|Philharmonic Orchestra of Cologne, Markus Stenz, Germany, 2008, 2010|
Tour Dates: 25 Sep, 2010 at the Shanghai Expo,
3 Oct, 2010 Macau International Music Festival
Markus Stenz - Chief Conductor
Their roots go back as far as the 15th century to the founding of a large and small Cathedral Instrumental Ensemble (große/kleine Domkapelle) which, until the end of the 18th century, served to provide Cologne with church music as well as concerts and theatre music.In 1827, under the patronage of well-to-do citizens dedicated to the arts, the orchestra was brought under the auspices of the Cologne Concert Society (Cölner Concert-Gesellschaft). This society organised “society concerts” or “subscription concerts” performed in the Cologne Philharmonic Hall from 1857 onwards, as well as the Lower Rhine Music Festivals (Niederrheinische Musikfeste) which took place in Cologne and elsewhere and were conducted by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. The Society also engaged Municipal Directors of Music (Kapellmeister) such as Conradin Kreutzer, Heinrich Dorn, Ferdinand Hiller, Franz Wüllner and Fritz Steinbach.
Leading conductors and composers of the time, such as Berlioz, Wagner, Verdi, Brahms and Stravinsky put in regular appearances at this traditional Cologne orchestra. The Philharmonic Orchestra of Cologne has been given the honour of premiering important works such as the Double Concerto Op. 102 by Brahms, Richard Strauss’s “Till Eulenspiegel” and “Don Quixote” and Mahler’s 5th Symphony as well as Max Reger’s “Hiller Variations” and Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s “Concerto for Orchestra”.
From 1945 until 1974, the orchestra was conducted by Günter Wand as its musical director. He succeeded Hermann Abendroth and Eugen Papst, and while intensifying the classical-romantic repertoire, he did not neglect his contemporaries Paul Hindemith, Ernst Krenek, Werner Egk, Olivier Messiaen, Wolfgang Fortner, Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Hans Werner Henze.
Composers like Karlheinz Stockhausen, Witold Lutoslawski and Krzysztof Penderecki were regularly invited to conduct their own works with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Cologne. Not to be forgotten the long list of soloists who performed with the orchestra during the 20th century; among them the pianists Eugen d’Albert, Ferruccio Busoni, Wladimir Horowitz, Edwin Fischer, Claudio Arrau, Clara Haskil, Wilhelm Backhaus, Walter Gieseking, Alfred Brendel, Maurizio Pollini and Radu Lupu and the violinists Joszef Szigeti, Adolf Busch, Carl Flesch, Bronislaw Hubermann, Jascha Heifetz, Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Henryk Szeryng, Frank Peter Zimmermann and Anne-Sophie Mutter. In 1975, Yuri Ahronovitch took over as the orchestra’s conductor and musical director, until succeeded eleven years later by Marek Janowski. In 1986, the newly inaugurated Cologne Philharmonic Hall became the Philharmonic Orchestra of Cologne’s regular home. After James Conlon was appointed Cologne’s General Music Director in 1991, the orchestra became established within the international music business, as numerous concert tours bear witness.
During the past few years, much of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Cologne’s work with James Conlon has been devoted to recording. Numerous international recording awards went to the Zemlinsky Cycle (EMI) in particular, but also to the series entitled “Violin Concertos of the 20th Century” with Vladimir Spivakov as soloist, and to a CD featuring works by Viktor Ullmann (Capriccio). A recording of the complete Shostacovitch symphonies conducted by Dmitrij Kitajenko has been issued in 2005.
From the beginning of the 2003/2004 season Markus Stenz was appointed musical director to the Philharmonic Orchestra of Cologne, and from the beginning of the 2004/2005 season, Cologne’s General Music Director. In spring 2004, under his direction, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Cologne received an award from the German Music Publishers‘Association (Deutscher Musikverleger-Verband e.V.) for “the best concert programme of the 2003/2004 season”.
In October 2005 Markus Stenz and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Cologne launched „GO live!“, a brand-new project to make live orchestral music available to concert-goers immediately after the concert: Members of the audience attending a concert by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Cologne have the opportunity to take home a live recording of the concert they have just heard. They can buy a CD of the concert, minutes after it has finished.
