© Patricia Kopatchinskaja Porträt

Patricia Kopatchinskaja

...In the beginning, they say, there was rhythm. But where does rhythm begin - in regularity? Is chaos irregular? When one wakes up in a village in Moldova on a summer morning, they hear birds chirping in confusion, the assertive crowing of roosters, buzzing mosquitoes, sleepy barking of dogs, the tired creaking of old doors, or perhaps all of this is overshadowed by the heavy, round drops of Moldovan rain. And the red dust dances among them in its own shadow and light. Where is the rhythm there? Where did we, as Westerners, get the idea of sterile, metronomic music that ticks ever the same and ever perfect, without agogic and surprises? Politeness and rules, rulers of freedom and truthfulness. For uprooted musicians like myself, home exists only in memory and dreams as a great fertile wound. Like a life-giving plant, it blooms and bleeds. Nostalgia, melancholy, and irreversibility are felt throughout one's life after uprooting. The rustle of autumn leaves, a breeze, the increasingly close warm hum of the grandmother from beyond, the deep-black, ever-pregnant Moldovan soil with its vineyards and sunflower fields, the almost audible growth of incredibly flavorful tomatoes in the garden, the subdued mysterious light through the window curtains. Also shrill sounds, the pain of losses, and the never-again-finding here in the civilized world, with fully planned everyday life, punctual vehicles, satellite-guided clocks, cleaned streets, and elegant people with radiant teeth and future provisions. Where is my home? Where is the dried-up river named Răut, where my mother and her brothers could swim and fish in their childhood? From the carp and huge pikes, half as big as the children themselves, my grandmother cooked delicious meals. Even the street dog that escaped from the circus on a leash in the yard got his share, yes, those fish were so big that the people around the river could feed on them for a long time. Until it was almost dried up. The cheerful people in the village where I grew up, the church with Orthodox chants, the mystical smell of incense, the parlando-rubato of the priest in the golden garment who baptized all the children in the village and me. It may all still be there and yet it is forever lost. These fragments, images, emotions, the incomprehensibility of the past, are found in my perception only in musical forms: in heart-wrenching Bartók pizzicati and fragile harmonics, on the edge of silence, where the sound in this world ends and only the lost echo of ourselves remains - in the silence, in the unsaid - only sensed. There is still my home. And perhaps the sum of all homes together, all places of humanity, where we earthly beings are drawn into the vast dark sky, to settle on the stars of solitude.


Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s focus is to get to the heart of the music, to its meaning for us - now and here. With a combination of depth, brilliance and humour, Kopatchinskaja brings an inimitable sense of theatrics to her music. Described by The New York Times "a player of rare expressive energy and disarming informality, of whimsy and theatrical ambition", Kopatchinskaja’s distinctive approach always conveys the core of the work, whether it is with an out-of-the-box performance of a traditional violin repertoire classic or with an original staged project she presents as experimental performance dramaturge.


Her absolute priority is music of the 20th and 21st century and the collaboration with living composers such as Luca Francesconi, Michael Hersch, György Kurtág, Márton Illés, Esa-Pekka Salonen. Kopatchinskaja directs staged concerts at venues on both sides of the Atlantic and collaborates with leading orchestras, conductors, and festivals worldwide. This season, she channels her creative prowess and versatility into eccentric reinterpretations and innovatively curated projects as part of her residencies at the Southbank Centre in London, the Wiener Konzerthaus and the Philharmonie Essen. Kopatchinskaja is the youngest honorary member of the Wiener Konzerthausgesellschaft, with this year's most extensive portrait being dedicated to her. Furthermore, she holds the position of Associated Artist of the SWR Experimentalstudio, one of the most important international research centres in the field of electronic music.


As Artist in Residence, Patricia Kopatchinskaja is curating this year's Golden Decade festival at the Dresden Philharmonic. The festival features her performance of major violin works from the Classical Modern era. In a new production at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, Kopatchinskaja is collaborating with soprano Anna Prohaska in György Kurtág's music-theater work Kafka-Fragments, directed by Barrie Kosky. The performance explores a spectrum of vocal and instrumental expressions and emotional states in 40 miniatures.

Highlights of the past season included residencies at the London Barbican Centre, Berliner Philharmoniker, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, as well as Kopatchinskaja's continued role as artistic partner of the Camerata Bern. Last season, Kopatchinskaja once again went beyond boundaries with a daring musical experiment joining forces with Herbert Fritsch to create a Neo-Dada opera production Vergeigt at Theater Basel. Following the international success of her previous collaboration with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra - Bye Bye Beethoven - Patricia Kopatchinskaja returned for the premiere performances of a new concert staging with the ensemble - Les Adieux - a project confronting the rapid deterioration of the environment and the loss of the natural world. Kopatchinskaja’s other projects explore music staged through contemporary contexts, such as Dies Irae, another musical reflection on the the growing environmental crisis. Kopatchinskaja also performs as a vocal artist in Ligeti’s Mystères du macabre or Schönberg’s Pierrot lunaire where she takes on the role of Pierrot himself, as well as her project presenting Kurt Schwitters’ poem Ursonate as a film in the style of Dada.


Kopatchinskaja’s discography includes over 30 recordings, among them GRAMMY award-winning Death and the Maiden with Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, a project which was also re-created as a semi-staged filmed performance with Camerata Bern, premiered on HarrisonParrott’s digital platform Virtual Circle. Recent CD releases season included Les Plaisirs Illuminés with Sol Gabetta and Camerata Bern, which was saluted with a BBC Music Magazine award and Le monde selon George Antheil with Joonas Ahonen (both on Alpha Classics). A revival of the project Maria Mater Meretrix with Anna Prohaska presenting the image of women throughout the centuries in a musical mosaic was also released on CD last season. Additionally, in 2023, Kopatchinskaja embarked on an extensive tour across Germany with Sol Gabetta, celebrating their album "Sol & Pat" and their musical connection of over twenty years. This season has also seen the release of the album Take 3 with clarinettist Reto Bieri and pianist Polina Leschenko - a testament to the enduring partnership of these three artists, celebrating their shared musical journey and musical origins.


Kopatchinskaja is a humanitarian ambassador for Terre des Hommes, the leading Swiss child relief agency and was awarded the Swiss Grand Award for Music by the Federal Office of Culture for Switzerland in 2017.