»Variation«: Opening Concert

Duncan Ward Conductor
Christian Gerhaher Baritone
Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester
Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden

Othmar Schoeck

  • »Elegie« Opus 36 for low voice and chamber orchestra

Franz Schubert

  • Symphony No. 5 B flat major D 485
  • 29.08.2020
    20:00 Uhr
    Semperoper
    Ausverkauft

Duncan Ward

British conductor Duncan Ward enjoys working regularly with some of the world’s leading ensembles and opera houses. In January 2020, he was appointed by Festival d'Aix-en-Provence as Music Director of the Mediterranean Youth Orchestra. Recent highlights have included engagements with Finnish Radio Symphony, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Münchner Rundfunkorchester, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris and London Symphony Orchestra. He continues to build relationships with Orchestre de Paris, Vienna Radio Symphony, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Bamberger Symphoniker.

From 2012-14 he was Conducting Scholar of the Berliner Philharmoniker Orchester-Akademie, to which he was appointed on the recommendation of Sir Simon Rattle. And from 2015-2017, he was Principal Conductor of Sinfonia Viva. He also held the post of Associate Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

Plans for the 2019/20 season include debuts with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Staatsorchester Stuttgart, Aurora Orchestra, Antwerp Symphony and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, as well as return visits to Gürzenich Orchester Cologne and New Japan Philharmonic. Duncan gave the German premiere of Brett Dean’s »Hamlet« at Cologne Opera at the beginning of the 19/20 season.

He is as at home working with period instrument ensembles such as Balthasar Neumann, elite chamber ensembles such as Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and the symphony orchestras of the BBC as directing the world’s foremost contemporary music ensembles like Ensemble Modern. This is not to mention his acclaimed work with the homeless performers of Streetwise Opera or directing 500 amateur musicians in a supersize Riley »In C« at the Elbphilharmonie, Indian classical collaborations with Anoushka Shankar and with celebrated Nordic folk band Dreamers' Circus.

Operatic engagements have included Dutch National Opera for a double bill of Bernstein’s »Trouble in Tahiti« and Macmillan’s »Clemency«; »Don Pasquale«, »Cendrillon« and »Hamlet« for Glyndebourne-on-Tour, »La traviata« at Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, Saariaho’s »La Passion de Simone« at Deutsche Oper and a chamber version of »Manon Lescaut« with the Berliner Philharmoniker at the Baden-Baden Easter Festival. Opportunities during his two years at the Berliner Philharmoniker included assisting and rehearsal conducting for »Die Zauberflöte«, »Gurre-Lieder«, »Die Walküre«, »Le Grand Macabre«, Britten’s »War Requiem«, G. F. Haas »in vain« and premieres by Wolfgang Rihm and Benedict Mason.

Following a month working in India in 2006, Duncan subsequently co-founded the WAM Foundation which sent young UK musicians each year to teach Western classical music in schools across Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Kerala. Duncan is also closely involved with the South African charity MIAGI (Music Is A Great Investment) and led the MIAGI Orchestra on an acclaimed summer festivals tour.

Also an accomplished composer Duncan is now published by Peters Edition.

Christian Gerhaher

Baritone

During his studies under Paul Kuen and Raimund Grumbach, German baritone Christian Gerhaher attended the Opera School of the Academy of Music in Munich and, together with Gerold Huber, studied lied interpretation with Friedemann Berger. While completing his medical studies Christian Gerhaher perfected his vocal training in master-classes given by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Inge Borkh. At present Christian Gerhaher himself teaches occasionally in select master-classes and is an honorary professor at the Academy of Music in Munich. He holds the title Bayerischer Kammersänger, is an honorary professor at the Munich Academy of Music and Theatre and bearer of the Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art.

Together with his regular piano accompanist Gerold Huber, Christian Gerhaher has devoted himself to lied interpretation for 30 years now, in concerts, recordings and in teaching, and they have been awarded major prizes. The lied duo can be heard on the stages of major international recital centres, for instance in the concert halls of New York, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Cologne and Berlin Philharmonie and the Cité de la musique in Paris. They are particularly frequent guests in the Konzerthaus and the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid as well as in the Wigmore Hall in London – there and in the Musikverein in Vienna Christian Gerhaher was artist in residence in recent years. He is a regular guest at festivals such as the Rheingau Music Festival, the London Proms, the Salzburg Festival as well as the Edinburgh and Lucerne Festivals.

