Symphony Concert N° 11

Myung-Whun Chung Conductor
Pierre-Laurent Aimard Piano
Cynthia Millar Ondes Martenot

Olivier Messiaen

  • »Turangalîla-Symphony« for piano, ondes martenot and orchestra

»Boundless joy«

Birdsong and Indian rhythms, expressive gestures and the sounds of the Indonesian gamelan. There is hardly another work in the canon which so thoroughly embodies stylistic pluralism as Olivier Messiaen’s »Turangalîla-Symphonie«, written in 1949. As the composer himself noted, this is a hymn to »superhuman, overflowing, blinding and boundless joy«. The musical protagonists of this Tristan-like love song are, in addition to the manifold colours of a massive orchestra, an astonishingly virtuoso piano part and the use of the Ondes Martenot, an electro-acoustic keyboard instrument developed in the 1920s, which produces a sound that’s a cross between a singing saw and the human voice.

A concert introduction will be offered 45 minutes before the beginning of each performance in the opera cellar of the Semperoper.

  • Sunday
    09.06.2024
    11:00 Uhr
    Semperoper
    Tickets
    Ticket price:
    20 – 73 €
  • Monday
    10.06.2024
    19:00 Uhr
    Semperoper
    Tickets
    Ticket price:
    12 – 58 €
  • Tuesday
    11.06.2024
    19:00 Uhr
    Semperoper
    Tickets
    Ticket price:
    12 – 73 €

Myung-Whun Chung

Principal Guest Conductor

Since the 2012/2013 season, Myung-Whun Chung has been the first artist in the history of the Staatskapelle to hold the title of Principal Guest Conductor, confirming the close relationship between the South Korean maestro and the Staatskapelle. Since November 2001 he has conducted many symphony concerts in the Semperoper as well as a new production of Verdi’s »Don Carlo«. In addition, he has accompanied the orchestra on tours through Europe, to the USA and Asia.

Alongside his work on the conductor’s rostrum, Myung-Whun Chung frequently performs as a chamber musician with Kapelle players, for example most recently in September 2020 in Schubert’s »Trout Quintet« at the Semperoper. In previous seasons in Dresden, Chung has explored the oeuvre of Gustav Mahler, conducting performances of the Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 4 to 6 and 9 in the Semperoper. He has also conducted works by Gioachino Rossini, Gabriel Fauré, Olivier Messiaen, Johannes Brahms and Antonín Dvořák at Staatskapelle concerts.

Born in Seoul, Myung-Whun Chung began his career as a pianist, in 1974 taking 2nd prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. He launched his conducting activities as an assistant to Carlo Maria Giulini in Los Angeles, and later directed the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Opéra Bastille in Paris and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa

Cecilia in Rome. For 15 years he was Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Over the years he has contributed greatly to the musical life of his home country in various functions. For example, he was Artistic Director of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the Asia Philharmonic Orchestra, an ensemble which brings together Asian musicians from leading orchestras for special concert projects. Furthermore, he is Conductor Laureate of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. During his career Myung-Whun Chung has collaborated with all the world’s great orchestras. His catalogue of CDs with Deutsche Grammophon features many prize-winning recordings. In spring 2023 Myung-Whun Chung will be celebrating his 70th birthday with an extended tour through South Korea, together with the Staatskapelle.

In addition to his musical activities, he is highly committed to various humanitarian and ecological causes. He was an Ambassador of the UN Drug Control Programme and in 1995 was honoured as UNESCO’s »Man of the Year«. In 1996 he received the Kumkuan, the highest cultural award of South Korea. He has been appointed the first Cultural Ambassador of his country, and in 2008 became a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, the first conductor to hold this position.

Pierre-Laurent Aimard

Pierre-Laurent Aimard is widely acclaimed as a key figure in the music of our time and has had close collaborations with many leading composers including György Ligeti whose complete works for piano he has recorded. He has also worked with Stockhausen, George Benjamin, and Pierre Boulez who appointed Aimard, aged 19, to become the Ensemble intercontemporain´s first solo pianist. Praised by The Guardian as “one of the best Messiaen interpreters around” Aimard has had a close association to the composer himself and with Yvonne Loriod, with whom he studied at the Paris Conservatoire.

In recital and chamber projects, Aimard remains committed to championing contemporary composers, performing works this season by Klaus Ospald and Mark Andre. He will also give performances of Messiaen’s »Vingt Regards« at the Philharmonie de Paris and the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and collaborate with leading instrumentalists Mark Simpson and Jean-Guihen Queyras for trio recitals including works by Lachenmann at the Auditorio Nacional de Música and Elbphilharmonie.

An innovative curator and uniquely significant interpreter of piano repertoire from every age, Aimard has been invited to direct and perform in a number of residencies including most recently for Musikkollegium Winterthur where over the season he celebrated a number of different composers and opened with the complete cycle of Beethoven Piano Concertos. Elsewhere, he has performed ground-breaking projects at Porto’s Casa da Musica, New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Konzerthaus Vienna, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Lucerne Festival, Mozarteum Salzburg, Cité de la Musique in Paris, Tanglewood Festival, the Edinburgh Festival, and was Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival from 2009 to 2016.

Through his professorship at the Hochschule Köln as well as numerous series of concert lectures and workshops worldwide, Aimard sheds an inspiring light on music of all periods. He was previously an Associate Professor at the College de France, Paris and is a member of Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste. He will take up the position as Head of New Music at the Reina Sofía School, Madrid in autumn 2021. 

Cynthia Millar

Cynthia Millar’s most recent performances include concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Nashville Symphony Orchestra and NHK Symphony Orchestra.

Cynthia’s most performed work, Messiaen’s large-scale »Turangalîla Symphonie«, makes a spectacular post-pandemic return with some of the top orchestras around the world during the 2022-23 season.

Cynthia will be performing with the Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, New York Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Brussels Philharmonic, and London Symphony Orchestra, among others. This season will also see Cynthia return to the LA Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony to perform Messiaen’s Trois petites liturgies de la présence divine under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas.

In 2016 Cynthia premiered the Ondes Martenot part specially written for her by Thomas Adès in his opera »The Exterminating Angel« at the Salzburg Festival, and subsequently at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera and the Royal Danish Opera in March 2018. The 2016-17 season also saw her take part in a ten-concert tour of the »Turangalîla Symphonie« with the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel, beginning in Caracas and culminating in a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall, New York.

Cynthia Millar studied the Ondes Martenot with John Morton in England and Jeanne Loriod in France. Since her first performance of the »Turangalîla Symphonie« at the 1986 BBC Proms with the National Youth Orchestra under Sir Mark Elder, she has played this piece around 200 times with some of the world’s leading conductors including Simon Rattle, Sakari Oramo, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Franz Welser-Möst, Paavo Järvi, Susanna Mälkki, Andrew Davis and Mariss Jansons.

Cynthia has recorded »Turangalîla« with the Bergen Symphony Orchestra for Juanjo Mena; and the Trois petites liturgies with the Seattle Symphony for Ludovic Morlot and the London Sinfonietta for Terry Edwards. She has played in well over 100 film and television scores and has written music for film, television and theatre, including scores for Robert Wise, Arthur Penn, Martha Coolidge and Peter Yates.