Fauré Quartet

Dirk Mommertz, piano
Erika Geldsetzer, violin
Sascha Frömbling, viola
Konstantin Heidrich, violoncello

The requirements have changed. Whoever is playing chamber music today can’t be limited to the rules from decades ago. The expectations regarding the diversity of repertoire have changed, which creates room for ensembles like the Faure Quartett, which has established itself as one of the world’s leading piano quartets within just a few years. Dirk Mommertz (piano), Erika Geldsetzer (violin), Sascha Frömbling (viola) and Konstantin Heidrich (cello) use the opportunities arising from these developments. They discover new sound fields in chamber music and perform compositions outside the mainstream repertoire.

They are visionary in their approach and highly regarded for their experiments and discoveries; be it performances with the NDR Big Band, collaborations with artists like Rufus Wainwright or Sven Helbig, appearances in clubs like the Berghain, Cocoon Club or “Le Poisson Rouge” in New York or TV shows in KIKA or “Rhapsody in School”, getting children excited in chamber music. When they released their album “Popsongs” in 2009, there was a great deal of buzz in the press and audience. In the following year, the ensemble was awarded the ECHO Classic for their album “classic beyond borders”, their second award after their recording of Brahms’ piano quartets (Chamber Music recording of the year, 2008). Other prizes include the German Music Competition, the ensemble prize from Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, international competition and recording awards, Music Prize Duisburg and Brahms prize Schleswig Holstein.

The musicians of the Faure Quartett are pioneers in many ways. After they met during their studies in 1995 in Karlsruhe for the 150th anniversary of Gabriel Faure, they quickly realized, that this combination offered new insights into undiscovered repertoire. In 2006, they signed a contract with Deutsche Grammophon, promoting them to the Champions League of the classic music business. They made highly regarded benchmark-recordings with works by Mozart, Brahms, Mendelssohn and pop songs from Peter Gabriel and Steely Dan as well as works from Mahler and Richard Strauss (Sony Classical). on one album. Currently the quartett is releasing the world’s first-ever recording of Mussorgskys “Pictures at an Exhibition” and Rachmaninovs “Etudes-Tableaux” in their own arrangements on the Berlin Classics label. Worldwide tours raise their profile abroad and international masterclasses are part of their work with students. The members teach at the universities of Berlin and Munich. Moreover, they were Artistic Directors of “Festspielfrühling Rügen” and are ‘Quartet in Residence’ at the University of Music Karlsruhe. During their tours, the musicians appear in the world’s most important chamber music venues; including Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Berlin Philharmony, Teatro Colon Buenos Aires and Wigmore Hall London. All these mosaics form a unique profile for this defining chamber music ensemble.

Georg Nigl

Whether at his celebrated Wozzeck at The Scala or his interpretations of the Bach cantatas with Luca Pianca, Georg Nigl consistently inspires audiences and press with his passionate, authentic performances. His profound, comprehensive engagement with the musical work, his close connection with spoken theater with its accompanying emphasis on text and rhetoric, and his expressive stage acting have made Georg Nigl into one of the most celebrated baritones worldwide.

Georg Nigl’s close connection to music began in childhood. He performed on important stages as a soprano soloist with the Wiener Sängerknaben. His studies with the Kammersängerin Hilde Zadek gave him further important inspiration for his forthcoming career.

Due to his talent for giving roles individual character through his voice and expression, he has performed at all the important opera houses. He has appeared at the Bolshoi Theater Moscow, the Staatsoper Berlin, the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, the Nederlandse Opera Amsterdam and the Théatre de La Monnaie in Brussels as well as at festivals such as the Salzburger Festspiele, the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, the Ruhrtriennale and the Wiener Festwochen. He has collaborated with renowned conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Teodor Currentzis, Valery Gergiev, Daniel Harding, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, René Jacobs, Kent Nagano and Kirill Petrenko and with directors such as Andrea Breth, Romeo Castellucci, Frank Castorf, Hans Neuenfels, Johan Simons, Dmitri Tcherniakov, and Sasha Waltz.

Georg Nigl has won special recognition not only by performing numerous world premieres, but also by serving as an inspiration for or taking part in initiating the creation of compositions and publications by artists such as Friedrich Cerha, Pascal Dusapin, Georg Friedrich Haas, Wolfgang Mitterer, Olga Neuwirth and Wolfgang Rihm.

