Greek conductor Teodor Currentzis and the 105-member orchestra and 80-member chorus musicAeterna from Russia took to the stage in The Shed’s McCourt in New York last night to perform Requiem.
Following rapturous reviews at this summer’s Salzburg Festival, the performances marked Currentzis and musicAeterna’s North American debut.
The 47-year-old conductor, who according to The Times is “The most talked-about phenomenon in classical music” is the Chief Conductor of the SWR Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart and Artistic Director of the ensemble musicAeterna and of the musicAeterna Chamber Choir.
Born in Athens in 1972, at the age of 4 Teodor began to take piano lessons and at 7, he began violin lessons. He entered the National Conservatory, Athens at the age of 12, in the violin department. In 1987, aged 15, he began composition studies under Professor George Hadjinikos, and then in 1989 under Professor B. Shreck. From 1994 to 1999, Currentzis studied conducting in the St. Petersburg State Conservatory with Ilya Musin.
Russia has become Teodor’s home since the beginning of the 1990s, when he began studying conducting at the state conservatory of St. Petersburg, under the tutelage of Professor Ilya Musin, whose pupils, among others, were renowned conductors Odyseuss Dimitriadis, Valery Gergiev, and Semyon Bychkov.
In 2018/19 his first year with SWR, Teodor conducted Mahler 3, 4, Tchaikovsky 5 and Shostakovich 7 in performances in Stuttgart and on tour visiting the Vienna Konzerthaus, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie and Cologne Philharmonie amongst others. He finished his first season with SWR with a final performance of Shostakovich 7 at the Salzburg Festival. In 2019/20 he will also take the orchestra on tour to Spain, Italy, and France.
Past highlights of Teodor’s career include: Resident Artist at the Vienna Konzerthaus; performing Brahms Requiem with musicAeterna choir and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra as part of the Diaghilev Festival; Verdi’s Macbeth at Zurich Opera with Barrie Kosky (2016); Wagner’s Das Rheingold with musicAeterna orchestra (2015, RUHRtriennale in Bochum); Tchaikovsky Iolanthe and Stravinsky Persephone at Aix Festival (2015) which premiered in Madrid in 2012; Purcell’s The Indian Queen in Madrid (2012); Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District in Zurich (2012) and Weinberg's The Passenger with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra in Bregenz (2010).
As former Artistic Director of Perm Opera, Teodor has commissioned several important new works, including Phillipe Hersants ‘Tristia’ (2016), Dmitrii Kourliandski’s opera Nosferatu (2014), Alexei Syumak’s opera Cantos (2016), and a violin concerto by Sergey Nevsky (2015).
Teodor Currentzis and musicAeterna are exclusive Sony artists and have released the Mozart-Da Ponte trilogy, Stravinsky’s Les Noces, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, with Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 6. Previous recordings include Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 14, Mozart’s Requiem and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas all on the Alpha label and the Shostakovich Piano Concertos with Alexander Melnikov and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra on the Harmonia Mundi label.
In 2006, combining his knowledge and passion for early music with contemporary composers and new music, Teodor started the Territoria Modern Art Festival, which in a short space of time has become the most prestigious and progressive annual music festival in Moscow.