Prof. Monika Grütters was born in Münster and studied German literature, art history and political sciences at the universities in Münster and Bonn. She gained professional experience by working for opera houses, in publishing and in the museum field before working for arts and culture programmes in major corporations. From 1998 to 2013 she was a board member for the foundation “Brandenburger Tor”. Since 1999 she has been an honorary professor of culture management at the Free University in Berlin.
Monika Grütters is First Associate Chairwoman of Berlin’s CDU. From 1995 to 2005 she was a member of the Berlin House of Representatives, where she was the CDU Faction’s spokeswoman for science and culture. Since 205 she has been a member of the German Parliament. During the past legislature period, Monika Grütters chaired the Committee on Culture and Media. In December 2013 she was appointed Minister of State and Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.
The Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko began his musical education at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he had such important teachers as Ilya Musin, Mariss Jansons and Yuri Temirkanov. Today the 40-year-old is not only chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, but has also been chief conductor of the European Union Youth Orchestra since the autumn of 2015. At the same time, Petrenko is a sought-after guest conductor, appearing with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Sydney Symphony and Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the San Francisco and Chicago Symphony Orchestras. Petrenko is an active opera conductor, appearing at houses including the Bavarian State Opera of Munich, and the Zurich Opera, and has recorded a wide range of repertoire for CD, including the complete Shostakovich symphonies and works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Elgar and Szymanowski.
The French sisters Katia and Marielle Labèque are doubtlessly the most fascinating and successful piano duo of our times. For four decades, the two have given duo recitals in all the world’s great concert halls and appeared with major orchestras. They have worked with contemporary composers such as Luciano Berio, Olivier Messiaen and Osvaldo Golijov and with conductors representing historical performance practice, Giovanni Antonini, John Eliot Gardiner and Andrea Marcon among them. At the same time, the Labèques are continuously initiating new projects: in 2013 they realised The Minimalist Dream House, inspired by the concerts organized by La Monte Young at Yoko Ono’s New York loft in 1961. Together with her own rock band and the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, Katia performed a concert featuring music of Hitchcock’s film composer Bernard Herrmann in 2014. In 2015 the sisters gave the world premiere of a new concerto by Philip Glass with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel. In 2005 they founded the Foundation Katia & Marielle Labèque in Rome, which is dedicated to interdisciplinary cooperation, but also offers young artists their own recording studio.