Clarinettist, composer and conductor Jörg Widmann is one of the most versatile and intriguing artists of his generation. The 2014/15 season will see him appear as soloist with orchestras such as Staatskapelle Berlin, Hamburger Philharmoniker, Bamberger Symphoniker, SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. The Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst have made Widmann’s music the focus of their large tour of Europe this season; and Yefim Bronfman and the Berliner Philharmoniker under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle will perform the world premiere of Widmann’s first piano concerto.
Widmann will continue his close collaboration with the Bamberger Symphoniker as their Composer in Residence. As chamber musician he will appear at Ultraschall-Festival Berlin, Wigmore Hall London, Tonhalle Zürich, Opéra National de Paris, Laeizhalle Hamburg, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Konzerthaus Wien, Toppan Hall Tokyo and at the Lincoln Center in New York. Renowned soloists and ensembles such as András Schiff, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Tabea Zimmermann, Carolin Widmann, Daniel Barenboim and the Hagen Quartet will join him on the way.
Continuing in his role as Principal Guest Conductor of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Jörg Widmann constantly extends the range of his conducting activities, this season amongst others also in a programme with the London Chamber Orchestra.
As clarinettist, Widmann studied with Gerd Starke and Charles Neidich and performs regularly with leading world orchestras, having collaborated with conductors such as Christoph von Dohnányi, Sylvain Cambreling, Christoph Eschenbach, Kent Nagano and Franz Welser-Möst.
Clarinet concerti dedicated to and written for him include Wolfgang Rihm’s Musik für Klarinette und Orchester (1999) and Aribert Rfeimann’s Cantus (2006). Widmann succeeded Dieter Klöcker as clarinet Professor at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, where he also holds a composition Professorship.
Widmann studied composition with Kay Westermann, Wilfried Hiller and Wolfgang Rihm. His works continue to receive multiple awards including the Belmont Award for Contemporary Music of the Forberg Schneider Foundation in 1999, the Schneider-Schott Music Award and Paul Hindemith Prize in 2002, the Arnold Schoenberg Prize by the Vienna Arnold Schoenberg Centre and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (2004), and the prestigious Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Elise L. Stoeger Prize. In 2003 he was awarded one of the encouragement awards of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation and the honorary award of the Munich Opera Festival. His opera Das Gesicht im Spiegel was selected by the jury of experts of the Opernwelt magazine as the most important world premiere of the 2003/04 season. In 2006 Widmann received the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg’s composition award as well as the Berliner Philharmoniker Academy’s Claudio Abbado Composition Award. Widmann’s string quartets: I. Streichquartett (1997), Choralquartett (2003/2006), Jagdquartett (2003), IV: Streichquartett (2005) and Versuch über die Fuge (5th Stringquartett with soprano, 2005) are firmly established in the chamber music repertoire.
Jörg Widmann has composed a trilogy for large orchestra based on the principle of transferring vocal forms to orchestral writing. The trilogy consists of Lied, Chor and Messe. Widmann’s orchestral work Labyrinth was premiered in 2005 by the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; In 2007 Pierre Boulez and the Wiener Philharmoniker premiered Armonica, and Christian Tetzlaff and the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie premiered his Violin Concerto. 2008 saw the premieres of Antiphon with Paavo Järvi conducting he hr-Sinfonieorchester and of the piano cycle Eleven Humoresques, commissioned by Carnegie Hall New York for Yefim Bronfman, followed by the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio and Mariss Jansons premiering Con brio. In March and April 2008 Widmann lived and worked in Dubai for a project supported by the Siemens Arts Program and the Goethe Institute, which led to the world premiere of Widmann’s Dubairische Tänze in Berlin in May 2009. Am Anfang, part art installation, part opera by Anselm Kiefer and Jörg Widmann, was premiered in July 2009 as part of the 20th anniversary of the Opéra Bastille, in which Widmann acted as composer, clarinettist and made his debut as conductor. The Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst gave the US premiere of Widmann’s flute concerto, Flûte en suite, in May 2011 following its European premiere in 2012/13 by the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle. The same season saw the premiere of Widmann’s opera Babylon at Bayerische Staatsoper under the baton of Kent Nagano. Frankfurt’s Alte Oper featured Widmann in their Auftakt festival, with performances of his works by the hr-Sinfonieorchester and Paavo Järvi.
Widmann is a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskollegs in Berlin and a full member of the Bayerischen Akademie of Schönen Künste, and since 2007, the freien Akademie der Künste Hamburg and the Deutschen Akademie der Darstellenden Künste. Jörg Widmann lives and works in Freiburg and Munich.