Sun, Mar. 19, 2023, 11.00 am | Elbphilharmonie, Grand Hall
Robert Schumann: Ouverture from "Manfred", Op. 115
Peter Ruzicka: Aulodie for Oboe and Orchestra
Edgar Varèse: Arcana
John Williams: „Star Wars“ Suite for Orchestra
Peter Ruzicka was born in Duesseldorf in 1948. He received his early musical training (piano, oboe and composition) at the Hamburg Conservatory. Studies in composition with Hans Werner Henze and Hans Otte.
Peter Ruzicka was appointed professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg in 1990. The composer is a member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and of the Free Academy of Arts in Hamburg.
Peter Ruzicka's works were performed by leading international orchestras and ensembles like the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio Munich, German Symphony Orchestra Berlin, NDR Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductors like Vladimir Ashkenazy, Semyon Bychkov, Riccardo Chailly, Kurt Masur, Antonio Pappano, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Christian Thielemann have performed his works.
The list of his compositions includes numerous orchestral and chamber works as well as the opera „Celan", which was premiered in Dresden in 2001. His opera "Hoelderlin" was premiered at the Berlin State Opera in 2008, the opera "Benjamin" at the Hamburg State opera in 2018.
As a conductor of his own and other works, Peter Ruzicka has directed the German Symphony Orchestra in Berlin - recording CDs of music by Mahler, Pettersson and Schreker - the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio, the NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart, the SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg, the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Frankfurt, the Munich Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Danish National Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Hongkong Philharmonic Orchestra and the China Philharmonic Orchestra among others.
When the subject turns to oboists, his name is now de rigueur: Albrecht Mayer. His playing has both listeners and critics raving, with expressions like “divine spark” or the “miraculous oboe” that the German player has elevated to become an “instrument of seduction”. He studied with Gerhard Scheuer, Georg Meerwein, Maurice Bourgue and Ingo Goritzki and began his professional career in 1990 as principal oboist of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. Since 1992 he has occupied the same position with the Berlin Phiharmonic. It’s no wonder that Albrecht Mayer ranks today among the most sought-after oboists and has appeared as a soloist with Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Along with his solo projects, Mayer considers it important to find time for chamber music. He has no dearth of requests and opportunities, and performs regularly with partners such as the pianist Hélène Grimaud, Leif Ove Andsnes and the bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff, with whom he recorded a CD of Bach cantatas.
In his search for new repertoire for his instrument, he is constantly fascinated by the idea of lending his voice (that of the oboe) to “foreign” works — pieces written for other instruments or for singers. Having sung as a child for many years in the Bamberg Cathedral Choir, he is especially attracted to the human voice, as the most “natural” of all instruments. He’s already provided convincing proof of that claim in the recording Lieder ohne Worte — Bach transcriptions for oboe and orchestra, in which the Baroque style and bel canto are delightfully combined. The CD immediately entered the German classical charts at number 2. His CD In search of Mozart recorded with Claudio Abbado and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra made it to the top of the German classical charts, the recording New Seasons presents music by George Frederic Handel in a stunning new light. In August 2008, the oboist’s album In Venice was released by Decca, featuring Baroque oboe concertos from Venetian composers. Another CD with works by J.S. Bach has been released by Decca in autumn 2009, followed by “Bonjour Paris” in autumn 2010 and his CD “Songs of the Reed” in January 2012, both also released by Decca. His album “Let it snow” with the King’s Singers has been released by Deutsche Grammophon in autumn 2013. His latest albums “Lost and Found”, “Bach – concertos and transcriptions”, “Vocalise” and “Tesori d’Italia” for Deutsche Grammophon came out in spring/autumn 2015, winter 2016 and autumn 2017. His last extremely successful Mozart album appeared in spring 2021.
Albrecht Mayer has been elected “Instrumentalist of the Year“ and was rewarded with an ECHO Klassik Prize by the German Phono-Akademie in 2004, 2008 and 2010; in December 2006 Albrecht Mayer was awarded the E.T.A.-Hoffmann Prize by his German hometown Bamberg. Last year he entered the Gramophone „Hall of Fame“ and received the Kulturpreis Bayern.
Albrecht Mayer plays an oboe and oboe d'amore by Mönnig.
He is founder of the Albrecht Mayer Foundation (www.albrecht-mayer-stiftung.de).
