Berlin Philharmonic’s chief conductor Sir Simon Rattle on Wednesday touted Taiwanese audiences as some of the greatest in the world, as the orchestra prepared to perform at the National Concert Hall in Taipei today and tomorrow.
“It’s no exaggeration. This is one of the greatest audiences in the world,” the British conductor said at a press conference in Taipei that was attended by several members of the orchestra.
“There are not many places where there is this kind of atmosphere and this depth of knowledge and hunger for music,” Rattle said.
It is the Berlin Philharmonic’s third visit to Taiwan and general manager Martin Hoffmann says the orchestra is “very happy and proud” to be back.
He said the decision to return was made right after their last visit.
“We are here and it’s because of your fantastic audience and fantastic atmosphere,” Hoffmann said.
He said it was the group’s first visit in 2005 that inspired the orchestra to launch its Digital Concert Hall.
Taiwan is “now part of our history,” he said.
The orchestra’s tour in 2011 drew an estimated 70,000 people who either attended its concerts or watched its live broadcasts in four cities.
Daishin Kashimoto, a Japanese violinist and first concertmaster of the orchestra, said the orchestra’s last visit was “an incredible experience.”
Kashimoto, who is to play the violin solo in Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19 tomorrow, said he hopes to create the same special atmosphere as when the piece was performed recently in Berlin.
The orchestra will play Boulez’s Notations I, II, III, IV, VII and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 in E Major at its concert today.
Tomorrow, it will perform Schumann’s Symphony No. 1 in B flat Major, Op. 38 (‘Spring’), Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19, and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (1947 Version).
The Taipei concerts will be broadcast live to an estimated audience of 15,000 in four areas: the Fulfillment Amphitheatre in Greater Taichung and the Wind Lion Plaza in Kinmen on Friday, and the Chung Cheng Stadium in Hualien and the Hsinchu County Stadium on Saturday.
The first concert will also be aired on Digital Concert Hall for fans around the world.
Taiwan is the first leg of the orchestra’s Asian tour, which includes Seoul, and Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe and Tokyo in Japan.