Euskadiko Orkestra. 23/24 season: Art in the first person

Gipuzkoa, News

In this new Season, the Basque National Orchestra wishes to focus its attention on the human being who creates and transforms, through art as an inspirational ally. With Mahler and his Symphony No. 3 we will see concepts such as eternity and love; with Bruckner and his Seventh the most spiritual experience; with Dutilleux and Strauss the most mundane life; and with Prokofiev and his Alexander Nevsky the hero’s exhilaration. 

To this end this Season will feature great conductors such as Juraj Valcuha, Juanjo Mena, Marie Jacquot and Riccardo Frizza, as well as international artists of the stature of Alban Gerhardt, Sergey Khachatryan, Olesya Petrova and Justina Gringyte. Numerous performers and choirs from our region are part of the solid cast: Elena Sancho Pereg, Clara Mouriz, Alfonso Gómez, the Bilbao Choral Society, the Orfeón Donostiarra and Vocalia Taldea.

Basque creation will be of great importance, especially with the world première of Chillida – Elogios by Antonio Lauzurika, a work commissioned by the orchestra to commemorate the centenary of the sculptor’s birth. Oihartzun gorriak by Itziar Viloria and a revision of At the Aegean Shores by Saskia Venegas will also première, and Mugarri by Ramon Lazkano will be performed. In this section of Basque creation, and outside the Season concerts, the recording of works by Gabriel Erkoreka that the orchestra will undertake under the baton of Juanjo Mena is also a standout feature.

For the first time in the Season Concerts, an opera will be performed that, in collaboration with the Arriaga Theatre and under the stage direction of Calixto Bieito, will be presented in Bilbao: Die Ersten Menschen (The First Humans) by Rudi Stephan.

After its successful tour of Poland, Austria will be the Basque National Orchestra’s next international destination in February 2024, with three concerts in Salzburg and one in Linz. 


Season Concert Programming

In this new Season of Concerts by the Basque National Orchestra we want to draw attention to the human being who creates and transforms. We will focus on the active and responsible person who moves the world through their life experiences, sometimes spiritual and sometimes mundane.

With Mahler and his Symphony No. 3 we will see concepts such as eternity and love, and others such as the religious experience will be signed by Bruckner with his Symphony No. 7. In contrast to this more spiritual side, there are authors who, from disparate universes, give the widest possible palette of colours to private life and the mundane, such as Dutilleux, in his Correspondances, and Richard Strauss, in Aus Italien and in his Symphonia DomesticaRachmaninoff allows himself to show in his Symphony No. 3 and his Piano Concerto No. 2 how heavily his nostalgia for his homeland weighs. Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky represents the hero’s exaltation, which could connect us with Dvorak in his Symphony No. 7 and the vindication of his people’s struggle and longing. The concept of identity will find its ultimate expression in Rudi Stephan’s opera Die ersten Menschen, which shatters us with a Freudian dissection of human nature after Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Paradise.

All these very human concepts use art as an inspirational ally. Their maximum expression will be reached with a work commissioned to Antonio Lauzurika to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Eduardo Chillida. Another important commemoration will be the 75th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights and the first recitation in Basque of the texts that accompany Aaron Copland’s work, which has become the anthem of the United Nations.

In this Season –and perhaps always in the Basque National Orchestra– the human being and art are in continuous reflection.

The Basque National Orchestra’s 2023/2024 Season Concerts will begin on 29 September 2023 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, and will wrap up on 7 June 2024 in Donostia/San Sebastian. It will be a total of 12 season programmes which, distributed between Vitoria-Gasteiz (10), Bilbao (10), Donostia/San Sebastian (10×2) and Pamplona (10), add up to a total of 50 Season Concerts.

Great conductors, soloists and choirs

The orchestra will once again welcome a fair number of artists for its programme: eight conductors, nine instrumental and vocal soloists and three choirs.  Vocals will have an important presence in this Season through solo singers and the three choirs.

CONDUCTORS.  Robert Trevino will open and close the concert season and will direct a total of four programmes (see detail further below). For the rest of the programmes, the podium will be divided between Stanislav KochanovskyRiccardo FrizzaMarie JacquotLina González-Granados and Baldur Brönnimann, who are making their début in the orchestra’s Season, and Juanjo MenaJuraj Valcuha and Pablo González, who are repeating.

SOLOISTS: In this section we will welcome for the first time Federico Colli and Markus Schirmer (piano), Sergey Khachatryan (violin) and Olesya Petrova (mezzo-soprano). Greats such as Alban Gerhardt (cello) and Justina Gringyte (mezzo-soprano) will be repeating. And we will give a special welcome to the Basque performers Alfonso Gómez (piano), Elena Sancho Pereg (soprano) and Clara Mouriz (mezzo-soprano).

CHOIRS: Vocals will play a special role this new Season and we will incorporate three Basque choirs: The Bilbao Choral Society, which will open the Season (Mahler’s Third), the Orfeón Donostiarra (Prokofiev’s Aleksander Nevsky) and Vocalia Taldea from Vitoria-Gasteiz (Debussy’s Nocturnes).

Robert Trevino’s seventh season as chief conductor

The orchestra’s chief conductor will conduct four of the new Season’s programmes. He will open it with one of the most symbolic works of the new Season, Mahler’s Third, where he will introduce the women and children of the Bilbao Choral Society and mezzo-soprano Justina Gringyte. In February he will take on Rachmaninoff’s Third and the première of Antonio Lauzurika’s Chillida-Elogios. In April Trevino will conduct the Basque National Orchestra for the first time in an opera, entitled Die ersten Menschen, by Rudi Stephan. And he will close the Season with two works by Dutilleux (Correspondances) and Richard Strauss (Symphonia Domestica) that appeal to the most everyday and familiar version of earthly life.

