Ballet by Christopher Wheeldon after William Shakespeare | The Winter's Tale
Simon Hewett is the Principal Conductor of the Stuttgart Opera, and Principal Conductor of the Hamburg Ballet. In addition to his commitments with these two companies, he has performed regularly in recent seasons with Opera Australia in Sydney and Melbourne, the Komische Oper in Berlin, and the Paris Opera Ballet. His performances are frequently praised for their stylistic fluency, emotional intensity and technical precision.
Simon Hewett studied clarinet and conducting at the University of Queensland, graduating with First Class Honours and a University Medal. At 19 he was the youngest ever finalist in the ABC Young Conductor of the Year Award, and conducted the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Hindemith's "Symphonische Metamorphosen". In 1998 he was awarded a German Government Scholarship and studied operatic and symphonic conducting for 3 years at the Franz Liszt Hochschule für Musik in Weimar, Germany.
From 2002-03 Simon Hewett was a member of Opera Australia's Young Artists' Programme, and made his debut at the Sydney Opera house in October 2003, conducting Bizet's "Les Pêcheurs du perles". He was immediately reengaged for performances of "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" in 2004. He has since returned regularly to Opera Australia as a guest conductor, for "Tosca" (2005), "Turandot" (2006), and to lead the revival of Harry Kupfer's critically acclaimed production of "Otello" (2008). He returned to Sydney in 2009 for "Aida" and a new production of "Così fan tutte" with director Jim Sharman. In 2011 he conducted "Macbeth" for Opera Australia and "Falstaff" for the West Australian Opera. In 2012 he led critically acclaimed new productions of "Le Nozze di Figaro" and "Salome" for Opera Australia.
In 2005 Simone Young invited Simon Hewett to join the Hamburg State Opera as Resident Conductor and Assistant Music Director. Since his debut with "La Traviata" in 2005, he has conducted over 200 performances in Hamburg of a large repertoire of opera and ballet. In 2008 he debuted at the Komische Oper with "Il Barbiere di Siviglia", returning in 2010 for "Die Entführung aus dem Serail".
Following successful performances of "Der Fliegende Holländer" for the Stuttgart Opera in 2010, Simon Hewett was invited to become Principal Conductor. In 2012/13 he led revivals of "Die Fledermaus" and "Tosca". He has since conducted new productions of "La Bohème" and "Khovanshchina", and a wide range of other repertoire in Stuttgart including "Die Fledermaus", "Nabucco", "Tosca", "Madama Butterfly", "Eugene Onegin" and "Der Freischütz".
As a symphonic conductor Simon Hewett has appeared with the Melbourne Symphony, Sydney Symphony and West Australian Symphony Orchestras. His interest in contemporary music is documented through his long relationship with the Elision Contemporary Music Ensemble, with whom he has performed frequently since 1996, touring with them to Korea in 1997 and Europe in 1998. He has performed with Elision at all of Australia's major festivals, conducting the world premieres of Richard Barrett's "Opening of the Mouth", and Liza Lim's opera "Moon Spirit Feasting". His CD of Richard Barrett's "Opening of the Mouth" with the Elision Ensemble was reviewed by the BBC Music Magazine upon its release as "Pick of the Month".
Since conducting the premiere of John Neumeier's "Parzival" at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden in 2006, Simon Hewett has enjoyed a close and productive collaboration with the Hamburg Ballet. He has toured with the Hamburg Ballet to the Salzburg Festival, Australia, the United States of America and Japan. His performances of John Neumeier's production of Mahler's 3rd Symphony at the Paris Opera were broadcast in cinemas worldwide and recorded for DVD release. He led the world premiere of John Neumeier's ballet "Tatiana" (2014), also recorded for DVD release, and the premiere of a new ballet based on the life of the celebrated Italian actress Eleonora Duse (2015). In December 2016 he will lead the German Premiere of "The Song of the Earth", a ballet by John Neumeier to music by Gustav Mahler.
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Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg
The Philharmonic State Orchestra is Hamburg’s largest and oldest orchestra, looking back on many years of musical history. When the “Philharmonic Orchestra” and the “Orchestra of the Hamburg Municipal Theatre” merged in 1934, two tradition-steeped orchestras combined. Philharmonic concerts have been performed in Hamburg since 1828, artists such as Clara Schumann, Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms being regular guests of the Philharmonic Society. The history of the opera company goes back even further: Hamburg has been home to musical theatre since 1678, even if a regular opera or theatre orchestra was only formed later. To this day, the Philharmonic State Orchestra has embodied the sound of the Hansa City, a concert and opera orchestra in one.
During its long history, the orchestra encountered great artist personalities. Apart from composers of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, such as Telemann, Tchaikovsky, Strauss, Mahler, Prokofiev and Stravinsky, since the 20th century chief conductors such as Karl Muck, Joseph Keilberth, Eugen Jochum, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Horst Stein, Aldo Ceccato, Christoph von Dohnányi, Gerd Albrecht, Ingo Metzmacher and Simone Young have shaped the orchestra’s sound. Renowned conductors of the pre-war era such as Otto Klemperer, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, Karl Böhm and Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt gave brilliant performances, as did outstanding conductors of our times: suffice it to mention Christian Thielemann, Semyon Bychkov, Kirill Petrenko, Sir Neville Marriner, Valery Gergiev and Sir Roger Norrington.
Starting with the 2015/2016 season, Kent Nagano has taken on the position of Hamburg’s General Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Philharmonic State Orchestra and the Hamburg State Opera. In his first season Kent Nagano initiated a new project, the Philharmonic Academy, focusing on experimentation and chamber music. In 2016 Nagano and the Philharmonic undertook a successful three-week concert tour in South America, a tour of Spain followed in 2019. Since 2017 Kent Nagano and the Philharmonic State Orchestra have continued the traditional Philharmonic Concerts at the new Elbphilharmonie, for which they commissioned Jörg Widmann to compose the oratorio ARCHE, which was given its world premiere during the hall’s opening festivities. The concert recording has been released at ECM.
The Philharmonic State Orchestra offers approximately 35 concerts per season and performs more than 240 performances per year at the Hamburg State Opera and the Hamburg Ballet John Neumeier, making it Hamburg’s busiest orchestra. The stylistic bandwidth covered by the 140 musicians, ranging from historically informed performance practice to contemporary works and including concert, opera and ballet repertoire, is unique throughout Germany. Chamber Music has a long tradition at the Philharmonic State Orchestra: what began in 1929 with a concert series for chamber orchestra has been continued since 1968 by a series of chamber music only.
In 2008 Simone Young and the Philharmonic State Orchestra won the Brahms Award of the Schleswig-Holstein Brahms Society. The orchestra has recorded the complete Ring by Wagner as well as the complete symphonies of Johannes Brahms and Anton Bruckner – the latter in the rarely-performed original versions – as well as works by Mahler, Hindemith and Berg, and has released DVDs of opera and ballet productions by Hosokawa, Offenbach, Reimann, Auerbach, J.S. Bach, Puccini, Poulenc and Weber.
The members of the Philharmonic State Orchestra feel equally beholden to Hamburg’s musical tradition and responsible for the city’s artistic future. Since 1978 the musicians have been participating in education programmes in Hamburg’s schools. Today, the orchestra maintains a broad education programme, including school and kindergarten visits, patronage for music projects, introductory events for children and family concerts. The orchestra’s own academy prepares young musicians for their professional careers. The Philharmonic’s musicians thereby make an equally enjoyable and valuable contribution to tomorrow’s music education in the music metropolis of Hamburg.
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photo: Foto: Felix Broede