“The cellist Nicolas Altstaedt is an artist a category on its own”
Artistic Director: Haydn-Philharmonie Artistic Director: Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival
German-French cellist Nicolas Altstaedt is one of the most sought after and versatile artists today. As a soloist, conductor, and artistic director, he performs repertoire spanning from early music to the contemporary, playing on period and modern instruments.
Nicolas Altstaedt was Artist in Focus at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt and Artist in Residence at the SWR Symphonieorchester with Teodor Currentzis in 2019/20. Other recent highlights include concerto debuts with the Detroit and Washington’s National symphony orchestras, NHK and Yomiuri Symphony Orchestra, re-invitations to the DSO Berlin, Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Finnish Radio Symphony orchestras and a tour with B’Rock and René Jacobs. He has debuted in recital at BOZAR Brussels, Carnegie Hall, Park Avenue Armory, TCE Paris and Koerner Hall, Toronto. During the 2017/18 season, Nicolas gave the highly acclaimed Finnish premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Cello Concerto under the baton of the composer at the Helsinki Festival and was “Artist in Spotlight” at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam and NDR Elbphilharmonieorchester, Hamburg.
Nicolas Altstaedt performs regularly with the most renowned orchestras around the world, including the Vienna Philharmonic and Symphoniker, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, London Philharmonic, OPRF and ONF Paris, and all BBC orchestras with conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Roger Norrington, Lahav Shani, Francois-Xavier Roth, and Robin Ticciati. He also performs with orchestras of historical performance practice such as “Il Giardino Armonico” under Giovanni Antonini, Andrea Marcon and Philippe Herreweghe.
As a conductor, he works closely with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and has conducted the SWR, OPRF Paris, Aurora and Munich chamber orchestras in recent seasons. Joint appearances with composers — such as Thomas Adès, Jörg Widmann, Wolfgang Rihm, Thomas Larcher, Fazil Say and Sofia Gubaidulina — also consolidate his reputation as an outstanding interpreter of contemporary music. Sebastian Fagerlund, Anders Hillborg, Helena Winkelman and Fazil Say have recently written concertos for Nicolas.
In 2012 Nicolas Altstaedt succeeded Gidon Kremer as Artistic Director of the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival, and in 2014 he succeeded Ádám Fischer as Artistic Director of the Haydn Philharmonic.
As a chamber musician, Nicolas’ regular partners include Janine Jansen, Vilde Frang, Pekka Kuusisto, Lawrence Power, Antoine Tamestit, Alexander Lonquich, Jonathan Cohen, Jean Rondeau and the Quatuor Ébène. He performs at Salzburg Mozart and Summer festivals, BBC Proms, Musikfest Bremen, and Verbier and Lucerne festivals.
He has received numerous prizes including the Beethovenring Bonn 2015 and Musikpreis der Stadt Duisburg 2018. His recent chamber recording of his Lockenhaus Festival garnered the BBC Music Magazine 2020 Chamber Award and Grammophone Award 2020. He received the BBC Music Magazine Concerto Award 2017 for his recording of CPE Bach Concertos on Hyperion with Arcangelo and Jonathan Cohen and the Edison Klassiek 2017 for his latest Recital Recording with Fazil Say on Warner Classics. Nicolas was a recipient of the Credit Suisse Award in 2010 and was a BBC New Generation Artist 2010 – 2012.
“In this beautifully recorded release, the interpretations [of Beethoven’s Sonatas] by Altstaedt and Lonquich bristle with boldness, exploiting the revolutionary aspects of the music with relish. The performances are vivid and dramatic… Quite simply, the range of timbre, dynamics, and characterisation in these performances is phenomenal.”
“Altstaedt’s crisp, penetrating sound was arresting in the first movement of Debussy’s 1915 Cello Sonata … yet he brought a deftness of touch that lent his lines a graceful lyricism over the march of Madžar’s piano.”
(Limelight Magazine, Angus McPherson, September 2017, 4.5 stars)
“Nicolas Altstaedt is one of that elite group: here you would think he was a Baroque full-timer, his approach is so indefinably delicate, the phrasing of CPE Bach’s seductive lines limpid, the recitative hyper-articulate. The tawny warmth of his tone is perfectly attuned to the composer’s sound world; slow movements have an inward grace, while the fast are marked by vivid detail and natural effervescence.”
(Classical Music, August 2017)
“Altstaedt’s feathery touches and hushed wisps that opened the concert were delicately placed and continued throughout these two [Beethoven Op.5 sonatas], with deftness in the upper registers alternating with forceful pounding of both cello and piano in the lower, and both finales taken at a healthy brisk pace with authority and plenty of rippling fluidity.”
(Bachtrack, Mark Thomas, June 2017)
“Nicolas Altstaedt is an ideal protagonist; no sentimental phrasing impedes the music’s dynamic thrust and the angry opening of [CPE Bach’s] A‑minor Concerto is gripping… Emotions are at their darkest in the Finale – displayed dramatically by Altstaedt whose presentation of the rapid staccato passages involves virtuosic skill.”
(Classical Source, Antony Hodgson, Nov 2016, 5 stars)
“Muscular playing, klezmerish swing. The two composers’ cello concertos make an impressive vehicle for rising cellist Nicolas Altstaedt”
(The Guardian April 2016)
“The compelling French-German cellist Nicolas Altstaedt gave a performance of this compact 10-minute piece that thoroughly conveyed its audacious, even radical elements. This was his New York recital debut. It’s about time.”
(New York Times, Anthony Tommasini, February 2016)
“Altstaedt displayed a consistently gorgeous tone and warmth of phrasing, particularly effective in the ghostly high line in the second movement [of Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain]”
(Bachtrack, Simon Holden, April 2015)
“An absolute revelation. Nicolas Altstaedt, one of the cello realm’s most brilliant young princes.”
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