Friday 05 June, 2020

The Basque National Orchestra presents its 20/21 Season

The Basque National Orchestra presents its 20/21 Season

This season, the orchestra will place emphasis on the Romantic era. This will be clearly seen through the inclusion of all of Schubert's symphonies (as a Schubert marathon), as well as through the role of Schumann. Also important this season will be Wagner, who represents a break away from Romanticism. They will take us to other great composers like Mahler and Rachmaninoff.

This will be Robert Trevino's fourth season as main conductor. He will continue with his long-term musical vision and working on improving the orchestra artistically. He will conduct five concert programmes and take the orchestra on tour once again – this time through Italy (Udine, Bergamo, Brescia) and to Zagreb in April of 2021.

As our main conductor, Robert Trevino, points out, we have learned something important in these recent times of the pandemic: “home is not where the house is but where the people are. The recent trauma has been quite deep; we have seen the separation between us as a type of loss, and now we must work to close all those wounds. We regard the orchestra as a way to experience culture, passion, art... and as a way of affirming that ALL of that represents humanity.” That is why we would like to think of the Basque National Orchestra as that common place where we can all meet up again and repair our lives. We invite you to familiarise yourself with our programming and begin to enjoy it – but not without telling you first about what things will be like from now on and how we're going to go about our activities over the next few months.


Our new brand – Basque National Orchestra: The emotion that unites us


The Basque National Orchestra is launching its new identity – the result of long reflection and dialogue; an identity which continues to aspire towards increasingly more recognition.  We have strengthened our sole name: Basque National Orchestra, which from now on will take the place of all our other names and acronyms (EO, OSE, EOS, etc.) which were used until now without helping to make our brand easier to recognise.


Organisational Planning


We have done initial organisational planning based on the premise of a possible 50% restriction to our capacity and that of complying with other safety measures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. What's more, we have changed the programming that had been designed initially and we have adapted our organisational approach. The first two subscription programmes will be held in the following way: for the first one (“SCHUBERT”), we will offer a double session in the afternoon (6:00 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.) to allow for half of our audience to be in each session. For the second one (“WAGNER”), we will work differently depending on the city, mainly by extending the programming by one extra day.  For both cases, we will let our subscribers know about the day and time they will be able to enjoy their concert. By the end of August, we hope to be more certain of the measures that are to be applied in concert halls and, thus, we will wait until that time to confirm if these are the appropriate measures. We thank our audiences for their patience, understanding, and commitment and, especially, we thank them for their unconditional support. If it were any other way, we would never be able to manage these uncertain times successfully, especially considering that we have an extraordinary community of 7,000 subscribers.



Concert Times


After analysing the results of a survey carried out this season about the time for concerts to start and other matters of interest, with the participation of all the Basque National Orchestra subscribers, we have decided to move up the concerts of Bilbao, San Sebastian, and Pamplona to 7:30 p.m. (except for the two first programmes, affected by the COVID-19 circumstances). 62% of the survey responses in said three cities were in favour of moving up the start time; therefore, this measure has been adopted in the interests of improving attendance and organisation for all. Having said that, the traditional time of 8:00 p.m. was decided to be kept in Vitoria, as only 39% of the subscribers asked for the start time to be moved up.



Season programming


The 2020/2021 Basque National Orchestra Subscription Season will begin on 25 September in Vitoria, and it will wrap up on 17 June 2021 in the same city.



The season's main theme: Romanticism


This season features something that the orchestra hadn't featured for a while: a focus on the Romantic era. This will be seen through the inclusion of all of Schubert's symphonies, which will open the season as if it were a festival. Also prominently present will be Schumann. This season, we will showcase part of that Romantic era, but we will also see how Wagner will resoundingly break with said cultural idea and movement.



