Clarinetist, composer and conductor Jörg Widmann is one of the most versatile and intriguing artists of his generation. The 2017/18 season will see him appear as soloist with orchestras such as Wiener Philharmoniker under Valery Gergiev, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra with Bertrand de Billy, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra under Sylvain Cambreling, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, SWR Symphonieorchester under Peter Rundel, and Orchester de Paris with Daniel Harding.
This season will also see Jörg Widmann and his work featured in various residencies and portraits. Jörg Widmann is the first Gewandhaus Composer and was commissioned by Gewandhaus Orchester and Boston Symphony Orchestra to compose a new work which will be premiered in Leipzig in March 2018 conducted by Andris Nelsons. At Gewandhaus, Jörg Widmann will be featured in a portrait concert as well as in various chamber concerts and as a soloist.
Further residencies include Orchestre de Paris, Wigmore Hall, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Mozartwoche Salzburg and Philharmonie Essen.
Chamber music performances in the 2017/18 season include a tour with the Hagen Quartet with performances of his new Clarinet Quintet in Paris, Lugano, Amsterdam, Essen, Berlin, London and Salzburg; trio recitals with Tabea Zimmermann and Dénes Vàrjon in Helsinki, Freiburg, at Kölner Philharmonie, Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin and Wigmore Hall, and recitals at San Francisco Performances, Toppan Hall and the premiere of a new piece written for him by Mark Andre at Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik. Amongst his regular chamber music partners are renowned soloists such as Sir András Schiff, Daniel Barenboim, Elisabeth Leonskaja and Mitsuko Uchida.
Continuing his intense activities as a conductor, Jörg Widmann will perform this season with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunk, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and as Principal Conductor with the Irish Chamber Orchestra with whom he will embark on a tour throughout Germany including concerts at International Music Festival Heidelberger Frühling, Philharmonie Essen, Mozartfest Würzburg and Leverkusen, followed by the premiere of his new violin concerto with Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and Carolin Widmann at Suntory Hall.
In April 2018 Christian Gerhaher and Bamberger Symphoniker under Jakub Hrůša will premiere his song cycle Das heiße Herz.
Widmann gave the world premiere of Mark Andre’s Clarinet Concerto über at the Donauerschinger Musiktage 2015. Other clarinet concerti dedicated to and written for him include Wolfgang Rihm’s Musik für Klarinette und Orchester (1999) and Aribert Reimann’s Cantus (2006).
Widmann is a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskollegs in Berlin and a full member of the Bayerischen Akademie of Schönen Künste, and since 2007, the Freien Akademie der Künste Hamburg, the Deutschen Akademie der Darstellenden Künste and the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur Mainz. He is professor for composition at the Barenboim-Said Academy, Berlin.
“But what makes him so irresistible as a composer and performer alike is the hefty dose of sheer joy in what he does: the pleasure of vital, visceral musicality that promises to bind together classical music of the past and present – and forge a way into the future.”
(The Guardian, January 2018)
“He’s a smiling, buoyant presence on stage, responding to each section of the orchestra in turn, locking eyes as well as semiquavers with the strings, and moulding melodies and passagework alike with a lithe, transparent tone. This was one of the least indulgent Mozart clarinet concertos I’ve heard, and its special grace lay in the unforced way Widmann, Gražinytė-Tyla and the orchestra played off each other.”
(The Arts Desk, October 2017)
“Widmann had a weight of expression with a lightness of manner while playing Brahms, Berg, and Schumann that was captivating, exciting the mind and touching the heart. The Berg and Schumann pieces share qualities of each composer’s vocal music; Berg’s Op. 5 seemed a twin in color and expressive quality to his Sieben frühe Lieder, and the Fantasiestücke echoed the likes of Dichterliebe. Widmann’s clarinet sang like a great vocalist.”
(New York Classical Review, April 2017)
“Jörg Widmann’s five string quartets make up a kind of meta quartet – a massive web of musical dialectics that celebrate, explode and generally redefine the genre’s lofty, loaded heritage. No other contemporary composer has grappled with quartet form quite so intelligently or so probingly. It’s astoundingly virtuosic stuff, mentally and musically, and jaw-droppingly beautiful at times: just listen to the gossamer-fine and haunting textures of the fourth quartet, or the stark violence that ends the third.”
(The Guardian, July 2015)
“Tuesday’s performance featured Germany’s lively and engaging Jörg Widmann, a welcome presence whether as composer, clarinettist or conductor…Throughout he displayed masterfully fluid tone control over every register, from the highest cloud-covered peak to the lowest velvet burblings.”