Concert programmes with conductors such as Ton Koopman, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Daniel Harding and Claudio Abbado, chamber music at the Jazz Club Ferrara, open dress rehearsals, performances for school and university students and participation in an international conference on »Art and Culture in the time of Economic Crisis« – the calendar is always full when the MCO travels to Ferrara (its first and oldest residence).
The orchestra plays there several times each season. Each year the MCO participates in the opening of the concert season of Ferrara Musica, the concert series founded by Claudio Abbado in 1989. Residences are places to push the boundaries, to discover new things, to see the familiar in new contexts. For the MCO – and also for the residences themselves – this spectrum of activities is of the utmost existential importance. The financial crisis, changes in structure and globalisation have called into question many things which could previously be taken for granted in Europe.
In Italy, particularly, the situation with cultural subsidies is not getting any easier. Authorities in Ferrara, together with the various cultural institutions, have developed plans to address the problems in a constructive manner. George Edelman, Artistic Director of Ferrara Musica, is working on developing a comprehensive cultural vision: »In Ferrara, the arts should join together. Theatre, visual art and music should be illuminated, each from their own perspective, in genre-crossing and mutually enriching projects.« George Edelman is very taken with the idea of making culturally and historically relevant eras accessible to the public through art. »There are so many possibilities to develop interesting projects – workshops, chamber concerts and much more.«
In this vein, the next MCO project with Claudio Abbado in Ferrara is planned in conjunction with the »Paris of the 1920s« art exhibition at the Palazzo Diamanti. The orchestra will play together with the Orchestra Mozart from Bologna for the first time; the programme features Ravel and Debussy as the most important representatives of French Impressionism, as well as Stravinsky and Prokofiev, whose creative output was profoundly influenced by the culture of Paris in this exceptional period.
Another significant cooperation has already been going on for a few years: together with the Jazz Club Ferrara, Ferrara Musica founded the concert series OFF, which focuses on contemporary music, jazz and classical music fusion, musical theatre and chamber music, at the Torrione, a watchtower of the medieval city wall. Ferrara Musica is dedicated to continuing and expanding this concert series. For the MCO these Torrione concerts have become a tradition as well; various solo ensembles of MCO musicians perform there regularly. »The musicians are much closer to the audience in this extraordinary space. It creates a very special atmosphere,« explains MCO General Manager Andreas Richter. »In addition, we hope to reach a new kind of concert-goer there.« A jazz-loving audience is generally known to have high expectations and to be open to musical experiments, which makes programming these concerts even more interesting. »We can show the entire spectrum of our repertoire at these concerts, « enthuses Mr. Richter. »From Biber’s Passacaglia to Beethoven and Mozart and finally to Penderecki, Ligeti and Widmann. The klezmer pieces that our clarinettist arranged were also wonderful.«
George Edelman’s plans for Ferrara Musica focus on emphasizing Claudio Abbado’s lifetime tasks in creating and supporting new orchestras by showcasing them during every season. All of them became standard-setters for quality of musicianship, dedication to the orchestras’ performances and camaraderie. On the whole, Claudio Abbado has truly enriched Europe’s musical life by founding and developing international orchestras, and should be honoured as such. Consequently, Mr. Edelman is planning future seasons in such a way that, alongside the MCO, which remains the most significant part of Ferrara Musica’s identity, there will also be the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Orchestra Mozart.