In 2022/2023 the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO) celebrates its 25th anniversary season. Since its creation in 1997 the MCO continuously keeps shaping its distinct sound, independent artistic identity, and agile and democratic structure. The MCO is still governed by its musicians to this day in collaboration with its managing office.
Claudio Abbado, the founding mentor of the orchestra, inspired the ensemble to develop a philosophy that is based on the power of listening and communication – both as a structure and musically. The orchestra is enriched by engaging with Artistic Partners, creating multiyear projects that focus on a specific artistic topic.
These Artistic Partners – pianists Mitsuko Uchida and Leif Ove Andsnes, violinist Pekka Kuusisto, Conductor Laureate Daniel Harding, Artistic Advisor Daniele Gatti and Artistic Partner for lmmersive Experiences Henrik Oppermann/Schallgeber – inspire and give shape to the orchestra. These relationships have also been the catalyst for close collaborations with George Benjamin, Gustavo Dudamel, Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Yuja Wang.
The orchestra brings together 27 different nationalities, with every musician living in a different part of the world, to reach live audiences across 40 countries on five continents. It connects with a global community through annual residencies at New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Southbank Centre, Berlin’s Philharmonie, Lucerne Festival, Heidelberger Frühling, Salzburg’s Mozartwoche, Festival de Saint-Denis and the Beijing Music Festival.
In the field of Education and Outreach, the MCO’s three flagship projects include the MCO Academy, where MCO members share their passion and expertise with the next generation of orchestral musicians in collaboration with Orchesterzentrum|NRW; Unboxing Mozart, inviting audiences into the heart of the orchestra through the use of unique sound boxes; and Feel the Music, which opens the world of music to deaf and hard of hearing children, encouraging a whole-body sensory experience.
When in 2020 the orchestra was not able to carry out its usual activities, it gained substantial public support to focus more intensely and proactively on key themes related to community, sustainability, and digital technology. Together with its Artistic Partner for lmmersive Experiences, Henrik Oppermann/Schallgeber, the MCO invites new digital technologies into the concert hall and beyond. Henrik Oppermann and the MCO will launch three projects within their virtual reality series »Future Presence«, designed to bring the listener deeper inside the performance and even closer to the music itself.
The 25th season kicked off with the finale of the »Mozart Momentum 1785/1786« project with Leif Ove Andsnes, taking the stage at the BBC Proms. Travelling extensively through Europe and the USA, the MCO will reunite with Mitsuko Uchida for a programme that combines compositions from the two Viennese schools. Innovation through exploring new concert formats and rethinking tradition will be a focal point in the orchestra’s meeting with Pekka Kuusisto. New collaborations, such as with rising star conductor Joana Mallwitz and violist Antoine Tamestit, will be alternated with longstanding connections like with Daniel Harding, Isabelle Faust and George Benjamin. Of the latter, the MCO previously took part in creating works that have become standard repertoire. They will reunite for a new composition in the summer of 2023. Before that, the orchestra embarks on a tour across some of the most prestigious venues in Europe with Andris Nelsons and Lang Lang. A new horizon appears in the season of 2024, when the MCO becomes Artistic Director of the Musikwoche Hitzacker for a period of five years.
The Mahler Chamber Orchestra’s anniversary season is generously supported by the MCO Foundation.