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Season 2018

Rheingau Musik Festival from 23 June to 1st September 2018

© Hannah Meinhardt

The Rheingau Music Festival is one of Europe's largest music festivals and hosts over 170 concerts in the entire region from Frankfurt via Wiesbaden to the Middle Rhine Valley every year. Unique cultural monuments such as Kloster Eberbach, Schloss Johannisberg, Schloss Vollrads and the Kurhaus Wiesbaden as well as cozy wineries are transformed into concert stages for stars of the international music scene, from classical to jazz to cabaret and world music.

The guiding idea of ​​2018 is ’friendship’. With this we turn to a core idea of ​​the Rheingau Music Festival - to gather musical companions and friends in the Rheingau. In 2018 Leonard Bernstein would celebrate his 100th birthday. I was friends with the legendary American composer and conductor until his death. The round day of remembrance is the occasion for a musical portrait in which the greatest works of the gifted artist are played and Bernstein's life and work are examined in detail. On the 100th anniversary of the death of Claude Debussy we draw in the second composer focus lines of the Impressionist tone poet to older and contemporary colleagues. The projects of our focus artists revolve around the guiding idea of ​​’friendship’: the soprano Annette Dasch, the oboist Albrecht Mayer, and the composer and violist Brett Dean bring friendly musicians to the Rheingau in order to realize these unique musical projects. In addition, we present five top-class piano trios in ’Focus Jazz’. We continue the series ’Expedition Sound’, in which we bring together musical border crossers, as well as the series ’Next Generation’, in which young, upcoming artists and ensembles enter the big stage.

Our director Michael Herrmann in the video about the festival season 2018.

Artist in Residence - Focus - Focus Jazz

Artist in Residence: Annette Dasch

Annette Dasch © Klaus Weddig

‘In the summer of 2018, I have the great honour of being the Artist in Residence at the Rheingau Musik Festival. I am looking forward enormously to seeing you here again, dear concert-goers, or to meeting you for the first time! My concerts in the festival summer have been hand-picked. From goose-bumps to tears to laughter, everything is possible. I would be so pleased if you decide to come along!’

As the Artist in Residence, Annette Dasch will at the Rheingau Musik Festival be showcasing in six events the entire spectrum of her musical virtuosity, with works ranging from Beethoven to Lehár. Her concerts will be accompanied by some of her musician friends, with whom she has enjoyed long-standing musical partnerships: in a lieder evening with Klaus Florian Vogt and Wolfram Rieger she will be performing lieder by Brahms and Schumann (25 August), with the Fauré Quartett works by Brahms, Mahler and Wagner (7 July). With Beethoven’s aria ‘Ah, perfido!’ and his Symphony No. 9, Annette Dasch will be appearing with a large orchestra and choir (5 July). There will be authentic operetta on show in the concertante performance of Franz Lehár’s ‘The Merry Widow’ with the Symphonieorchester der Volksoper Wien conducted by Andreas Schüller (10 August). In a rendezvous with the music journalist Katharina Eickhoff, she will be providing insights into her conceptual mindset (6 July). She will also be appearing with The 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic on the stage of Kurhaus Wiesbaden (18 August).

Annette Dasch in the video about her residency at the Rheingau Musik Festival.

Click this link to see all concerts with Annette Dasch.

There are season tickets available for four chosen concerts with Annette Dasch at a reduced rate (5 July, 10 August, 18 August und 25 August).

Focus: Albrecht Mayer

© Klaus Weddig

‘I love sharing the stage with good friends. And every performer I shall be privileged to play with at the Rheingau Musik Festival in the summer ahead is a long-standing much-cherished friend. “Albrecht Mayer & Friends” is the title of my first concert: a perfect description of my time at the festival. I’m looking forward enormously to this summer with my friends!’

