Wolfgang Haffner

Wolfgang Haffner is one of the most important percussionists and composers throughout the music world. He began his illustrious career at the age of 18, when jazz legend Albert Mangelsdorff invited him to join his band.

The list of musicians with whom Wolfgang Haffner has played and recorded seems endless: Chaka Kahn, Al Jarreau, Pat Metheny, The Brecker Brothers, Ivan Lins, Jan Garbarek, Gregory Porter, Michael Franks, Roy Ayers, Bugge Wesseltoft, The Manhattan Transfer, Nils Petter Molvaer, The JB Horns, Esbjörn Svensson, Bob James, Mezzoforte, Lee Ritenour, Till Brönner, Joe Sample, Larry Carlton, Cassandra Wilson, Clark Terry Johnny Griffin, Nils Landgren, Mike Stern, Chuck Loeb, Hildegard Knef, Konstantin Wecker, Die Fantastischen Vier, Xavier Naidoo, the NDR Big Band and the WDR Big Band – to name but a few. He has also worked with some of the most well-known names on the electronic music scene, e.g. Ricardo Villalobos, Timo Maas & Nightmares on Wax.

Wolfgang Haffner can be heard on more than 400 albums; he has performed all around the world at the most important jazz festivals and toured 100 countries, from Japan to the USA, from South Africa to Brazil. As a leader, he has released 16 solo albums; he has also made a name for himself as a producer for bands such as Mezzoforte and the singer Max Mutzke.

In 2010 he received the ECHO Jazz Award, followed by the Culture Award of his hometown of Nürnberg in 2014. His album Kind of Cool reached the top of the jazz charts and also spent five weeks on the German pop charts. September 2017 saw the release of his most recent album, Kind of Spain.

Together with the Wolfgang Haffner Quartet, he tours the world intensely, year after year.

Ferdinand Keller

Tenor Ferdinand Keller received his first musical training at the Thomanerchor Leipzig. He has been studying at the HfM Hanns Eisler Berlin since 2012 with Prof. Martin Bruns and Prof. Wolfram Rieger. He also recieved tuition by Prof. Marta Taddei and Prof. Gianni Fabbrini at the Conservatory of Florence as well as by conductor Edwin Scholz.

Ferdinand Keller has attended master classes with Robert Dean Smith and Angelika Kirchschlager. Since 2015 he has been a member of the Ensemble at Opernale in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Ferdinand Keller sang numerous works by Bach, Handel and Rossini, and worked with ensembles such as Lauttencompagney Berlin, the Staats- und Domchor Berlin, as well as the camerata lipsiensis.

In 2016 Ferdinand Keller was scholar at Lied Academy of the International Music Festival Heidelberger Frühling under the artistical direction of Thomas Hampson and with mentors such as Brigitte Fassbaender, Peter Gülke, Michael Hampe and Wolfram Rieger. He came back in 2017 and will join the Lied Academy again in 2018.

Susan Zarrabi

Born in 1994 in Munich, Susan Zarrabi received her first singing lessons at the Bavarian Singakademie with Tanja d’Althann. In 2013 Susan Zarrabi won the first prize at the national competition “Jugend musiziert” in the category “Gesangs-Duo”. In the same year the mezzo soprano began her studies at the University of Music and Theater Munich with Michelle Breedt. Since 2014/2015 she studies with Christiane Iven.

As a concert singer, Susan Zarrabi performed as a soloist in various masses and oratorios, such as Bach’s Christmas Oratorio Beethoven’s Mass in C major, Mendelssohn’s Paulus, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Schubert’s Mass in B major and Vivaldi’s Gloria. In February 2016 she was to be heard with the alto solo in Mozart’s Requiem and in June 2016 with the second soprano in Bach’s B minor in Munich. Susan Zarrabi worked with the Munich Symphonic Orchestra in June 2015.

In 2016 Susan Zarrabi was a scholar at Lied Academy of the International Music Festival Heidelberger Frühling under the direction of Thomas Hampson and with mentors such as Brigitte Fassbaender as well as the song accompanists Graham Johnson and Wolfram Rieger. Also 2017 she will be part of the Academy again.

Eleonore Büning

Dr. Eleonore Büning has been writing about music since the late 1980s. She worked for the taz, the Weltoche, the Rheinischer Merkur as well as for the radio. In 1994 she became music editor for the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT, and from 1997 to 2017 she has been music editor for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. In addition, Eleonore Büning has been active since 2011 as chairman of the award for German record critics.

Heidelberg Philharmonic Orchestra

The Philharmonic Orchestra was founded on April 8, 1889 under the name “Städtisches Orchester”. This point in time initially marks the integration of the orchestra into the municipal administration. Even before that, the musical culture in Heidelberg is very much alive.

