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Gewandhausorchester, Alan Gilbert: Auerbach, Shostakovich at Gewandhaus

Leipzig, Gewandhaus zu Leipzig — Grosser Saal

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About the Event

In Leipzig's beloved Gewandhaus, hear the Gewandhaus Orchestra, the GewandhausChor and cellist Kristina Reiko Cooper under the baton of Alan Gilbert for a captivating performance of works by Auerbach and Shostakovich.

The anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz‐Birkenau concentration camp commemorates not only the abyss of unimaginable crimes, but also the overcoming of horror and signs of hope of courageous humanity. The Japanese consul Chiune Sugihara saved the lives of 6,000 Jews in Lithuania during the Second World War. He issued visas to the refugees on his own initiative, which they would not have been entitled to under current law. The cellist Kristina Reiko Cooper's parents‐in‐law are among the 40,000 descendants of these Holocaust survivors. The Japanese‐born cellist initiated an international art project in honor of Sugihara together with the Russian‐Austrian composer, pianist and author Lera Auerbach, who also lives in the USA. With the support of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Center in Jerusalem, the large‐scale choral symphonic work with solo cello dedicated to Sugihara was created.

No sooner had Stalin died than Shostakovich came forward in 1953 with a new symphony, the Tenth. After eight years, he broke his symphonic silence. Expectations were high — but no one had expected it. Shostakovich's agitated, shattering music triggered the most violent reactions. For three days, the 10th Symphony was debated in the Composers' Association. The audience had long since reached its verdict. They heard their own emotions, their own voices speaking out of the symphony and cheered the work euphorically. The popularity of the symphony abroad strengthened the composer's position. Shostakovich gave only non‐committal information: the symphony was dedicated to all who loved peace. The tones harbor even more messages. The brutal, abruptly breaking off Scherzo was identified as a portrait of Stalin. Fellow artists who had fallen victim to the regime and people from Shostakovich's circle are also inscribed in the score. But above all, again and again and with relentless emphasis: Dmitri Shostakovich's initials D‐es‐c-h — the sound sign of a tremendously strong 'I'.

Practical Information

Due to its history, the Gewandhaus Orchestra stands for civic engagement in a special way. With a view to the challenges of the present and the community‐building, inspiring and transformative potential of music, it has launched a democracy initiative in 2022. On pressing issues of justice, resources, media, institutions, education, identity, resilience and faith, public and cultural figures engage in dialogue with each other, with the audience and with musical performances.

'Resonance' is the motto above the musically inspired, culturally initiated discussion of basic values, understanding of democracy and social togetherness. We invite you to join in the discussion at round tables and to experimentally explore and musically experience political, sociological, acoustic and interpersonal facets of resonance in workshops and performances. Inspired by musical artworks, we open spaces for voices of the present and for ideas that strengthen the common good — in exchange between all those who want to help shape society.


  • Lera Auerbach – 6. Sinfonie ("Lichtgefäße") für Violoncello, Chor und Orchester
  • Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich – 10. Sinfonie e‐Moll op. 93
Program is subject to change


Orchestra: Gewandhausorchester Leipzig

The Leipzig Gewandhausorchester is a German orchestra based in Leipzig, Germany. It is named after the concert hall in which it is based, the Gewandhaus.

The orchestra has a good claim to being the oldest continuing musical performing organization in Europe. In the early 19th century, Felix Mendelssohn was the kapellmeister.

Later principal conductors included Arthur Nikisch, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, Vaclav Neumann, and from 1970 to 1996 Kurt Masur. In 1998, Herbert Blomstedt took over the post until 2005 and will be succeeded by Riccardo Chailly.

As home to the Gewandhausorchester, the city of Leipzig possesses an orchestra of the highest world renown — one with an extraordinarily illustrious heritage spanning 275 years. In March 1743, sixteen Leipzig merchants founded a concert society, which was to shape musical history. Today, the Gewandhausorchester thrills and inspires music lovers the world over with both its passion for music and its unique, unmistakable sound.
Alongside its 70 symphonic Große Concerte per season, the Gewandhausorchester performs as the orchestra both of the Leipzig Opera — a role it has fulfilled for over 200 years — and of St. Thomas‘s Church, performing the music of JS Bach each week with the celebrated Thomanerchor. In addition, the Orchestra gives approximately 35 concerts per season all around the globe, and is documented on countless recordings. The unique diversity of the Gewandhausorchester‘s activities is a fundamental factor of Leipzig‘s international renown as ‚City of Music‘.

Conductor: Alan Gilbert
Choir: GewandhausChor
Cello: Kristina Reiko Cooper


Gewandhaus zu Leipzig, Augustusplatz 8, Leipzig, Germany — Google Maps

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