Cristian Măcelaru and Brahms in Timișoara

Cristian Măcelaru and Brahms in Timișoara

Cristian Măcelaru and Brahms in Timișoara

A film by Claus Wischmann, 43 min, WDR/ARTE 2023

For Cristian Măcelaru, it’s special playing in front of a home crowd. The Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra is travelling with his orchestra to the European Capital of Culture 2023. Cristian grew up in Timișoara, Romania, as the youngest of ten children. Now he is returning as a star. Together with the orchestra and pianist Simon Trpčeski, they will perform Johannes Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2.

Cristian Măcelaru left Romania at the age of just seventeen to seek success in the USA and Europe. It wasn’t long before he made a name for himself as a violinist and conductor. Since 2020, he has been Music Director of the Orchestre National de France and Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra. In this music documentary, we follow Măcelaru as he returns to Timișoara in Romania, accompanied by his orchestra from Cologne. The programme includes the Second Piano Concerto by Johannes Brahms. As pianist, Măcelaru has chosen the celebrated Simon Trpčeski, who is also a friend and companion.

Timișoara is situated close to Hungary. The third largest city in Romania is a cultural melting pot with striking architecture that has earned it the nickname of “Little Vienna”. Cristian Măcelaru grew up here as the youngest of ten children, each of whom had to learn an instrument with the aim of bolstering their father’s church orchestra. “We all played an instrument – one the violin, another the cello. My mother played the flute and we all sang. It was a genuine cacophony.”

The film accompanies Cristian Măcelaru, horn player Melanie Pschorr and pianist Simon Trpčeski during their rehearsals and in the concert. The Timișoara Philharmonic Hall is a former cinema and is barely capable of hosting an eighty-person orchestra, creating a challenge for the orchestra attendants, musicians and conductor.

During a personal tour of the city, Cristian Măcelaru recounts the moving story of the Romanian revolution, which had its origins in Timișoara. We also experience the international star conductor as a private person together with his extended family as he celebrates his birthday, visits the most beautiful places in the city and tells rich tales of revolutions and the casualties of history.

On tour with Mozart  | Felix Klieser and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

On tour with Mozart | Felix Klieser and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

On tour with Mozart | Felix Klieser and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

A film by Beatrix Conrad, WDR/ARTE, 43 min, 2022

Felix Klieser has played the horn for 27 years – without arms. At the tender age of nine, he dreamed of playing Mozart’s horn concertos. Today, he performs these pieces in concert halls large and small in the south of England together with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. He is the first German horn player to be appointed the orchestra’s artist in residence.

While the four Mozart horn concertos are in every bugler’s repertoire, Klieser has waited a long time to record the cherished works. In September 2018, after three successful albums that garnered him an ECHO Klassik and Leonard Bernstein award, he headed to Salzburg to finally record all four of Mozart’s horn concertos with the famous Camerata Salzburg ensemble. Klieser’s rehearsals for the Horn Concerto No. 4 in E-flat major, K. 495, began in 2022 in Poole. The town is the headquarters of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, a touring orchestra that plays in concert halls across the south and southwest of England. The next stop on the tour for Felix Klieser is Plymouth.


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The days are tightly scheduled for the orchestra and above all for its soloist. Alongside rehearsals and concerts, there’s also an interview with the BBC in London and a school visit in Plymouth, punctuated by long car journeys that allow for a few moments of relaxation. Finally, a quick stop at the Formula 1 circuit in Silverstone – Felix Klieser loves fast cars. Speed, rhythm, precision are skills that both musicians and racers need to be successful.

Soul of Sound – One year at the Karajan Academy

Soul of Sound – One year at the Karajan Academy

Soul of Sound – One year at the Karajan Academy

A film by Isabel Hahn & Silvia Palmigiano, ZDF/arte, 52 min, 2022
Nodoka Okisawa, Sara Ferrández and Lennard Czakaj are 3 out of 30 musicians who have landed a coveted place at the Karajan Academy, the training school associated with the Berlin Philharmonic. This means lessons and concerts with one of the best orchestras in the world. But it also means great expectations and a lot of pressure.