In his role as focus performer, Albrecht Mayer will at the Rheingau Musik Festival be appearing in six events featuring music from Vivaldi to Britten. At his concerts, the oboist will be accompanied by some of his musician friends, with whom he has enjoyed long-standing musical partnerships. In a rendezvous with the music journalist Katharina Eickhoff (3 July), he will be providing insights into his conceptual mindset. In a chamber music evening with Tianwa Yang, Liisa Randalu and Gabriel Schwabe, they will interpret works by Mozart, Ravel, Moeran and Britten (4 July). Together with his orchestral colleague from Berlin, Andreas Ottensamer, and the Kammerakademie Potsdam, the performers will delve deep into the aural treasure-trove of the Mannheim School, and playing concertante and symphonic compositions such as Carl Stamitz’s Clarinet Concerto No. 7 and the Double Concerto by Franz Danzi for Clarinet and Bassoon in the arrangement for English Horn (5 July). With the harpsichordist Vital Julian Frey, they will in Wiesbaden’s Ringkirche be exploring the music of Bach, Marcello and Vivaldi – an evening full of exuberant improvisations (29 July). Under the motto of ‘Mozart’s great Night Music’, Albrecht Mayer and the Sinfonietta Cracovia will in the Eberbacher Kreuzgang be performing works like Mozart’s Adagio for English Horn and Joseph Fiala’s English Horn Concerto (10 August). To conclude his residence, Albrecht Mayer will together with his former orchestral colleagues Brett Dean and Boris Giltburg be appearing in a unique chamber music evening at Schloss Johannisberg. The programme will feature not only Schumann, Brahms and Hindemith, but also rarely performed works like the ‘Two Rhapsodies’ by Charles Loeffler and the ‘Reed Songs’ by August Klughardt (15 August).

Albrecht Mayer in the video about his focus at the Rheingau Musik Festival.

Click this link to see all concerts with Albrecht Mayer.

There are season tickets available for four chosen concerts with Albrecht Mayer at a reduced rate (4 July, 5 July, 10 August and 15 August).

Focus: Brett Dean

Brett Dean © Pawel Kopczynski
© Pawel Kopczynski

‘It’s a special honour for me to be appearing at the Rheingau Musik Festival this summer as a focus performer. In the great “Music Land” of Germany, I have come to know many inspiring musicians and explore many different musical paths. Which is why I’m particularly looking forward to presenting to you, my dear audiences, as a performer and composer some highly disparate manifestations of my musical interests and passions!’

Brett Dean was for 15 years a violist at the Berlin Philharmonic. In 2000, he returned to his homeland of Australia, so as to devote more time to writing music. Today, he ranks internationally among the most frequently performed composers of his generation, and continues to appear worldwide as a soloist, chamber musician and conductor. His works repeatedly feature aural or literary references, quotations, hommages to the past, e.g. to Carlo Gesualdo, Beethoven, Brahms, Clara Schumann and Shakespeare. He frequently draws inspiration from social or political issues. For quite a few of his compositions, he also took inspiration from paintings by his life partner Heather Betts. Brett Dean is a veritable wellspring of creativity: his richly extensive oeuvre ranges from solo pieces to musical theatre.

Brett Dean will this year as a focus performer at the Rheingau Musik Festival be showcasing his multifaceted talents. The series offers an opportunity to explore his musical cosmos more deeply, and experience his virtuosity as a violist, a composer and a conductor. His works are performed in conjunction with classical literature, firstly resulting in a richly diverse musical bandwidth, and secondly spotlighting differences and commonalities of compositions over the centuries. In the ‘Mozart Night’, he will with the Festival Strings Lucerne be presenting his ‘Short Stories’ – Five Interludes for String Orchestra (7 July & 8 July). Classical-romantic models form the framework for his String Quintet ‘Epitaphes’, performed in conjunction with Baiba Skride, Gergana Gergova, Hélène Clément and Alban Gerhardt, in which he recalls friends, colleagues and spiritual companions (10 July). His interview with the music journalist Katharina Eickhoff promises to become a ‘rendezvous’ of a rather special kind (11 July). In a project with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Brett Dean will be reflecting on Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 and translating it into a contemporary idiom in his work ‘Approach – Prelude to a Canon’ (8 August). To conclude his residence, Brett Dean will be appearing together with his former orchestral colleagues Albrecht Mayer and Boris Giltburg in a unique chamber music evening at Schloss Johannisberg. The programme will include not only Schumann, Brahms and Hindemith, but also rarely performed works like the ‘Two Rhapsodies’ by Charles Loeffler and the ‘Reed Songs’ by August Klughardt (15 August).

Focus Jazz: Piano Trio

In our ‘Focus Jazz’ series, we are spotlighting what’s perhaps the most popular formation of all among jazz aficionados: the piano trio – piano, bass and drums – enables a complete jazz orchestra to already be imaged.

