“A magician of cantabile playing and a master of virtuosic panache”
Alban Gerhardt has, for thirty years, made a unique impact on audiences worldwide with his intense musicality, compelling stage presence and insatiable artistic curiosity. His gift for shedding fresh light on familiar scores, along with his appetite for investigating new repertoire from centuries past and present, truly set him apart from his peers.
Gerhardt recently premiered a new cello concerto by Julian Anderson with Orchestre National du France following on from the success of his performances of Brett Dean’s concerto premiered with Sydney Symphony and Berliner Philharmoniker and also performed with Minnesota Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra last season. This coming season Alban Gerhardt gives further performances of the concerto with Boston Symphony Orchestra and Klaus Mäkelä, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra/Alsop, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Oramo and London Philharmonic Orchestra/Gardner. Other symphonic engagements in Europe include concerts with Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Chambre de Lausanne and Deutsches Sinfonie Orchester Berlin.
Following early competition success, Gerhardt’s international career was launched by his debut with Berliner Philharmoniker and Semyon Bychkov in 1991. Notable orchestra collaborations since include Royal Concertgebouw, Philharmonia Orchestra, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Chicago Symphony orchestras and Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich; under conductors such as Kurt Masur, Michael Tilson-Thomas, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Vladimir Jurowski, Kirill Petrenko and Andris Nelsons. Alban records for Hyperion; his recent disc of all Bach’s solo Cello Suites released in 2019 was one of the Sunday Times top 100 CDs of the year (all genres included).
“Playing with beefy, bronzed tone, Gerhardt was a miracle of precision, omnipresent throughout and generating a powerful sense of camaraderie with his orchestral fellows.”
(Clive Paget, Musical America, February 2020)
“The commanding soloist, in his Philharmonic debut, was Alban Gerhardt, who also played the work’s world premiere with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, in 2018, and its American premiere with the Minnesota Orchestra in November… Mr. Gerhardt played incisively and brilliantly.”
(New York Times, January 2020)
“Gerhardt, gently authoritative, immediately captured attention with his rich tone and nuanced phrasing in the Tchaikovsky. His 1710 Goffriller cello is evidently a ravishing instrument with an especially vibrant and dark lower register. Performing the Fitzenhagen version of the Rococo Variations each section naturally acquired its own distinct character in Gerhardt’s hands and, while the virtuoso passages were dispatched with effortless panache, it was the slower variations that lingered in one’s mind.”
(Bachtrack, October 2018)
“Gerhardt brilliantly surmounted the concerto’s challenging intricate rhythms, especially in the passages of Shostakovich-like relentlessness. Sustaining a rich tone and crystalline articulation, Gerhardt was equally assured in the sections of fast virtuosic passagework, extended sequences of high harmonics and subdued sotto voce gestures.”
( Brett Dean’s dream concerto makes virtuosic bow, The Australian)
“Dream-like moments drifted into more agitated passages, Gerhardt weaving virtuosically through the orchestra, relishing the tender moments and setting off a raucous frenzy in the ensemble as the Concerto reached its climax, before winding its way to a smouldering finish, a final curl of sound spiralling upwards like smoke. The Concerto, particularly in the hands of an advocate as fine as Gerhardt, is a fascinating, multi-hued work that will no doubt reward repeated listening.”
(The Limelight, August 2018)
“Gerhardt’s technique is as formidable as his musicality. His extensive range of volumes and articulations and the energy-filled rubato (never veering towards sloppiness) made this a distinctive interpretation.”
(Australian Book Review, August 2018)
“Gerhardt produced a great piece of musical acting, musing at the start and then infused with valour. His playing was always magnificent, his tone clear and focused. He shaped Strauss’s twisting lines with great style and threw off his vaunting leaps with panache.”
(The Strad, June 2018)
“German cellist Alban Gerhardt’s approach to this concerto struck a rewarding balance between passionate yearning and driving the music forward, ever conscious of its final goal. From the passionate double-stops of the opening, Gerhardt made his cello sing, employing a wide, intense vibrato. The accompaniment by the NSO was sensitively handled, the orchestra always listening to the cello’s mellow voice and adjusting their dynamic range accordingly. Gerhardt’s laser-like intonation was particularly impressive as he soared stratospherically. […] In the third movement Lento, the orchestra and cellist breathed as one, creating a moment of serene beauty. Gerhardt’s top notes shone with ethereal splendour, while the stillness he imbued his pianissimos with were equally impressive. In the final movement, he navigated the virtuosic rhapsodic passages with all the agility and sure-footedness of a Chamonix goat.”
(Bachtrack, February 2018)
[about the Rostropovich Encores recording] “Gerhardt is very much his own man, and in Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, Debussy’s Clair de lune and Ravel’s Pièce en forme de habanera he achieves a poetic grace and calm….[He] also discovers a piquant litheness and uncluttered ease in Stravinsky’s Russian Maiden’s Song. Enhanced by lucid and expertly balanced engineering, his is a highly engaging recital.”
(The Strad, March 2017)
“Dutilleux’s music needs forthright performance if it’s not to sound precious, a lesson cellist Alban Gerhardt has clearly learned. His performance of Dutilleux’s cello concerto Tout un Monde Lointain had a noble expansiveness free of the febrile fidgety quality that can sometimes creep into Dutilleux’s fluttering gestures.”
(Daily Telegraph, May 2016)
“No praise is too high for Alban Gerhardt’s musicianship, commitment and technique.”
(International Record Review)
“The calm authority and probing insight make him one of the finest cellists around — expressive, unshowy and infinitely classy.”
“Gerhardt’s playing is phenomenal, flipping between warmth and prickly brilliance.”
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