Principal Guest Conductor: Mozarteumorchester Salzburg
Associated Conductor: Münchener Kammerorchester
Artistic Partner: Irish Chamber Orchestra
Jörg Widmann is considered one of the most versatile and intriguing artists of his generation. The 2022/23 season sees him appear in all facets of his work, including as Visiting Composer and Conductor with the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo and the National Symphony Orchestra Taiwan, as Artist in Residence at Concertgebouw Amsterdam’s Zaterdag Matinée, Alte Oper Frankfurt and de Singel in Antwerp.
Continuing his intense activities as a conductor this season, Jörg Widmann collaborates with orchestras including Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Mozarteumorchester Salzburg, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, City of Birmingham and Barcelona Symphony orchestras and Radio Filharmonisch Orkest Amsterdam.
He also continues his longstanding chamber music partnerships with renowed artists such as Daniel Barenboim, Tabea Zimmermann, Sir András Schiff, Denis Kozhukhin, the Schumann and Hagen Quartetts, performing at the Schubertiade Hohenems, Philharmonie Paris, Muziekgebouw Amsterdam and Wiener Konzerthaus and Musikverein amongst others.
Widmann gave the world première of Mark Andre’s Clarinet Concerto über at the Donaueschinger Musiktage 2015. Other clarinet concertos dedicated to and written for him include Wolfgang Rihm’s Musik für Klarinette und Orchester (1999) and Aribert Reimann’s Cantus (2006).
Jörg Widmann studied clarinet with Gerd Starke in Munich and Charles Neidich at the Juilliard School in New York and later became himself professor of clarinet and composition, first at University of Music Freiburg and since 2017 as Chair professor for composition at the Barenboim-Said Academy, Berlin. He was Fellow at the Wissenschaftskollegs in Berlin and is 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. In 2018 he was awarded the Robert Schumann Prize for Poetry and Music and was honoured with the Bavarian Order of Maximilian.
He studied composition with Kay Westermann, Wilfried Hiller, Hans Werner Henze and Wolfgang Rihm. His works continue to receive many awards, the renowned Elise L. Stoeger Prize of the New York Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, awarded only every two years, amongst others.
His compositions are performed regularly by conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Daniel Harding, Kent Nagano, Franz Welser-Möst, Christian Thielemann, Andris Nelsons and Sir Simon Rattle and premiered by orchestras such as the Wiener and Berliner Philharmoniker, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and many others.
This season sees the world premiere of Jörg Widmann’s Tartaros (Labyrinth VII) for 13 instruments with Ensemble Modern at Concertgebouw Amsterdam. Currently, he is writing a cantata for soloists, choir and orchestra commissioned by the Gewandhausorchester and Thomanerchor Leipzig, and the new work will be premiered in June 2023 for the 300th anniversary of the Leipzig Bach Festival in the Thomaskirche.
HarrisonParrott represents Jörg Widmann for worldwide general management.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”