Georg Nigl’s chamber music repertoire covers a broad spectrum from baroque to Viennese classicism to contemporary music. He frequently performs with Alexander Melnikov, Andreas Staier and Gérard Wyss. His newest recording “Bach privat” has been awarded a Diapason d’or in November 2017. For his interpretation of Wolfgang Rihm’s Lenz Georg Nigl has been awarded the „Singer of the Year 2015“ award by the magazine Opernwelt.

Apollon Musagète Quartet

Paweł Zalejski, violin
Bartosz Zachłod, violin
Piotr Szumieł, viola
Piotr Skweres, violoncello

Winner of first prize and several other awards at the International Music Competition of the ARD in 2008, the Apollon Musagète Quartet has rapidly become an established feature of the European musical scene, captivating public and press alike.

The quartet studied with Johannes Meissl at the European Chamber Music Academy and was inspired by the musicians of the Alban Berg Quartet at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. The quartet was nominated ECHO Rising Stars 2010, followed by highly successful performances at prestigious European venues. It was also named BBC New Generation Artist in 2012, leading to extensive touring in the UK and a number of recordings for the BBC. In 2014 the musicians received the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award.

Recent engagements have taken the quartet to the Auditori Barcelona, Konzerthaus and Philharmonie Berlin, Edinburgh International Festival, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Wigmore Hall London, Carnegie Hall New York, Louvre Paris, Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele and to the Tonhalle Zurich.

The Apollon Musagète Quartet collaborates with renowned artists in chamber music such as Martin Fröst, Nils Mönkemeyer, István Várdai and Jörg Widmann. They appeared in several symphonic series with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice. They welcome collaborations that integrate chamber music into various forms of performing arts and were part of projects such as a staged concert by the Berlin based performance group Nico and the Navigators, a ballet production of the National Theatre in Nuremberg and a world tour with the pop singer Tori Amos. Their own compositions Multitude for String Quartet and A Multitude of Shades, both published by the Viennese publisher Doblinger, are often included in the quartet’s concert repertoire.

Since the debut CD by Oehms Classics in 2010 followed by recordings for the labels such as Decca Classics and Deutsche Grammophon, their discography has grown extensively. In 2018 a disc containing quartets by Andrzej Panufnik was released by the Fryderyk-Chopin-Institute and subsequently the latest recording with works by Karol Szymanowski and Roman Palester by Universal Poland.

Piotr Skweres plays an ex-André Navarra cello by Gennaro Gagliano dated 1741. The instrument has kindly been provided by Merito String Instruments Trust Vienna. Furthermore, the quartet thanks the Thomastik Infeld for the generous support and the enterprise Stoffwerk for the exclusive and custom-made concert clothes.

Goldmund Quartett

Florian Schötz, violin
Pinchas Adt, violin
Christoph Vandory, viola
Raphael Paratore, cello

Counted amongst the most exciting young string quartets, the Goldmund Quartet has with its exquisite playing and multi-faceted homogeneity given convincing interpretations of the great classical and modern works of the string quartet literature for more than a decade now. Their inwardness, unbelievably fine intonation, and phrasing worked out to the smallest detail inspire audiences worldwide.

Awarded at the prestigious 2018 International Wigmore Hall String Competition and winners of the 2018 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition 2018, the Goldmund Quartet has been named Rising Stars of the 2019/20 season by the European Concert Hall Organisation as well as laureates of the Jürgen Ponto-Foundation. The Nippon Music Foundation has awarded the Quartet with a full set of Stradivari instruments.

Following their debut at Rheingau Music Festival in August 2019, the main focus of the 2019/20 season will be on the Rising Star recitals at many of the most prestigious halls around Europe such as the Philharmonie de Paris, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Bozar in Brussels, Konzerhuset Stockholm and Wiener Konzerthaus. Other highlights this season include a tour of Sweden and Australia as well as appearances at Frankfurt Museumskonzerte, String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam and the Hörtnagel series in Munich.

Notable invitations recently have included Musikverein Graz, Boulez Saal Berlin and Marvao Festival, Fjord Classics Festival Norway and Schlern Music Festival.

In October 2016 NAXOS released their debut CD with works by Joseph Haydn which garnered great reviews from the BBC, The Strad Magazine, Gramophone Magazine, American Record Guide, Applaus, Süddeutsche Zeitung and many more. The quartet’s second recording featuring string quartets by Shostakovich was released on Berlin Classics in July 2018.

