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  • © Joerg Steinmetz
    © Joerg Steinmetz

Gewandhausorchester, Alan Gilbert: Franke, Bruckner at Gewandhaus

Leipzig, Gewandhaus zu Leipzig — Grosser Saal

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About the Event

In Leipzig's beloved Gewandhaus, hear the Gewandhaus Orchestra and pianist Michael Wolny under the baton of Alan Gilbert for a captivating performance of works by Franke and Bruckner.

I don't compose for the quiet chamber, says Bernd Franke, and yet the concert hall became a quiet chamber when his concert was to be premiered at the beginning of December 2021, lest a virus sail through the hall on sound waves. Genesis has much to do with music from other cultures, especially Indian, Japanese and Chinese, and music before classical music. Not least inspiring are my observations of social behavior in music making. The unusual form of the work came about in dialogue with the soloist at the premiere. Michael Wollny wanted musical offers to listen and react, improvisational freedom. In the orchestral writing, too, flexibly designed, aleatoric situations with possibilities for free playing open up alongside composed passages. Franke creates dense sound surfaces that sound complex but are simply notated and in which the musicians act quasi independently of each other.

'Landscapes' is what Franke calls parts of his concerto — and this could also be used to describe Bruckner's crescendo mountains, fortissimo plateaus, general pause canyons, pianissimo meadows and counterpoint forests. The main theme of the trumpet stands out from the softly moving sound surface of the beginning, other winds follow and create an enormous musical panorama. Wide string levels open up, natural tone sequences announce the sublime, but the pathetic Bruckner theme — the solemnly celebrated splendid version of the first trumpet idea — is a long time coming. When, after nearly a quarter of an hour, it resounds powerfully from horns, trombones and trumpets in the center of the opening movement, the effect is simply overwhelming. But even the supposedly unsurpassable only gives a foreshadowing of what will happen at the end of the movement and finally at the end of the work dedicated to Richard Wagner, likewise under the sign of this theme.

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.


  • Bernd Franke – Genesis – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (Uraufführung, Auftragswerk der Stiftung »Gerda Donges & Friedrich Steffen Pohle für Musik in Leipzig« und des Gewandhausorchesters)
  • Anton Bruckner – 3. Sinfonie d‐Moll WAB 103 (3. Fassung von 1888/89)
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
Piano: Michael Wollny


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

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