This line-up has always been multifaceted and standard-setting: brilliant virtuosity with Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson in the 1930s and 1950s, subtle vocal interlacing with Bill Evans, originally unorthodox and non-conformist with Thelonious Monk, plus funky and soul-suffused with Ramsey Lewis in the 1960s and 1970s. Since the mid-1990s, particularly, the trio has achieved an entirely new, unexpected level of popularity, and thus also reached a wider audience. In our ‘Focus Jazz’ series, we are spotlighting five piano trios, who stand out in terms of their highly individualistic aural language: the series kicks off with the Brad Mehldau Trio as one of the epicentres of the new piano trio hype (4 July). Jason Moran and his Bandwagon delve into the past for their programme and expand it with new ideas (13 July). Both worlds – that of jazz and that of classical music – are commingled by the David Gazarov Trio (28 July). By contrast, the Omer Klein Trio draws its inspiration partly from the traditional Jewish music of the West and East, the lieder of the Romantic era and jazz from the American and European traditions (15 August). The series is brought to a close by the Swedish-Cuban-German Tingvall Trio, who in their music are profoundly influenced by Scandinavian folk music and pop/rock sounds (25 August).

There are season tickets available for three chosen concerts out of our ‘Focus Jazz’ series at a reduced rate (13 July, 15 August and 25 August).

Thematic Keynotes

Leonard Bernstein: 100th Anniversary of his Birth

© Phonogram International

With his infectious enthusiasm, his breath-taking versatility, and his spell-binding rhetorical gifts, he ranks among the most fascinating musical personalities of the 20th century: Leonard Bernstein was just as successful as a conductor as he was in his roles as pianist, educationalist, author – and of course as a composer. His ‘West Side Story’ in 1957 first took Broadway by storm, then the musical stages of the world. Bernstein also wrote symphonies, choral works, chamber music and lieder cycles. At the age of 27, he was put in charge of the New York Symphony Orchestra, and at 40 was appointed senior conductor at the New York Philharmonic, where he shaped an entire era. Bernstein’s particular talent, though, lay in communicating his ideas to a large audience, in the concert hall and on television.

August 2018 will see the 100th anniversary of the legendary composer, conductor, pianist and educationalist Leonard Bernstein’s birth – reason enough for us to devote a musical portrait to him. His works will be performed in several projects featuring superlative performers from different genres. In a musical-literary evening with his daughter Jamie Bernstein and the pianist Sebastian Knauer, we will be illuminating his life and work.

Our director Michael Herrmann in the video about Leonard Bernstein.

30 June
Summer festival with fireworks: ‘Happy Birthday Lenny!’
Kim Criswell, vocals
Studio Orchestra of West German Broadcasting
Wayne Marshall, conductor
Waterproof Max Neissendorfer Trio

2 August
Gabriela Montero, piano
YOA Orchestra of the Americas
Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductor

18 August
Film with live music: ‘West Side Story’
Sinfonieorchester Basel
Ernst van Tiel, conductor

19 August
Nils Landgren & Janis Siegel: ‘A Tribute to Leonard Bernstein’
Nils Landgren, trombone & vocals
Jan Lundgren, piano
Lisa Wulff, bass
Rasmus Kihlberg, drums
Russische Kammerphilharmonie St. Petersburg
Juri Gilbo, conductor

19 August
‘Bernstein’s daughter is narrating’
Jamie Bernstein, recitation
Sebastian Knauer, piano

23 August
Alliage Quintett

24 August
‘From the New World’
Brno Philharmonic Choir
Brno Philharmonic Orchestra
Leoš Svárovský, conductor

Claude Debussy: 100th Anniversary of his Death

© Marcel Baschet

He was a visionary, a rebel and an impressionist. 2018 sees the 100th anniversary of his death: Claude Debussy – born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1862 in modest circumstances – ranks among the most significant composers of his generation, one who revolutionised the world of music. His was not a musical ambience from birth: he grew up in a relatively poor family, and discovered music thanks to his godfather Achille Arosa, a banker and art collector, whom Debussy visited regularly. At the age of six, he received his first piano lessons and at ten he was accepted by the Paris Conservatoire – a natural talent indeed. In 1884, he was awarded the Prix de Rome, the most prestigious accolade that a French composer could receive. But Debussy was never happy with the concomitant obligations. He was too much of a lateral thinker, a non-conformist, someone who ignored the rules, but outside the accepted conventions was always on the lookout for something new. A significant source of inspiration for him was one of the major events of the Belle Époque: the World Exhibition of 1889 in Paris. There, his composer’s soul was enkindled by a kaleidoscope of foreign aural delights, Javanese gamelan music, music ensembles from Japan and China, Vietnamese theatre, Andalusian soundscapes, a vast diversity of exoticism that left behind profound traces in Debussy’s conceptual approach to art and particularly in his compositions. His works radically rejuvenated the musical parameters of harmony, melody and rhythm. His music must be comprehended as a sensory interplay of colour and sound closely linked to nature and the human imagination. With some outstanding performers, we shall be spotlighting the multifaceted œuvre of this musical impressionist, whose compositions during his lifetime surprised and shocked his contemporaries with their radical originality, but which were above all works of epochal splendour – and even today constitute pure inspiration.

