Limited Special Edition: “WKO Live – 15 Jahre Ruben Gazarian” (15 Years with Ruben Gazarian)

On Ruben Gazarian’s fifteenth anniversary as artistic director of the Württembergisches Kammerorchester (WKO) Heilbronn, a box of five CDs under the title “WKO LIVE – 15 Jahre Ruben Gazarian” (WKO Live – 15 Years with Ruben Gazarian” has been released as a limited edition. It includes a selection of live recordings from concerts at Harmonie Heilbronn, the hall that the WKO calls its home. Each CD has its own dramaturgy, and in over six hours of music, there is a wide variety of facets of the WKO’s sound to be heard. The unedited recordings offer a selection from the entire range of the WKO’s repertory: monumental pillars of music history for string orchestra, excerpts from symphonic works with the enlarged chamber orchestra, and selections from the New Year’s Day concert programs.

The CD is exclusively available from the Webshop of the WKO.

The 2018 Season of the Georgisches Kammerorchester (Georgian Chamber Orchestra) has been announced in Ingolstadt

The concerts of the Georgisches Kammerorchester Ingolstadt have become an integral segment of the regular cultural offerings of the city. The 2018 season is themed “Klangwelten”—“sound worlds.” It takes the audience to the most varied listening experiences and geographical regions, such as Argentina, Austria, the Balkans, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Georgia (the former Soviet republic in the Caucasus), Italy and Russia.

The orchestra’s “Artist in Residence“ in 2018, chronologically the fourth, is the pianist Sebastian Knauer. He looks back to an international carrier of twenty-five years as a performer with distinguished partners and at notable venues. Serious “understatement” combined with musical excellence mark his playing and his style, have brought him numerous successes and have established his name on the international musical scene. In addition, Sebastian Knauer is known for his resourcefulness in programming, and he is the founder and director of the mozart@augsburg festival. With the Georgisches Kammerorchester Ingolstadt, he opens the series of subscription concerts likewise with Mozart, on January 18. He will also be seen and heard in the all-Shostakovich concert (November 7, subscription concert no. 9).

In 2018, the subscription concerts again lure renowned classical musicians to Ingolstadt. Among these are Benedikt Klöckner, one of the most exciting cellists of his generation (March 1); Isabelle van Keulen, a grande dame of the violin and the viola who has set new standards in her recordings many times (May 8, live broadcast on the German Deutschlandradio channel); or the sisters Khatia and Gvantsa Buniatishvili at the piano in a grand homage to Mozart (June 6). Two specially themed nights take us first to France (September 20), when Ruben Gazarian will demonstrate his knack for French colors, and then to Russia (November 7): in this concert, entirely dedicated to Dmitri Shostakovich, our “Artist in Residence”, Sebastian Knauer, will again participate. Further soloists of the 2018 subscription concerts are violinist Hugo Ticciati, whom critics have already been ranking among the “truly great musicians of tomorrow” (February 6), contrabass player Petru Iuga (April 12), flutist Massimo Mercelli (October 18) and the well-known trumpeter Reinhold Friedrich (November 29).

Through its guest concerts, the ensemble also has a pioneering function with an outreach far beyond its home region. In 2018, this entails sort of a sensation: As one of the first chamber orchestras ever, the Georgisches Kammerorchester Ingolstadt will perform at the newly opened Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg. The concert with the piano duet Khatia und Gvantsa Buniatishvili, conducted by Ruben Gazarian on March 31, 2018, is part of a festival exhibiting the Caucasus.

The “Artist in Residence” of the previous season, the cellist Daniel Müller-Schott, will be back with the orchestra for three guest concerts.

A series of non-subscription concerts make up further highlights of the season. The New Year’s Day Concert (January 1), is a musical trip half around the world—to Latin America. Pieces by the king of Tango, Astor Piazzolla, are in focus. The star bandoneon player Daniel Binelli and pianist Polly Ferman are excellent specialists for this repertory. For the Open Air Turm Baur on July 27, the celebrated David Orlowsky Trio will join us. They come to Ingolstadt with their own compositions in the spirit of world music, which also bear the scent of Istanbul or the Balkans. The chamber orchestra also appears again at the AUDI summer concerts and will play the traditional AUDI Christmas concert.

The WKO Looking Back at a Successful Chinese Tour (September 2017)

   Before the concert in Wuxi, Poly Grand Theatre

After fifteen days, eleven concerts, and more than 21,000 kilometers traveled, the Württembergisches Kammerorchester (WKO) Heilbronn and its artistic director Ruben Gazarian have returned to Heilbronn.

Playing works by Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Tchaikovsky, the WKO was a guest in eleven cultural centers such as Shanghai, Wuxi or Nanjing in the east of China, functioning as an ambassador of the city of Heilbronn, Germany, and Europe. In the course of its tour, the orchestra with its concertmaster Zohar Lerner as a soloist appeared in some of the most impressive newly built concert halls in China, such as the Nanjing Poly Grand Theatre, one of the last building projects of the recently deceased architect Zaha Hadid.

