Anastasia Kobekina plays Dvořák's Cello Concerto under the baton of Paavo Järvi. (Photo: Daniel Dittus)
In the media

«An orchestra that is in the top league»

Even before we started our 155th season at home in Zurich, we were on tour in various halls in Europe. We are happy to show in a press review how the media perceived our guest performances.


Richard Bratby, The Spectator, 9 September 2023

«Then Paavo Jarvi and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich rock up at the Proms with a Beethoven overture, a Tchaikovsky concerto and Dvorak’s New World symphony and what do you know? The Royal Albert Hall was packed. (…) We got pretty much the most euphoric sensation that the classical concert hall can offer – a virtuoso orchestra motoring along at just below boiling point, with all that potential bristling and tugging at the end of an incredibly taut leash. (…) There they all were, quivering under the magnifying glass of the Zürich/Jarvi sound, while the chords that support the famous cor anglais solo were so hushed and tender that you held your breath. A formidable display of soft power.»


Colin Anderson, Colin's Column, September 5, 2023

«Following their concert last night (…) and a matter of ninety minutes since Blomstedt conducted Bruckner (…), Paavo Järvi and the Tonhalle Orchestra brought their own Bruckner (…), one high on musical illumination – a flowing if flexible first movement, virile, yet with dark recesses; a malicious Scherzo, its rhythms hammered out, the Trio scampering much quicker; and a third movement of grand designs, resigned sadness, fearful palpitations, luminous strings, and a grinding dissonant climax with where next? concluding bars. Järvi got the lot (…).»


Geoff Brown, The Times, 31 August 2023

«No concert containing Dvorak’s New World Symphony and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto would be a leading contender in a contest for unusual programming. But when the performances are as sharp and fresh as those on offer from the versatile Estonian Paavo Jarvi and his Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich, it really does feel as if you might be hearing these mighty warhorses for the very first time. (…) So polished and shapely, with gorgeous playing across all sections (…).»

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Bernhard Hartmann, General-Anzeiger, 2 September 2023

«Under Järvi's direction, the orchestra presented the rich thematic material in the most beautiful colours, with the first group developing a mysterious atmosphere through the eight horns. Järvi fanned out the sound wonderfully in the further course, paying attention to great transparency of voice leading up to the movement's mighty conclusion. In the Scherzo, the orchestra impressed with the wild power in which it made the almost desperately brutal pounding of the music audible. This was followed by the heavenly and celestially played Adagio, which Bruckner himself counted among his most beautiful inspirations. A journey of almost 30 minutes into the deepest regions of the composer's soul.»


Bernhard Hartmann, General-Anzeiger, 3 September 2023

«The No. 9 by Dvorák proved to be a brilliant start. Järvi's delight in rhythm was just as audible in the Zurichers' gripping playing as the joy of warm string sounds and splendid woodwind episodes. The melody at the beginning of the famous 'Largo', celebrated by the cor anglais with romantic intimacy, probably touched the heart of everyone who was there that evening. The gripping, rhythmically thrillingly played Scherzo and the sweeping finale also showed an orchestra that is in the top league.»




Colin Anderson, Colin's Column, 5 September 2023

«It was good to hear the Dvořák again, (…) every bit as arresting as in London.»




Martin Jemelka, Časopis Harmonie, 8 September 2023

«This year's opening concert was hosted by the world's top orchestra - the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich with its principal conductor Paavo Järvi and the young Russian cellist Anastasia Kobekina. Switzerland's most important orchestra has been making history since 1868, when it was founded by a group of Zurich musicians. Järvi is now the orchestra's eleventh artistic director and seems to be experiencing his best years together with the orchestra. The first festival evening on Thursday 7 September 2023 bore witness to this (...) The monumental first theme is interrupted by the rhythmic swing and dance of the second theme, after which the flute solo of the third theme emerges from complete silence. Neither the orchestra nor the audience flinch as the first flute delivers the polka theme in its deepest dynamic, albeit at the expense of the dance-like rhythm of the Czech polka. I would have liked the repetitions to string together incessantly and always repeat themselves. But Dvořák's composition continues with a concise performance that showcases the overwhelming strength of the Zurich brass. Another dalliance with the flute solo, and there was a powerful build-up at the end of the first movement, with Järvi whipping the orchestra to ecstatic performance. I wanted to shout bravo after the last bar of the first movement, but I am a coward. (...) Järvi's conception of the Largo should go down in the textbooks. (...) Dvořák's Prague got off to an unbeatable start this year, literally shaking up Prague's musical life at the start of the new season.»


Daniel Pinc, Klasika Plus, 8 September 2023

«It seems as if the orchestra is so interwoven with its conductor and breathes together with him (...). Playing with the timing of the piece is perhaps the most striking feature of the interpretation, which is generally in familiar Czech waters in terms of feeling (watching the Swiss musicians live and feel and harmonise with the work of our great composer is in itself a caress to the soul).»


Právo, Novinky CZ, 8 September 2023

«One of the best European ensembles, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, conducted for the fourth time by Paavo Järvi, took on the task of performing these works. (...) It was one of the most interesting interpretations of this symphony - playful, joyful, dancing, elated, full of energy and exhilarating sound.»


Alena Sojková, Novinky CZ, 9 September 2023

«Järvi's thoughtful, carefully structured, lucid and communicative interpretation of the monumental work was fulfilled by the orchestra to the last note. In the acoustics of the Dvořák Hall, all the shocks of Bruckner's music resounded; the orchestra's warm strings and soft breaths did their part, together with the conductor, in attentively rendering the great dynamic surfaces that tower into peaks and fall into valleys of silence. The admirable performance of the conductor and players brought the attentive audience to the threshold of contemplation and a final long silence after the conductor's hand was lowered.»


Dita Hradecká, Aktuálně, 9 September 2023

«One of the best European orchestras with a long tradition, the Swiss Tonhalle Zurich, was in Prague again. This time with chief conductor Paavo Järvi. (...) The opening of this year's Dvořák-Prague went off famously.»



You can find our tour blog and a photo gallery here.

published: 12.09.2023