Everything is possible!

Time for you and me, time for culture! The stARTfestival 2022 will tickle our senses again. Let's look forward to world-class orchestras, stars and newcomers of classical music, jazz, rock and much more at the Bayer sites Leverkusen, Wuppertal, Berlin and Bitterfeld. Finally live again.

What? When? Where? stARTfestival dates 2022

Alma Naidu © Boris Breuer
Alma Naidu © Boris Breuer

Important note: There is a lineup change for the original event "Fatma Said and Tim Alhoff" on May 6th, 2022 at Scala in Leverkusen. The singer fell ill at short notice, so Tim Allhoff will sing with the jazz singer Alma Naidu.


Alma Naidu: vocals; Tim Allhoff: piano


€22/5 plus booking fee
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Dominique Horwitz © Ralf Brinkhoff

Russian composer and conductor Igor Stravinsky wrote L’Histoire du soldat (The Soldier’s Tale) in exile during the confusion of the First World War. A musical fairytale, simple and for a small ensemble. A work set to music in the style of old Russian storytellers and traveling players. Actor Dominique Horwitz, familiar to audiences in Leverkusen and beyond, plays all the different characters in Stravinsky’s story and, together with the musicians of the ARTE Ensemble, creates a gripping interpretation of this exciting soldier’s tale. The music: a mixture of tango and marches. Waltzes and ragtime. All slightly discordant. With a hint of the devil.


Dominique Horwitz: recitation; ARTE Ensemble; Erwin Schulhoff/Andreas N. Tarkmann: Suite für Kammerorchester; Igor Stravinsky: L’histoire du soldat


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Ensemble amarcord
Amarcord © Nick Begby

Unusual. Pioneering. Josquin Desprez was a master of vocal polyphony. His works were already celebrated during his lifetime and his music continues to fascinate today. Music that was also created at a time of crisis, disease and a pandemic. Josquin survived the plague, fleeing the city of Ferrara in 1504. He was the most respected Renaissance composer in Europe. In the sober architecture of the Herz Jesu church of Leverkusen city: in the face of a pandemic. The voices of the multiple award-winning vocal ensemble amarcord from Leipzig, Germany. They give hope: a crisis as a catalyst. As an artistic driving force. Then, as now?

 

Wolfram Lattke: tenor, Robert Pohlers: tenor, Frank Ozimek: baritone, Daniel Knauft: bass, Holger Krause: bass

 

Josquin Desprez: Madrigale


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Haydn Creation Rehearsal
HaydnCreationRehearsal hires © BenEalovega

The Third. His shortest. Johannes Brahms is Beethoven’s heir. Yet he actually developed his own type of symphony. The Third. Artificial. More chamber music than symphony. The note sequence F-A-F in major and minor forms the starting point for the four movements. “It is love and it warms the heart,” was how Antonín Dvořák described his friend’s work. And he wasn’t just referring to the well-known melancholic intermezzo that forms the third movement. Catchy. Just like Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, which Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra perform before Brahms’ symphony. A collection of lively melodies from Ukrainian and Russian folksongs. Interspersed with a waltz. Fast but gentle at the same time. A feast of sound. A work of timeless greatness. The soloist for this evening is Gabriela Montero from Venezuela. Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla herself is also a classical superstar. Studied in Graz. Theaters in Heidelberg (Germany), Bern (Switzerland) and Salzburg (Austria). Then the call to join the world-famous City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Like Sir Simon Rattle and Andris Nelson before her. At just 29 years of age. A concert of superlatives. In Wuppertal.


Gabriela Montero: piano; Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla: director
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 23 in B-flat minor; Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90


€43/31/15/5 plus booking fee
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BarAvni M Starowieyska
BarAvni © M. Starowieyska

The Second. Johannes Brahms’ best-loved symphony. It represented Brahms’ breakthrough as the composer of major symphonic works. A friend of the composer wrote that the audience hears “blue skies, the babbling of brooks, sunshine and cool, green shade.” The Second, a rather happy work. Brahms was actually a brooder. The young Israeli pianist Tom Zalmanov (born 1999) is a graduate of the Jerusalem Music Centre. His teachers included Menachem Pressler, Angela Hewitt, Emanuel Ax and Jonathan Biss. Bar Avni, principal conductor of the Bayer Philharmonic Orchestra since 2021, has invited him to play one of the best-known piano concertos composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ahead of Brahms’ Second Symphony. A restless, gloomy, almost mystical opening that captivates the audience.


