Tour #10

Divine Swiss Classics

11–17 November 2024


Swiss Orchestra
Lena-Lisa Wüstendörfer, conductor
Teo Gheorghiu, piano

Ticket Presale in Fribourg will be open from summer 2024.

Monday, 7:30 PM
Tuesday, 7:30 PM
St. Gallen
Wednesday, 7:30 PM
Friday, 7:30 PM
Salle Equilibre
Saturday, 7:30 PM
Sunday, 5:00 PM
Concert Hall


Friedrich Theodor Fröhlich (1803 Brugg – 1836 Aarau)
Overture to Dyhrn’s Konradin

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)
Concerto for piano No. 3 in c minor, op. 37

Helena Winkelman (* 1974 Schaffhausen)
Tree Talk for 2 cellos and string orchestra

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791)
Jupiter Symphony No. 41 in C major, K. 551

There’s no doubt about it: music is made up of notes. And the most common of all notes, arguably the most banal, is at the heart of this concert programme: C, the central key on every keyboard and the natural limit of our tonal scale (C2–c5). C major is often perceived as being the key of serenity, clarity, lightness and universality, and we associate it with joy, happiness and optimism. It’s hardly surprising that Mozart’s most popular, best-known symphony in C major was subsequently nicknamed the “Jupiter” on account of its majestic aura and the splendour of its music, but also because this symphony was his ultimate work in the genre. Music historians have long declared it to be the crowning finale of Mozart’s series of symphonies, and attribute it with divine perfection. And this work is truly radiant and flooded with light.

Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 also ends in a serene C major, though the predominant key of this work is actually c minor, which we often associate with serious, sombre moods. This lends the music an atmosphere of grief, pensiveness and dramatic intensity that nevertheless radiates power and strength. Beethoven’s choice of this key – which stands in such obvious contrast to the radiance of C major – might well have been influenced by Mozart, whose Piano Concerto K. 491, which Beethoven greatly admired, is also in c minor.

The solo part, which Beethoven only completed after the premiere, will be played in the Swiss Orchestra concert by the internationally active pianist Teo Gheorghiu, whose playing “fascinates with its brilliance, lightness and color”. He made his debut at the Tonhalle Zurich at the age of twelve, and today – 20 years later – he is one of the most established and sought-after piano virtuosos in Switzerland.

Helena Winkelman feels inspired by the idea that trees can communicate with each other. So in Tree Talk, she has created a work that endeavours to capture in music the relationship between trees and the Nature that surrounds them. Just as a tree is exposed to the passing of the seasons, Winkelman’s piece plays with overtones to demonstrate shifts in tone colours and movement. The solo cellos play their open strings and fan out into their harmonic space, as it were: We cannot determine any basic key, just the constant shifting of the sound. In contrast, the Overture to Konrad Adolf Dyhrn’s tragedy Konradin by the composer Friedrich Theodor Fröhlich once more focuses on c minor. When heard in combination with the other works on the programme here, the diversity and expressiveness of this music become all the clearer. Starting off with the basic note of C, musical spaces unfold that are able to trigger all manner of emotions, from melancholy sadness to radiant happiness.

Teo Gheorghiu is very popular in Switzerland and in recent years has also established an international reputation. Piano News magazine recently described him as a “fabulous, mature, intelligent pianist”. Gheorghiu made his debut in the Zurich Tonhalle at the age of 12, playing Schumann’s Piano Concerto. Since then, he has cultivated a versatile repertoire and has performed with orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Orquestra Sinfonica de Bilbao, the Danish National Symphony, the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow and the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra. He regularly collaborates with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra and the Musikkollegium Winterthur. His solo recitals have taken him to all the main Swiss cities and also to London (the Wigmore Hall), Hamburg (the Elbphilharmonie), Tokyo (Suntory Hall), Milan (Societa del Quartetto) and Santiago, as well as to the Beethoven Festival in Bonn, the Dvořák Festival in Prague, to the Louvre and to festivals in Bucharest, Gstaad, Verbier, Lucerne and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

In 2020, the CD label Claves began a long-term collaboration with Teo Gheorghiu. Their first CD was entitled Duende and featured works by Enrique Granados, Isaac Albéniz, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel and Manuel de Falla. It was acclaimed enthusiastically by the public and press alike and was honoured with the Diapason d’Or. His latest album, Roots, was inspired by a cycle tour that he undertook from his home town in the Zurich Oberland to the country of his ancestors, Romania.

Teo Gheorghiu was born in 1992. He won first prize at the San Marino International Piano Competition in 2004 and first prize at the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Weimar the following year. In 2010, he was awarded the Beethoven Ring by the Beethoven Festival in Bonn.