The orchestra's programme includes:
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony in A Major KV 201
Richard Wagner: Siegfried-Idyll
Johannes Brahms: 1. Symphony C Minor, op. 68
Markus Stenz is currently General Music Director of the City of Cologne embracing the roles of Music Director of the Cologne Opera and Chief Conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Cologne (Gürzenich-Kapellmeister).
He has held the positions of Music Director of the Montepulciano Festival (1989 to 1995) and Principal Conductor of the London Sinfonietta (1994 to 1998) and recently relinquished the post of Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
Appearances in his native Germany have included concerts with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, NDR Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and, most recently, the Berlin Philharmonic.
In the Netherlands Markus Stenz has an ongoing relationship with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and also works frequently with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Netherlands Philharmonic and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestras.
In Italy he appears regularly with the Orchestra della Toscana and has appeared with the RAI Symphony Orchestras in both Turin and Milan and the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Markus Stenz has enjoyed a regular relationship with the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris where he has also worked with the Orchestre de Paris. In November 2003 he made a highly successful first appearance with the Orchestre National de Lyon.
In Belgium he has worked with the Orchestra of La Monnaie, Brussels. Markus Stenz made his first appearance with the Tonhalle Orchestra, Zurich in November 2003. In the UK apart from his regular appearances with the London Sinfonietta, Markus Stenz has worked with the BBC Symphony, Philharmonic and Scottish Symphony Orchestras and the Hallé Orchestra and has made several appearances at the BBC Proms. He returned to the Hallé in December 2005.
In Scandinavia Markus Stenz has worked with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He returned to the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic in 2004.
In America he has been a regular guest with the Chicago, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota, Seattle, Houston, Cincinnati and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras.
Future orchestral appearances include his debut with the Boston Symphony and return visits to the Munich Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestras. In September 2006 he conducts the Philharmonic Orchestra of Cologne in a concert to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Cologne Philharmonic Hall.
Markus Stenz has established a considerable international reputation as an exceptionally fine opera conductor. New productions have included Mozart's Don Giovanni for English National Opera, Le Nozze di Figaro for Los Angeles Music Center Opera, Rossini's Il Turco in Italia at the Stadtheater Basel, Weill's The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at the Staatstheater Stuttgart and Hans Zender's Stephen Climax at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels.
He returned to San Francisco Opera to conduct Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress and in January 2001 conducted a much-acclaimed production of Wolfgang Rihm’s Die Eroberung von Mexico for the Frankfurt Opera. In early 2003 he conducted a new production of Zemlinsky's A Florentine Tragedy and The Dwarf at La Monnaie, Brussels and in 2004 made his much acclaimed first appearance at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in a production of Jenufa.
At the end of the 2003/04 season he made his first appearance at the Cologne Opera in a new production of Fidelio. In 2004/05 he conducted Salome, Detlef Glanert’s Scherz, Ironie und tiefere Bedeutung and Idomeneo. In his first full season as Music Director he conducted Henze's The Bassarids, Idomeneo, Hänsel und Gretel and Der Ring des Nibelungen.
Markus Stenz has a great affinity with the music of Hans Werner Henze. Performances of his music have included The English Cat at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Elegy for Young Lovers at La Fenice in Venice, the world première of Das verratene Meer in Berlin and subsequent new productions of the piece at La Scala Milan and San Francisco Opera. He conducted a new production of The Bassarids in Hamburg and the world première of Venus and Adonis at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich. He recently conducted a concert performance of The Bassarids with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In the 2003 Salzburg Festival he conducted the world première of Henze's latest opera L'Upupa and will return to the Salzburg Festival in 2007 in a new production of Der Freischutz.
Markus Stenz’s recordings include Kurt Weill’s Der Silbersee for BMG and Mahler Symphonies Nos 2, 5 and 8 with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for ABC Classics.
In 2005 Markus Stenz and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Cologne introduced the GoLive series of recordings, the first time that CDs of live concerts are available to members of the audience as they leave the concert hall.
“When Markus Stenz and the Gürzenich-Orchestra play their Prom, history will be telescoped in a unique way.”
“Everything was right in this performance, gauged and paced with intelligence and style by conductor Markus Stenz.”
“Cologne’s Gürzenich Orchestra played like angels, the conductor, Markus Stenz, linking each episode in a powerful flow.”
For further information please contact:
Ms. Qian Hoehne
Tel: +86 10 5165 0798 ext. 32