Welcome, Paavo Järvi!

In its third season at the Tonhalle Maag, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (TOZ) will perform under the baton of its new Chief Conductor and Music Director

Opening concert on 2 October: Sibelius' Kullervo Together with the orchestra, audiences will also meet a conductor who is set to bring the world to Zurich. For decades, Paavo Järvi’s musical engagements have taken him to destinations ranging from Los Angeles to Tokyo, with several stopovers in Zurich, where he will set up his musical home as of October for an initial five years. His first season with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich will primarily reflect his Nordic roots. Estonia, Russia, Finland, Latvia, Sweden: these countries will be the principal musical destinations of the 2019/20 season. En route, Järvi will also record all the Tchaikovsky symphonies with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich and create a new Conductors’ Academy.

► Nordic focus to set the tone

► Tchaikovsky – a major project at the Tonhalle Maag

► New Conducting Academy in Zurich

Paavo Järvi’s first season will be devoted to his Nordic roots and will open with Sibelius’s Kullervo on 2,3 & 4 October, featuring guest artists Johanna Rusanen (Soprano), Ville Rusanen (Baritone) and the Estonian National Choir. The new occupant of the Creative Chair will be Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür, a contemporary and close personal friend of Järvi. The In Focus series will also feature the talents of Nordic artists, including appearances by Martin Fröst, Pekka Kuusisto and Ksenija Sidorova, both with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich under Järvi’s baton and in chamber music ensembles.

During the weeks when the orchestra will play under guest conductors, composers from northern and north-western Europe will also be on the programme, which will feature all genres, ranging from orchestral concerts to chamber music, family concerts to the now well-established tonhalleLATE classical party format.

Tchaikovsky – a major project at the Tonhalle Maag

In 1962, the year Paavo Järvi was born to a musical family in Tallinn, Estonia was still part of the Soviet Union – an empire in which about fifteen different languages were spoken, but which was occupied and dominated by Russia. It is therefore no accident that Paavo’s father, conductor Neeme Järvi, familiarised his son with Russian music at a young age. “Tchaikovsky was virtually a saint,” says Järvi. “There were several gurus who specified how he should be played.” Järvi’s musical background is thus rooted in Tchaikovsky’s music. During the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich’s remaining time at the Tonhalle Maag, Järvi will embark on the ambitious undertaking of recording all the composer’s symphonies with his orchestra on Alpha Classics for release in Autumn 2020. New Conducting Academy in Zurich

Paavo Järvi will have a newly created format at his disposal that will enable him to promote talented young conductors in both musical and organisational terms: besides offering technical polish, the Conductors’ Academy will also provide courses on orchestral and music management. “With the Academy, we intend to exploit the maximum potential and thus create something unique” explains Ilona Schmiel, Artistic and Executive Director of the Tonhalle Society Zurich. At the Academy’s final concert, the audience will decide who is to travel with Järvi to Pärnu and continue their training at the annual Festival masterclasses.

A festival for the innovator of musical history

The Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich will be taking Beethoven’s 250th birthday next year as an opportunity to examine the great innovator’s oeuvre, using selected genres as examples. During the Zurich Festival, for instance, Järvi will present a semi-staged performance of Beethoven’s opera “Fidelio” featuring an outstanding cast of singers. The purist architectural style of the Tonhalle Maag concert hall is the ideal setting in which to do the innovative Beethoven justice: #bebeethoven will now enter its second series and continue to explore the question of what the work of this revolutionary mind can mean for us today in terms of new sounds and spatial concepts. The visual & staged series will also extend the range of film and film-music concerts given under the direction of Frank Strobel, who reconstructed the music for the silent film “Metropolis” and brought it back to the world’s concert halls.

Concerts instead of rush-hour traffic jams

Distinguished guest conductors will accompany the orchestra throughout the 2019/20 season. Reunions are programmed with personalities such as Conductor Laureate David Zinman, Herbert Blomstedt, Christoph von Dohnányi, Jan Willem de Vriend, Philippe Herreweghe, Krzysztof Urbański, Robert Trevino, Joshua Weilerstein and Alondra de la Parra. The Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich will be heard with such acclaimed soloists as Isabelle Faust, Sol Gabetta, Lisa Bathiashvili, Anja Harteros, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Frank Peter Zimmermann and Alisa Weilerstein.

Two eminent composers will be presented in the Focus Contemporary series – with a portrait of Heinz Holliger for his 80th birthday and one of Krzysztof Penderecki – who will also be conducting their works. Furthermore, the programme will offer the innovative new Rush Hourformat: while all Zurich is stuck in the rush hour, the orchestra will give short concerts followed by jam sessions in the Tonhalle Maag foyer.

The Tonhalle Society Zurich will stage 191 of its own performances during the 2019/20 season. Tickets are now available for retirement and disability pensioners at reduced prices on Sundays. And to make affordable concert tickets available to everyone more frequently, even more performances will be offered in lower price categories: half of all tickets will cost CHF 60 or less.


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