The Philharmonic State Orchestra is Hamburg’s largest and oldest orchestra, looking back on many years of musical history. When the “Philharmonic Orchestra” and the “Orchestra of the Hamburg Municipal Theatre” merged in 1934, two tradition-steeped orchestras combined. Philharmonic concerts have been performed in Hamburg since 1828, artists such as Clara Schumann, Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms being regular guests of the Philharmonic Society. The history of the opera company goes back even further: Hamburg has been home to musical theatre since 1678, even if a regular opera or theatre orchestra was only formed later. To this day, the Philharmonic State Orchestra has embodied the sound of the Hansa City, a concert and opera orchestra in one.
During its long history, the orchestra encountered great artist personalities. Apart from composers of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, such as Telemann, Tchaikovsky, Strauss, Mahler, Prokofiev and Stravinsky, since the 20th century chief conductors such as Karl Muck, Joseph Keilberth, Eugen Jochum, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Horst Stein, Aldo Ceccato, Christoph von Dohnányi, Gerd Albrecht, Ingo Metzmacher and Simone Young have shaped the orchestra’s sound. Renowned conductors of the pre-war era such as Otto Klemperer, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, Karl Böhm and Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt gave brilliant performances, as did outstanding conductors of our times: suffice it to mention Christian Thielemann, Semyon Bychkov, Kirill Petrenko, Sir Neville Marriner, Valery Gergiev and Sir Roger Norrington.
Starting with the 2015/2016 season, Kent Nagano has taken on the position of Hamburg’s General Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Philharmonic State Orchestra and the Hamburg State Opera. In his first season Kent Nagano initiated a new project, the Philharmonic Academy, focusing on experimentation and chamber music. In 2016 Nagano and the Philharmonic undertook a successful three-week concert tour in South America, a tour of Spain followed in 2019. Since 2017 Kent Nagano and the Philharmonic State Orchestra have continued the traditional Philharmonic Concerts at the new Elbphilharmonie, for which they commissioned Jörg Widmann to compose the oratorio ARCHE, which was given its world premiere during the hall’s opening festivities. The concert recording has been released at ECM.
The Philharmonic State Orchestra offers approximately 35 concerts per season and performs more than 240 performances per year at the Hamburg State Opera and the Hamburg Ballet John Neumeier, making it Hamburg’s busiest orchestra. The stylistic bandwidth covered by the 140 musicians, ranging from historically informed performance practice to contemporary works and including concert, opera and ballet repertoire, is unique throughout Germany. Chamber Music has a long tradition at the Philharmonic State Orchestra: what began in 1929 with a concert series for chamber orchestra has been continued since 1968 by a series of chamber music only.
In 2008 Simone Young and the Philharmonic State Orchestra won the Brahms Award of the Schleswig-Holstein Brahms Society. The orchestra has recorded the complete Ring by Wagner as well as the complete symphonies of Johannes Brahms and Anton Bruckner – the latter in the rarely-performed original versions – as well as works by Mahler, Hindemith and Berg, and has released DVDs of opera and ballet productions by Hosokawa, Offenbach, Reimann, Auerbach, J.S. Bach, Puccini, Poulenc and Weber.
The members of the Philharmonic State Orchestra feel equally beholden to Hamburg’s musical tradition and responsible for the city’s artistic future. Since 1978 the musicians have been participating in education programmes in Hamburg’s schools. Today, the orchestra maintains a broad education programme, including school and kindergarten visits, patronage for music projects, introductory events for children and family concerts. The orchestra’s own academy prepares young musicians for their professional careers. The Philharmonic’s musicians thereby make an equally enjoyable and valuable contribution to tomorrow’s music education in the music metropolis of Hamburg.
Peter Ruzicka, most recently featured in the Philharmonic’s performances at the State Opera and Hamburg’s Michel with world premieres of his “Benjamin” and “Requiem”, has chosen a fantastic concert programme inspired by romantic playwrights, ancient Greek instruments, the secrets of alchemy and the fictitious past of the “Star Wars” cosmos. The centrepiece is his composition “Aulodie” with the exceptional oboe soloist Albrecht Mayer, who also gave the world premiere in 2011. The work moves through seven scenes, opening space for “sound speech” and emotional borderline situations. The title of what is “perhaps my most ‘novel-like’ work”, as Ruzicka himself says, refers to song accompanied by the aulos, an art form reserved for special occasions.
Venue: Elbphilharmonie, Grand Hall, Platz der Deutschen Einheit 4, 20457 Hamburg
Prices: € 65,00 / 52,00 / 41,00 / 28,00 / 12,00