Teodor Currentzis Presents His New International Project — Utopia
First tour in October will include Philharmonie Luxembourg, Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Wiener Konzerthaus, and Berliner Philharmonie
From a formal point of view, Utopia is a new international orchestra that wants to bring together the best musicians from all around the world. In its substance, it is an idealistic attempt to find an approach to music creation which makes it possible to reach the inner essence of a musical text. The collective’s artistic director and creator is the Greek conductor Teodor Currentzis. An idea to bring together soloists and concertmasters from different orchestras into a single ensemble emerged several years ago. The negotiations took a long while, and now the project is ready to be launched. The first Utopia concerts are to be given in the first half of October in some of Europe’s most important venues supporting the project, namely Philharmonie Luxembourg, Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Wiener Konzerthaus, and also in the Berliner Philharmonie.
Utopia’s point of departure is the simple truth that the willingness of musicians to devote themselves to serious preparatory and research work is just as important as musical mastery in order to achieve visionary artistic goals. Therefore, Utopia is not so much an orchestra in the conventional sense of the word, but rather a special creative community, a team of like-minded people dedicated to finding the best sound and the true spirit of a musical composition.
Said Teodor Currentzis, Utopia’s Artistic Director:
“This dream is not just mine. This is a long-nurtured idea of a large number of musicians from all corners of the world: to unite people with a shared musical ideology in order to create without compromise what our musical imagination comes up with. This is an attempt to leave behind the framework of respectable institutions which, while being blessed can also be doomed to create what could be described as a certain standardized international sound. We are stepping into a more experimental field of searching for the perfect sound with masterful musicians who all crave it. The first thing that suffers through globalization is intimacy. This thrill, unity and dedication I am talking about can most likely be found in the work of an individual musician or a small collective. We want to bring this chamber identity and intimacy into the full instrumentation of a large symphony concert. So we will give up what we used to know and we will take a leap. Of course, this is a utopian idea. Utopia is something that is impossible, and that’s what attracts us – making the impossible. Dreams come true only when we lift the ban on the impossible”.
Utopia is a free orchestra based on the time-limited association of musicians from all over the world. The cast of the orchestra will vary depending on the instruments stipulated in the score. 112 musicians from 28 countries will take part in the first project: Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK, Ukraine, the USA, and Venezuela.
Said Rick Stotijn, Double bass Player:
“In a world which is splitting apart right now, we want to create a space inhabited by ideas which contribute to uniting, not dividing, and help to establish a dialogue. It is important to us to show that hope and light are stronger than any negative circumstances”.
The orchestra is funded with proceeds from concerts and supported by Kunst und Kultur DM Privatstiftung and various European patrons. Utopia has no permanent residence. In order to present their first programme, the musicians will gather at the Philharmonie Luxembourg, where they will conduct a full-scale cycle of rehearsals, after which they will go on tour:
▪ October 4 — Philharmonie Luxembourg
▪ October 5 — Laeiszhalle Hamburg
▪ October 7—9 — Wiener Konzerthaus
▪ October 11 — Philharmonie Berlin
Said Christoph Lieben-Seutter, General and Artistic Director of Elbphilharmonie and Laeiszhalle:
“The truly unknown things are not the ones we know nothing about, but the ones we think we know everything about’, the eminent Greek composer Jani Christou once said. In this spirit, another Greek musician, Teodor Currentzis, along with hundreds of other musicians, has set about the task of meticulously and attentively exploring music. For me, it is very important and heartwarming that Teodor Currentzis has agreed to present this outstanding project in Hamburg’s historic and venerable Laeiszhalle”.
The programme of the first Utopia concert encompasses the works exemplify the creative mindset of the first decades of the 20th century. The orchestra will perform Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird suite in the rarely performed third version of 1945 and two compositions by Maurice Ravel: the Daphnis et Chloé suite No. 2 and choreographic poems for orchestra La Valse. These are wittily invented and filigreed music pieces, things in themselves, exquisite artefacts for discerning connoisseurs. The sophisticated score of these compositions — with its complex and fragile harmonies, intricate textures, flexible rhythmic, and unusual timbres — requires virtuoso performing technique, filigree performance, extreme sensitivity, and coherence from the musicians and allows to fully reveal the capabilities of the new orchestra.
Two tours of the new orchestra are scheduled for the 2022/23 season. In June 2023 in a series of concerts Utopia will present its interpretation of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 3