28 June
Alice Sara Ott, piano
Les Siècles
François-Xavier Roth, conductor

6 July
Lizi Ramishvili, violoncello
Khatia Buniatishvili, piano

11 July
Benjamin Grosvenor, piano

17 July
Mona Asuka, piano

10 August
Ben Kim, piano

17 August
Seong-Jin Cho, piano

29 August
Saleem Ashkar, piano

Next Generation

The Rheingau Musik Festival brings top-ranking international performers to the region, but at the same time sees its task as also assuming responsibility for new musical talent. With established concert formats like ‘Classical Marathon’ and ‘Young Master Pianists of the Russian School’, it provides a platform for aspirant newcomers whose careers are only just beginning, to support them in their musical development. Particularly outstanding young performers and ensembles are in the ‘Next Generation’ series given an opportunity to showcase their abilities for a wide public. In addition, major youth orchestras appear regularly at the Rheingau Musik Festival, delighting audiences with their freshness and passion. We assist the biggest musical talents on their journey to becoming mature performers, and invite them regularly to the festival. The stage gets larger with every concert, the accompaniment more room-filling, the appearances more high-profile, the repertoire bolder. Every year, a performer of the ‘Next Generation’ is awarded the coveted LOTTO Prize of the Rheingau Musik Festival, sponsored by LOTTO Hesse and worth 15,000 euros.


11 July

Benjamin Grosvenor, piano

17 July
Mona Asuka, piano

18 July
Emmanuel Tjeknavorian, violin
Maximilian Kromer, piano

25 July
Diane Schuur, vocals
Kicks & Sticks Voices
Hessian State Youth Jazz Orchestra
Wolfgang Diefenbach, conductor

27 July
Víkingur Ólafsson, piano

1 August
Simon Höfele, trumpet
Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Matthias Foremny, conductor

2 August
Sheku Kanneh-Mason, violoncello
Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Matthias Foremny, conductor

2 August
Gabriela Montero, piano
YOA Orchestra of the Americas
Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductor

5 August
Cúig: ‘Cutting edge Irish Music’

9 August
Sjaella

17 August
Seong-Jin Cho, piano

19 August
Young Master Pianists of the Russian School

22 August
Jean Rondeau, harpsichord

25 August
Classical marathon

Expedition Sound

Last year, we introduced a new series, destined to become a fixed constituent of every festival season: under ‘Expedition Sound’, we group together musical crossover talents who defy categorisation of any kind with genre-bending virtuosity. They break the musical mould and radically rethink contemporary ideas of what a concert should be: in the search for special formats, we are conceiving programmes with them that go beyond the usual conventions, open people’s ears, build communicative bridges, and thus appeal to our audiences. The focus here is entirely on consummate artistry: creativity and passion are wed to superlative musicality and instrumental virtuosity. In the concerts of ‘Expedition Sound’, musical worlds are interwoven: by performers of disparate cultural origins who get together for shared projects, and by others who in themselves already unite these artistic juxtapositions. In other concerts, we thematically correlate works originating from the same genre but from different epochs, and illuminate their contrasts and parallels. All these creative approaches promise concert moments enrichingly enriched with unexpected surprises.

26 June
Noëmi Waysfeld & Blik: ‘Alfama’

27 June
Noëmi Waysfeld & Blik: ‘Alfama’

8 July
MIKIs Takeover! Ensemble feat. Frida Gold

7 August
‘RUMBAch’
Veronika Eberle, violin
Edicson Ruiz, bass
Gonzalo Grau, percussion

7 August
David Orlowsky Trio: ‘Milestones’

8 August
Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos in a new light II
Antje Weithaas, violin
Brett Dean, viola
Tabea Zimmermann, viola
Uri Caine, piano
Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Thomas Dausgaard, conductor

9 August
Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos in a new light III
Pekka Kuusisto, violin
Claire Chase, flute
Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Thomas Dausgaard, conductor

24 August
Festival goes Clubbing 2018
Jazzrausch Bigband