On 13 June 2015, the annual year-end Crescendo festival at the Universität der Künste (University of the Arts) in Berlin comes to a close. The final concert of the festival presents two Weill works along with Igor Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale, a favorite of Weill’s and an early influence on his music for the theater. A student orchestra is conducted by Catherine Larsen-Maguire; Mark Gothoni is the violin soloist.
Germany’s largest art school, the Universität der Künste Berlin hosts one of Germany’s largest conservatories in addition to schools of fine arts, architecture, and design. The conservatory has trained hundreds of well-known musicians since it was founded in 1869 by legendary violinist Joseph Joachim. Kurt Weill himself studied there from 1918 to 1919. The Crescendo festival, established in 2003, runs nearly a month and offers over a score of concerts (some of them part of the concurrent Crescendino festival for children) along with exhibits and lectures. The festival is known for presenting a variety of styles and forms of music, and it is a highlight of the academic year for students and faculty alike. Combining two of Weill’s orchestral works with one of his favorite Stravinsky pieces for the closing concert does honor both to Weill and the Universität der Künste.