“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.
In 2019/20 he will be Artist in Focus at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt and Artist in Residence at the SWR Symphonieorchester. Other upcoming highlights include a tour at major European venues with the SWR Sinfonieorchester and Teodor Currentzis as well as with B’Rock and René Jacobs, debuts with Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra and Ed Gardner, the NHK and Yomiuri Nippon symphony orchestras at Suntory Hall, Orchestre National de France with Emmanuel Krivine, Il Giardino Armonico at Grafenegg Festival, KBS Symphony Orchestra, Aspen and Bergen festivals, Netherlands and Radio philharmonic orchestras with Ben Gernon and Edo de Waart at the Concertgebouw, Residentie Orkest with Nicholas Collon and reinvitations to the DSO Berlin with Robin Ticciati, Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Recent highlights include concerto debuts with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic and recital debuts at BOZAR Brussels, Carnegie Hall, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris and Koerner Hall, Toronto and a tour through Australia. During the 17/18 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.
Awarded the Credit Suisse Young Artist Award in 2010, Nicolas has performed with Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Wiener Philharmoniker and Symphoniker, Czech Philharmonic, all BBC Orchestras, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras with conductors including Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Andrew Davis, Lahav Shani, Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Neville Marriner, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Andrew Manze, Juraj Valcuha, Thomas Dausgaard and Andrea Marcon amongst others.
As a conductor, Nicolas appeared with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Ancient Academy of Music, the Aurora, Zurich and Scottish Chamber orchestras and will debut at the Orquesta Nacional de Espana and SWR.
In 2012, Nicolas succeeded Gidon Kremer as Artistic Director of the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival. In 2014, he succeeded Ádám Fischer as Artistic Director of the Haydn Philharmonie, whom he regularly performs with at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Esterházy Festival and recently on tour in China and Japan. Nicolas will be Artistic Director of the Pfingstfestspiele Ittingen in 2019 and 2020.
As a chamber musician, Nicolas’ partners include Janine Jansen, Vilde Frang, Pekka Kuusisto, Lawrence Power, Antoine Tamestit, Alexander Lonquich, Jonathan Cohen, Jean Rondeau, the Quatuor Ébène and the composers Thomas Ades, Jörg Widmann and Fazil Say. He performs at both Salzburg Mozart and Summer Festival, Verbier, BBC Proms, Lucerne, and Musikfest Bremen. Sebastian Fagerlund, Anders Hillborg, Helena Winkelman and Fazil Say are writing concertos for Nicolas.
In 2018 Nicolas received the Musikpreis der Stadt Duisburg. He received the BBC Music Magazine Concerto Award 2017 for his recording of CPE Bach Concertos on Hyperion with Arcangelo and Jonathan Cohen and his latest Recital Recording with Fazil Say on Warner Classics received the Edison Klassiek 2017. Nicolas was a BBC New Generation Artist 2010 – 2012 and a recipient of the “Borletti Buitoni Trust Fellowship” in 2009.
“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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