“Such an extended tour through China is something extraordinary. I am truly happy for the fact that the WKO’s general manager, Madeleine Landlinger, successfully sealed the deal for this large foreign tour. It is wonderful to see how enthusiastic the mostly young Chinese audiences are about “European” music. And if one has the privilege of performing Mozart’s “Kleine Nachtmusik,” Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in D minor, or Tchaikovsky’s Serenade under such circumstances, then real moments of bliss will occur – both to the audience and to us musicians“, concludes Ruben Gazarian.

The 2017–18 Season of the WKO Heilbronn Has Been Announced

WKO photo.

The 2017–18 season of the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn is under the slogan “Discoveries.” The guiding idea is, “Discovery is only possible if one remains always curious.” The musical universe offers unlimited wealth, which to discover is the mission of the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra and its audience in the uniqueness of each moment of a concert.

In the 2017–18 season, the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra (WKO) again offers its subscription series in Heilbronn and Ulm—with ten concerts in Heilbronn and five in Ulm. Ruben Gazarian will take the rostrum in five concerts in Heilbronn and four concerts in Ulm in his sixteenth and final season as principal conductor and artistic director of the WKO.

The WKO Heilbronn dives into the symphonic cornucopia of Joseph Haydn and performs four symphonies that the orchestra has never played before. Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto is likewise a new item in the WKO’s repertory. But even less well-known composers like classicist Joseph Martin Kraus, French violoncellist and composer Jean-Baptiste Janson, Czech Vilém Tauský or Danish national hero Carl Nielsen appear in the season’s program. The Viola Concerto by Pēteris Vasks, played by Maxim Rysanov, one of the world’s leading violists, will see its German première with the WKO and its principal conductor Ruben Gazarian in Heilbronn. The orchestra rediscovers the great symphonist Gustav Mahler and his Lied von der Erde (Song of the Earth) in terms of chamber music and pays homage to French impressionist Claude Debussy on the occasion of the centennial of his death.

In September 2017, the WKO sets out again (after 2013) for an extended tour of the cultural centers of eastern China as a musical ambassador of Heilbronn. The orchestra will appear in eleven cities in the guise of an all-strings ensemble with its concertmaster Zohar Lerner as soloist and its principal conductor Ruben Gazarian at the helm. The program features works by Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Tchaikovsky.

New Year’s Day Concert of 2018, the last under Ruben Gazarian as principal conductor and artistic director, focuses on Russian composer Peter I. Tchaikovsky and his musical settings of three love stories. Excerpts from the opera Eugene Onegin with Armenian soprano Karine Babajanyan, the Fantaisie-overture Romeo and Juliet, and a selection from the ballet score for The Sleeping Beauty make up the substance of the year’s opening concert, which traditionally cultivates a grand symphonic sound.

In September 2017, Ruben Gazarian celebrates his fifteenth anniversary as principal conductor and artistic director of the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn. On this occasion, a five-volume CD box with live recordings of orchestral works culled from the Heilbronn concert programs of the last fifteen years is released in a limited edition. The CD box is available at the Heilbronn concerts, at selected advance ticket outlets and from the web shop on the website of the WKO at a price of €39.

Precious Rarities for Flute: New Release with Kathrin Christians

On the CD with flutist Kathrin Christians and the WKO Heilbronn conducted by Ruben Gazarian, released by Hänssler Classic in May 2017, concertos by Jindřich Feld and Mieczysław Weinberg are heard as well as the Adagio by Mikis Theodorakis—all seldom performed works for flute and orchestra.

The German radio program SWR2 Treffpunkt Klassik comments on June 20, 2017: “The joy of making music, virtuosity, a delirium of sound and finally, an apocalyptic explosion with a hellish scenario all rolled in one… At this time, the recording with Kathrin Christians and the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra under Ruben Gazarian should be the best choice for a new discovery of this literally staggering piece (by Jindřich Feld). A chamber orchestra bursts at its seams, what a wonderful horror… Here the piece literally blows up in your ears in a way that is sheer fun.”

 “A courageous program, thanks to the passion and curiosity of Kathrin Christians. The raison d’être of her first CD was the Flute Concerto by Jindřich Feld, a Czech composer practically forgotten. Especially here, the flutist demonstrates what a boundless range of timbres can be conjured up from her instrument—from a warm, soft sound that rises straight to utmost intimacy to a vigorous, energetic rebellion that makes the listener shiver… The Württemberg Chamber Orchestra under Ruben Gazarian is a reliable partner also here…” Concerti, May 26, 2017.

Gazarian Renews His Contract in Ingolstadt through 2020

On May 5, 2017, the contract between the Georgian Chamber Orchestra (GKO) Ingolstadt and Ruben Gazarian was extended by another three years. In advance, both the orchestra and the advisory board of the IN Veranstaltungs gGmbH expressed their unanimous support for the renewal of the contract. The Armenian-born conductor has been at the helm of the orchestra as its artistic director since 2015 and has made a vital contribution to the GKO’s emergence as an integral part of the cultural life of Ingolstadt and its surroundings.