The Goldmund Quartet has been awarded several prizes and scholarships, the most recent distinctions are the second prize and the special award for the best interpretation of a 20th century string quartet at the International Wigmore Hall String Competition 2018 and the first price along with the price for the best interpretation of the commissioned work at the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition 2018. The Quartet also received the Bavarian Young Artist Award and the Karl-Klinger-Prize during the 2016 ARD International Music Competition Munich. The Jürgen Ponto Foundation has named the Goldmund Quartet as the recipients of their 2020 biennial music bursary. In summer 2019 the quartet received one of the most valuable sponsorships of the Nippon Music Foundation. It provides the Quartet the Paganini Quartet of Antonio Stradivari for four years.

Educated by Günther Pichler of the Alban Berg Quartet at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofia and the Artemis Quartet in Berlin, the Quartet has received important artistic impulses in master classes with the Hagen, Borodin, Belcea, Ysaÿe and Cherubini quartets, Ferenc Rados, Eberhard Feltz and Alfred Brendel.

Recitals have taken them to prestigious chamber music venues and series in Denmark, France, Norway, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, China, Australia and the US. Regular chamber music partners include artists such as Jörg Widmann, Ksenija Sidorova, Pablo Barragan, Alexey Stadler, Wies de Boevé.

Fabian Müller

»Exceptional pianist« (WAZ) and »keyboard artist with a great future« (General-Anzeiger) – both critics and audiences are enthusiastic and agree: Fabian Müller stands at the beginning of a highly promising career.

In recent times, the young pianist could repeatedly exhibit his talent. Fabian Müller attracted much attention as the prize winner in the Frankfurt competition Ton und Erklärung announced by the cultural department of the German economy in January 2015, for the choice of the International Holland Music Sessions for his participation at the concert series New Masters on Tour, with the much-noticed education project Ein Jahr mit György Ligeti at the Klavier-Festival Ruhr, where he took musical responsibility and which was awarded with the Junge Ohren Preis 2014, or with his admittance to the Werner Richard – Dr. Carl Dörken Stiftung for the concert series Best of NRW.

His successes resulted in an auspicious concert season 2015/16 with numerous highlights such as recitals at the Klavier-Festival Ruhr, at the Heidelberger Frühling, the Winners & Masters Gasteig, at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, at the Philharmonic in Bratislava, and, not least, the production of his debut CD Out of Doors.

Fabian Müller, born in Bonn in 1990, began playing the piano at the age of four. He received his first lessons from pianist Rose Marie Zartner. Soon, his exceptional talent was recognized and confirmed with numerous first prizes at the German youth competition Jugend Musiziert, which was followed by several distinctions such as the Ibach-Preis, special prizes by the Deutschen Stiftung Musikleben and the Jürgen-Ponto-Stiftung, or the 1st prize at the Prix amadéo de piano in Aachen in 2011. The musical atmosphere of his hometown had a crucial impact on Fabian’s development as an artist. Grown up near to the death house of Schumann and Beethoven’s birthplace, he early came in contact with the great German composers. After his first concerts at these special places, Fabian was awarded with the Beethoven Bonnensis advancement award by the Bürger für Beethoven association at the age of 14 and developed a close link to this music, which quickly became the center of his repertoire. In 2016 he became Artist in Residence at the Beethoven-Akademie in Bonn.

Fabian began his studies at the Musikhochschule Köln (Cologne University of Music) with Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich at the age of 15 and participated in the masterclasses of Menahem Pressler, Pavel Gililov, and Leon Fleisher. Especially due to the contacts of his teacher Aimard to various important composers of the last decades, Fabian was also able to create a close relation to the music of the 20th and 21st centuries. He demonstrated this in 2013, when he became a price-winner of the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano and, furthermore, was awarded with the special prize for the best interpretation of contemporary piano music, the international prize of the press jury, and the special prize for the best interpretation of a piece by Busoni.

Fabian has already performed in concert halls such as the Philharmonie Köln, the Tonhalle Düsseldorf, the Beethovenhalle in Bonn, and in several European countries. Besides, he was a guest at prestigious festivals such as the Musikwoche Hitzacker, the Aldeburgh Festival in England, the Musikfestspielen Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and the Schwetzinger Festspielen, and gave concerts with the Deutschen Streicher-Philharmonie, the hr-Sinfonieorchester (Frankfurt Radio Symphony), the WDR Sinfonieorchester, and the Beethoven Orchester Bonn. In 2012, Fabian toured through Germany with the Klassische Philharmonie Bonn, performing among others at the Liederhalle Stuttgart, the Glocke Bremen, and the Herkulessaal in Munich.

