Female composers

Female composers
  • Sofia Gubaidulina
    Glorious Percussion, concerto for percussion ensemble and orchestra (40 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Gustavo Dudamel

    Glorious Percussion

  • Betsy Jolas
    A Little Summer Suite (première) (13 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Sir Simon Rattle

  • Anna Thorvaldsdóttir
    Metacosmos (European première) (15 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Alan Gilbert

  • Sofia Gubaidulina
    In tempus praesens, concerto for violin and orchestra (38 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Christian Thielemann

    Gidon Kremer Violin

  • Amy Beach
    Romance for violin and piano (5 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Noah Bendix-Balgley violin, Ohad Ben-Ari piano

  • Unsuk Chin
    Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (30 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Myung-Whun Chung

    Alban Gerhardt Cello

  • Kaija Saariaho
    Laterna Magica (première) (24 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Sir Simon Rattle

  • Maija Einfelde
    Lux aeterna for mixed choir, chime bells and vibraphone (9 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Andris Nelsons

    MDR Rundfunkchor choir

Against the will of her family, the American Amy Beach insisted on a career as a composer. In 1913, she was the soloist in her own piano concerto in a performance with the Berliner Philharmoniker. Her success is an exception; she was one of the few female composers who were able to perform their works publicly. Female composers are increasingly gaining a firm place in contemporary music. Sofia Gubaidulina, promoted by Shostakovich and Gidon Kremer, is now considered a classic, stage works by Kaija Saariaho, Olga Neuwirth and Unsuk Chin are performed at leading opera houses, and Rebecca Saunders received the renowned Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 2019.

As the present selection shows, the Berliner Philharmoniker are also increasingly performing works by female composers. A fascinating expressive potential unfolds in them: the tonal language of Sofia Gubaidulina and Maija Einfelde is characterised by spirituality, and Kaija Saariaho’s idiom by impressionistic colourfulness. While Unsuk Chin’s compositions show a spectrum ranging from humorous touches to cosmic sound visions, Betsy Jola combines atmospheric pointillism with idiosyncratic melody. As part of a special focus on female composers, the Philharmoniker have included performances of new works by Unsuk Chin, Kaija Saariaho and Anna Thorvaldsdóttir in the 2020/21 season.