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BERNE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

CONDUCTOR | Mario Venzago

PIANO | Gerhard Oppitz

 

PROGRAM

BEETHOVEN | Overture "Leonore No.2"

BEETHOVEN | Piano Concerto No.5, “Emperor”

BRAHMS | Symphony No.1

* Program is subject to change

 

Berne Symphony Orchestra

 

Having been established in 1877, the Berne Symphony Orchestra (BSO) will be able to look back on a 140-year-old tradition as the orchestra of the Swiss capital in 2017. From as early as 1935, renowned guest conductors were regularly invited to direct the orchestra. These included Bruno Walter, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan, Sir John Barbirolli, etc.

 

Distinguished soloists have helped to carry the Berne Symphony Orchestra’s excellent reputation far beyond Switzerland’s borders. These artists include famous names such as Joshua Bell, Martha Argerich, Elisabeth Leonskaja and Mischa Maisky, as well as rising young stars of the world of classical music such as Janine Jansen, Martin Fröst, Fazil Say, David Fray, etc.

 

As an opera orchestra, the BSO was also involved in Swiss Television’s production of “La Bohème im Hochhaus”, which was enthusiastically received by international audiences and was a pioneering achievement in making classical music accessible to a wider public.

 

Those of Bruckner’s third, sixth and ninth symphonies under the direction of Mario Venzago garnered the highest accolades, both in the press and in specialist circles.

 

Mario Venzago

 

Mario Venzago is the principal conductor and artistic director of the Berne Symphony Orchestra.

 

In the capacity either of principal conductor or general music director, Mario Venzago has directed the Musikkollegium Winterthur, the Theatre and Philharmonic Orchestra of the City of Heidelberg, The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Frankfurt (now Bremen), the Graz Opera and Graz Philharmonic Orchestra, the Basel Symphony Orchestra. From 2000 to 2003, he was Artistic Director of the Baltimore Summer Fest as successor to Pinchas Zukermann and David Zinman. From 2010 to 2014 he was principal conductor of the Royal Northern Sinfonia. Before taking up conducting, Venzago was a concert pianist at Radiotelevisione Svizzera in Switzerland, and performed throughout Europe as a soloist and accompanist.

 

Mario Venzago has conducted the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the orchestras in Philadelphia and Boston, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Filarmonica della Scala and the NHK Symphony Orchestra.

 

Several of his CDs have won international prizes such as the Grand Prix du Disque, the Diapason d'or and the Edison Award.

 

Gerhard Oppitz

 

Gerhard Oppitz was born in Frauenau (in the Bavarian Forest) in 1953. At the age of five, he began to play piano and debuted with a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D Minor when he was eleven. Along with his great enthusiasm for school, especially for science and mathematics, he continued his musical education in Stuttgart and Munich starting in 1966 with professors Paul Buck and Hugo Steurer, and later with Wilhelm Kempff, concentrating on the works of Beethoven.

 

In 1977, he was awarded first prize at the Artur Rubinstein Competition in Israel, after convincing an international jury, with Artur Rubinstein himself as its head, by performing the fifth Piano concerto by Beethoven and the First Piano Concerto by Brahms. This event marked the beginning of his worldwide concert activities - recitals in the major music centres of Europe, America and East Asia, as well as collaborations with the most renowned conductors and orchestras.

 

His main interest is the classical-romantic repertoire, although he has always devoted himself to music of the twentieth century, as well, playing premier performances of several piano concertos. Again and again, he has demonstrated his particular fondness for presenting major groups of work cycles, such as Bach’s “Wohltemperiertes Klavier”, Mozart’s eighteen Sonatas, Beethoven’s 32 Sonatas, all the solo works by Schubert and Brahms’ complete piano works. Gerhard Oppitz’s discography comprises over 70 titles. Future plans include performances of all Mozart piano concertos, the main piano works of Liszt and the complete solo works of Debussy and Ravel.

 

In 2014 he was awarded the Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art.

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