Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam hosted a Mahlerfest in 1920, in recognition of Gustav Mahler’s unique role in music. That unique role has continued over the years. Mahler’s music has been selected to express humanity’s feelings at times of great import!
Leonard Bernstein with the New York Philharmonic on November 24, 1963 performed Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony to mourn John F. Kennedy’s assassination. In explaining the choice of music, Bernstein said, "We played the Mahler symphony not only in terms of resurrection for the soul of one we love, but also for the resurrection of hope in all of us who mourn him".
Again it was Mahler’s Adagietto from Symphony 5 which Bernstein performed on June 8, 1968 at the state funeral of Robert Kennedy after his assassination.
And on the tenth anniversary concert to commemorate the dead after the shocking attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11 that changed our world forever, Alan Gilbert chose to perform Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony with the New York Philharmonic.
These are some of the many examples of Mahler’s unique and ongoing visionary accompaniment to our times...
For the centenary of the original Mahlerfest in 1920 the Het Concertgebouw will again host a Mahler Festival called "Mahler’s Universe".
The Mahler Foundation will use this special occasion to partner with the Concertgebouw to launch a special program to indicate our future mission and projects.Mahler Foundation is working in partnership with Het Concertgebouw in its capacity as the organisers of Mahler Festival 2020. This international cultural event, marking the 100th anniversary of the first-ever celebration of the composer in Amsterdam in 1920, is entitled ‘Mahler’s Universe’ and will feature performances of all of Mahler’s works by some of the world’s foremost orchestras and singers.