“All of this fit together in considerable part because of Schmitt’s winning sense of grace. Piece after piece, each in its own way grew from delicate colors to glorious rainbows of organ sonorities, making the program a garden of blooms.”
Los Angeles Times
Christian Schmitt, organ
Since his debuts with the Berliner Philharmonic and at the Salzburg Festival, Christian Schmitt has become one of the world’s most sought-after organists. He has been praised for his virtuosic and charismatic playing. Since 2014 he has served as principal organist of the Bamberger Symphoniker, where he also curates the organ series for the Bamberg Concert Hall. He is additionally in demand as a chamber music partner.
Christian Schmitt performed with the Staatskapelle Berlin under Sir Simon Rattle, which led to a re-invitation for the current season, and has given recitals at Bachfest Leipzig and for a sold-out audience at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. He has played the organs at the Konzerthaus Berlin, the Philharmonie Berlin, the Wiener Musikverein, the Gewandhaus Leipzig and the Maison Symphonique Montreal. He has worked with conductors and soloists including Philippe Herreweghe, Jakub Hruša, Marek Janowski, Cornelius Meister, Manfred Honeck, Magdalena Kozena, Sibylla Rubens, and Michael Volle.
Highlights of the 2019/2020 season include his debut at the Walt Disney Concert Hall presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, performances of Saint-Saëns’s Third Symphony with the Staatskapelle Berlin under the baton of Daniel Barenboim and with the NDR Radio Philharmonic under Lionel Bringuier, the premiere of the new organ concerto by Ivan Fedele in France, the Japanese premiere of Toshio Hosokawa’s “Embrace – Light and Shadow” with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra at Suntory Hall, a duo recital at the Schlossfestspiele Ludwigsburg, and the release of his most recent recording of the Hindemith Chamber Music No. 7 with the conductor Christoph Eschenbach.
As a champion of new organ works, Christian Schmitt has performed the world premiere of “Embrace – Light and Shadow” for organ and orchestra by Toshio Hosokawa at the Bamberg Concert Hall. He regularly programs works by composers of the 20th and 21st centuries both in recitals and performances with orchestra, and pairs works by Gubaidulina and Pärt with Bach and Schumann.
For Deutsche Grammophon Schmitt recorded a series of chorales, fugues and fantasies for the project, ‘Bach 333 – The Complete New Edition.’ His discography includes around 40 recordings of chamber, orchestra and organ solo works. His latest album with works by Joseph Jongen, which he recorded for the label CPO with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern and the conductor Martin Haselböck, was highly praised. He has also recorded an album of works for voice and organ with soprano Magdalena Kožena, which was released by Deutsche Grammophon in 2014. Christian Schmitt’s album with organ symphonies by Charles-Marie Widor, which he recorded with the Bamberger Symphoniker under Stefan Solyom, was awarded an ECHO Klassik.
Christian Schmitt studied at the Musikhochschule Saarbrücken and with Daniel Roth in Paris. At the University of Saarland he also took musicology and Catholic theology. As a passionate pedagogue, he is an international guest lecturer at universities worldwide. In addition, he taught the class of Professor Jürgen Essl and as a lecturer at the University of Music Saar in the context of a chair representation.
Christian Schmitt is an expert consultant for renovations and new construction of organs in Berlin, Nuremberg, Zurich, Lucerne and Brno. His latest project is a digitally sampled version of the organ of the Philharmonie Essen for concerts with and in the orchestra. The digital version of the famous organ, created in cooperation with a Dutch acoustics company, is transportable and easily adaptable to hall size and needs. Christian Schmitt has been a member of numerous international music competition juries and is involved in the music education project “Rhapsody in School”.
Matthias Höfs, trumpet
When he was six years old, Matthias Hoefs declared the trumpet “his instrument, because it shines so nicely”. He received his musical education from Professor Peter Kallensee at the Hamburg University of Music and Theatre, and from Professor Konradin Groth at the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. When just 18 years of age, he was engaged as Solo-Trumpeter at the Philharmonic State Orchestra in Hamburg, where he enjoyed the fascinating world of opera for 16 years. At the same time, Hoefs became a member of the GERMAN BRASS Ensemble, with whom he continues to achieve worldwide success. Since their first joint concert in 1985, he writes for himself and hiscolleagues tailored arrangements which span more then one genre and continue to inspire the world of Brass. Matthias Hoefs has always shown a pioneering spirit, and thus has consistently widened the horizon of his instrument, either by close cooperation with other composers, who feel themselves inspired by his incomparable virtuosity and joy of experimentation, or as “trumpet ambassador” in his home state of SchleswigHolstein in northern Germany, or in cooperation with the instrument makers Max and Heinrich Thein. Since the year 2000, Matthias Hoefs has been teaching as Professor at the Hamburg University of Music and Theatre, were he inspires his students with great enthusiasm, knowing how to pass on his passion for his instrument. In addition to his extensive concert performances as solo-trumpeter and chamber musician, Hoefs has produced numerous Solo CDs, and jointly with GERMAN BRASS, more than 20 recordings. In October 2016 GERMAN BRASS was awarded with the ECHO Klassik – one of the most outstanding awards for national and international musicians.
Concerto in F Major, arranged for trumpet and organ
Johann Sebastian Bach
Toccata and Fugue in d minor, BWV 565
Johann Sebastian Bach
Concerto in D Major after Vivaldi BWV 972 Transcription for Trumpet and Organ
Fugue on B-A-C-H Op. 60, Nr. 1
Johann Sebastian Bach
Choral prelude arranged for trumpet and organ
·Ich ruf zu Dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639
Gustav Adolf Merkel
‘Variations on a Theme by Beethonven (Op. 109)’, Op. 45
Concerto for Trumpet in D Major, arranged for trumpet and organ