of material from streamed concerts to content related to L’Auditori productions. It will also be the portal through which L’Auditori’s record label operates. Next season there will be approximately 35 streamed concerts and three recordings of the OBC with Ludovic Morlot are also planned.



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