At the beginning there is a “music association”, which has been documented since 1812 and which essentially consists of amateur musicians. As the “Heidelberg City Orchestra”, the orchestra received municipal subsidies from 1839 onwards. The work of the municipal orchestra consists mainly of light music in the first few years. This changes due to the commitment of the first important conductor, Philipp Wolfrum, who, as the founder and conductor of the Heidelberg Bach Choir, had played with the orchestra for many years. In parallel to Wolfrum as the then university music director, Paul Radig works as the municipal music director.

In the Wolfrum era, Heidelberg was a stronghold of contemporary music and the municipal orchestra was an influential institution in music history: Richard Strauss Days were held as early as 1893. In 1901 Jean Sibelius experienced his first international success at the Heidelberger Tonkünstlerfest of the Allgemeine Deutsche Musikverein when he conducted two legends from the “Lemminkäinen Suite” in a festival concert. In 1913 there was a Heidelberg Music Festival entirely focused on Johann Sebastian Bach and Max Reger. The city music director Kurt Overhoff brought a new break in concert life, taking over the management of the symphony concerts in 1931 and assigning the orchestra to new responsibilities in the years to come. Overhoff had to give up his activity in 1940 due to illness. During the Second World War, Heidelberg’s musical life was sustained primarily by well-known guest conductors.

As early as August 1945 Hermann Meinhard Poppen was able to reintroduce the concert series of the city and the Bach society with the municipal orchestra, which was partly made up of local forces, and the Bach Society in the castle courtyard. The appointment of music director Fritz Henn then brings the full reintroduction of concert and opera operations and also increases the number of permanent positions considerably.

There was a continuous upward trend in 1954 with the appointment of Karl Rucht as director of the municipal orchestra. Rucht, former solo trumpeter of the Berlin Philharmonic, is already General Music Director of the Palatinate Orchestra Ludwigshafen and is now taking over the Heidelberg Municipal Orchestra as the second orchestra in a leading position. He uses his dual position to enable close cooperation between the two orchestras and to be able to perform large-scale works in this way. The collaboration between the Pfalzorchester Ludwigshafen and the Städtisches Orchester Heidelberg lasted until 1960.

After the Karl Rucht era, Hans Blümer, 1st Kapellmeister of the Städtische Bühne, took over the management of the orchestra for a year. He took on this task with great dedication in 1960-61 and 1972-73, so that the interim years never seemed like temporary arrangements. In the following years Kurt Brass, Christian Süss and Gerhard Schäfer led the municipal orchestra. Under Christian Süss, the first educational offers are set up: concerts for children and adults as well as concert rehearsals open to the public, which are also attended by school classes.

Born in Switzerland, Mario Venzago took over the management of the orchestra in 1986. His work as a conductor, pianist and accompanist as well as a composer shows a lively musical diversity. Venzago’s wide-ranging programs of symphony and serenade concerts met with great interest and applause from the audience. He succeeds in increasing the orchestra by 8 positions. Mario Venzago has been honorary conductor of the Heidelberg Philharmonic Orchestra since 2007.

For the 1994/95 and 2006/07 seasons, the orchestra was awarded the prize for the “best concert program” by the German Association of Music Publishers. Concert tours have taken the orchestra to the Cologne Philharmonic, Antwerp and Ravenna in recent years. The concerts are regularly recorded by Deutschlandfunk and SWR. The Heidelberg Philharmonic Orchestra is characterized by its stylistic flexibility. Since 2006 the Philharmonic has been dealing with historical performance practice as part of the Winter Festival in Schwetzingen. The commitment to new music has a long tradition: several works were premiered by the Philharmonic Orchestra and are dedicated to it. Since 2005 the orchestra has been working intensively with an annually changing »composer for Heidelberg«. Music education is of particular importance. A family concert series is supplemented by piccolo and children’s concerts as well as a youth concert. In addition, the orchestra members are involved in schools and kindergartens and are often guests there. The youth project “Rap it Like Heidelberg” was awarded 1st prize in the competition for the “Tag der Musik 2010” from the German Music Council in 2010. In addition, the members of the orchestra regularly present themselves in changing formations in chamber concerts.

From 2005 to 2012 the now internationally acclaimed Cornelius Meister led the Philharmonic Orchestra in the position of General Music Director of the City of Heidelberg. He will be succeeded by GMD Yordan Kamdzhalov until 2014. Elias Grandy has been General Music Director of the Philharmoniker and the City of Heidelberg since the 2015 | 16 season. Today, the Heidelberg Philharmonic Orchestra, in unity with the Heidelberg City Theater under Artistic Director Holger Schultze, is an integral part of Heidelberg’s musical life and enriches the cultural scene in many ways.

