Utopia Orchestra

by Alexandra Muravyeva__1390

Utopia is an international festival orchestra founded by the conductor Teodor Currentzis to bring together the best musicians from all around the world. Utopia is structurally, financially, and organizationally independent of any other collectives and institutions. 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 idea of Utopia emerged several years ago. Its 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 with a shared musical ideology. They join together to create without compromise what their musical imagination comes up with in order to find the best sound.

The musicians come together specifically to create each new programme. The cast of the orchestra varies depending on the instruments stipulated in the score. Musicians from dozens of countries take part in the project, such as Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belarus, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK, Ukraine, the USA, Venezuela, and many others.

The orchestra is funded with proceeds from concerts and supported by Kunst und Kultur DM Privatstiftung and various European patrons.

The first Utopia concerts were given in October 2022. The orchestra performed Igor Stravinsky’s and Maurice Ravel’s pieces at some of Europe’s most important venues supporting the project, namely Philharmonie Luxembourg, Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Wiener Konzerthaus, and also in the Berliner Philharmonie.

Since then, the Utopia Orchestra has gathered together three more times. Utopia performs in the largest concert halls in the world, such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Elbphilharmonie, the Philharmonie Luxembourg, the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, the Athens Concert Hall Megaron, the Isarphilharmonie in Munich, and Santa Cecilia Hall in Rome.

In particular, in 2023 Utopia presented its interpretation of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, as well as the programme with Johannes Brahms’s Violin Concerto and Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, and made its debut at the Salzburg Festival with concert performances of Purcell’s The Indian Queen and Mozart’s c-Moll Messe. To work on this programme, Teodor also assembled the Utopia Choir, having invited 40 musicians from 14 countries singing in Europe’s leading theatres and ensembles. Those who have already experienced working with Utopia describe it as the ‘place of possibilities’ for artists eager to ‘share their love and passion’ to ‘harmoniously blend together’ and ‘sing as one voice’

Three tours are scheduled for 2024. In May, Utopia will perform Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9 in Berlin, Hamburg, and Athens. In the summer, the Utopia Orchestra and Choir will be back to the Salzburg Festival to present Mozart — Da Ponte’s Don Giovanni staged by Romeo Castellucci and Johann Sebastian Bach’s sacred oratorio St. Matthew Passion. In the autumn, Utopia conducted by Teodor Currentzis will present its interpretation of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.

In the winter of 2025, the Utopia Orchestra and Choir conducted by Teodor Currentzis will take part in the production of Rameau’s opera Castor et Pollux directed by Peter Sellars at the Paris Opera.