What is your most memorable moment with the orchestra? There are so many of them! My wife and I have been associated with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, initiated in 1997 by former members of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, from its very inception. It has always been a source of great joy to us to see how the orchestra has established itself on an international stage in the classical music scene over the years. Two occasions I will never forget are the first time I conferred the Roland Berger Human Dignity Award and the celebrations for my 75th birthday – two very personal moments in which the MCO was by my side performing at the highest artistic level.
What makes a “perfect” concert? All my life I’ve been interested in art and music and I’ve been lucky enough to get to know a lot of artists on a personal level and witness many outstanding musical performances. Every concert is a unique, unrepeatable thing, after all. The pieces being performed are of course instrumental in that. Then there is the performers’ musical talent and prowess. To my mind, a concert is “perfect” when the artists manage to transcend the music in that singular personal constellation, at that particular time, and thus create a value that is unquantifiably greater than the sum of the individual parts. A concert like that can be a truly divine performance that lifts people up, offering much more than a mere listening experience. And I have had the pleasure of experiencing that with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra many times, particularly under the leadership of Claudio Abbado.
Why do you support the MCO? I was fortunate enough to get an excellent education, which formed the foundation of all the professional success I’ve enjoyed. So it is a matter of great personal importance to me to give something back to society and to foster young talent. Today, I do that through my own charitable foundation, and I’ve done it with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra since its inception in 1997. My wife and I like to support these highly talented young people from some 20 countries of the world because the MCO’s extraordinary structure, its international nature and its very special quality make it unique among global orchestras.
What do you like most about the MCO? There are three main factors that I have always found compelling: the orchestra’s talented musicians who are up for any challenge, its international nature and its innovative, distinctly untraditional organizational structure and working style, which serve to make it a model for the future of the European orchestra scene. I am impressed by the MCO’s broad repertoire and the diverse concert formats that reflect its DNA as an orchestra – overall a very harmonious picture.
What is your most memorable moment with the orchestra? In 2007, in Leoš Janáček’s From the House of the Dead at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien, conducted by Pierre Boulez and directed by Patrice Chéreau. It was an unforgettable experience!
Roland Berger is Founder of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, Munich, and has been the company’s Honorary Chairman since 2010. He studied business administration in Hamburg and Munich.
Roland Berger Strategy Consultants is now one of the world’s top five strategy consulting firms with more than 50 offices in over 35 countries. The company has a workforce of 2,700 and advises leading international industrial and service enterprises, as well as public institutions. From the company’s foundation in 1967 until 2003, Roland Berger was CEO of the firm, and until 2010 Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Prior to founding his strategy consultancy, Roland Berger was employed as a consultant and ultimately partner at a leading American consulting firm based in Milan and Boston.
Roland Berger is a member of several supervisory boards and advisory councils of national and international companies, foundations and organizations and invests in many private and listed companies as well as startups.
He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Roland Berger Foundation, which he set up personally with an endowment of EUR 50 million. The Roland Berger Foundation is dedicated to the global protection of human dignity and human rights. Each year it confers the Roland Berger Award for Human Dignity. The Foundation also helps gifted children and young people from underprivileged families across Germany to gain access to the best possible primary and secondary education.