Sinfonietta Rīga debuts at Kölner Philharmonie
On Sunday, 10 March, the State Chamber Orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga and acclaimed French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras will meet on the stage of Kölner Philharmonie for a joint concert programme. Conductor Normunds Šnē will wield the baton. The programme will present two distinct Nordic worldviews - the scenic, contemplative sound landscapes of Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür and the labyrinthine musical impressions of Norwegian Rolf Wallin, inspired by fractal geometry. Integral part to the wide ranging artistic interests of both the orchestra and the soloist are two classical masterpieces by Joseph Haydn - the German audience will also be treated to his Cello Concerto in C major and one of his "London" Symphonies.
Latvian listeners first met Jean-Guihen Queyras in 2015, when the French cellist performed at the Great Guild Hall in Rīga, in the opening concert of Sinfonietta Rīga's 10th season. The joint performance of the virtuoso musician and Sinfonietta Rīga in Cologne is a natural continuation of this creative collaboration. In his artistic work, Queyras values curiosity, diversity and firm focus on the undistorted essence of music. He believes that in order to create an outstanding concert experience, the inner motivations of composer, performer and audience must all be in tune with one another. Queyras learnt this simple truth from the legendary French visionary, composer and conductor Pierre Boulez, with whom he established a long artistic partnership.
One of the greatest European cultural citadels, Kölner Philharmonie opened its doors in 1986. The concert hall is part of building ensemble designed by architects Peter Busmann and Godfried Haberer that houses several federal and national cultural institutions besides Kölner Philharmonie: Museum Ludwig with its renowned modern art collection, North Rhine-Westphalia Film Museum and Art and Museum Library. The social-political importance of the ensemble is underlined by its location - right next to one of the most significant sacred buildings of Christianity in Europe - Cologne Cathedral.
Trying to achieve the perfect acoustic solution for the concert hall, Busmann and Haberer designed the hall as an amphitheater; the exterior of the building is regarded as textbook example of postmodern architecture in Germany.
Since 2011 Kölner Philharmonie hosts the Acht Brücken festival for Neue Musik; altogether the hall presents about 400 concert programmes of different genres each year.
Sinfonietta Rīga has previously visited several other concert halls in Germany. In 2015, led by Normunds Šnē, the orchestra performed together with violinist Vineta Sareika at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, and with violinist Baiba Skride in Hamburg's Laeieszhalle and Munich's Hercules Hall. And in 2017 for the opening concert of the “Lux Aeterna” festival Sinfonietta Rīga ascended the stage of the newly opened Elbphilharmonie together with Latvian Radio Choir.
Jean-Guihen Queyras's versatile repertoire gives an equal regard to baroque, classical, romantic and contemporary music. He has collaborated with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and the Concerto Köln. He has been trusted to premiere the works by Ivan Fedele, Gilbert Amy, Bruno Mantovani, Michael Jarrell, Johannes-Maria Staud and Thomas Larcher. In 2014, Queyras recorded modern grand-master's Peter Eötvös Cello Concerto, conducted by the composer himself.
Jean-Guihen Queyras has performed with Pierre Boulez's contemporary music collective Ensemble InterContemporain, and was a founding member of the Arcanto Quartet. He also forms a celebrated trio with violinist Isabelle Faust and pianist Alexander Melnikov. Jean-Guihen Queyras has often appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the Orchestre de Paris, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich.
Queyras has been working with world-renowned conductors such as Iván Fischer, Philippe Herreweghe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Jiří Bělohlávek, Oliver Knussen and Sir Roger Norrington.
Prominent concert halls and festivals often invite Queyras to be Artist in Residence, including the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and Wigmore Hall London.
Jean-Guihen Queyras’ discography is impressive too. His recordings of cello concertos by Edward Elgar, Antonín Dvořák and Philippe Schoeller have been released to critical acclaim.
In the 2018/19 season Queyras's highlights include a North American Tour, performances of the project “Mitten wir im Leben sind” with choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, and engagements with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Atlas Ensemble, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century and Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Queyras holds a professorship at the University of Music Freiburg and is Artistic Director of the “Rencontres Musicales de Haute-Provence” festival in Forcalquier. He plays a 1696 instrument by Gioffredo Cappa.