Bayer Philharmonic Orchestra, Tom Zalmanov: piano; Bar Avni: director
Naam Zafran: Parida Nueva; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto in D minor, KV 466; Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73


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Patrick Hahn
Hahn © CG Pictures

Georg Kreisler. An exceptional artist. Born 100 years ago in Vienna, Austria. The son of a Jewish lawyer. He began to study music at the Vienna Conservatory and emigrated to the USA. Kreisler worked for Charlie Chaplin in Hollywood. He scraped a living as a nightclub musician in New York. In 1955, he returned to Vienna. But it was no longer his home. He moved to Munich, Berlin and Basel but never found a home there. Patrick Hahn. An Austrian and traveler like Kreisler. The internationally acclaimed shooting star on the conductor’s podium. A popular guest of major international orchestras and the director of opera productions worldwide. With the Wuppertal Symphony Orchestra, he delights audience and musicians alike. Through his infectious love of music. The youngest principal conductor in the German-speaking world. Hahn owes his breakthrough to Kreisler’s chansons and songs. For this reason and because he just loves to do so, Patrick Hahn is not the maestro this evening but the singer and pianist. Together with us, he will be celebrating the centenary of the great pianist, composer, poet, punster and cabaret artist Georg Kreisler.


Patrick Hahn
An evening of chansons with works by Georg Kreisler


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Battle of Styles © Christoph Seidler
Battle of Styles © Christoph Seidler

Ballet. Contemporary dance. Break dance. A unique and infectious vibrancy. A fascinating encounter full of surprises. Spontaneity, creativity and dancing skill are needed to win the Battle of Styles. Dancers from different styles and generations compete with each other in this innovative dance format. Everything is improvised, nothing is rehearsed. The result is an exciting dialog that turns dance and movement into a means of encounter, exchange and communication. Esthetic, graceful and impressive. Technically demanding. A jury decides the winner on the basis of musicality, improvisation and stage presence as well as dancing skill and technique. A special kind of competition. A show that will always be unique.


Dialog in motion – ballet, contemporary dance & break dance: who will win?


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Fischer Ivan © Kurcsak Istvan

Straight into the solo without any orchestral prelude. The concert simply starts. Revolutionary. Ludwig van Beethoven composed his Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major in 1805, at the same time as he was working on his fifth and sixth symphonies. It is perhaps his greatest. It is certainly his most beautiful. Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 was originally performed as a “symphonic poem.” 1889. In Budapest. Six years later, the revised score bridged the gap between Beethoven’s symphonies and Brückner. The surprise: natural melodies reminiscent of folksongs and the grotesque sounds of funeral marches. Something entirely new. French pianist Alexandre Kantorow and the Budapest Festival Orchestra directed by Iván Fischer bring both these revolutionary works to life. At the age of 22, Kantarow was the first French pianist to win the gold medal at the prestigious International Tchaikovsky Competition. Iván Fischer founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra in 1983. One of the most successful orchestras in the world. The flagship of Hungary’s cultural scene.


Alexandre Kantorow: piano; Iván Fischer: director
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major; Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in D major


€43/31/15/5 plus booking fee
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© iStock 958209380

Empathetic songs with beautiful lyrics by the late Christiane Weber, a winner of the German Cabaret Prize. Imaginative characters. Brought to life by the musicians. A sing-along concert for kindergarten groups. The lyrics and music can be obtained in advance.


Filipina Henoch: vocals; Markus Kötter: guitar


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Contact for free participation by schools and kindergartens: carolin.sturm@bayer.com

Tamara Lukasheva © Annette Etges

The pearl of the Black Sea. The Ukrainian city of Odessa. Pianist and composer Vadim Neselovsky and his duo partner Tamara Lukasheva. Born and raised there. They moved to Germany independently of each other. Vadim Neselovsky moved on to the USA. He studied at Berklee College and the Monk Institute. Worked as a pianist and arranger, including with Gary Burton. His musical contemporaries: Lee Konitz, Randy Becker, Julian Lage, George Benson, John Zorn. He now has his own band. In New York. His adopted city. Tamara Lukasheva studied first in Odessa and then at the University for Music and Dance in Cologne, Germany. She is considered a rising star in the European jazz scene. In 2017, she won the New German Jazz Prize in Mannheim. In 2018, she received the Horst and Gretl Will Bursary for Jazz and Improvised Music from the city of Cologne. She won the WDR Jazz Prize in 2021. Almost all the duo’s work is their own. A virtuoso performance. Played with lightness. From the song-like lyrics to the textless tour de force. A powerful journey through different tempi, meters and registers.


