Ludwig van Beethoven

Violin Sonata A-Major op. 12/2

Richard Strauss

Cello Sonata F-Major op. 6

Antonín Dvořák

Piano Trio f-minor op. 65

Gergana Gergova
Alban Gerhardt
Olli Mustonen

The hall of the Werdenfels Gymnasium with its well-balanced acoustics is the perfect setting for this chamber concert. The internationally renowned German cellist Alban Gerhardt performs together with the violinist Gergana Gergova and the pianist Olli Mustonen. Each of the selected compositions demands harmony in the ensemble as well as the virtuosity of the individual musician. Ludwig van Beethoven's expressive violin sonata, Richard Strauss' cello sonata, which shows his early mastership, and Antonín Dvořák's melancholic to dramatic piano trio promise an evening that deserves the distinction "Outstanding".

Gergana Gergova © Larry Horricks
Gergana Gergova © Larry Horricks

Gergana GergovaBorn into a musical family, Gergana Gergova’s life has been marked by music since early childhood. Winning First Prize of the “International Vladigeroff Competition” and top prizes at various other solo and chamber music competitions helped starting her international career. As soloist she has performed with Festival Strings Lucerne, RSB Berlin, Duisburg Philharmonic and various orchestras in Bulgaria. Together with pianist Pavlin Nechev and cellist Thomas Kaufmann she forms the piano trio „Trio Imàge“.
Gergana Gergova has been invited to perform at chamber music festivals such as „Spannungen“ Heimbach, Moritzburg, West Cork (Ireland), Lockenhaus, Bahnhof Rolandseck, Schubertiade, Verbier, Chelsea (New York), Herrenchiemsee Festspiele, Festival de Mexico, Hambacher Musikfest as well as Varna Summer Festival. With „Trio Imàge“ (winner of the prestigious ECHO classic Award 2014 for their debut CD) she tours all over Europe, North and South America , Asia and Australia. Other chamber music partners have been Christian Tetzlaff, Daniel Hope, Akiko Suwanai, Guy Braunstein, Carolin Widmann, Jan Vogler, Andreas Brantelid, Cedric Tiberghien and Lars Vogt. Besides the classical scene, she played with jazz legends such as John Pattitucci and Tom Harrell.

In June 2015 she went on tour with Baiba Skride, Brett Dean, Nils Mönkemeyer and Alban Gerhardt which brought her to Wigmore Hall London, Palais de Beaux Arts Brussels and Philharmonic Hall Essen to name a few. Besides concerts with Trio Imàge and engagements as concert master she will give her debut at the Lucerne Festival next season. As concert master she has been working at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein/ Duisburger Philarmoniker, Teatro Real in Madrid, the Munich Radio Orchestra, NDR Hannover, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Festival Strings Lucerne and Belgische Kammerphilharmonie.
Gergana has recorded for ABC Australia, DeutschlandRadio, SWR, WDR, ORF, RTÈ and Radio Bartok. In 2014 both the debut CD of Trio Imàge (The Complete Kagel Piano Trios, CAvi Music) as well as the Duo for Violin, Cello and Orchestra by Hans Pfitzner with the RSB Berlin under Sebastian Weigle for the English label Hyperion have been released to highest critical acclaim, both nominated for the “Deutsche Schallplattenpreis”.Also the latest Cd recording of Trio Imàge with chamber music from Hans Sommer, released in October 2015, is nominated for „Deutsche Schallplattenpreis“.
Gergana started her violin lessons with Blagorodna Taneva in Pleven (Bulgaria) and studied with Mintcho Mintchev and Andreas Reiner at “Folkwang Universität der Künste” in Essen, with Yair Kless at “Universität der Künste Graz” and finished her Master of Chamber Music with Eberhard Feltz at „Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler“ Berlin. Further artistic inspirations she received from Menahem Pressler, Yfrah Neamann, Anner Bylsma, Heinrich Schiff and Shmuel Ashkenasi.