Managing director Tobias Klein comments on the renewal of the contract: “Ruben Gazarian is an excellent conductor who has significantly enhanced the Georgian Chamber Orchestra Ingolstadt in its identity and regional importance.“ Gazarian is likewise happy about the decision: “I am looking forward to the continuation of my collaboration with the GKO because I feel deeply attached to the orchestra. For me, the orchestra’s unanimous vote for the renewal of my contract is a very pleasant confirmation of the course we have taken. Many new, exciting projects are awaiting us.” In the past years, the conductor has already implemented some innovations. He has defined topical focus areas for his concerts and, as a consequence, the Ingolstadt audience has heard new, exciting works. Thanks to his international contacts, he has also been able to recruit famous soloists for the GKO and to establish an annual “artist-in-residence.” This year, it is cellist Daniel Müller-Schott, who will come to Ingolstadt for several concerts.

Since the beginning of its collaboration with Ruben Gazarian, the GKO has been back on the market of recordings and has released three CDs documenting its widely varied artistic range. In addition, the orchestra does not only perform in Ingolstadt, but it also regularly appears at festivals such as the Internationales Musikfest Kreuth and the Oettinger Residenzkonzerte (both in Bavaria). Foreign tours have taken the orchestra to Spain, France, Georgia, Austria, Switzerland and, most recently, Israel. Besides his artistic directorship with the GKO, Ruben Gazarian is also the principal conductor of the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn. He has been holding that position since 2002 and will hand it over to a successor after sixteen years in summer 2018.

A New Release with Asya Fateyeva

Among musicians and music lovers all around the world, Johann Sebastian Bach enjoys the status of a canonized saint. Classical saxophonist Asya Fateyeva has also been preoccupied with Bach’s music since her youth, but in contrast to many of her colleagues, she has a handicap: there are no original compositions by Bach for saxophone. The young musician, who won the ECHO-Klassik award in 2016 as “newcomer of the year,” cannot be stopped by that: in her new recording “Bachiana” with works by Johann Sebastian Bach and Heitor Villa-Lobos she proves to be not only a virtuoso on her instrument but also a talented arranger. At her side, the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn shines under its artistic director Ruben Gazarian, accompanying the soloist with inspiration and discretion.

The CD, released by Berlin Classics, has been available for sale since late March 2017.

Between Tradition and Adventure: The 2017 Season of the Georgisches Kammerorchester (Georgian Chamber Orchestra) Ingolstadt under Its Artistic Director Ruben Gazarian

The 2017 season of the Georgisches Kammerorchester (GKO) Ingolstadt is under the motto “Reflexionen” (reflections). The audacious programming of the orchestra skillfully treads the line between tradition and things yet to be discovered. The program of 2017 meditates on change, being and willing, provenance and identity, tradition and innovation. There is Mendelssohn, whom Schumann labeled the “Mozart of the nineteenth century” and whose music is considered a link between classical form and Romantic content. Some of the concert nights again revolve around the star of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the new season; the 225th anniversary of his death is commemorated in December 2016. Beyond, the GKO forges a musical bridge from C.P.E. Bach by way of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss, and Franz Schubert through classics of the twentieth century, such as Béla Bartók, Edward Elgar, Paul Hindemith, Franz Schreker, Alfred Schnittke, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, and Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Contemporary composers like Minas Borboudakis and James MacMillan will also be heard.

The series of the subscription concerts starts on January 12 with the orchestra’s artist-in-residence, cellist Daniel Müller-Schott, who will not only play the solo part but also conduct. Artistic director Ruben Gazarian wields the baton in six subscription concerts. One of the highlights is his joint concert with Daniel Müller-Schott (May 4); others are the all-Mendelssohn program with soloists Linus Roth and William Youn (June 1), the open air concert at the Turm Baur (July 27), and the evening with clarinetist and ARD International Music Competition winner Sebastian Manz and the Swiss Casal Quartett (19.10.). More subscription concerts with the artistic director will be held on February 9 and September 13. Further soloists in the subscription concerts include: the promising young percussionist Richard Putz; the clarinetist Annelien van Wauwe, another laureate of the ARD International Music Competition; the Alliage-Quartett, one of Germany’s best-known saxophone ensembles; and Japanese pianist Kotaro Fukuma.

The artist-in-residence of 2017, Daniel Müller-Schott, is ranked among the leading cellists in the world. For two decades, he has been fascinating audiences and the press thanks to his outstanding musical interpretations and his winsome personality. After violinist Julian Rachlin (2015) and clarinettist Sharon Kam (2016), Daniel Müller-Schott is the third artist-in-residence at the GKO, a position inaugurated by Ruben Gazarian when he assumed the office of artistic director.

There are more musical highlights in the GKO’s special concerts. The concerts of Audi AG, one of the orchestra’s two main sponsors alongside Sparkasse Ingolstadt, have been a regular part of the season for many years. The fruitful partnership continues in 2017 with two concerts within the Audi Summer Concert series—the Classic Open Air on July 22 and the Audi children’s concert “Horch mal!” (Listen!) on July 23—as well as the traditional Audi Christmas concert on December 15.

Daniel Mueller-Schott