Brigitte Fassbaender

Born in Berlin, Brigitte Fassbaender studied singing with her father, Willy Domgraf-Fassbaender, and was engaged (at the age of 21) by the Staatsoper Munich where she sang a large repertoire of mezzo roles including Oktavian, Dorabella, Sesto, Carmen, Eboli, Amneris, Charlotte, Fricka, Geschwitz, Brangäne, Orlofsky, Quickly, Herodias, Amme, Klytemnästra, Clairon and many others. Over the years, the recital and concert platform became increasingly important, and in the recording studio, over 350 records were made. She was the first female singer to record all Schubert-Lieder-cycles. In January 1995, Brigitte Fassbaender decided to retire from the stage in order to devote herself full time to stage directing, a second career which had begun in 1990. Since then she has directed over 50 productions worldwide. She also enjoys a considerable international reputation as a teacher for solo vocal music in master classes in Europe and abroad. In January 2011, the French Government appointed her an honorary Chevalier of the Légion d‘honneur and, one year later, the German Government appointed her The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2012, she was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2013, she received the Hugo Wolf Medal of the International Hugo Wolf Academy Stuttgart. In 2017, she was awarded the ECHO Klassik for her life’s work.

Malte Hemmerich

Malte Hemmerich (* 1992 in Herne) studies music journalism in Dortmund. He was a scholarship holder of the first Academy for Music Journalism in 2015. He has been supporting the Academy as a fellow since 2016 and is again training the scholarship holders in online journalism in 2019 and is in charge of the Academy blog. Since then he has always stayed in touch with the Heidelberg Spring, whether as an author for programs or as a reporter at the music conference. From the first academy, he founded the magazine niusic.de with Christopher Warmuth and Adele Jakumeit in cooperation with the Ronda publishing house. After an internship at the FAZ, Malte is now writing as a freelance author there and at the NZZ. For the Salzburg Festival, he is writing a festival story for the 2020 anniversary year. He is also the editor of the streaming platform takt1. Malte Hemmerich lives in Dortmund and works as a church musician in Herne.

Veronika Eberle

Veronika Eberle’s exceptional talent and the poise and maturity of her musicianship have been recognised by many of the world’s finest orchestras, venues and festivals, as well as by some of the most eminent conductors. Sir Simon Rattle’s introduction of Veronika aged just 16 to a packed Salzburg Festpielhaus at the 2006 Salzburg Easter Festival in a performance of the Beethoven concerto with the Berliner Philharmoniker, brought her to international attention.

Key orchestra collaborations since then include the London Symphony (Rattle), Concertgebouw (Holliger), New York Philharmonic (Gilbert), Montreal Symphony (Nagano), Munich Philharmonic and Gewandhaus Orchestras (Langree), Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin (Janowski), Hessischer Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester (P.Järvi), Bamberger Symphoniker (Ticciati, Nott), Tonhalle Orchester Zurich (M.Sanderling), NHK Symphony (Kout, Stenz, Norrington) and Rotterdam Philharmonic (Rattle, Gaffigan, Nézet-Seguin).

Recent concerto highlights have included debuts with the Philadelphia, San Francisco Symphony and Philharmonia Orchestras as well as with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (Yannick Nézet-Séguin) and Orchestre National de Lille. Last season, Veronika also toured Australia making debut performances with the Auckland Philharmonia, Tasmani Symphony and West Australian Symphony Orchestras as well as with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Return invitations have included to the Montreal Symphony, Munich Kammerorchester, Bayerischer Rundfunk Munich, Orchester Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Hamburg Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra with Bernard Haitink. Veronika has also appeared in consecutive years in the Hamburgische Staatsoper’s production of Lulu, performing Berg’s Violin Concerto, conducted by Kent Nagano.

Born in Donauwörth Southern Germany, she started violin lessons at the age of six and four years later became a junior student at the Richard Strauss Konservatorium in Munich with Olga Voitova. After studying privately with Christoph Poppen for a year, she joined the Hochschule in Munich, where she studied with Ana Chumachenco 2001-2012.

Veronika has benefited from the support of a number of prestigious organisations, including the Nippon Foundation, the Borletti-Buitoni Trust (Fellowship in 2008), the Orpheum Stiftung zur Förderung Junger Solisten (Zurich), the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben (Hamburg) and the Jürgen-Ponto Stiftung (Frankfurt). She was a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist 2011-2013 and was a Dortmund Konzerthaus ‘Junge Wilde’ artist 2010-2012.

Veronika Eberle plays the ‘Dragonetti’ Stradivarius (1700), on generous loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.