Alban Gerhardt © Kaupo Kikkas
Alban Gerhardt © Kaupo Kikkas

Alban GerhardtPraised for the “warm songfulness of his playing” (The Telegraph) at the 2016 BBC Proms, Alban Gerhardt has, for more than twenty-five years, made a unique impact on audiences worldwide with his intense musicality, compelling stage presence and insatiable artistic curiosity. His gift for shedding fresh light on familiar scores, along with his appetite for investigating new repertoire from centuries past and present, truly set him apart from his peers.
Highlights of the 2017/18 season include concerts with NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, BBC Philharmonic for his 7th appearance at the Proms, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Washington, RTÉ Dublin as well as his debuts with New Jersey Symphony, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid. Gerhardt will also give recitals at Berlin’s Konzerthaus, London’s Wigmore Hall and in Montreal and Vancouver. A European quintet tour takes him to Luxembourg, Tonhalle Zurich and Amsterdam Muziekgebouw, and he is looking forward to his first collaboration with Sabine Meyer on a trio tour through Germany.
Gerhardt is passionate about sharing his discoveries with audiences far beyond the traditional concert hall: outreach projects undertaken in Europe and the US have involved performances and workshops, not only in schools and hospitals, but also pioneering sessions in public spaces and young offender institutions. His collaboration with Deutsche Bahn, involving live performances on the main commuter routes in Germany, vividly demonstrates his commitment to challenging traditional expectations of classical music.
Following early competition success, Gerhardt’s international career was launched by his debut with Berliner Philharmoniker and Semyon Bychkov in 1991. Notable orchestra collaborations since include Concertgebouw Amsterdam, London Philharmonic und Philharmonia London, all of the British and German radio orchestras, Tonhalle Zürich, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Royal Stockholm und Oslo Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France as well as Cleveland, Philadelphia und Chicago Symphony Orchestras.; under conductors such as Kurt Masur, Christoph von Dohnányi, Christian Thielemann, Christoph Eschenbach, Myung-Whun Chung, Michael Tilson Thomas, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Vladimir Jurowski, Kirill Petrenko and Andris Nelsons.

He is also a keen chamber musician; his regular performance partners include Steven Osborne, Cecile Licad, Baiba Skride and Brett Dean. Gerhardt has collaborated with composers including Jörg Widmann, Unsuk Chin, and Matthias Pintscher; and in almost every case he commits to memorising their scores before world premiere performances. In summer 2018 he will give the premiere of a new concerto by Brett Dean with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and then later in the year with the Berliner Philharmoniker. He also completed a ground-breaking, three-year residency with Oregon Symphony and was the subject of a focused project at London’s Wigmore Hall.
A highly acclaimed recording artist, Gerhardt has won three ECHO Klassik Awards as well as ICMA and MIDEM Classic awards, and his recording of Unsuk Chin’s Cello Concerto, released by Deutsche Grammophon, won the BBC Music Magazine Award and was shortlisted for a Gramophone Award in 2015. Gerhardt has recorded extensively for Hyperion, his latest recording of Rostropovich’s ‘Encores’ released in January 2017. His next recording project will be all six suites by J.S.Bach.
Alban Gerhardt plays a Matteo Gofriller cello dating from 1710.
After the US election 2016 and the Brexit Alban felt the need to become more engaged with what’s going on in the world, so besides taking care and housing an Afghan refugee he also became involved in the musician’s initiative #Musicians4UnitedEurope in which musicians try to fill the European vision with feelings instead of just good arguments.