Commitment to Basque creation

One of the key missions of the Basque National Orchestra is to promote and disseminate Basque creation through programming and recording. Contemporary works with a Basque signature will have a big presence in the programme of the 23/24 Season, with premières by authors such as Lauzurika, Viloria and Venegas as the main new proposals.

On the one hand, the Basque National Orchestra has commissioned Antonio Lauzurika to create a work to commemorate the centenary of Eduardo Chillida’s birth, which he has entitled Chillida – Elogios. The Basque National Orchestra will be actively involved in this national celebration.

Another commissioned work to be premièred as part of our Concert Season will be Oihartzun gorriak by Itziar Viloria from Bizkaia. It is a joint commission with the Royal Philharmonic of Galicia, whose newly appointed chief conductor, Baldur Brönnimann, will be in charge of the première in spring 2024. The Basque National Orchestra thus repeats the shared commissioning formula it used last season with Gary Carpenter’s Mamu kantak (Ghost Songs) ‒ on that occasion with several British orchestras.

Basque/Belgian composer Saskia Venegas closes the chapter of new Basque works with a revision of the work At the Aegean Shores, which talks about refugees in the Aegean Sea. This humanist argument is related to the concept of Human Rights, which in this season of the Basque National Orchestra has special significance. The piece was premièred at the last edition of Musikaste in Errenteria, but Venegas has rewritten it for the occasion.

Ramon Lazkano, a composer with whom Robert Trevino has established a strong connection since he arrived in the Basque Country in 2016, will also be present in our programme, as has been the case in recent seasons. So much so that he has taken his music to the music stands of other orchestras with which he works, such as the Orchestra Nazionale della RAI, which premièred Mugarri in March with Trevino. This time the Swiss conductor resident in Madrid, Baldur Brönnimann, will conduct this piece in Vitoria-Gasteiz.

In addition to the notable presence of contemporary Basque composers, worth mentioning is the Basque essence that permeates the third concert programme of the Season. Conducted by Juanjo Mena from Vitoria-Gasteiz, Ramuntcho by Gabriel Pierné, a work based on the book of the same name by Pierre Loti, which exalts the customs and regional typicality of the French Basque Country, and the Concerto in G Major by Maurice Ravel, our orchestra’s flagship composer, will be performed.

In the section on recordings of Basque music, it is worth mentioning the recording of works by Gabriel Erkoreka that the orchestra will make under the Ondine label this season (see more information in the recordings section below).

First opera in our Season Concerts

Die ersten Menschen is an opera that premièred in Frankfurt in 1920. In 2021 it was performed at the Stopera in Amsterdam with stage direction by Calixto Bieito. And now it is coming to Bilbao in a collaboration between the Basque National Orchestra and the Arriaga Theatre. The performance of Rudi Stephan’s opera The First Humans is also a state-level première. The work tears us apart with a Freudian dissection of human nature after Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Paradise, according to the Genesis creation narrative. The scene is a spring landscape and the libretto can be described as psychological poetry. With Stephan we are looking for the identity of the human being.

Calixto Bieito is the stage director and Robert Trevino is the musical director.

Other orchestral activities

Austrian tour: Salzburg and Linz

The four-concert tour in the Polish cities of Warsaw, Wroclaw, Krakow and Katowice, held at the end of last March, was a turning point in the long international career of the Basque National Orchestra.

It now has a new international trip to Salzburg ahead of it, which it had to cancel last year due to the unexpected confinement of the entire Austrian country. Those concerts were postponed to February 2024. A total of three musical events will be held in Mozart’s birthplace, and now there will also be another concert in Linz, where the orchestra last performed in 2018.

Recordings: Gabriel Erkoreka and Americascapes 2

Another important pillar of the orchestra’s activity is its album recordings, a collection that will reach 80 volumes this Season, mainly centred on Basque creation. The next recording dedicated to Gabriel Erkoreka will be a musical event with an entirely Basque flavour and which, together with the Basque National Orchestra, will bring together Asier Polo (cello), Alfonso Gómez (piano) and Carlos Mena (countertenor), three performers conducted by Juanjo Mena, all of them Basque artists of international renown.

This album will be recorded by the Ondine label. In the last two years it has sealed its relationship with the Finnish factory through the recordings of the two Ravel albums and Americascapes. Ondine has an important worldwide distribution network, which has allowed the Basque National Orchestra to position itself in a market that is an international reference with reviews in the most prestigious specialised media (Gramophone, France Musique, BBC Music Magazine, Diapason, The New Yorker…). In addition to the monograph dedicated to Gabriel Erkoreka, the orchestra will tackle Americascapes 2 and hopes to follow in the footsteps of previous recordings.

Shared projects

The orchestra will maintain its commitment with the ABAO Bilbao Opera Season, Musika-Música in Bilbao, the Gala of the Frontiers of Knowledge Awards by the BBVA Foundation, the Musical Fortnight in Donostia/San Sebastian, ZinemaldiaMusikaste, the Columbus Foundation Festival by Viralgen, and other events.

The Orchestra’s Miramon Matinées and Musika Gela seasons will be presented in the future.

Season tickets and tickets

Booking of season tickets from 5 June onwards

After the renewal period for current season ticket holders, the sale of new season tickets will open. Bookings can be made from 5 June via, by calling 943 01 32 32 or by sending an email to  Season tickets will be formalised in order of receipt and subject to availability. The price of season tickets for 10 concerts ranges from €80 to €235.


Otras noticias