The season's unique project: a Schubert marathon


During the inauguration of the prior season, a unique project called 'Expectation' caught the attention of our audience – a project in which what the orchestra was going to play was not known. This new season aims to start off with another unique proposal: the marathon of symphonies by Schubert, divided between the four cities of the season.  All the cities combined will represent the full marathon. Why are we starting off the season with a project like this one? Because, in the midst of so much uncertainty, we wanted to convey to our audience a certain ‘festival’ feel, involving a lively, fun, energetic spirit – something quite necessary in the current times. The preparation and interpretation of an entire series of symphonies in just one week is a demanding task that represents a new challenge for the orchestra.



Long-term lines of development


There are some long-term lines of development (many of which are clearly linked to the fact that Robert Trevino is our main conductor) which will continue to be touched upon throughout this new season.

  • Mahler's prominence will continue – something which is bringing Trevino great international acclaim. As a sign of the importance that said bohemian composer still has, the orchestra will interpret his Symphonies 5 and 7 and a piece for voice: Songs of a Wayfarer.
  • Since last season, Bartok has also been making his way into the orchestra's repertoire. He will be present in the Youth programme with Violin Concerto No.1, which will be interpreted by the orchestra's permanent guest concertmaster, Birgit Kolar.
  • The case of Rachmaninoff is similar. We are including his Symphony No.1, which completes his three-symphony cycle after having offered the chance to hear his Symphony No. 2 and Symphony No. 3 in prior seasons.
  • The Elkano: Mundubira musika bidelagun Project is another long-standing initiative that is continuing along this season. Mikel Chamizo was the one who first set off on this musical journey. Mikel Urquiza –whose piece Mis monstruos marinos (My sea monsters) could not be debuted in May and will be picked back up this season– will take up the baton where he left off.
  • Exchange of musical pieces. Another important milestone this season will be the debut in Spain of Ghost Songs by Gary Carpenter of Britain. This is a piece that was jointly commissioned by four orchestras: Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and the Basque National Orchestra. This piece's commissioning arose out of the close relationship that our orchestra has with the musicians of Liverpool; and this proposal will also be inversely beneficial as it has been agreed for the songs from the Elkano: Mundubira musika bidelagun project, as well as songs by other Basque composers, to be performed by their orchestras and introduced to British audiences.
  • New additions to our repertoire:  new pieces like those of the Elkano: Mundubira musika bidelagun project and the commissioned piece by Carpenter coexist with pieces that already existed but which the orchestra is adding to its repertoire for the first time.



Conductors, soloists, and choirs


The orchestra will once again receive a good handful of artists throughout its programming, although it is also worth noting that it will tackle three programmes alone, without guest soloists, allowing it to retain a leading performing role.

  • SOLOISTS: We will once again welcome the great Pablo Ferrández (cello), Vadim Gluzman (violin), and Nikolai Lugansky (piano). And we will have Behzod Abduraimov (piano) and the baritone Manuel Walser for the first time. Birgit Kolar, the orchestra's permanent guest concertmaster, will debut as a soloist with the Basque orchestra.
  • CONDUCTORS: Robert Trevino will continue to have great presence with five programmes, and the podium will likewise be shared by the experienced Hans Graf and Michel Tabachnik and three young female conductors: Ruth Reinhardt, Gemma New, Anja Bihlmaier.
  • CHOIRS: The youth of Easo Abesbatza, the Easo Youth Choir, will be featured in the commissioned Carpenter piece, Ghost Songs, and the Orfeón Pamplonés Choir will be in charge of Salve Regina by Lorenzo Ondarra and Tristia by Berlioz.



Other activities


New international tour


Over the last three years, the orchestra has visited Austria (Linz and Bregenz) , Germany (Munich), France (Paris), and Turkey (Istanbul). Now it has planned a new international tour that will take it to Italy, playing for the first time in the cities of Udine, Bergamo, and Brescia, as well as to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. This tour is confirmed and it is hoped to be undertaken in April of 2021, once again with our main conductor Robert Trevino.





