Gustavo Gimeno, Music Director
The orchestra of the Grand Duchy, the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg (OPL), represents a very dynamic part of the culture of its country. Since its high-profile debut in 1933 under the aegis of Radio Luxembourg (RTL), the orchestra has been present all over Europe. Publicly administered since 1996, the OPL has, since 2005, been resident at the Philharmonie Luxembourg, one of the most prestigious concert halls in Europe. In January 2012 the two institutions merged both artistically and administratively.
The acoustics of its residence, praised by great orchestras, conductors and soloists from all over the world, its long-standing relationships with other prestigious halls and festivals as well as its close collaboration with first-rate musical personalities have contributed to making the OPL an orchestra renowned for the elegance of its sonority. Its standing has been confirmed by an impressive list of prizes awarded for some twenty CDs, all released in the last few years: Grammy Award, Grand Prix Charles Cros, Victoires de la musique classique, Orphée d’Or de l’Académie du Disque Lyrique, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Télérama ffff, Pizzicato Excellentia, IRR Outstanding, BBC Music Choice, as well as several Diapasons d’Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique, Pizzicato Supersonic, Classica R10 and many others.
In Gustavo Gimeno’s second season as Music Director (following Henri Pensis, Carl Melles, Louis de Froment, Leopold Hager, David Shallon, Bramwell Tovey, and Emmanuel Krivine), there is a particular emphasis on breadth of repertoire. Thus, alongside Mahler, Bruckner, Schumann, Debussy, Ravel, Berg, Verdi, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Sibelius, Shostakovich, Britten, Messiaen, Stravinsky, and others, there are also numerous 20th- and 21st-century discoveries – from Rued Langgaard, Magnus Lindberg, and Sofia Gubaidulina to works commissioned from Peter Maxwell Davies, Jorge López, Mark-Anthony Turnage, and Francisco Coll.
The orchestra also demonstrates its diversity in concert formats such as «Aventure+», regular opera productions staged at the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg, film-concerts such as «Live Cinema» in collaboration with the Cinémathèque de la Ville de Luxembourg, «Pops at the Phil» evenings with such stars as Dianne Reeves, Angélique Kidjo, Patti Austin, Kurt Elling, Ute Lemper, Gregory Porter, Dionne Warwick, and Maurane, and open-air concerts with jazz and rock groups as part of the Fête de la Musique.
Musical partnerships in the 2016/17 season include the artists in residence Valery Gergiev, Janine Jansen, Stefano Bollani, and Jean-François Zygel, the conductors David-Charles Abell, Karina Canellakis, Constantinos Carydis, William Christie, Tung-Chieh Chuang, Carl Davis, Fawzi Haimor, Eliahu Inbal, Andrew Manze, Wayne Marshall, Rafael Payare, Julian Rachlin, Ilan Volkov, Duncan Ward, Gast Waltzing, and Nikolaj Znaider and soloists such as Saleem Ashkar, Ian Bostridge, Cyril Costanzo, Diana Damrau, Claire Debono, Lea Desandre, Amihai Grosz, Thomas Hampson, Håkan Hardenberger, Daishin Kashimoto, Sergey Khachatryan, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Jan Lisiecki, Ed Lyon, Elliot Madore, Nicolas Marzinotto, Miah Persson, Anoushka Shankar, and Nicolas Testé.
Alongside its extensive repertoire and wide-ranging audiences, as well as the esteem of high calibre musicians, one further point links the OPL and the Philharmonie Luxembourg: the importance they both attach to innovative education and outreach activities for children, teenagers and adults. Since 2003, the orchestra has created concerts and workshops for schools, children and families as well as DVD productions. It also performs in schools and hospitals, and, in addition, prepares school classes for subscription concerts with music appreciation workshops. Furthermore, it invites audiences to discover orchestral music with the help of remarkable presenters such as Jean-François Zygel in its «Dating:» cycle.
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the OPL share a common spirit of openness towards Europe and the world. The orchestra, which consists of 98 musicians, hailing from some 20 different nations (two thirds from Luxembourg and its neighbouring countries, France, Germany, and Belgium), is active throughout the Greater Region in numerous concerts and activities. Tours also take the OPL to many music venues in Europe, as well as in Asia and the USA. In 2016/17, guest performances in Spain, Germany, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands are programmed. OPL concerts are regularly broadcast by Luxembourg radio 100.7 and internationally by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
The OPL is subsidised by the Ministry of Culture of the Grand Duchy and receives further support from the City of Luxembourg. Its sponsors are BGL BNP Paribas, Banque de Luxembourg, CACEIS, Mercedes Benz and POST Luxembourg. Since December 2012 a cello made by Matteo Goffriller (1659–1742) called «Le Luxembourgeois» has been put at the OPL’s disposal by BGL BNP Paribas.