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Thomas Hengelbrock

© Florence Grandidier

Thomas Hengelbrock was born in Germany and studied the violin. He has worked as an assistant to numerous high-profile figures in the music world including Witold Lutoslawski, Mauricio Kagel and Antal Dorati. His work covers a multiplicity of musical genres, ranging from the baroque and the romantic to contemporary music. He is the founder and director of the Balthasar-Neumann-Chor and the Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble and he has performed with both of them all over the world for the last twenty years. He has also been invited to lead a number of prestigious ensembles, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestre national de France, the Munich Philharmonic, and the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich. Thomas Hengelbrock has reintroduced works which had disappeared from the repertoire to a wider audience, such as Cavalli’s Didone. He has also given new interpretations to more familiar works like Richard Wagner’s Parsifal which he conducted using instruments dating from the time of the work’s creation. Contemporary music also occupies an important place in his activities. He has earned widespread acclaim for conducting the premieres of numerous works of composers like Jörg Widmann, Simon Wills, Lotta Wennäkoski, Quigang Chen and Erkki-Sven Tüür. He also conducted the premiere of Jan Müller-Wieland’s oratorio Maria at the 2018 Ruhtriennale and Wolfgang Rihm’s Reminiszenz at the inaugural concert for the Elbphilharmonie in January 2017. He has made numerous guest appearances at some of the great international opera venues (the Teatro Real in Madrid, the Royal Opera House in London, the Berlin Staatsoper, and the Baden-Baden and Salzburg Festivals). At the Paris Opera, he has conducted Die Zauberflöte, Idomeneo and a production of Orphée et Eurydice choreographed by Pina Bausch. He has collaborated with actors like Klaus Maria Brandauer, Johanna Wokalek and Graham Valentine for a series of original performances combining music and literature (Grieg’s Peer Gynt, Schumann’s Scenes from Faust). He has also assumed the role of director for several productions with his two ensembles, including Dido and Aeneas at the Salzburg Festival and Don Giovanni at the Feldkirch Festival. During the summer of 2019, he conducted the Simon Stone production of Médée at the Salzburg Festival and Iphigénie en Tauride at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. In 2021 he will be conducting Le nozze di Figaro at the Aix Festival. Thomas Hengelbrock is also committed to training young musicians through the educational programmes of the Balthasar Neumann Academy and the Cuban-European Youth Academy which he, himself, founded in 2014. In 2016 he received the Herbert von Karajan Prize for his contribution musical education.

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