Christian Gerhaher has performed together with conductors such as wie Simon Rattle, Daniel Harding, Herbert Blomstedt, Bernard Haitink, Christian Thielemann, Kirill Petrenko, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Pierre Boulez, Daniel Barenboim, Andris Nelsons, Kent Nagano and Mariss Jansons in the world’s major concert halls. Major orchestras which regularly invite Christian Gerhaher to perform include the London Symphony Orchestra, the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, and in particular the Berlin Philharmonic, where he was the first ever singer to be artist in residence, as well as the Swedish and especially the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Together with this ensemble, conducted by Daniel Harding, Christian Gerhaher recorded his first album of arias devoted to opera in the German Romantic era and for which he received the International Opera Award 2013. In the meantime another opera recital was issued on CD in 2015: Mozart Arias accompanied by the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra.

Besides his principle activity giving concerts and recitals, Christian Gerhaher is also a highly sought-after performer on the opera stage and has received several prizes such as the Laurence Olivier Award and the theatre prize Der Faust. Under Riccardo Muti he sang Papageno in a production of »The Magic Flute« in 2006 at the Salzburg Festival (issued by Decca as a DVD. Other roles include Eisenstein (»Die Fledermaus«), Posa in Don Carlo, Olivier (»Capriccio«) as well as the title roles in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, in »Don Giovanni«, in Debussy’s »Pelléas et Mélisande« (CD with LSO Live, Simon Rattle), and in Henze’s »Prinz von Homburg«. Wolfram in Richard Wagner’s »Tannhäuser« was and remains a constant role in his calendar in the opera houses in Berlin, Vienna, London and Munich where he last sang the role in June 2017 in the new production by Romeo Castelluci. A milestone in Christian Gerhaher’s opera career was his debut in the title role of Alban Berg’s »Wozzeck« in September 2015 at Zurich Opera House in the exceptional staging by Andreas Homoki (available as a DVD on the Accentus label; Gramophone Award in 2017).

Productions in the 2018/2019 Saison include Robert Schumann’s Scenes from Goethe’s »Faust« at the Hamburg State Opera (Achim Freyer and Kent Nagano), Mendelssohn’s »Elijah« at the Theater an der Wien (Calixto Bieito and Jukka Pekka Saraste) and the reprise of David McVicar’s production of Mozart’s »Le Nozze di Figaro«, for the first time singing the role of Figaro at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester

The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (GMJO) was founded in Vienna in 1986/87 on the initiative of Claudio Abbado. Today it is regarded as the world’s leading youth orchestra and was awarded by the European Cultural Foundation in 2007.

As well as supporting young musicians and their work, Abbado was keen to encourage the music making of young Austrian musicians together with colleagues from the then socialist republics of Czechoslovakia and Hungary. As a consequence, the GMJO became the first international youth orchestra to hold open auditions in the countries of the former Eastern Bloc. In 1992, the GMJO opened up to musicians aged up to 26 from all over Europe. As the youth orchestra for the whole of Europe, it is under the patronage of the Council of Europe.

At the auditions that take place every year in over twenty-five European cities, an international jury selects candidates from an average of 2000 applicants. Prominent orchestra musicians are members of this jury and also responsible for the preparation of the repertoire in the individual sections during the rehearsal periods of the orchestra.

The GMJO tour repertoire ranges from classical to contemporary music with the emphasis on the great symphonic works of the Romantic and late Romantic periods. Its high artistic level and

international success have prompted many leading conductors and soloists to perform with the GMJO, such as Claudio Abbado, Herbert Blomstedt, Pierre Boulez, Myung-Whun Chung, Sir Colin Davis, Christoph Eschenbach, Peter Eötvös, Daniele Gatti, Bernard Haitink, Paavo Järvi, Mariss Jansons, Kent Nagano. The GMJO has been a regular guest at the most prestigious concert halls and festivals for many years, such as the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Mozarteum Argentino in Buenos Aires, the Salzburg Festival and the Salzburg Easter Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival, the BBC Proms, the Semperoper Dresden, and the Lucerne Festival. Many former members of the GMJO are now members of leading European orchestras, some of them in principal positions. In 2012, an intensive partnership with the renowned Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden was announced which includes concerts and projects involving members of both orchestras.

The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester was appointed »Ambassador UNICEF Austria« on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. Erste Bank and Vienna Insurance Group – Main Sponsors of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester.