Theresia 2023 - Photo: S.Kusiak/ ©The Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre For Music

Concerts, travel, recordings… A look back at the cool and new things that 2023 has brought us

By Emilia Campagna

December 28, 2023

For many of us, this is our favourite time of year: the holidays are approaching, we’re spending time with family and friends, and the New Year is about to begin, with its promise of a fresh start. This is also the time of year when we look back on the past twelve months and take stock of our accomplishments. We do this every year too, and we do it with great pleasure, because looking back always gives us a great deal of satisfaction.

In constant renewal

Even as our passion lies in performing classical music repertoire according to historically informed practice – something deeply rooted far back in time – you know we are eager to renew ourselves. We like to play music we don’t know, discover hidden gems, visit new places, and expand our network of collaborations.

Almost each of the 2023 projects brought the thrill of “firsts”: let’s look at these moments together in the light of novelty and discovery!

Many new things at the start of the year

This wonderful 2023 started off with an orchestral project led by conductor Giovanni Antonini: do you remember? We were in Ravenna, Rovereto and Florence playing Beethoven with the excellent soloist, Dmitri Smirnov, for the Violin Concerto. Well, let’s stop there for a moment, as there are already so many new things here that my head is spinning. First of all, a conductor who is leading us for the first time, sharing his long experience to enrich our orchestra; secondly, a young virtuoso who literally electrified us; and finally, performing Beethoven (the Eighth Symphony in addition to his Violin Concerto). This meant, we got to expand our repertoire in an important way. As Giovanni Antonini explains well in the interview published on the blog, “it must be said that a remarkable technical leap was taken by Beethoven: his music was extremely difficult at the time, specifically because of its technical complexity, which often had to do with the required dynamics. Beethoven was the first composer to demand such a high degree of intensity from the orchestra, which was truly unheard of in those days. Taking on Beethoven is quite a challenge and also an opportunity for both technical and musical growth.”

Dmitry Smirnov: “Gut strings taught me a great deal”

Giovanni Antonini and Beethoven as you do not expect

An expanding network of collaborations: new opportunities for Theresians

An exciting development is our collaboration with Il Giardino Armonico as the ensemble offered to host four of our musicians on a European tour. The operation was so successful that both parties have expressed interest to continue this apprenticeship programme.

Musicians involved this year were violinists Lucas Bernardo da Silva, Guillermo Santonja Di Fonzo, Natascha Pichler, and cellist Matylda Adamus. They embarked on a European tour to perform Haydn’s The Seasons led by Giovanni Antonini at prestigious venues in Lucerne, Bonn, Bremen, Wroclaw, Antwerp, Bucharest. Three of the performances were broadcast on national radio, and the Wroclaw performance was also filmed for MezzoTV, reaching an even wider audience.

Working with Giovanni Antonini also meant expanding on our network of collaborations and benefitting from his connections. We treasure his interest in our orchestra by involving Antonini in our upcoming auditions in Paris in January where he will be part of the selection committee.

Our cellist Matylda Adamus has written a passionate account of the experience of touring with Il Giardino Armonico: we invite you to read it again!

Four Theresia members join Il Giardino Armonico on major European tour

Matylda Adamus: A wave of beauty

Not just one record: the beginning of a multi-year project with a prestigious music label

Last November our new CD featuring Kraus Overtures conducted by Claudio Astronio, was released as the first album in a series of recordings we are producing in collaboration with the CPO record company.

Future releases of Theresia on CPO are planned for 2024 featuring various seldom-performed orchestral pieces and opera rarities. In February the next album will be released featuring four symphonies by Ernst Eichner, one of the early masters of symphonic compositions, in which Theresia is conducted by Vanni Moretto. Later in the year, two opera recordings will be released: Le astuzie femminili by Domenico Cimarosa and Rossini’s L’inganno felice, both conducted by Alessandro De Marchi.

August will see the release of the world premiere recording of Traetta‘s oratorio Rex Salomon. We recorded and performed this work dating from 1765 which Traetta wrote for the female voices of the Conservatorio dell’Ospedaletto in Venice, at the Innsbrucker Festwochen under the passionate guidance of Christophe Rousset, an expert in reviving unfamiliar works. 

Christophe Rousset: music as an endless discovery

These recordings are an extraordinary opportunity to enrich the professional experience we offer to our musicians, leaving a tangible trace of our many musical projects.


Theresia starts new recording collaboration with CPO

“My love for Kraus is well-known”: Claudio Astronio about Theresia’s new album

New places to perform? Yes, please!

Even though Rovereto is a city where we have played many times and where it all began, we had never played in the wonderful Teatro Zandonai, a true jewel of 18th century architecture, perfectly in tune with our repertoire! In the same tour, Teatro Goldoni in Florence was another precious addition to our travel journal.

Truly inspiring... Teatro Zandonai in Rovereto was the venue of our first 2023 concert
Truly inspiring… Teatro Zandonai in Rovereto was the venue of our first 2023 concert

The May Wind Residency took us to familiar and beloved places such as Lodi, our adopted city, and the Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome, where we made a welcome return after a few years. Our wind players also went to Koper (Slovenia) to perform at a beautiful and historically rich venue, the Regional Museum.

Theresia Wind Ensemble’s whistle-stop spring tour

In June, Germany was a happy destination, where we took part in something totally unusual, a bicycle concert!

That sounds new: a bicycle is not exactly the first thing that springs to mind when you think of a classical music concert: but it’s probably what you think of when you imagine a get-together with friends on a beautiful day in spring, isn’t it? Well, the organisers of the Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci managed to bring music and cycling together in a series of open-air concerts along a route to which the audience members were encouraged to cycle along. Theresia’s wind quintet and a trio of trumpets and timpani were part of these inviting bicycle-concerts. Find more here.

Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci have managed to bring music and cycling together

Theresia in Potsdam: a short guide to our next musical adventure

Alexis Kossenko and the joy of sharing a passion for music

Among the 23 different locations where we performed in 2023, we want to tell you about the Penderecki Centre for Music which really stands out as a remarkable destination. This amazing project is a beautiful place, born out of a community’s love for its esteemed composer. The Penderecki Centre provided an awe-inspiring setting for five days of rehearsal, followed by our Polish tour with stops at the at the Ruins of the Victoria Theatre in Gliwice, and at the National Theatre and Opera in Warsaw. It was really inspiring to experience the genuine passion Polish audiences have for classical music: we hope to play for this wonderful audience again in future!

Our places: the Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music

These are some of the remarkable things that happened to us in 2023; it’s good to linger on memories, but know that we’re already working on upcoming projects. Follow us to find out what 2024 has in store for us!

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About Emilia Campagna

Journalist and musician, Emilia is a blogger for Theresia