Performance Sunday, March 1, 2015 | 2 PM

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Serene and deeply moving, Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem is a sublime fusion of the composer’s mastery of vocal and symphonic music. Set to texts from the Lutheran Bible, A German Requiem offers a message of consolation to the living rather than judgment of the dead. Soprano Diana Damrau and baritone Christian Gerhaher have won critical acclaim for their opera and song performances, making them ideally suited to Brahms’s highly expressive vocal writing.


  • Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    Daniele Gatti, Conductor
  • Diana Damrau, Soprano
  • Christian Gerhaher, Baritone
  • Westminster Symphonic Choir
    Joe Miller, Conductor


  • BRAHMS Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately 90 minutes with no intermission. Please note that there will be no late seating.


  • Daniele Gatti

    Daniele Gatti was born in Milan and studied piano, composition, and conducting at the Conservatorio di musica Giuseppe Verdi di Milano. He has been appointed the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra's new chief conductor, a post he will assume in 2016. He has been music director of the Orchestre National de France since September 2008 and is conductor laureate of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, where he was music director from 1996 to 2009. Prior to these appointments, he was music director of the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome (1992-1997) and of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna (1997-2007); principal guest conductor at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (1994-1997); and principal conductor at the Zurich Opera House (2009-2012).

    Mr. Gatti has conducted many new productions at leading opera houses all over the world, including the Vienna State Opera; Teatro alla Scala in Milan; Bavarian State Opera in Munich; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Zurich Opera House; and the Metropolitan Opera, where he made his debut in 1994 and where he returned in February 2013 for an acclaimed new production of Parsifal. In December 2013, he opened the new season at La Scala with La traviata, the closing production of the theater's Verdi bicentenary celebrations.

    Maestro Gatti is one of the few Italian conductors ever invited to conduct at the Bayreuth Festival, where he opened the 2008 season with a new production of Parsifal. After leading Elektra at the Salzburg Festival in 2010, he returned there in 2012 to conduct La bohème, in 2013 to lead Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and in 2014 to conduct Il trovatore and two orchestral concerts.

    His future engagements feature appearances with the most prestigious orchestras of the world, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala. With the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, he will conduct for the first time at the Salzburg Easter Festival. His upcoming operatic projects include Macbeth at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Pelléas et Mélisande at the Maggio Musicale Festival in Florence, and Falstaff and Die Meistersinger at La Scala.

    Mr. Gatti  records exclusively for Sony, and his first two recordings with the Orchestre National de France, dedicated to the music of Debussy and Stravinsky, were released in 2012 and 2013, respectively. A DVD of Mr. Gatti leading François Girard's production of Parsifal at the Met was released in 2014.

    Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

    There is perhaps no other musical ensemble more consistently and closely associated with the history and tradition of European classical music than the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (VPO).

    Since its inception by Otto Nicolai in 1842, the fascination that the orchestra has held for prominent composers and conductors, as well as for audiences all over the world, is based not only on a homogenous musical style carefully bequeathed from one generation to the next, but also on its unique history and structure. The foremost ruling body of the organization is the orchestra itself. In accordance with Philharmonic statutes, only a member of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra can become a member of the Vienna Philharmonic. Before joining the Philharmonic, one must first audition for a position with the State Opera Orchestra and then successfully complete a three-year tenure before becoming eligible to submit an application for membership in the association of the Vienna Philharmonic.

    The VPO performs approximately 110 concerts every season at home, presents weeks of concerts in New York and Japan, and has participated in the Salzburg Festival since 1922. The orchestra makes yearly guest appearances in leading concert halls and festivals around the world, presents a New Year's Concert that is broadcast internationally in more than 90 countries, and presents the free Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn, which is attended annually by up to 100,000 people. 

    In 2014, the VPO received the coveted Birgit Nilsson Prize for outstanding achievements and major contributions to the field of opera and concert, as well as the Herbert von Karajan Music Prize.

    The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra's mission is to communicate the humanitarian message of music to its listeners. For more than a decade, the VPO has given benefit concerts in support of humanitarian causes around the world, and since 2005, it has been Goodwill Ambassador for the World Health Organization. The musicians of the Vienna Philharmonic endeavor to implement the motto with which Ludwig van Beethoven prefaced his Missa solemnis: "From the heart, to the heart."
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  • Diana Damrau

    Diana Damrau continues to amaze audiences with her unique voice and arresting stage presence. A regular guest at the most renowned opera companies and concert halls, she was awarded the title Bayerische Kammersängerin in 2007 and, in 2008, was named Singer of the Year by Opernwelt magazine.

    During the 2014-2015 season, Ms. Damrau performs a broad range of repertoire on both operatic and concert stages. She begins the season at the Theater an der Wien, where she stars in a new production of Bizet's Les pêcheurs de perles, followed by her return to the Bavarian State Opera for a new production of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, a role she reprises for Milan's Teatro alla Scala later in the season. She sings Manon at the Metropolitan Opera and Adina in L'elisir d'amore for Zurich Opera before returning to Baden-Baden as the Countess in concert performances of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro. She also appears in concert in Prague, Amsterdam, Geneva, Munich, Frankfurt, and Vienna, and in recital in Vienna, Milan, Madrid, Paris, and Graz.

