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RESCHEDULED: The Berlin Philharmonic and Kirill Petrenko Premiere Miroslav Srnka's Superorganisms

Jan. 26, 2023

RESCHEDULED: The Berlin Philharmonic and Kirill Petrenko Premiere Miroslav Srnka's <em>Superorganisms</em>


The Berlin Philharmonic, led by Kirill Petrenko, will give the world premiere performances of Miroslav Srnka's major new orchestral work, Superorganisms on February 9-11 at the Philharmonie in Berlin. Inspiration for the work comes from superorganisms, a word coined in 1910 by American biologist William Morton, which describes forms of life in which homogenous living beings work together synergetically and with their own organization in such a way that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. The individual members would barely be viable on their own, but in the community they develop far beyond themselves – a “multiplication of the positive power of the individual”, as the composer Miroslav Srnka explains. Ant colonies and swarms of bees are examples of superorganisms. It is possible that humans are heading towards becoming a new species: away from the independent homo sapiens, and towards the interlinked elements of a larger group. In fact, an example of superorganisms in human culture which has long existed is the symphony orchestra – and this is where Miroslav Srnka’s new piece begins.

Superorganisms is in four parts, without individual titles; each is headed by just subtly characterizing tempo markings. The four movements examine, each with different settings, how groups and coalitions are formed. Srnka notes that it is in the “clash of the individual and the collective” that the opportunities and the risks lie: “Each member of the orchestra has an independent role, there are literally thousands of tiny points, lines and pillars of sound. The strings, for example, are sometimes treated almost soloistically, but only come into their own as a group. The independence of the part is hardly ever in pursuit of a soloistic expressive individuality," he notes.

Listen to the trailer for the world premiere of Miroslav Srnka's and Tom Holloway's South Pole, premiered by the Bayerische Staatsoper and Kirill Petrenko in 2016:

(Trailer – South Pole/Miroslav Srnka and Tom Holloway/Bayerische Staatsoper)

To learn more about Miroslav Srnka, visit:

Miroslav Srnka
Superorganisms (2022)
for orchestra
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