Gerold Huber fotografiert von Marion Koell

Gerold Huber

Gerold Huber studied piano under Friedemann Berger at the Musikhochschule in Munich and attended Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s lied class in Berlin. In 1998 he was awarded the Prix International Pro Musicis with Christian Gerhaher. Gerold Huber gives masterclasses, and since 2013 he has been a professor for lied accompaniment at the Hochschule für Musik in Würzburg.

Gerold Huber has appeared at renowned festivals and major concert halls, a. o. at Konzertverein Vienna, Wigmore Hall London or Bavarian State Opera Munich, performing with Christian Gerhaher, Christina Landshamer, Franz-Josef Selig, Mojca Erdmann, Diana Damrau, Ruth Ziesak, Maximillian Schmitt, Christiane Karg, Rolando Villazon and others.

Gerold Huber is the artistic director of the Pollinger Tage Alter und Neuer Musik.

All of Gerold Huber’s recordings with Christian Gerhaher have been issued by Sony Classical, and awarded with various prizes. The Schubert recording Nachtviolen was honoured with the Gramophone Award in 2015. Among other recent recordings
Schubert’s Die schöne Mülllerin will be published this autumn, again with Christian Gerhaher (Sony).

Wille Oliver © privat

Oliver Wille

Oliver Wille was born in Berlin and studied at several universities in Germany (Berlin and Cologne) and USA (Indiana University and New England Conservatory).
As a co-founder of the international acclaimed Kuss-Quartet he started a very active chamber music life at fairly young age. Among his teachers were Eberhard Feltz, Christoph Poppen, Walter Levin, members of Cleveland and Alban Berg Quartet, as well as György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados.
Oliver has played in several orchestra projects with the Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin under Christian Thielemann, Sinfonieorchester des Hessischen Rundfunks Frankfurt, Camerata Bern or Mahler Chamber Orchestra under Claudio Abbado, Kent Nagano, Daniel Harding and Andris Nelsons.

An important part of his life became teaching. He got appointed as a chamber music professor at the University for Music, Drama & Media Hannover in October 2011, teaching an international quartet class as well as working with individual students of the school. Since October 2014 he serves as the International Chair in Violin and the leader of newly founded string quartet academy at Birmingham Conservatory, UK.

Oliver writes program notes and CD booklets and holds lecture recitals such as the “Explica“ series of the Kuss Quartet in Hamburg, Hannover and Heidelberg.
Since 2012 he serves as the vize president and artistic advisor of the Chamber Music Society Hannover, further he works as artistic director at a new string quartet festival in Frankfurt. From 2016 on, he will become Artistic Director of the Festival Sommerliche Musiktage Hitzacker.

Graham Johnson

Graham Johnson

Already acclaimed not only as one of the foremost accompanists of our day but also for his major contribution to the development of the song repertoire, Graham Johnson has most recently completed his major recording project of the complete lieder of Schubert for the Hyperion label and has embarked on a similar project of recording the complete lieder of Schumann. He was made an OBE in the 1994 Queen’s Birthday Honours list and in 2002 he was created Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French Government.  He was also made an Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society in February 2010. In 2013 he was awarded honorary doctorates by Durham University and The New England Conservatory, and was recipient of The Wigmore Hall Medal.

Valer Sabadus

Countertenor Valer Sabadus came to international fame in 2012 for his outstanding interpretation of the role of Semira in Leonardo Vinci’s opera ‘Artaserse’ at the opera houses in Nancy, Lausanne and Cologne, the Theater an der Wien, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Opéra Royal de Versailles, and the Concertgebouw Amsterdam. The production also appeared on CD and DVD, and won countless prizes.

Valer Sabadus began his vocal training at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich under Prof. Gabriele Fuchs at the age of 17, and graduated in 2013 with distinction as a member of the Bayerische Theaterakademie August Everding, specialising in Musical Theatre.

In addition to his busy life as an opera singer, the young countertenor also adores the concert and oratorio repertoire. He has performed evening recitals of lieder and arias at events such as the Lucerne Festival, the Schubertiade in Hohenems, and the ‘Winter in Schwetzingen’ Festival. He has already given solo performances at the Philharmonie concert halls in Essen and Cologne, the Frauenkirche in Dresden, the Chapelle Royale de Versailles, the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, at Grafenegg Festival and at Innsbruck Festival of Early Music. Valer Sabadus has frequently teamed up successfully with leading early music ensembles, including Concerto Köln, Basel Chamber Orchestra, the Hofkapelle München, the L’Arpeggiata ensemble and Il pomo d’oro.