The New York Philharmonic is set to end its pandemic-induced moratorium on overseas travel this May, when they make three concert appearances at the Usedom Festival. The festival takes place on the Baltic island of Usedom, which is off the coast of north-eastern Germany, near the Polish border.
The residency helps celebrate 20 years of Peenemünde Concerts, 80 years of the United Nations, and 180 years of the New York Philharmonic.
The performances will take place at The Peenemünde Historical Technical Museum, which was formerly a scientific military base where the Nazis developed superweapons. The festival now stages concerts there to promote worldwide peace.
The New York Phil's first concert, which also serves to open the whole festival, takes place on May 20 and features pianist Jan Lisiecki as the soloist in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor." The program also contains the European premiere of Nina Shekhar's newly commissioned work Lumina, as well as the ninth symphony of Shostakovich.
Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter joins the orchestra on May 21, playing a 2001 work that was written especially for her: André Previn's Violin Concerto. Joan Tower's suffrage-inspired work 1920/2019 will receive another outing, as well as Bartók's evergreen Concerto for Orchestra.
The third program features baritone Thomas Hampson singing excerpts from Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn, as well as performances of Walker’s Lyric for Strings and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7.
This concert does not conclude the orchestra's festival involvement, however: on May 23 and 24, the players will collaborate with members of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic to present two concerts of chamber music, including Barber’s Summer Music, Mozart’s Horn Quartet in E-flat major, and Brahms’s String Sextet No. 2.