Violist Sara dreams of a solo career and is working on her YouTube channel. She wants to give young people an understanding of classical music. She wants to break taboos – since there are too many conventions in classical music that don’t make sense to her. Trumpeter Lennard does not come from a family of musicians. He got his first trumpet from his parents when he was eight years old. At the time he had a guilty conscience because he knew that the instrument was very expensive. Since then he ha sputs all his eggs in one basket and is hoping for a position in the orchestra. He doesn’t have a plan B. Nodoka is expecting a baby. She is again confronted with something that, in her opinion, has no place in music: A female conductor is not always accepted, especially a pregnant one… But then on the podium she forgets everything – and levitates…

Pierre-Laurent Aimard plays Olivier Messiaen

Pierre-Laurent Aimard plays Olivier Messiaen

Pierre-Laurent Aimard plays Olivier Messiaen

Director: Martin Baer, SWR/ARTE 2022, 52 min.

Broadcast date on ARTE: 24/04/2022 at 00:50 am

The “Catalogue d’oiseaux” (“Catalogue of Birds”) is one of the most important works by Olivier Messiaen. He composed the 13 piano pieces between 1956 and 1958. What at first sounds more like an ornithological reference work cannot be estimated highly enough in its importance as an unusual and brilliant piano work. So far, there have been no film recordings of the “Catalogue of Birds” with the most important Messiaen interpreter Pierre-Laurent Aimard for television. ARTE is now closing this gap.

Pierre-Laurent Aimard is the leading interpreter of Olivier Messiaen’s piano works. As a student of Messiaen’s second wife Yvonne Loriod at the Conservatoire de Paris, he had a very early musical as well as personal relationship with Olivier Messiaen. He won the Messiaen Competition at the age of 16. In the Ensemble Intercontemporain of Pierre Boulez, one of Messiaen’s students, he was the first solo pianist. He was awarded the Echo Klassik Prize for his recording “Hommage à Messiaen.”

In this production from Berlin’s St. Canisius Church on December 17, 2021, Pierre-Laurent Aimard performs the following pieces from Messiaen’s “Catalogue d’oiseaux”:

“Le traquet stapazin” (“The Black-eared Wheatear”).
“Le courlis cendré” (“The Eurasian Curlew”)
“L’alouette calandrelle (“The Calendared Lark”)
“L’alouette lulu” (“The woodlark”)
“Le merle bleu” (“The Blue Rock Thrush”)


The concert can be viewed from April 24, 2022, online in the ARTE media library.

Happy Birthday, Giora Feidman!

Happy Birthday, Giora Feidman!

Happy Birthday, Giora Feidman!

Concert matinee, ZDF, 75 min.

The Klezmer-King celebrates his 85th birthday with top guests from the music and acting scene and music from classical to pop – and of course Klezmer.

Together with Anne-Sophie Mutter, Giora Feidman plays the movie soundtrack to “Schindler’s List”, piano world star Lang Lang congratulates via video call from his home in China and plays a short duet with the birthday boy.

Further stars from the current pop music charts also join the ranks of congratulants: Tim Bendzko, Gil Ofarim and Cassandra Steen have rearranged a few of their best hits specifically for this birthday show. Actor and singer Axel Prahl, accompanied by his Inselorchester, presents his birthday serenade with proper power and drive.

Joined by the mandolin star Avi Avital, Giora Feidman takes a musical excursion to the Baroque era – and eventually together with the four virtuosos of Salut Salon dives into the infectious tango sounds of his native Argentina.

Hannes Jaenicke presents an equally entertaining and emotional concert matinée from the “Glass Courtyard“ from the Jewish Museum Berlin – and the celebrity guests have a lot of surprises in store for the jubilarian.

And so the tour of the Jewish Museum that Iris Berben and the jubilarian take also becomes an expedition through 1700 years of Jewish life in Germany – yet another historic birthday in 2021.


Giora Feidman & Klezmer Virtuos

Iris Berben
Anne-Sophie Mutter
Lang Lang
Tim Bendzko
Axel Prahl & Das Inselorchester
Salut Salon
Gil Ofarim
Cassandra Steen
Avi Avital

Presented by: Hannes Jaenicke

Directed by: Andreas Morell