musikfest berlin 08 came to a resounding close with a grand festival finale in Hangar 2 of Tempelhof Airport. On the program were Karlheinz Stockhausen's Gruppen für drei Orchester and Olivier Messiaen's Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum, performed by the Berliner Philharmoniker under the direction of Principal Conductor Sir Simon Rattle and co-conductors Daniel Harding and Michael Boder. Also receiving a performance in the 4200 m² and 18-meter-tall Hangar 2 by the Ensemble intercontemporain under the direction of Susanna Mälkki was Messiaen's two hour long work Des Canyons aux Étoiles.
Making guest appearances beginning on September 4 at musikfest berlin 08 at the invitation of the Berliner Festspiele and in cooperation with the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker besides the five great symphony orchestras of the German capital were numerous top-flight orchestras from the international musical scene. Among the guests were the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam with Mariss Jansons, the Göteborgs Symfoniker with Alexander Briger, the London Symphony Orchestra with Daniel Harding, the Orchestre de Paris with Christoph Eschenbach, the SWR-Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden and Freiburg with Sylvain Cambreling, as well as the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées with Philippe Herreweghe. Also invited were renowned soloists such as Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Akiko Suwanai, Michelle de Young, Angela Denoke, and Measha Brueggergosman.
At the center of the festival as a whole were the orchestral works of Olivier Messiaen - an homage to a great French composer, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year. Performed together with orchestral music by Messiaen were works by Anton Bruckner and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Speaking at the festival's conclusion, Joachim Sartorius, general manager of the Berliner Festspiele, remarked that "Stockhausen once referred to a piano piece by Messiaen as 'fantastic music of the stars.' Over the past 18 days, these two composers, with Anton Bruckner at their side, have guided us through glittering, emotionally powerful, and ecstatic sound worlds, allowing us to experience transcendence."
On the program of musikfest berlin 08 were altogether 44 works by 18 composers, among others Richard Wagner, Alexander Zemlinsky, Igor Stravinsky, Maurice Ravel, Pierre Boulez, Arvo Pärt, Astor Piazolla, Francis Poulenc, Alexander Scriabin, Peter Eötvös, and Gérard Grisey. Wolfgang Rihm's Concerto "Séraphin" received its world premiere, performed at Radialsystem V by MusikFabrik under the direction of Emilio Pomárico. In honor of American composer Elliott Carter, who will turn 100 in December of this year, the Staatskapelle Berlin under the direction of Principal Conductor Daniel Barenboim performed a portrait concert featuring works from his most recent and highly productive decade.
musikfest berlin 09 took place between September 4 and 20. Detailed information on the upcoming season's program and on advanced sales will be announced in spring 2009. The press office, September 24.