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A Bridge Between Genres

Beethovenfest Bonn features the first appearance of Israeli-American conductor Yoel Gamzou's new kind of orchestra, bridging genres and playing 50% first performances


With oneMusic, Israeli-American conductor Yoel Gamzou is founding a new kind of orchestra that will design its concert programmes according to two principles: the first is that at least fifty percent of the pieces performed should be new compositions. The second principle is that these first performances are created by composers who come from different musical backgrounds, such as pop, film, folk or electronic music, and thus incorporate the entire spectrum of influences of our time into their music. In this way, Gamzou and the musicians involved want to create a vibrant, sustainable future for classical music. oneMusic starts on 15 and 16 September 2023 with a residency at the Beethovenfest in Bonn, Germany.

Yoel Gamzou
Yoel Gamzou

Yoel Gamzou says:

We are convinced that an art form can only have a future if its contemporary work is as relevant as its traditional canon. Our rationale is to commission new music that touches and inspires a modern audience - much more than most contemporary classical music has been able to do in recent decades.

OneMusic's explicit goal is to be in dialogue with the audience and not only to challenge them intellectually 'but also to touch them directly in a sensual and emotional way'.

A central part of the programming of the oneMusic concerts remains the reinterpretation of the rich, timeless canon of masterpieces. However, at least fifty per cent of the works played will be first performances.

Yoel Gamzou explains:

We believe that relevant new music makes people listen to the old masters with a fresh ear. That is why we are committed to this fifty/fifty principle of existing masterpieces and newly commissioned works in every concert.

The second, unusual novelty at oneMusic is the diversity of the composers chosen for the new compositions: They do not all come from the field of contemporary classical music, but from film, pop, folk or electronic music.

Gamzou adds:

Good music is good music - that's why we want to present a programme at oneMusic that is as diverse as the entire world of music - and not just the 'classical music bubble'. My dream is that we will once again reach a state where world premieres are not programmed as an obligation, but are eagerly awaited by audiences and artists alike, just like the old 'blockbusters'. This is how the principle of the 'mainstream' works with Rihanna, Ed Sheeran or Taylor Swift, and how it has already worked with Mozart, Verdi, Wagner or Puccini. Why should this principle no longer work today in so-called 'classical music'?

oneMusic actively seeks to discover composers overlooked by the traditional classical music industry and scouting channels. The aim is to commission works from artists with diverse musical backgrounds that reflect today's diverse spectrum of musical languages, instruments and styles. Social media plays a major role in this process: after Yoel Gamzou's Facebook call launched in November 2022, three-hundred-and-fifty composers were nominated, four of whom were selected for the commissioned compositions for the launch concert at the Beethovenfest 2023.

Gamzou continues:

The decisive factor in the selection was not 'effect', 'accessibility' or 'low threshold'. It was much more important to us to find artists who use today's musical languages, but at the same time bring depth, artistic integrity and quality.

Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth Piano Concerto and Fifth Symphony will serve as the starting point for the new works being performed at the University of Bonn, Aula on the evening of 15 September 2023: Beethoven should not represent a corset, but on the contrary inspire independent, diverse works. Two other composers will present their new compositions at a 'Strings and Electronics' concert in the Post Tower Lounge on 16 September. Both events begin at 7.30pm local time.

The musicians of oneMusic are made up of some of the world's best soloists, orchestral and chamber musicians who are looking for new forms that combine innovation and experimentation at the highest quality. The launch concert on 15 September in Bonn will feature fifty-two musicians from orchestras such as the Zurich Opera Orchestra, the Bavarian State Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Berlin, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra.

oneMusic will celebrate its first residency at the Beethovenfest Bonn in September 2023, where the Launch Concert will for the first time include four commissioned works by as many composers. These first performances will be programmed alongside ever-popular pieces such as Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. The inaugural concert will take place as part of the Beethovenfest's newly established 'Fellowship Programme'.

Steven Walter, artistic director of the Beethovenfest Bonn, states:

We are very pleased and proud that the first concert of oneMusic will take place at the Beethovenfest. As a novel orchestral format, oneMusic fits wonderfully into our Fellowship Programme, which is designed to give new ideas and approaches a chance.

More residencies are planned for the future across Europe, often in unexpected places and venues.

Beethovenfest Bonn began on 31 August and continues until 24 September 2023. Further information:

Posted 9 September 2023 by Keith Bramich



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