Peter Eötvös studied composition with Zoltán Kodály at the Budapest Music Academy when he was only 14 years old; he then obtained a diploma in conducting in Cologne. He pursued his dual talent equally, including for many years as head of the Ensemble Intercontemporain founded by Pierre Boulez. Peter Eötvös celebrated his 70th birthday on 2 January 2014, an event that the Berliner Philharmoniker took as an opportunity to dedicate a concert to the Hungarian composer, conductor and pedagogue. The programme includes Eötvös’ Second Violin Concerto, entitled DoReMiwhich follows the traditional lines of the genre: an unprecedented musical competition unfolds in front of listeners in the interaction between solo and orchestra. (The soloist is Patricia Kopatchinskaja.)
Before that, they play Wolfgang Rihm’s orchestra piece IN-SCHRIFT 2, which was premiered in Berlin in October 2013 at the “50 Years of the Philharmonie” gala concert. Rihm took as the basis for his spatial composition the features of the main concert hall of the Philharmonie itself, so the musicians are grouped around the auditorium. The evening will be rounded off with Johannes Brahms’s Piano Quartet in G minor op. 25 in Arnold Schoenberg’s orchestral version. Schoenberg saw the “developing variation” sketched out in the work that he described as the basic prerequisite of his twelve-tone technique. At the premiere of the quartet on 16 November 1861, to be sure, the finale designated “alla zingarese” generated the greatest response with its innumerable allusions to the csárdás, perpetuum mobile episodes and trio serenade.