Philharmonie Luxembourg
(c) Wade Zimmermann

It’s at Luxembourg’s splendid Philharmonie that this year’s ICMA General Assembly took place from 18 to 20 January, hosted by the Philharmonie and the Ministry of Culture. Besides their work during the meeting, the Jury members also had time to explore Luxembourg’s rich musical life.

Katia Buniathishvili with the Luxembourg Philharmonic
(c) OPL/Alfonso Salgueiro Lora

The first event was a symphonic concert by the Luxembourg Philharmonic with pianist Katia Buniatishvili in an exciting performance of Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto, while Music Director Gustavo Gimeno took up the challenge to impose his own views in Debussy Images and La Mer and to expurgate the still present shadow of his predecessor Emmanuel Krivine who owned this repertoire in his very singular manner.


Guy Arendt, Secretary of State for Culture, and ICMA President Remy Franck
(c) Serhan Bali

Furthermore, the Jury attended an exhaustive presentation of the activities of the Chamber Philharmonic Solistes Européens Luxembourg, whose upcoming CD releases with Naxos (symphonic works by Louise Farrenc) and Rubicon were presented as promising elements for the next ICMA selection.

Jérôme Wigny and Eugène Prim (Solistes Européens Luxembourg) (c) Serhan Bali

In the evening, Luxembourg’s music export office Music:LX, the Ministry of Culture and the Philharmonie presented a special event for this ICMA General Assembly, featuring Artemandoline, Duo Rosa, cellist Cyprien Keiser with Markus Krebel at the piano, and pianist Jean Muller.

(c) Serhan Bali

Artemandoline was not unknown to the Jury members since the ensemble was nominated for the International Classical Music Awards 2016 with the CD Sospiri d’amanti on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi.

In a program called Musique au royaume de Naples et à la Cour d’Espagne, Artemandoline, formed in 2001 by Juan Carlos Munoz and Mari Fe Pavon, proved their goal to combine musical freshness and rigor in an exquisitely refined music making. It was a stellar performance!

Duo Rosa: Stephany Ortega and Léna Kollmeier
(c) Serhan Bali

In a very different repertoire, Duo Rosa presented art songs, Broadway and Cabaret Songs by Gershwin, Bernstein, Hageman, Bolsom and Kurt Weill. Genuinely supported by pianist Léna Kollmeier, soprano Stephany Ortega provided bright entertainment in this showcase concert. With a terrific stage presence and a highly communicative singing she presented a glittering assemblage including I Got Rhythm, I Hate Music and I Feel Pretty as well as the emotionally enriched Do not go my love. With amazing characterizations, the ability to adapt the vocal delivery to each song and to add appropriate theatrical acting, Duo Rosa’s show was a smashing success.

Cyprien Keiser
(c) Alfonso Salgueiro Lora

In the second part, the 17-year-old cellist Cyprien Keiser proved one as committed as passionate performer for Prokofiev’s complex and difficult Cello Sonata op. 119. The young cellist is obviously a highly promising talent.

Jean Muller
(c) Alfonso Salgueiro Lora

Pianist Jean Muller started his performance with a very personal and inward-looking Chopin-Barcarolle which didn’t fail to pay dividends by highlighting the work’s formal perfection. Muller also made a big impression with the Third Barcarolle by the young Luxembourgian composer Ivan Boumans, a work in which he cared for the contrast between the more passionate passages and the underlying warmth and optimism. A charismatic personality at the piano, Muller ended his recital with György Ligeti’s Etude No. 13, The Devil’s Staircase. The performance was gorgeous with exceptionally rich dynamics and a constant highly dramatic pulse throughout the piece. Devilish indeed!

  • Pizzicato

  • Archives