Home FEATURED Memorial Concert for Grand Duke Jean at the Philharmonie

Memorial Concert for Grand Duke Jean at the Philharmonie

by Jay Familetti

The Luxembourg Philharmonie, officially known as the Grande-Duchesse Joséphine-Charlotte Concert Hall, plays host to around 400 orchestral performances per year since its opening in 2005. Our newest writer Jay Familetti had the privilege of attending a one-of-a-kind performance dedicated to Grand Duke Jean and his family.

The home of the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra is an architectural marvel. Not knowing what to expect, when I exited the tram at my stop in front of the concert hall I was struck by its scale and its modern, almost futuristic beauty. The circular building is entirely white, encased with thick metal shafts running from the ground to its roof.

As we approached the building, we were ushered away from the main entrance by armed guards. We waited patiently as vans with most of the royal family as well as the Prime Minister arrived out front, and once they had all been escorted inside we were allowed to enter the building. Upon entering the Philharmonie, we were greeted with tall hallways (lit by various colored lights) that lead into the main seating area of the concert hall itself. Long, winding, walkways wrap around the internal structure and lead up to the various balconies on either side.

We made our way up a walkway to our seats on a left side balcony, closest to the stage. Here we waited as the orchestra, the Solistes Européens of Luxembourg, tuned their instruments on the stage below. While they prepared for their performance, a screen behind them displayed a slideshow of pictures of the late Grand Duke Jean and his family. As the orchestra finished their preparations, the lights were dimmed and all concertgoers stood as they played a song to accompany the entrance of the Royal Family.

Once everyone was situated, the concert began with a beautiful piano solo titled Adieu op. 124. The solo was performed by Luxembourgish pianist David Ianni, and was written by Ianni specifically for the concert in honor of the late Grand Duke. The acoustics of the concert hall are absolutely superb (as they are designed to be), and I felt like I was sitting right next to the piano as Ianni played. His piece was my favorite of the entire performance.

After the solo, conductor Christoph König joined the orchestra on the stage, to much applause. He directed three pieces, beginning with an anxious arrangement by Milan Slavický titled Ich dien that featured a wild combination of clashing sounds that made me shift in my seat. Second came Symphonie N° 44, “Trauersinfonie”, by Joseph Haydn, which was upbeat and emphasized the violin, bouncing between powerful crescendos and decrescendos. Finally, the orchestra played a piece I was well acquainted with, Violinkonzert by Beethoven. It featured American violinist Gil Shaham as the soloist, who captivated the audience with his masterful accompaniment to the orchestra.After the main performance, the Solistes Européens played once again for the royal family as they made their exit. This was followed by bows from the conductors and performers and a very lengthy bout of applause.

The Luxembourg Philharmonie is a strikingly beautiful building and it was a treat to be able to enjoy some amazing classical music in its hall. I have a passion for any and all music, and I highly recommend anyone who enjoys classical arrangements to try and see a performance at the Philharmonie.

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