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Winrich Hopp on musica viva’s 2021/22 season

Dear friends of musica viva

We live in hope. Hope that we’ll once again see the visitors at our concerts. Hope that we’ll once again present programmes with large ensembles. In a word: hope that we’ll once again experience the music of our day in convivial public gatherings. But we still don’t know how many seats we can offer in our auditoriums. So tickets for our autumn events will only be available over the counter. musica viva’s fabled subscription series will then restart at the turn of the new year.

musica viva’s 2021/22 season will present 12 concerts with 27 works by 18 composers. Most of the pieces are of recent vintage; seven will be world premières and works specially commissioned by Bavarian Radio’s musica viva series. Some will even take us back to the previous century.

The composers hail from America, Australia, Germany, Estonia, France, Greece, Italy, Israel, Korea and Croatia. And their names are Samir Amarouch, Mark Andre, Minas Borbou­dakis, Unsuk Chin, Luc Ferrari, Malte Giesen, Heiner Goebbels, Arnulf Herrmann, Mirela Ivičević, Yair Klar­tag, Catherine Lamb, Liza Lim, Jüri Reinvere, Wolf­gang Rihm, Hans Thomalla, Francesca Veru­nelli, Iannis Xenakis and Isang Yun.

The season will open with a guest performance in Prince Regent’s Theatre from the Ensemble Modern Orchestra, who bring to Munich a new full-length work by Heiner Goebbels entitled A House of Call: My Imaginary Notebook. It’s a sort of “song cycle” with acousmatic voices that the composer has collected on his travels or found in archives. It owes its existence to an initiative from the Berlin Festival and Ensemble Modern for the 2020 Beethoven Jubilee, funded by Germany’s Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media. In a concerted action from everyone involved, the première and the tour have been rescheduled for September 2021 following the covid-related cancellation in 2020.

A smaller unit from Ensemble Modern will remain in Munich a few days longer to present, together with musica viva and the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, works by the composers who were awarded the Foundation’s composers’ prizes in 2020 and 2021. Moreover, musica viva’s December concert will feature the world première of a new accordion concerto, composed for Krassimir Sterev by prize-winner Francesca Verunelli and accompanied by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Since 2011 the Hans and Gertrud Zender Foundation has joined forces with musica viva, BR-Klassik and the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts to honour creative musicians of our own day. In January 2022 the “Happy New Ears” Composition Prize will be awarded to the Australia-based composer Liza Lin at the world première of her new orchestral piece. The worlds of Europe and Asia link arms in her transcultural aesthetic.

Music of a Korean slant will dominate the musica viva concert on 1 July 2022. The Korean-born conductor Shiyeon Sung will present a programme combining works by Isang Yun and Unsuk Chin with the music of Mark Andre. The soloist in Andre’s Clarinet Concerto will be Jörg Widmann. One day earlier, in Hercules Hall, Widmann and Frank Reinecke will perform the recent solo pieces specially written for them by Mark Andre.

Besides Shiyeon Sung, the Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado will give his musica viva début in the November concert, playing the world premières of two large-scale works by Jüri Reinvere and Arnulf Herrmann.

In March 2022 musica viva will devote three concerts to the music of Wolfgang Rihm in honour of his 70th birthday. In recent years it was mainly his newer works that were heard in the Munich series. This time the focus will fall on special, rarely-heard pieces from his earlier years. One is Andere Schatten (“Other shadows”) after a text by Jean Paul Richter (“Words of the dead Christ, spoken from the edifice of the world, proclaiming that there is no God”). Another is the 70-minute Musik für drei Streicher (Music for three strings), played by Gringolts, Power and Altstaedt. But the programme also contains the world première of a new song cycle.

In 2022 Iannis Xenakis would have turned 100. In the late 1970s he accepted a commission from musica viva that led him to compose a piece hardly anyone would have expected from him: AIS, a cantata for baritone, solo percussionist and large orchestra. Its subject is Odysseus’s encounter with his dead mother, and it stands out in his oeuvre as a unique creation of the first magnitude. Nowhere else did this great composer and architect open up to expression at this level of intensity.

Dr. Winrich Hopp (c) Lucie Jansch

Let’s hope that the long-awaited restart of concert life – indeed, of public life altogether – will be a success! Wishing you much pleasure in your visits to musica viva events in the new season.


Winrich Hopp
Artistic Director of Bavarian Radio’s Musica Viva series

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