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Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin Premieres the Complete Version of Julian Anderson's Exiles

Apr. 22, 2022

Andris Poga leads the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, the Rundfunkchor Berlin, and soprano Siobhan Stagg in the world premiere of Julian Anderson's Exiles on April 22 at the Philharmonie Berlin. 

Julian Anderson, whose family suffered the loss of numerous family members during the Holocaust, continues to draw inspiration from the theme of exile. In his composition, he processes these thoughts in the form of small episodes that describe the different fates of exiles. While the musicologist Harry Halbreich had to flee Vichy France to Switzerland on October 6, 1942 at the age of only 11, the diplomat Varian Fry protected about 2500 people between 1940 and 1941 whose lives were threatened by the German invasion. The composer also deals with current events in Exiles: the first movement deals with the inner exile of the pandemic lockdown. 

The textual bases of the work are just as diverse as the experiences described: in addition to an e-mail from the Moroccan-French composer Ahmed Essyad to a circle of composers, Anderson also uses biblical passages: In the last movement we encounter Psalm 108, in which uniting all nations in a song of praise “'La Grace exilée” by Guillaume Apollinaire about a rainbow in exile, closes the composition. The work ends with a glimmer of hope in difficult times. The composer notes: “The arc spans from ancient and mythical to contemporary and very personal texts in order to illuminate the topic of exile from different spatial and temporal perspectives.” 

A second performance of Exiles will take place on April 23 at the Philharmonie in Berlin. Commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Bayerischer Rundfunk, the work will be heard in the UK and US in the coming seasons.

Listen to Julian Anderson's "Toucher" from Sensation (2015-2016):
(Julian Anderson/"Toucher" from Sensation/Richard Uttley, piano)

To learn more about Julian Anderson, visit:

Julian Anderson
Exiles (2021)
Remembrances for voices and orchestra