O/Modernt begins 2022 ready to embrace whatever challenges might come our way. The difficulties of last year have instilled a new vitality and sense of rejuvenation. In large part thanks to the generous support of our O/Modernt Friends, we enter 2022 in a strong position, ready to cope with the unexpected, and more convinced than ever of the importance and relevance of our artistic vision. As always, we continue to strive to live up to the principles enshrined in our motto, borrowed from John Cage: Invent the Past. Revise the Future. Live the Now.
Thanks to the hard work of the O/Modernt team, we were able to stage our tenth anniversary Festival O/Modernt in June 2021. It would have been impossible without the unstinting loyalty we continue to enjoy from a host of volunteers, not to mention several special donations that were very kindly offered by members of our Friends scheme. Happily, we were able to welcome some of you in person to the concerts that were staged, as ever, at Confidencen, Ulriksdal Palace Theatre, but we also streamed the performances live so that everyone could access them in a high-quality digital format from the comfort of living rooms. Pandemic restrictions meant that some artists were unable to travel to Sweden, but we were fortunately able to turn the disappointment into an opportunity by teaming up with the Wigmore Hall, one of our long-standing partners, to stage one of the festival concerts in London.
To our great delight, touring recommenced in the summer of 2021, enabling the O/Modernt Chamber Orchestra to perform in a number of wonderful European venues, notably the Konzerthaus Berlin, the Philharmonie Köln and Berwaldhallen in Stockholm. As just mentioned, the Wigmore Hall hosted one of our festival concerts, and we are thrilled to announce that the orchestra will be appearing in that glorious art deco setting more regularly as of next season. Further highlights of the coming year include: our debut in the spectacular Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg as part of Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival; the very first edition of Festival O/Modernt, Estonia; and our return to Kings Place in London. We will also be giving concerts in Vilnius, Riga, Dresden, Munich and – of course –Stockholm.
We are currently finalising the programme for the next edition of Festival O/Modernt, which will take place from 10 June to 16 June 2022. As always, the O/Modernt Chamber Orchestra will be the resident ensemble for the week, and we look forward to bringing a world-class line-up of guest artists to Stockholm. Developing this year’s festival theme (more news of which to be circulated soon!), we are collaborating with Stockholm’s Musikaliska and Blåssymfonikerna to stage a major oratorio as our grand finale. Also featuring three international star singers and the excellent Eric Ericson Chamber Choir, this ambitious concert will be another important milestone in the festival’s history.
Our educational forums, the O/Modernt Academy and the New Generation Scheme, continue to flourish. In May 2021 we organised a series of four webinars given by foremost authorities on themes relating to the music of Arvo Pärt. This was followed by a study tour in September, when Hugo Ticciati led a group of twenty-five students on a five-day field trip to the Arvo Pärt Centre in Estonia. The group immersed themselves in the music and universe of Arvo Pärt, taking part in numerous activities, including lectures, conversations, workshops and masterclasses. Students were fortunate to meet the maestro himself, and they performed in a concert with some distinguished Estonian musicians and O/Modernt principals. The visit was a great success, and we were honoured to receive an invitation to return to the Arvo Pärt Centre in the end of June 2022. We are planning a similar project that will bring together talented young students from Sweden and around the world.
Over the past three years the O/Modernt Composition Award has evolved into a prestigious competition for international composers. The 2021 edition, which was noteworthy in many respects, opened a new chapter in the award’s history. An international jury chaired by the distinguished British composer Jill Jarman worked their way through more than 200 submissions from all around the world. The sheer number of entries was remarkable, but perhaps even more impressive was the very high quality of the compositions. Working with another of our creative partners, the Manchester International Festival, the winning work by the young British composer Paul Saggers was given its world premiere in Manchester in July 2021, and it will be performed for the first time in Sweden in June 2022 at Festival O/Modernt.
In 2021 O/Modernt continued to commission new works from both emerging and established composers, including Pēteris Vasks, Dobrinka Tabakova, Brett Dean and Sauli Zinoviev. As has been our aim from the outset, we pride ourselves on championing the very best new music at our annual festival, as well as on tour.
We hope you will join us in looking ahead to the coming year with confidence. There is no doubt that the post-pandemic future will pose new challenges for each of us personally, for society as a whole and for creative organisations in particular. We will do our very best to face them with a spring in our step, and to emerge from past travails with renewed energy and ambition. It’s impossible to overstate our gratitude to you for your continued backing and enthusiasm. The thrill of devising innovative programmes and fostering our dream of Interconnected Musicking is made worthwhile because of you – our audiences, friends and supporters. We look forward to sharing the next chapter of our creative journey in 2022!
Hugo Ticciati and Maxim Belčikov
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