On tour February 2023, featuring Robert McDuffie as violin soloist performing Brahms Violin Concerto and Nodoka Okisawa as conductor.
Munich Symphony Orchestra
The Munich Symphony Orchestra has been an integral part of Germany’s music scene for over 75 years. It performs around 100 concerts a year in Munich (Prinzregententheater, Philharmonie, Technikum im Werksviertel), Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Kempten and tours Germany and abroad.
The renowned and experimental orchestra with musicians from 17 different countries plays an interesting variety of programs in large concert halls, on open-air stages, in clubs and unusual places, as well as in its own venerable rehearsal hall, located at the well-known Bavaria Musikstudios. The repertoire ranges from baroque music to classical and romantic works to film music, from modern classics to 21st century hip-hop and crossover.
Following Heiko Mathias Förster, Kevin John Edusei took over as principal conductor from 2014 until the 2021/2022 season. In the 2022/2023 season, the orchestra is delighted to welcome its first artist in residence, Nodoka Okisawa. The Japanese conductor will participate in shaping many aspects of the 2022/23 season and will be featured in a variety of concert formats. Nodoka Okisawa will not only focus on the concert series in Munich, but also on concerts for children and symphonic concerts in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Kempten.
The orchestra is characterized by its unconventional play with tradition as well as its collaboration with up-and-coming young stars from the classical music scene. Renowned musicians such as Juan Diego Flórez, Joyce DiDonato, Gregor A. Mayrhofer, Vivi Vassileva, Lucas & Arthur Jussen, Pepe Romero and Arabella Steinbacher have been featured, as have Maximilian Hornung, Pablo Ferrández and Daniel Ottensamer.
In addition, actors such as Max Müller, Stefan Hunstein and Herbert Knaup, as well as artists from other musical genres such as soul singer Joy Denalane, film composer Hans Zimmer, formations such as Milk & Sugar and Quadro Nuevo, and bands such as EINSHOCH6 and Dreiviertelblut, give the diverse programs their very own touch.
The Munich Symphonic Orchestra has recorded over 650 film scores, including Howard Shore’s Oscar-nominated composition for the soundtrack of “The Silence of the Lambs”, the music for film classics such as “The NeverEnding Story 3” and “Das Boot”. The orchestra creates concerts as a place for shared experiences as well as spontaneous exchange with its audience and also offers additional formats in the digital realm, e.g. with online concerts.
The orchestra also supports young talents in a variety of ways: in cooperation with the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich, students of conducting get the special opportunity to conduct professional orchestra musicians and to be on stage at concerts. The education department introduces children and young people to classical music through school sponsorships, children’s concerts and visits to rehearsals.
Nodoka Okisawa is the winner of the renowned Concours international de jeunes chefs d’orchestre de Besançon 2019, where she was awarded the Grand Prix, the Orchestra Prize and the Audience Prize. In 2018, she won the Tokyo International Music Competition for Conducting, one of the most important international conducting competitions.
Born in 1987 in Aomori, Japan, she learned piano, cello and oboe since early childhood. She studied conducting at the Tokyo University of the Arts with Ken Takaseki and Tadaaki Otaka and graduated with a master’s degree. In 2019 she obtained her second master’s degree at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin under Christian Ehwald and Hans-Dieter Baum. Nodoka Okisawa lives in Berlin.
Since the beginning of the 2020/2021 season, Nodoka Okisawa has been a scholarship holder at the Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker and assistant to Kirill Petrenko. In addition to assisting the principal conductor in concert and opera, the scope of her two-year scholarship also includes conducting her own concert projects together with the academy members of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Together with Kirill Petrenko, she will conduct the 50th anniversary concert of the Karajan Academy in May 2022.
Highlights of the current season include her subscription debuts with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta de València, Orquesta de Extremadura, Real Filharmonía de Galicia, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra and City of Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, among others. She also regularly conducts the NHK Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa and the Noord Nederlands Orkest.
Grammy-nominated violinist, Robert McDuffie, enjoys a dynamic and multi-faceted career. While appearing as soloist with the world’s foremost orchestras, he has also shared the stage with Chuck Leavell and the late Gregg Allman in Midnight Rider and with actress/playwright Anna Deavere Smith in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. Philip Glass dedicated his Second Violin Concerto, The American Four Seasons, to Mr. McDuffie. Mike Mills of the iconic band R.E.M. has composed a Concerto for Violin, Rock Band, and String Orchestra for him. Robert McDuffie is the founder of both the Rome Chamber Music Festival in Italy and the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in his native city of Macon, Georgia. Mr. McDuffie holds the Robert McDuffie Violin Faculty Chair at the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Robert McDuffie has appeared as soloist with most of the major orchestras of the world. He gave the world premiere of Philip Glass’ Violin Concerto No. 2, The American Four Seasons with the Toronto Symphony and completed a thirty-city U.S. tour with the Venice Baroque Orchestra, pairing the Glass Four Seasons with the Vivaldi Four Seasons. The Mills Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra was also premiered with the Toronto Symphony, followed by performances at the Rome Chamber Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, and a three-week tour of the U.S.
Robert McDuffie recorded The American Four Seasons with the London Philharmonic and Marin Alsop on Philip Glass’ Orange Mountain Music label. The Mike Mills Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra is also on the Orange Mountain Music label. His acclaimed Telarc and EMI recordings include the violin concertos of Mendelssohn, Bruch, Adams, Glass, Barber, Rózsa, Bernstein, William Schuman, and Viennese violin favorites. He has been profiled on NBC’s Today, CBS Sunday Morning, PBS’s Charlie Rose, A&E’s Breakfast with the Arts, and in the Wall Street Journal.
In 2017, he toured the U.S. with the Bruckner Orchestra Linz, alternating the Barber Violin Concerto with the Glass Violin Concerto No.1. He returned to the Aspen Music Festival. Recent performances include first appearances in Auckland, New Zealand; the Orchestre National de Lille; the Bernstein Serenade with the Atlanta, Hawaii, and Virginia Symphonies; the Mills Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra with the Naples and Buffalo Symphonies; and the Glass Four Seasons along with the Mills Concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony.
As founder of the Rome Chamber Music Festival, Robert McDuffie has been awarded the prestigious Premio Simpatia by the Mayor of Rome in recognition of his contribution to the city’s cultural life. He is also the founder of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in his hometown of Macon, Georgia, where he holds the Genelle and Mansfield Jennings Distinguished University Professor Chair. He plays a 1735 Guarneri del Gesù violin, known as the “Ladenburg”. The instrument is owned by a limited partnership formed by Mr. McDuffie. He lives in New York City.