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In August 1892 a cholera epidemic struck Hamburg as Mahler was on his way there to conduct another season at the Stadttheater. Faced with possibly drastic consequences and defying orders that he returns to his workplace, he decided to retreat to his summer vacation spot in Berchtesgaden until the worst was over.

Faced with a pandemic affecting all of us, we, too, must act prudently, so it is both understandable and very sad that the Mahler Festival 2020 cannot take place as scheduled this May. Mahler Foundation has worked hard to support Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam in preparing this celebration of Mahler's life and works.

Our thoughts go out to all of the musicians and organizers and to all of you.

Mahler survived the crisis, and shortly thereafter set to work on his next creation: The Resurrection Symphony.

World map with all the locations visited by Gustav Mahler. The map also contains other Gustav Mahler related locations such as the Mahler Societies and the Mahler Foundation.

Link to the Gustav Mahler world map.

Gustav Mahler: A green composer

'In Mahler’s time, although industrialisation was in full swing, there was not yet a tangible threat to nature. Nevertheless, Mahler was highly aware of the value of nature. He wrote extensively on the subject, stating that the human spirit is dependent on its environment and that if ecosystems break down, our species will vanish as well. This idea has only become more relevant in the twenty-first century, and makes Mahler’s music and ideas more topical than ever.’ 

Marina Mahler, Gustav Mahler’s granddaughter and founder of the Mahler Foundation

In the course of 2020, the Mahler Foundation website will be available in different languages. Languages can be recognized by the small flags at the top right of the homepage.

Latest developments can be found in the Gustav Mahler legacy.

This long awaited revised volume I completes Henry-Louis de La Grange (1924-2017)'s four-volumes. The present instalment, covering the years 1860 to 1897, traces the life and career of Mahler from his birth in a small village in Bohemia to his appointment to the Vienna Hofoper, then the most prestigious opera house in the world. It describes his family background, his student days at the Vienna Conservatory, his private life, and his burgeoning career as both conductor and composer. Some of his major works – starting with Das Klagende Lied (1881), the early Wunderhorn songs, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen and the first three symphonies date from this period of his life. Completed, revised and edited by Sybille Werner.

828 p., 58 b/w ill., 210 x 260 mm, 2020
ISBN: 978-2-503-58814-8
Language: English

The Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) came to a top three: Andris Nelsons, Ivan Fischer (1951) and, surprisingly, Valery Gergiev. Now it has to come to an agreement with one of them.

Ivan Fischer (1951)

Jaap van Zweden (1960) is missing in the top three of the most wanted candidates for the vacant position of chief conductor with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. The Amsterdammer, who started his career as a violinist with the Concertgebouw Orchestra and has been the chief of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra (NYPO/NPO) since 2018, was seen by a large part of the public and the press as a dream candidate. However, he appears to have never been seriously considered by the orchestra itself, reports members who want to remain anonymous.

The three conductors who are on the shortlist are Andris Nelsons (41), Iván Fischer (69) and, the biggest surprise, Valery Gergiev (66). Sources from and around the Concertgebouw Orchestra report this. Last Saturday (25-01-2020) the members of the orchestra were able to vote for these three. The results have not yet been communicated to the musicians.

The management will approach the person with the most votes and try to reach an agreement. A press officer said that no statements were made about the process.

Remarkably, Daniele Gatti (1961), the chief conductor who had to leave in 2018 after accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior, was on the long list that the orchestra members themselves had put together. Gatti ended with the eight most mentioned maestro's. There is still a considerable group of musicians who find his resignation unfair and are happy to see him return.

The Concertgebouw Orchestra is traditionally counted among the best symphony orchestras in the world, but must be creative to maintain that status: many orchestras have more money. That is one of the reasons - the other most important is time - that it is not yet a foregone conclusion that one of the remaining candidates says yes to the RCO.

Andris Nelsons (1978)

Fischer and Andris Nelsons were also high on the wish list last time. Fischer, a Hungarian, is one of the rare conductors who can lead both a convincing St Matthew Passion and a Wagner opera. He is known among musicians for his experimental drive, but also for his stubbornness. He puts his energy mainly in the Budapest Festival Orchestra, which he founded, but also wants to make time to compose more.

Nelsons seems the least controversial candidate, but already has two top orchestras. The Latvian, who excels in the symphonies of Bruckner and Shostakovich, is very successful with his Gewandhausorchester from Leipzig and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. His contract in the US expires in 2023.

Valery Gergiev (1953)

The fact that the RCO attracts Gergiev will not be appreciated in Rotterdam: from 1995 to 2008 he was head of the Rotterdam Philharmonic and has his own festival there. Gergiev knows how to apply tension like no other, but that tension is partly caused by his habit of showing up late and hardly rehearsing. No conductor performs as much as he does.

Moreover, there are political sensitivities. Gergiev expressed his support for the Russian annexation of South Ossetia and Crimea. In 2013, an international riot arose after the conductor, friend of President Vladimir Putin, in a Volkskrant interview did not respond negatively to Russian law against "gay propaganda". He then said that he was not anti-gay. Gergiev guarantees a fuss. And noise, they also know in Amsterdam, there has been enough around the orchestra in the last two years.

Expected early 2020: All photos from the Gustav and Alma Mahler family photo albums.

Help us identify everyone on the photos by adding your comments.

Copyright: Marina Mahler (1943).

Performances in Hong Kong and Amsterdam of the 1924 Willem Mengelberg (1871-1951) version of Symphony No. 10.

  • 13-12-2019 Hong Kong: Symphony No. 10 - Adagio and Purgatorio. Philharmonic Orchestra, Jaap van Zweden. First performance since 1924 of Willem Mengelberg’s performing version. Cultural Centre Concert Hall, World Premiere (Revision).
  • 08-01-2020 Amsterdam: Symphony No. 10 - Adagio and Purgatorio. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Jaap van Zweden. First performance since 1924 of Willem Mengelberg’s performing version.

More: History Symphony No. 10.

Photo: A part of the Gustav Mahler score of Symphony No. 10 (Movement 3).

On January 1, 2020 the Mahler Foundation launched a new website on which all activities of the Mahler Foundation can be found as well as information about life and work of Gustav Mahler.

The address of the new website is https://mahlerfoundation.org.

This website replaces the old mahlerfoundation.org, mahlerfoundation.info, mahlerfoundation.net and mahlerfoundation.com and is multilingual.

Hints: bookmark the site, no 'www' needed.

More details were found of Gustav Mahlers baptismal ceremony in 1887 in Hamburg in the St. Michael's church small.

Mariss Jansons (1943-2019) died on Sunday 01-12-2019 in St. Petersburg, Russia.