Tamara Lukasheva: vocals; Vadim Neselovsky: piano
Jazz evening


€12/5 plus booking fee
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Michael Schmid © Tom Bruwier
Michael Schmid © Tom Bruwier

Composition or sound poem? The Ursonate was created by Kurt Schwitters over the course of ten years. It is a work of subtle irony; a pastiche of the form of a classical sonata. Inspired by the Dadaist letter poem "fmsbwtözäupggiv?mü" (1921) by his friend Raoul Hausmann. The Ursonate is the benchmark of sound poetry: pure phonetics, free from all associations. An anti-sonata that playfully deconstructs the prevailing bourgeois discourse. The renunciation of meaning reveals the materiality of the voice and the skeleton of rhetoric and linguistics. The intonation is created by the voice of the interpreter. Luise Enzian, Kaan Bulak and Michael Schmid are taking on the challenge of shedding new light on this work. The Renaissance harp and the computer, both central instruments in conveying music and rhetoric in their respective times, allow the performers' voices to resonate and thereby catapult the original sonata into unprecedented dimensions. A work in progress between then and now. Art reflected in its respective times.


Michael Schmid: performance, Luise Enzian: baroque harp, Kaan Bulak: electronics & composition
Kurt Schwitters: The Ursonate


€22/5 plus booking fee
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Minguet Quartett © Irene Zandel
Minguet colour © Irene Zandel

Mozart’s Requiem. A work of consolation rather than pain. Well known, but only in part. The subject of myths. Following Mozart’s death, it was completed by his pupil Franz Xaver Süssmayr. Mozart had given him instructions from his deathbed. In the 19th century, Peter Lichtenthal transcribed this work so it could be performed at small private house concerts. The Requiem was to become better known in Italy. Purely instrumental. The boundary between the audience and the stage becomes blurred. A lament without drums or trumpets. More accessible to the listener. Wolfgang Rihm is one of the greatest contemporary composers, and is celebrating his 70th birthday this year. He has composed more than 400 works. Just 20 minutes long, his String Quartet No. 13 marks the break between the original and completed parts of Mozart’s Requiem. Rihm wants his works to be accepted for themselves. Without explanation. Without interpretation. Composed for the present on the basis of musical tradition and evolution. Confident and free from esthetic dogma. Every era is characterized by its own music.


Ulrich Isfort: 1st violin; Annette Reisinger: 2nd violin; Aida-Carmen Soanea: viola; Matthias Diener: cello
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart/Peter Lichtenthal: Requiem KV 626; Wolfgang Rihm: String Quartet No. 13


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Anne Sofie von Otter © Mats Bäcker

She sings opera, ballads and sacred music and takes forays into folksong. From baroque to modern, from Swedish folksongs to pop. Very few other singers have such a repertoire, such breadth and diversity as Anne Sofie von Otter. Born in Stockholm, the diplomat’s daughter spent her teenage years in Bonn (Germany) and London (UK). Her album “Douce France” won a Grammy in 2015. In 2016, she collaborated with the Brooklyn Riders string quartet to interpret music by Colin Jacobsen, Caroline Shaw, John Adams, Nico Muhly, Björk, Sting, Kate Bush and Elvis Costello. A program of performances at the world’s major music venues. Anne Sofie von Otter and the Brooklyn Riders are continuing their collaboration. With songs by Franz Schubert and Rufus Wainwright. Their tour will take in Leverkusen. For the very first time. Their repertoire for this performance will include Three Waltzes. Quite simply unique.


Anne Sofie von Otter: mezzo-soprano; Brooklyn Rider String Quartet: Johnny Gandelsman, 1st violin; Colin Jacobsen, 2nd violin; Nicholas Cords, viola; Michael Nicolas, cello
With works by Franz Schubert and Rufus Wainwright


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Jakob Manz © Rainer Ortag

A premiere. A concert at the city hall. Jakob Manz has been a stART musician since 2021. He has performed at the Leverkusen Jazz Days festival and at the Prime Time Theater in Berlin. He is involved in the Bayer Arts & Culture outreach projects for children and young people. Composer and drummer Michael Wertmüller wrote a work specially for him. Wertmüller himself is a jazz musician who has performed worldwide and worked with famous theater director and performance artist Christoph Schlingensief. The work is a world premiere. Not just for Manz. Together with the renowned Mandelring Quartet, Jakob Manz pushes the boundaries between jazz and new music, even daring to tackle Alphonse Stallaert. A lesser known repertoire. Bitterfeld. It’ll be worth your while.