Olli Mustonen © Outi Montosen
Olli Mustonen © Outi Montosen

Olli Mustonen“As a musical interpreter, Olli Mustonen the conductor is very like Olli Mustonen the pianist. Detail after detail is finely articulated, as though etched with the point of a needle… the clarity and extraordinary finesse yield something I can only describe as visionary.” (BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE)
Olli Mustonen has a unique place on today’s music scene. Following the tradition of great masters such as Rachmaninov, Busoni and Enescu, Mustonen combines the roles of his musicianship as composer, pianist and conductor in an equal balance that is quite exceptional.
Mustonen’s life as a composer is at the heart of both his piano playing and conducting. He has a deeply held conviction that each performance must have the freshness of a first performance, so that audience and performer alike encounter the composer as a living contemporary, yet he is equally suspicious of the performance that seeks only to be different. This tenacious spirit of discovery leads him to explore many areas of repertoire beyond the established canon.
As a concerto soloist, Mustonen has worked with most of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and The Royal Concertgebouw, partnering conductors such as Gergiev, Ashkenazy, Barenboim, Blomstedt, Boulez, Chung, Dutoit, Eschenbach, Harnoncourt, Masur, Nagano, Oramo, Salonen and Saraste. As a recitalist, Mustonen has performed in the world’s musical capitals, appearing in recent seasons at the Chopin Institute Warsaw, Diaghilev Festival Perm, Mariinsky Theatre St Petersburg, Wigmore Hall, Tampere Hall, Flagey Brussels, Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Dresden Festival, Sala Verdi Del Conservatorio Milan, Symphony Center Chicago, New York Zankel Hall and Sydney Opera House.
As well as all the major Finnish orchestras, Mustonen has conducted the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Weimar Staatskapelle, WDR Cologne, Camerata Salzburg, Scottish Chamber, Verdi Symphony Orchestra Milan, NHK Symphony and Queensland and West Australian symphony orchestras. In a fascinating triple role of pianist, conductor and composer, Mustonen has appeared recently with the Atlanta Symphony, New Russia Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Riga Sinfonietta, Estonian National Symphony and the Royal Northern Sinfonia. The current season sees him working in such a capacity with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra as well as the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra.
In recent years, Mustonen has conducted the world premières of both of his large-scale orchestral works: Symphony No.1 Tuuri with the Tampere Philharmonic in 2012; and Symphony No.2 Johannes Angelos with the Helsinki Philharmonic in 2014. Under Mustonen’s baton, the 1st Symphony has gone on to receive further performances with the Tchaikovsky Symphony and Meiningen Court Orchestra among others. Mustonen conducted the world premières of his Sonata for Violin and Orchestra with the Melbourne Symphony in 2014, and of his Sonata for Cello and Orchestra with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in 2015.

He also regularly brings his own works to the chamber music stage. His recital partners include Pekka Kuusisto, with whom he gave the 2013 world première of his own Violin Sonata, and Steven Isserlis, with whom he will give a tour of concerts in Italy as well as a performance at the Wigmore Hall this season. In 2015, he toured Germany with his own Quartet for Oboe, Violin, Viola and Piano, and performed the world première of his new Piano Quintet at the ‘Spannungen’ Festival in Heimbach, subsequently giving the Dutch premiere of the work at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw.
A strong exponent of Prokofiev’s music, Mustonen recently performed and recorded all of Prokofiev’s Piano Concertos with the Finnish Radio Symphony under Hannu Lintu. Mustonen has the complete cycle of Prokofiev Piano Sonatas in his repertoire, in recent years bringing the project in full or in part to Helsinki Music Centre, Amsterdam Muziekgebouw, as well as at the Klavierfestival Ruhr in summer 2017. Also close to Mustonen’s heart is the music of Beethoven, all of whose concertos he played with the Melbourne Symphony in 2012, and of Bartok, whose concertos he performed with the BBC Scottish Symphony in the same year.
Among Mustonen’s close artistic partnerships is his collaboration with Rodion Shchedrin, who dedicated his Piano Concerto No. 5 to Mustonen and invited him to perform at his 70th, 75th and 80th birthday concerts. In 2013, Mustonen performed Shchedrin’s Piano Concerto No. 4 at Stockholm’s Baltic Sea Festival with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra under Valery Gergiev.
Olli Mustonen’s recording catalogue is typically broad-ranging and distinctive. His release on Decca of Preludes by Shostakovich and Alkan received the Edison Award and Gramophone Award for the Best Instrumental Recording. In 2002, Mustonen signed to the Ondine label, on which his most recent releases include Respighi’s Concerto in modo misolidio with Sakari Oramo and the Finnish Radio Symphony and a critically acclaimed disc of Scriabin’s piano music. In 2014, Mustonen released a highly-acclaimed recording of his own Cello Sonata on the BIS label, with Steven Isserlis.
Born in Helsinki, Mustonen began his studies in piano, harpsichord and composition at the age of five. Initially learning with Ralf Gothoni, he subsequently studied piano with Eero Heinonen and composition with Einojuhani Rautavaara.