On tour February 2023, featuring Robert McDuffie as violin soloist performing Brahms Violin Concerto and Nodoka Okisawa as conductor.
Munich Symphony Orchestra
As one of the large symphonic orchestras based in Munich, the Munich Symphony Orchestra has played an important role in Germany’s musical landscape for more than 75 years.
The ensemble realizes about 100 concerts annually with performance series implemented in Munich, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Kempten in southern Germany, as well as guest appearances and tours throughout Germany and abroad.
The renowned and adventurous orchestra with musicians from 17 different nations presents varied programs on not only large stages of concert halls and open-air venues, but also in clubs, in unusual locations as well as its own venerable rehearsal hall, the famous Bavaria Music Studios in Munich.
The repertoire ranges from baroque music to classical and romantic works, while also comprising movie soundtracks, modern classics and reaching into the 21st century with HipHop and crossover. Chief conductor Kevin John Edusei had shaped the orchestra’s musical evolution since the 2014/15 season and continues to enthusiastically care for new programmatic input.
The orchestra is characterized not only by its unconventional take on tradition but also by its cooperation with rising young stars in the classical music scene. Notable artists such as Juan Diego Flórez, Joyce DiDonato, Lucas & Arthur Jussen, Pepe Romero or Arabella Steinbacher performed alongside the Munich Symphony Orchestra at numerous concerts, while outstanding soloists like Maximilian Hornung, Pablo Ferrández or Daniel Ottensamer are featured on one of the CDs (Sony) already produced by the orchestra.
Renowned German actors, including Max Müller, Stefan Hunstein or Herbert Knaup, as well as artists from other music genres, among them soul singer Joy Denalane, Quadro Nuevo, HipHop-Band EINSHOCH6 as well as the folk music band Dreiviertelblut, are contributing their voices to create varied programs with a distinguished and unique sound. The orchestra has already recorded more than 650 movie sound tracks, including Howard Shore’s Oscar™-nominated soundtrack for “The Silence Of The Lambs” or the music for films like “The Never Ending Story 3” and “Das Boot”.
The Munich Symphony Orchestra conceptualizes its concerts as a platform for shared experiences and spontaneous exchanges with the audience and offers additional formats in digital versions, such as the “Wolfgang” concert app or online concerts.
In addition, the orchestra supports young talents in a variety of ways: In cooperation with the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich, students of conductorship are offered the special opportunity to conduct a professional orchestra and experience the stage during concerts. In addition, trainees from the Mediaschool Bayern were involved in concert streaming during last season, thereby able to realize large video productions with an orchestra.
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.