DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON CELEBRATES ITS 120TH ANNIVERSARY WITH GALA CONCERT IN BERLIN FEATURING CLASSICAL MUSIC STARS ANNE-SOPHIE MUTTER AND LANG LANG, AND THE WORLD PREMIERE OF A NEW JOHN WILLIAMS COMPOSITION BASED ON THE STAR WARS SCORE
DG PRESIDENT TRAUTMANN EMPHASIZES GROWING RELEVANCE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC FOR SOCIETY: “TODAY, LISTENING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER.”
PARTNERSHIPS WITH STAATSKAPELLE BERLIN, CONDUCTED BY MANFRED HONECK, AND GOOGLE ARTS & CULTURE
06 November 2018 (Toronto, ON) - Deutsche Grammophon (DG), the oldest classical music label in the world, celebrated its 120th anniversary on today with a gala concert at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall. The concert, featuring DG’s luminary performers, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lang Lang as well as a world premiere of a new composition by John Williams, was followed online by an international audience via a global live stream. “120 years ago, Deutsche Grammophon was already using the best technology to bring classical musicians to the heart of society. That's what we’re still doing today, as we share our artists’ recordings and performances with a vast global audience,” said Frank Briegmann, President & CEO Universal Music Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon.
In a hectic, fast-moving age, people are looking for a place of peacefulness. They find it by listening to music. Classical music, like no other, fosters the ability to pause and focus. In short: to listen carefully. Therefore, it is becoming ever more important in a world of constant communication and increasing fragmentation of society. Thanks to digital media, music has also become more accessible than ever and the boundaries between genres have become more fluid. “Classical music is experiencing a renaissance,” said Clemens Trautmann, President of Deutsche Grammophon. He adds: “Through streaming services, new groups of listeners are finding their way to classical music and are inspired and touched by it. Deutsche Grammophon is actively shaping this democratizing process. Given the broad range of digital offerings, we seek to provide orientation for fans and are a hallmark for quality content. We are the first classical music label to set up our own radio station, to curate audio and video content together as one offering, driving discovery and enjoyment for new and committed classical music lovers, in active partnership with the music services at Amazon, Apple and YouTube Music.”
The DG120 gala concert took place in front of 2,000 guests at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall and was live streamed to many more music lovers around the world on YouTube. Classical music virtuosos Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lang Lang performed works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart together with the Staatskapelle Berlin conducted by Manfred Honeck. The audience further celebrated works by John Williams, including the world premiere of “Across the Stars”, a new piece for violin and orchestra based on motifs from Star Wars, as well as the German premiere of "Markings". Both compositions are dedicated to Anne-Sophie Mutter.
“It was a special evening,” Anne-Sophie Mutter commented after the concert. “Deutsche Grammophon has been by my side for over forty years. During this time, I have always been focused on and fascinated by consistently high standard of production, that DG supports my vision is evident across all their recordings.” Lang Lang emphasized: “We want to create new approaches to experiencing classical music and its emotional power. That’s what unites us, and is what I felt in the audience tonight. I am so glad that my fans from all over the world were able to be part of this.”
The gala concert is part of a one-year DG120 anniversary programme supported globally by Google Arts & Culture and Volkswagen AG. There are many special moments ahead for the anniversary celebrations: In addition to worldwide concert events, there will be new releases, the ‘Yellow Lounge’ format bringing classical music to nightclubs, and the DG120 website as a virtual space for discoveries (www.dg120.info). The 120th-anniversary celebrations were launched last month at a gala concert at Beijing’s Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
In partnership with Google Arts & Culture, in addition to the global live streams from Berlin and Beijing, we established the ‘Shellac Project’: A collaborative restoration project to digitize rediscovered and pre-war recordings by Deutsche Grammophon and integrate them into a virtual exhibition on the Google Arts & Culture platform (g.co/deutschegrammophon). The exhibition and shellac tracks were presented on an innovative audio station at the festival concert in the Berlin Philharmonic Hall. “Everyone should have the opportunity to experience great music,” added Candice Morrissey, Head of Music Partnerships in EMEA, YouTube. “We are incredibly proud to live stream DG’s gala concert to people around the world on YouTube so they can be inspired by this moving performance.”
Deutsche Grammophon regularly collaborates with the world renowned Staatskapelle and Staatsoper Berlin on recording projects under the leadership of General Music Director, Daniel Barenboim as well as for several of the DG120 key celebratory activities: From 18th to 20th November, Staatskapelle Berlin will be performing at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing as part of the anniversary celebrations. In addition, many of the historically significant early shellac recordings were produced together with Staatskapelle Berlin, under the lead of conductors such as Pietro Mascagni and Erich Kleiber.