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SZ-ONLINE.DE :: May 17, 2012

Dresden Music Festival has first highlights

The "Heart of Europe" beats and strikes a chord with music fans. The Dresden Music Festival looks thematically to the center of Europe and is accompanied by celebrities and young musicians from the US.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur

[Article in German]

The 35th Dresden Music Festival made people prick up their ears right from the start with two big flourishes. After the Curtis Symphony Orchestra of Philadelphia aroused enthusiasm with a Brahms program at the opening concert in the Frauenkirche on Tuesday, the Vienna Philharmonic upped the ante with Mozart in the Semperoper on Wednesday. The audience thanked them with great applause for his last three symphonies--all composed in the summer of 1788--and gave a standing ovation after the finale, the "Jupiter Symphony". Even conductor Daniel Barenboim was visibly impressed and plucked apart his bouquet to divide among the individual musicians.

Festival director Jan Vogler also pulled off an interesting dramatic contrast with the opening. When he took over the renowned classical festival in 2009, the internationally known cellist pursued the goal of promoting young musicians while presenting the audience with stars of the scene. We can presume that the Curtis musicians from the elite US school unify the two criteria, because many of the students of the Curtis Institute of Music may be among the stars of tomorrow. Legends like Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber or current successful artists like Lang Lang and Hilary Hahn emerged from there.

The "Vienna Sound" brought to life

On the other hand, with the Vienna Philharmonic, an orchestra with one of the richest traditions in the world came to the Elbe. Vogler had already brought the "Vienna Sound" to life in his first festival in 2009. Both the Viennese and the young Americans will play a role during the course of the festival. Students from the Curtis Institute of Music already wanted to support a chamber music marathon in the VW factory on Thursday evening and produce four hours of music as if on an assembly line. On Friday they will accompany Dresden middle and high school students in the project "Let's Dance". Soloists of the philharmonic from Vienna will provide "Danbue sounds" on May 28th--"hits" from Strauss to Liszt.

The music festival is offering 46 concerts in total till June 3rd. With the slogan "Heart of Europe", music in the metropolitan triangle of Vienna, Prague, and Budapest is at the center. Thus the festival is continuing its musical journey around the world under the Vogler's direction. When he took the position, the cellist focused on music from his adopted country, the US. After that, Russia and Asia served as the musical sources. Now it's primarily soloists and ensembles from Austria who are setting the tone. Fans of early music will also get their money's worth with ensembles like L'Arpeggiata, Café Zimmermann, or the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Further stars are, among others, violinist Patricia Kopatschinskaja and her colleagues Daniel Hope and Vadim Repin, pianist Hélène Grimaud, as well as the orchestras of the Milanese Scala and the Mariinsky Theater of St. Petersburg. Even great acting can be experienced: John Malkovich will perform in a program of the Wiener Akadamie. The festival, founded in 1978, already enjoyed a certain "celebrity factor" in the Communist era. The Berlin Philharmonic with Herbert von Karajan came right at the premiere. Since then basically all the top orchestras of the world and famous soloists have been here to be experienced. And even the Buena Vista Social Club from Havana played too.

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