1. A Titan on the Conductor’s Podium
Eighth concert of the legedary Maestro Zubin Mehta and the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, on 20 September 2015, was rewarded by five-minute-long standing ovations. A unique personality among conductors, Mehta tirelessly promotes his friendship with and love for Serbia, and the Belgrade Philharmonic and its audience returned love with all their hearts.
2. An Ace at the BPO Season Opening Concert
The world No.1 tennis player Novak Djokovic, his wife Jelena and his coach Boris Becker attended the official launching of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra’s new concert season. Enthusiastically greeted by the audience, Novak enjoyed the concert and, during the break, took the opportunity to meet the conductor, soloists and the BPO musicians.
3. The Metronome Blog – experiencing concerts from two perspectives
The Metronome blog was launched in the beginning of the concert season 2015/16 with the idea to present the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra’s concerts from several different perspectives. The Metronome includes impressions of our long-term subscribers, BPO musicians, young musicologists, as well as of ‘real’ bloggers, such as Luna Lu, Igor Karanov, Ivan Tokin and Branko Rosić. Swing left and right on the Metronome pendulum to find out what they experienced, noticed or learned.
4. The Philharmaaania – Because Once Is Not Enough!
It is well known that the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert seasons are entirely sold out well before they even start. That is why the orchestra introduced five additional dates in the season 2015/16 for the most demanded concerts from each of the five concert series. The series “Philharmania – Because Once Is Not Enough” was conceptualized as a petite season, and this programme innovation allowed more interested persons to hear BPO concerts.
5. Caring for the Elderly
Sending out a message that we need to take care of the elderly every day, the BPO String Quartet musicians met the Vršac Gerontology Centre residents and then gave a concert marking the month of October as the international month of the elderly. According to the residents and the staff of the centre, classical music has therapeutic and antidepressant effect, so the quartet was rewarded for its performance with a lengthy applause.
6. BPO and the Harp Adventurer
The world’s leading harpist Xavier de Maistre gave two extraordinary concerts with the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, on 26 and 27 November 2015. The harp virtuoso demonstrated to the Belgrade audience why he is acclaimed as an authentic soloist, who keeps redefining the possibilities of this attractive instrument. If you were to listen to a performance of this artist, former member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, with your eyes closed, you would think that he is playing on at least three instruments at the same time!
7. The New Year’s Philharmonic Circus
Traditionally the merriest performance, the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra’s New Year’s concert was played on two consecutive nights owing to huge interest, on 25 and 26 December 2015. Advertised as the “Philharmonic Circus”, the ringmaster of the orchestral “troupe” was American conductor David Levi, while the soloists “juggled” unusual instruments, such as a toy piano, sandpaper, a bicycle, a toy clock, balloons etc.
8. Guest Appearance in Oman
With the New Year’s concert at the monumental Royal Opera House Muscat, the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra hypnotised the audience in Oman, making its debut appearance in this part of the world. Directed by conductor David Levi, the orchestra appeared in the glamorous venue that features state of the art technology, while the mix of traditional and contemporary Omani architecture distinguishes this opera house as a first-class international art venue. With this performance, the Belgrade Philharmonic stood side by side on equal terms with the Vienna and London philharmonic orchestras, whose appearances are frequently included in the concerts seasons of this opera house.
9. Winter Megalomania
For the first concert in 2016, the Belgrade Philharmonic prepared an unusual winter compilation by bringing together three stylistically entirely different pieces to tell a unique “winter” story. The sounds of nature from Vivaldi’s Winter have served as inspiration to many composers. Concertmaster Tijana Milošević took the audience on a winter journey in the rhythm of tango from Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires and its repetitive version from the American Four Seasons by minimalist Philip Glass.
10. The Philharmonic Plays South
The Belgrade Philharmonic does not belong only to Belgrade, and the musicians went on The Philharmonic Plays South mini tour to prove it. In late March, the musical caravan travelled to Vranje, Leskovac and Aleksinac, and its concerts attracted huge audiences hungry for top-notch cultural events. The local venues were too small to accept all people interested in hearing the Belgrade Philharmonic chamber ensemble’s performance, which will live in the memory of the three towns for a long time.
11. The Philharmonic House of Magic
As part of the children’s concert series, more than 3000 youngsters in Belgrade heard the musical story about “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”, by American film score composer John Williams. Aleksandar Kojić, the conductor with the magic baton, and Branislava Podrumac, as the narrator, led the Belgrade schoolchildren through the story of the extraordinary boy Harry, turning the Belgrade Philharmonic Hall into a house of magic between 23 March and 1 April.
12. Nemanja Radulović – “Hendrix on the Violin”
The winning combination of Nemanja Radulović, conductor Eiji Oue and the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra gave unforgettable time-stopping concerts for two consecutive nights at Kolarac, on 7–8 April. A total of 1800 music lovers had the opportunity to hear the one-of-a-kind violinist with the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra after 17 years. The audience in the first concert will remember for a long time Nemanja’s acrobatic feat when his violin string broke and he whistled a short section of Bruch’s concerto while taking the instrument from the Concertmaster Tijana Milošević.
13. The Masked Concert
The Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra treated its audience to a genuine spectacle by combining music, acting, pantomime and dance in the performance of Martin Fröst, the world’s leading clarinettist, on 15 April. Famous for redefining the capabilities of his instrument and of the classical music in general, under the baton of conductor Daniel Raiskin and accompanied by the BPO, Fröst played the multimedia piece Peacock Tales by Swedish composer Anders Hillborg.
14. Marathon as a Philharmonic Event
On Friday, 13 May, the audience at Kolarac bore witness to the fact that a Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert could resemble a marathonian endeavour. Ludwig van Beethoven’s complete five piano concertos were played in one evening, with the pianist star Alexei Volodin, conductor Daniel Raiskin and the BPO musicians in the role of the long-distance musical runners. The Marathon concert tested the stamina not only of the musicians, but also of the attending audience, for whom not even four hours of music was enough.
15. The Belgrade Disharmonic Orchestra’s Birthday Concert
The season 2015/16 was concluded with a devil-may-care concert party that celebrated the orchestra’s 93rd birthday. The “Belgrade Disharmonic Orchestra” was directed by actor Vladimir Aleksić and showed his “conducting prowess”. The birthday party ended, obviously, with a cake, while the audience enthusiastically hailed the players, as well as Vladimir Aleksić, who entertained them and gave them a completely different and unique concert experience.
Top 15 from the BPO Season 2015/16
1. A Titan on the Conductor’s Podium