Jakob Manz: saxophone; Mandelring Quartet: Sebastian Schmidt, 1st violin; Nanette Schmidt, 2nd violin; Andreas Willwohl, viola; Bernhard Schmidt, cello
Joaquin Turina: Oración del Torero; Michael Wertmüller: PREMIERE; Alphonse Stallaert: Quintet for saxophone and string quartet; Antonin Dvorák: String Quartet in F major, Op. 96, “American Quartet”


€12/5 plus booking fee
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Wildes Holz © Johannes Gramm

Learn an instrument together: the recorder. Participating school classes play together with Jakob Manz and the musicians of Wildes Holz. Classes will be sent instruments and learning materials in advance.


Tobias Reisige, Jakob Manz: recorders; Markus Conrads: double bass, mandolin; Johannes Behr: guitar


€5 plus booking fee
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Contact for free participation by schools and kindergartens: carolin.sturm@bayer.com

Philippe Kratz © Giacomo Bruno

Two dancers. One church. Their movements lift the music to a new dimension. O Domina Nostra. A work by the world-famous Polish composer Henryk Górecki. His music is sacred and fully of spirituality. Many would call it esoteric. Górecki was very religious. The inspiration for O Domina Nostra was the Black Madonna of Jasna Góra. Philippe Kratz, internationally acclaimed choreographer and stARTacademy alumnus, has analyzed the music in detail. He has created his choreography especially for the stARTfestival. His production turns the church into a space for experience. The evening is made unique by the selected French and Czech works from the late romantic and modern periods, played by Rolf Müller on organ and sung by internationally renowned soprano Christiane Karg. A blend of body, voice and organ. Graceful and slightly ethereal.


Christiane Karg: soprano; Casia Vengoechea: dance; Giovanni Leone: dance; Philippe Kratz: choreography; Rolf Müller: organ
Henryk Mikołaj Górecki: O Domina Nostra, Op. 55 and more


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Nico and the Navigators © Falk Wenzel

How do we live with the knowledge that we all have to die? Can we practice our goodbyes? Should death be a celebration? Or should life be a dance on a volcano? No one dies in the middle of their lives. The ecstasy of life and the dance of death. The premiere is a continuation of the successful concert format developed by Nico and the Navigators. First at the Konzerthaus, Berlin, and then at the Bayer Arts & Culture stARTfestival. An exception. Silence and ecstatic moments. A lively musical debate including works by Bach, Leonard Cohen, Rufus Wainwright and others. Two dancers meeting in an ecstatic dance of death and celebrating the mysterious power of our finiteness. They are met by the celebrated soloists in sad, laconic and ecstatic scenes. The sound: a broad spectrum ranging from baroque to pop, art song to quodlibet. The instruments are familiar: violin, double bass and drums. Matan Porat directs from his grand piano. He has edited some of the music. Artistic. Enigmatic.


Nicola Hümpel: artistic director; Matan Porat: musical director
No one dies in the middle of their lives – the ecstasy of life and the dance of death


€22/5 plus booking fee
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Bar Avni © Agnete Schlichtkrull

“Oh, how beautifully you sleep, fairy queen. I have been waiting for this. This is the last ingredient for my magic potion. Hee hee! A magic scarf. Sleep on. But when you awaken, you shall fall in love as never before with the first being that you see. Oh, yes! Whatever that shall be. Whether animal or human. Whether fairy or tree. Your love shall be without measure.” Oops, Puck seems to have made a mistake. First he casts a spell on Lysander, then on Demetrius. This only makes things worse. Helena has two admirers. Hermia has none. The fairy queen Titania likes the carpenter but Puck has given him the head of an ass. A terrible muddle. Will Puck ever get out of this mess? A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shakespeare’s world-famous comedy. The basis for Felix Mendelssohn Bartoldy’s incidental music. Valeria Wilhelm and Marc Schwämmlein take their listeners – both large and small – on a poetic journey. To meet Oberon, the fairy king; Titania, the fairy queen; Puck; and all the other magical beings.


Valerie Wilhelm: vocals; Marc Schwämmlein: vocals; Bayer Philharmonic Orchestra, Bar Avni: director
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a version by Marc Schwämmlein


€5 plus booking fee
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It’s a festival!

In 2021, Bayer Arts & Culture started a new chapter in the 100-year history of the company’s sponsorship of arts and culture. With the launch of the stARTfestival, Bayer Arts & Culture presented an exciting program of events from all genres for adults and children.

 

However, the global coronavirus pandemic meant the festival had to be modified. Some events were streamed live, some concerts were recorded for later broadcast by radio and some performances could be used by the artists for a video production.