    A beloved artist at the Met, Ms. Damrau has returned to New York every year since 2005, tackling Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos), Rosina (Il barbiere diSiviglia), Aithra (Die ägyptische Helena), Konstanze (Die Entführung aus demSerail), Gilda (Rigoletto), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Marie (La fille durégiment), Adèle (Le comte Ory), and Adina (L'elisir d'amore); she also caused a sensation by singing both her first Pamina and her last Queen of the Night in a 2007 run of Die Zauberflöte. In Europe, she has close ties with the Salzburg Festival, where her 2001 debut was followed by appearances as Queen of the Night, Blonde (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Fauno (Ascanio in Alba), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), and a solo recital in 2014.

    Ms. Damrau has established herself as one of today's finest lieder singers and gives recitals with such pianists as Helmut Deutsch, Julius Drake, and Matthias Lademann at renowned venues that include Berlin's Philharmonie, Vienna's Musikverein, London's Wigmore Hall, the Salzburg Festival, and the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg. Her extraordinary musical partnership with harpist Xavier de Maistre is documented on CD, entitled Nuit d'étoiles, and on a recital DVD released in 2013.

    A native of Günzburg, Germany, Ms. Damrau studied voice with Carmen Hanganu at the Hochschule für Musik Würzburg and with Hanna Ludwig in Salzburg.

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  • Christian Gerhaher

    While completing his medical studies, Christian Gerhaher took private singing lessons with Raimund Grumbach and Paul Kuen, and also attended master classes given by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Together with his piano accompanist Gerold Huber, Mr. Gerhaher's exemplary lied interpretations have been critically acclaimed. In 2006, his Schubert album, Abendbilder, received a Gramophone Award. In 2009, he was awarded an ECHO Klassik and a BBC Music Award for Mélancholie, an album of Schumann works.

    Mr. Gerhaher also performs on the opera stage in select productions. He was voted the 2010 Singer of the Year by the journal Opernwelt for his performances in the title role of Henze's Der Prinz von Homburg and as Wolfram in Tännhauser in Vienna and Munich. In 2011, he received the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award, and in 2013, he won the famous German Der Faust theater award for his art of interpretation on stage.

    Mr. Gerhaher performs with world-renowned conductors and orchestras, including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Berliner Philharmoniker. He has been artist in residence with both of those orchestras, as well as at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna and London's Wigmore Hall.

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  • Westminster Symphonic Choir

    Recognized as one of the world's leading choral ensembles, the Westminster Symphonic Choir has recorded and performed with major orchestras under virtually every internationally acclaimed conductor of the past 80 years. It is composed of students at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey. The choir was prepared for this performance by Joe Miller, Westminster's director of choral activities, who is also conductor of the Westminster Choir and director of choral activities for the Spoleto Festival USA.

    In addition to this performance of Brahms's A German Requiem with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the ensemble's 2014-2015 season includes performances of Carmina Burana with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and conductor Jacques Lacombe, as well as three series of performances with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin: Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2, Bach's St. Matthew Passion, and Bernstein's Mass.

    Recent seasons have included performances of Berg's Wozzeck with London's Philharmonia Orchestra led by Esa-Pekka Salonen; Villa-Lobos's Chôros No. 10 with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela led by Gustavo Dudamel; Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra led by Daniel Barenboim; and Christopher Rouse's Requiem with the New York Philharmonic led by Alan Gilbert.

    Westminster Choir College is a division of Rider University's Westminster College of the Arts, which has campuses in Princeton and Lawrenceville. A professional college of music with a unique choral emphasis, Westminster prepares students at the undergraduate and graduate levels for careers in teaching, sacred music, and performance.

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Pre-concert talk starts at 1:00 PM in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage with Walter Frisch, Professor of Music, Columbia University.


Brahms's A German Requiem "Denn wir haben hie keine bleibende Statt"
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra | Bernard Haitink, Conductor

At a Glance

Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem is an early masterpiece that established the composer as an internationally renowned artist. It is an ambitious, deeply personal work, but no one knows for sure whether Brahms meant it as a memorial to his mother, to Robert Schumann, or to both. Like many of the great requiems, it is the work of a non-religious composer. In fact, Brahms’s text, taken from the Lutheran Bible, does not explicitly mention Christ. Brahms meant the piece to be a universal statement—a work of healing and consolation for the living, not the dead. Though dating from early in his career, it has many of the composer’s mature signatures, including intricate symmetry, dark colors, and radiant lyricism.
Program Notes
This concert is made possible, in part, by the Audrey Love Charitable Foundation and an endowment fund for choral music established by S. Donald Sussman in memory of Judith Arron and Robert Shaw.
This performance is part of International Festival of Orchestras I.