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Gubaidulina Festival in Hannover Was a Tremendous Success

From 9 until 13 November 2011 prominent artists and ensembles met at the NDR state broadcasting centre in Lower Saxony and at the Academy of Music, Theatre and Media in Hannover in order to honour the 80th birthday (24 October) of the Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina during the course of a festival dedicated to her. The composer herself attended the festival.

The star violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, pianist Igor Levit, bayan virtuoso Elsbeth Moser, the Szymanowski Quartet, the Ensemble Resonanz, the Hannover Boys' Choir and the NDR Radio Philharmonic under their principal conductor Eivind Gullberg Jensen were among the interpreters. The extensive festival was organised by the NDR Radio Philharmonic, the Academy of Music, Theatre and Media in Hannover, the Lower Saxony Foundation, the Lower Saxon Savings Bank Foundation, the Hannover Savings Bank and Musicland Lower Saxony.

Elsbeth Moser said during the course of the festival: "For me, Sofia Gubaidulina is the greatest woman composer of our time." The bayanist and professor at the Academy of Music, Theatre and Media in Hannover had the idea for a special appreciation of Sofia Gubaidulina: "Since our first meeting, her music and personality have been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for me. To dedicate a festival to her on the occasion of her 80thbirthday is an idea that did not let go of me, and I am impressed and thrilled to have found so many kindred spirits in Hannover – for a wonderful birthday festival with such a wide spectrum of events and outstanding artists!"

Alongside four concerts which shed light on the composer's symphonic, vocal and chamber oeuvre, music promotional projects in various formats formed a focal point of the festival: Anne-Sophie Mutter was the guest at a student concert of the series "Spurensuche" (Searching for Traces). In addition, young music enthusiasts were able to gain insights into the special processes of composing at the Composition Workshop lasting several days. An accordion project brought amateur musicians and students of the Academy of Music, Theatre and Media in Hannover together for improvisation, the Szymanowski Quartet gave an introduction to the String Quartet No. 3 of Sofia Gubaidulina during the course of the series "zeit-lupe". At the same concert, the world premiere of the work "Kubla Khan" by Elena Firsova and Dmitri Smirnov also took place. Together with their children Alissa Firsova und Philip Firsov, they wrote this surprise composition (commissioned by the Hannover Society for Music) extra for this special occasion.

Sofia Gubaidulina, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Elsbeth Moser could be heard during the course of the festival week in live talks on the podium, there was a cinema evening at the NDR with the prize-winning film "Sophia – Biography of a Violin Concerto," and the Music and Gender Research Centre of the Academy of Music, Theatre and Media in Hannover invited guests to a scholarly symposium.


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