KALAKAN. First was a concert programme during the last season to perform Zuhaitz by Gabriel Erkoreka. Then came the desire to launch a project together, and now there is a recording that revolves around the figure of the bertsolari Xalbador, whose granddaughters (Aire Ahizpak) and Amets Arzallus will also participate. The recording will be directed by Unai Urretxo. A series of concerts is hoped to be held during the 2021/2022 season. This union will be a continuation of all the projects that the orchestra is sharing with Basque artists like Izaro, Zea Mays, Dr. Deseo, and Ken Zazpi – including the first artist of this crossover series, Benito Lertxundi.


Cooperation and synergies with other institutions


The orchestra will continue its commitment to the ABAO Bilbao Opera Season. Musika-Music of Bilbao and the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards Gala Concert. The orchestra's commitment cannot be undertaken in the context of the San Sebastian Film Festival with the traditional film soundtrack concert in the Velodrome, but the orchestra will play a special role in the San Sebastian Musical Fortnight and once again in Musikaste.

The Miramon Matinées and the Music Room cycles will be held once again this year and they will be presented in the future.



The new Season's image


The agency ACC Comunicación was the creator of the 2020/2021 season's image. They proposed that the season's main image be a collage of collages; an image made up of elements chosen from the rest of the programmes in order to create a composition that would be representative of the whole. The set of 10 images was obtained after extensive research work on the philosophy and background of the composers and programmes to be performed so as to find images and compositions with a symbolic and aesthetic value. All of this was done with a visual dimension that makes up a whole and a deep look into Romanticism as a main theme for the programming.



Special thanks


Lastly, the orchestra would like to thank all who have participated in its different activities for their cooperation and support: 7,000 subscribers and the general public, sponsors and partners, cultural actors, the media, etc. You make the Basque National Orchestra's activities possible.

The Basque National Orchestra is not just music; it is the celebration of life, of our community. That is why we welcome you here, to our home. We hope that you enjoy the new season and that now more than ever you will be our most staunch follower, continuing to accompany us at all our concerts.


Basque National Orchestra: the emotion that unites us



Information on subscription and ticket sales


Because of the current circumstances, we cannot yet guarantee that we will be able to accept new subscribers nor can we guarantee that we will be able to sell individual tickets for the concerts of the entire season. We will provide more information as it becomes available. In any event, you can continue to make requests via the orchestra's website ( and by telephone (943 01 32 32).

Next events

Concerts & Tickets September

1 Th
2 Fr
3 Sa
4 Su
5 Mo
6 Tu
7 We
8 Th
9 Fr
10 Sa
10 september, 2022 Saturday, 19:00 h.
Other activities Fauré's Requiem Ramón Tebar Arantzazu
Fauré's Requiem
11 Su
12 Mo
13 Tu
14 We
15 Th
16 Fr
17 Sa
17 september, 2022 Saturday, 12:00 h.
Other activities San Sebastian Film Festival: Concert & Screening Juanjo Ocón Donostia / San Sebastián
San Sebastian Film Festival: Concert & Screening
18 Su
19 Mo
20 Tu
21 We
22 Th
23 Fr
23 september, 2022 Friday, 19:30 h.
Season Concerts Tragedy Robert Treviño Vitoria/Gasteiz
24 Sa
25 Su
26 Mo
26 september, 2022 Monday, 19:30 h.
Season Concerts Tragedy Robert Treviño Donostia / San Sebastián
27 Tu
27 september, 2022 Tuesday, 19:30 h.
Season Concerts Tragedy Robert Treviño Donostia / San Sebastián Buy tickets
28 We
28 september, 2022 Wednesday, 19:30 h.
Season Concerts Tragedy Robert Treviño Pamplona/Iruña Buy tickets
29 Th
29 september, 2022 Thursday, 19:30 h.
Season Concerts Tragedy Robert Treviño Bilbao/Bilbo Buy tickets
30 Fr