Thomas Hampson

Thomas Hampson, America’s foremost baritone, hails from Spokane, Washington. He has received many honors and awards for his probing artistry and cultural leadership. Comprising more than 150 albums, his discography includes winners of a Grammy Award, five Edison Awards, and the Grand Prix du Disque. He received the 2009 Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, and was appointed the New York Philharmonic’s first Artist-in-Residence.

In 2010 he was honored with a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress, where he serves as Special Advisor to the Study and Performance of Music in America. Hampson was made honorary professor at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Heidelberg and holds honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, Whitworth College, and San Francisco Conservatory, as well as being an honorary member of London’s Royal Academy of Music. He carries the titles of Kammersänger of the Vienna State Opera and Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the Republic of France, and was awarded the Austrian Medal of Honor in Arts and Sciences. He is the artistic director of the Heidelberger Frühling’s Lied Academy In 2020, he was awarded the Heidelberger Frühling music award.

Igor Levit

Igor Levit continues his close relationship with the »Heidelberger Frühling« in the chamber music festival »Standpunkte« and as the Artistic Director of the Festival’s Chamber Music Academy.

Igor Levit combines “tonal charm, intellectual drive and technical brilliance” (The New Yorker). With an alert and critical mind, he places his art in the context of the civic, cultural and political life surrounding him and understands the two as inseparably linked. The New York Times describes Igor Levit as one of the “most important artists of his generation”. The Süddeutsche Zeitung described him as a “stroke of luck” for today’s concert scene and the Zeit, titling Igor Levit “does not want to be just the man who presses the keys”.

Born in Nizhni Novgorod in 1987, Igor Levit moved to Germany with his family at the age of eight. He completed his piano studies in Hannover with the highest score in the history of the institute. His teachers included Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Matti Raekallio, Bernd Goetzke, Lajos Rovatkay and Hans Leygraf. Igor Levit was the youngest participant in the 2005 International Arthur Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv, where he won silver, the special prize for chamber music, the audience prize and the special prize for the best performance of contemporary compulsory pieces. In spring 2019 he was appointed professor for piano at his alma mater, the University of Music, Theatre and Media Hanover.

For the 2020/21 season Igor Levit focusses on the piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven. The first complete recording of Igor Levit’s Beethoven piano sonatas, released by Sony Classical in September 2019, received excellent reviews and immediately reached Number 1 in the official classical charts in 2019. Igor Levit will present the cycles of the complete piano sonatas at the Salzburg Festival, the Lucerne Festival as well as the Musikfest Berlin as well as in renowned concert halls such as at the Elbphilharmonie, the Konserthuset Stockholm and the Wigmore Hall in London. In May 2021 Igor Levit will make his debut tour of Asia with a Beethoven Sonata Program, which will take him to Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Further recital debuts will take him to the Firkusny Festival in Prague and to Disney Hall in Los Angeles. In the 2020/21 season Igor Levit is “Artist in Residence” of the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks as well as “Portrait Artist” of the Philharmonie Essen. He will make guest appearances with the Orchestre de Paris (Manfred Honeck), the Cleveland Orchestra (Franz Welser-Möst), the Berlin Philharmonic (Paavo Järvi) and the Concertgebouw Orkest (Antonio Pappano). In the USA he makes debuts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic – both conducted by Herbert Blomstedt. In addition to working with musicians of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, he performs chamber music on tour with the Hagen Quartet.

Last season Igor Levit was “Featured Artist” at the Barbican Centre in London. Highlights of past seasons include debuts with the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, European tours with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Igor Levit is an exclusive recording artist of Sony Classical. With his debut CD of Beethoven’s last five sonatas, he won the BBC Music Magazine’s Newcomer Prize 2014 and the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artist Prize 2014. Igor Levit’s third solo album with Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations and Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated received the Instrumental Prize and the Recording of the Year Award at the Gramophone Classical Music Awards in 2016. In October 2018 Sony Classical released Igor Levit’s fourth album titled “Life”, with works by Bach, Busoni, Bill Evans, Liszt, Wagner, Rzewski and Schumann.

Igor Levit is the winner of the “2018 Gilmore Artist Award” and “Instrumentalist of the Year 2018” of the Royal Philharmonic Society. For his political commitment Igor Levit was awarded the 5th International Beethoven Prize in 2019. This was followed in January 2020 by the award of the “Statue B” of the International Auschwitz Committee on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

In Berlin, where he makes his home, Igor Levit is playing on a Steinway D Grand Piano – a donation of the “Independent Opera at Sadler’s Wells” foundation.