Concerto Köln appoints Kent Nagano as Honorary Conductor - October 20, 2019
On the occasion of yesterday’s collaborative concert at the Cologne Philharmonie, Concerto Köln appointed Kent Nagano as Honorary Conductor. The early music ensemble and the conductor, renowned for both opera and orchestral repertoire, have enjoyed a close collaboration since 2011. Currently, the focus of their collaboration lies on academic research and, starting in 2021, on the historically informed performance of Wagner’s “The Ring of the Nibelung” - “Wagner Readings”.
With the title of Honorary Conductor, Concerto Köln acknowledges the long-standing and loyal collaboration with Kent Nagano. “What we have in common: curiosity, the eagerness to explore and the courage to transcend boundaries. Kent is a musician who never ceases to ask questions and whose thinking never stands still. Backed by mutual sympathy and respect, each and every one of our encounters has been a true source of inspiration”, Artistic Director Alexander Scherf explains the decision. Kent Nagano who is currently the General Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera and Chief Conductor of the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra, was delighted to receive this award: “Concerto Köln and I have enjoyed a remarkable collaboration for a number of years. Be it Mozart’s ‘Idomeneo’, the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven or, most recently, Richard Wagner’s ‘Ring of the Nibelung’ – we manage to rediscover the music together. The energy and power of the orchestra, the gripping playing style and the musical curiosity of Concerto Köln are inspiring. I am very pleased to accept the appointment of Honorary Conductor of this ensemble.”
Following initial collaborations for Beethoven’s 6th Symphony and Mozart’s “Idomeneo” at the 2016 Audi Summer Concerts in Ingolstadt, the idea emerged to further explore 19th-century scenic music. “Wagner Readings” with Concerto Köln and Kent Nagano as Co-Artistic Directors, examines Richard Wagner’s “Ring of the Nibelung”. In addition to various concerts with works from the 19th century – including the concert on October 20, 2019, featuring works by Debussy, Offenbach and Wagner – the performance of the Ring Tetralogy is planned from 2021 onwards. In the lead up to this, the symposium, “Past and present ideals in stage pronunciation” in cooperation with the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, will take place on November 15 and 16, 2019. In the upcoming year 2020, the emphasis will be on the practical application of academic findings: this includes the reconstruction of wind instruments according to historical models and workshops focusing on the artistic realization of Wagner’s ideals and intentions regarding performance practice. Researchers from a variety of fields are extensively involved in the project. They are supported by the Kunststiftung NRW, the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Strecker-Stiftung and MBL.
For many years, Concerto Köln, with its unique sound, has ranked among the leading ensembles in the field of historical performance practice. The orchestra is synonymous with outstanding interpretations of early music. Concerto Köln manages to shed new light on baroque masterpieces in an unparalleled way, as the most recent recording with selected Concerti Grossi by Francesco Geminiani illustrates.