Mozart's Jupiter Symphony and contemporaries

26 February 2024

In the 2022/23 academic year Natascha Pichler, Elana Cooper and Hanna Crudele submitted their idea for ‘The Jupiter Project’ as a proposal for a student-initiated project in the Early Music department. Together they thought about the programme and how to organise the rehearsal process. This year they continued with their project and on 16 February 2024 the final performance took place. Natascha tells us about this project in which they combined Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony with works by lesser-known composers.

Jupiter Symphony

‘In the programme, we attempted to combine Mozart’s iconic Jupiter Symphony, which has been played thousands of times in concert halls around the world, with works by lesser-known composers from the same time period. We were very happy to have Kati Debretzeni on board as our leader who is incredibly experienced and knowledgeable about this repertoire. And I am very grateful that Maria de Lourdes Pomares Lima, Yanis Eberhart and Cian MacGarry have joined the team this year to help realise the project.’

Exploring beyond the musical canon

‘Over the years, a clear canon of musical works has been established that is consistently performed. I think it is important that we, as musicians, do not just accept this canon as a given, but always look for ways to explore beyond it. Women and people from minority backgrounds have had a harder time making a big career in music and having their work promoted. Much of their work has been forgotten over the centuries and we have tried to bring some of it to light. Combining a well-known and popular work with new, lesser known pieces is something that was done in concerts in Mozart’s time as well.

During the project week we had lectures from Kati Debretzeni and Rebecca Huber on classical performance practice and programming. We also researched about the composers and gathered background information about their lives and musical paths. All of this helped us to get into the right mindset for performing the music in a historically accurate way.’

Spirit and energy on stage

‘The final performance was everything I could have hoped for. During the week we developed a great connection as an orchestra. In the concert we gave i tour all, the spirit and energy on stage were amazing.

What I will take away from this project is that it is possible to put together an exciting performance of a big piece like the Jupiter Symphony without a conductor, and that it is worth exploring music by composers from diverse backgrounds because it has a lot of potential.’