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The Conductor without a Baton

There is no conductor anywhere in the world today who causes such a stir in the music scene and the media: Teodor Currentzis.

For some he is a saint, for others an enfant terrible of classical music: in his energy-laden and radically subjective interpretations Teodor Currentzis, a star conductor of Greek-Russian extraction, goes to the boundaries of the music and beyond. Hitherto, he was mainly active in a variety of ensembles that he set up himself. But since autumn 2018 he has also been principal conductor of the recently-merged SWR Symphonieorchester, and can be heard at the Elbphilharmonie no fewer than seven times in the 2018/19 season.

Music lets us explore the vulnerable and dangerous places of our souls, the hidden secrets.

Teodor Currentzis

Currentzis, who appears in combat boots with red laces, never touches a baton and lives in isolation in a forest near the Urals, is the source of unparalleled hype in the classical scene: his eccentric and highly individual interpretations aim for the extreme and celebrate the unexpected. The conductor himself puts it like this: »We think we know some things back to front that we actually know next to nothing about. My mission is to start by forgetting everything, then to discover it anew«.

Teodor Currentzis

Teodor Currentzis on the roof of the Elbphilharmonie

»La Traviata« in the Grand Hall

October 2018

Teodor Currentzis and Yasuhisa Toyota

Talking Acoustics

musicAeterna chorus of Perm Opera

Choir and Orchestra of Perm Opera

October 2018

The Eccentric on the Rostrum

Against the System

Currentzis has been realising this musical vision for years now together with his own choir and ensemble musicAeterna, which he brought to the Russian city of Perm in 2011. As artistic director of the State Opera and the ballet in this secluded location close to the Urals, he created a cultural counterweight to Moscow and St Petersburg. »Here«, Currentzis once declared, »we can make the music that we want, which can't be done in the big metropolises. Working in exile, we create a new voice against the musical system«.

»Against the musical system« is probably pretty close to Teodor Currentzis's musical creed, and an apt description of his eccentric stage presence, and of the spiritual mission and dedication with which he keeps the classical world on tenterhooks. Currentzis has long been sought after as a guest conductor by top orchestras, and his latest liaison with the venerable SWR Symphonieorchester – his first permanent position in the traditional orchestral landscape – caused quite a sensation.

The things we believe to know so well are the things that are the most undiscovered.

Teodor Currentzis

The Phenomenon that is Teodor Currentzis

Film-maker Andreas Ammer accompanied this exceptional conductor for a total of eight months, and the result is a 60-minute documentary entitled »The Language of our Dreams«.

Teodor Currentzis at the Elbphilharmonie

Teodor Currentzis

A Portrait of Currentzis

Teodor Currentzis is the Elbphilharmonie's Artist in Residence for the 2018/19 season and can be heard in Hamburg in this capacity no fewer than seven times, with very different concert programmes. View the concerts.

Reason enough to bring today's most talked-about conductor to Hamburg for a series of seven concerts. As part of his Portrait at the Elbphilharmonie, Currentzis will be appearing four times together with his ensemble musicAeterna in the Grand Hall; he will conduct another two concerts there with the SWR Symphonieorchester, and one with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. And the concert programmes themselves offer extreme contrasts: the Verdi and Brahms Requiems, Shostakovich's »Leningrad« Symphony, Verdi's »La Traviata« and the choral opera »Tristia« by Philippe Hersant, which sets to music poems written by prisoners of war.

Read more about Teodor Currentzis in the latest issue of the Elbphilharmonie Magazine (in German only). Order your copy now.

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