The Festival d’Aix-en-Provence develops an ambitious concert programme that serves as a counterpoint to the operas and enriches its dramaturgical key elements. It relies both on artistic forces in residence and prestigious one-off guests. It covers all periods and styles, from Mozart to contemporary creation and from symphonic concerts to recitals, including chamber music, jazz, and music from the Mediterranean.
A cabaret evening has been conceived by pianist Kirill Gerstein in collaboration with singer HK Gruber and stage directors Jos Houben and Emily Wilson, in the wake of the aesthetic and political worlds of The Threepenny Opera and The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions; and baritone Christian Gerhaher's recital dedicated to Schumann, as well as the London Symphony Orchestra's performance of Mahler's Seventh Symphony, resonate with the world of Wozzeck.
Orchestras in the spotlight
In this anniversary year, some of the orchestras with which the Festival has forged a privileged relationship can be heard in tailor-made programmes: the London Symphony Orchestra, for two major concerts conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and Susanna Mälkki, featuring renowned symphonic works and contemporary music; the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, for a carte blanche to George Benjamin, whose work is closely linked to its twenty-five year history; the Balthasar Neumann Orchestra, for Beethoven's spectacular Missa solemnis and a festive evening led by two talented women conductors; and finally the Mediterranean Youth Orchestra and Duncan Ward, for a journey through the various musical cultures it is made up of.
Portraits and vocal recitals
The premiere of Picture a day like this is the occasion for a portrait exploring all the facets of George Benjamin's art as a composer, pianist, and conductor. There is also a focus on the French-American composer Betsy Jolas, whose work commissioned by the Festival will be premiered this summer. Finally, Kirill Gerstein is the third artist in the spotlight: as a virtuoso soloist, a chamber musician, and a master of ceremonies of a musical theatre evening.
The vocal recitals highlight three major parts of the song repertoire – Germanic, Russian and Latin – in a complementary way, in both famous and rare works. We will hear the seasoned Liedersänger Christian Gerhaher, but also two great voices, Asmik Grigorian and Pretty Yende, who are making their Festival debut in an unexpected format in which they excel.
Jazz and the Mediterranean
Finally, the jazz and Mediterranean programme, essentially instrumental, displays a great variety of forms and languages: from the Mosaïc sextet to the Noé Clerc Trio and its guests, who combine several musical cultures in collective creations, and from the Gharbi Twins to the Mediterranean Youth Orchestra whose performances exalt the values of transmission and sharing. Alto saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin's tribute to Coltrane is imbued with a spirituality that also runs through a large part of this programme.