Alban Gerhardt has established himself in the past decade among the great cellists of our time. His sound is unmistakable, and his interpretations distinguish themselves with great originality. The cello starts singing under his hands, known literature gets newly discovered, unknown works come to life again. The fortunate combination of an unerring musical instinct, intense emotionality and a very natural, arresting stage presence fascinate his growing audiences, particularly as after the loss of his Guadagnini cello he now has a unique instrument from the hands of Matteo Gofriller at his disposal. A special concern for him is to break with old listening and concert habits and to open classical music to a younger audience.
After early successes at competitions and his debut as a 21-year-old with the Berlin Philharmonic under Semyon Bychkov he started his career seventeen years ago, which led him in the meanwhile to more than 160 different orchestras worldwide, among which you’ll find most or the top European and American orchestras led by conductors such as Kurt Masur, Christoph von Dohnányi, Christoph Eschenbach, Sir Neville Marriner, Marek Janowski, Sir Colin Davis, Leonard Slatkin, Fabio Luisi, Sakari Oramo, Paavo und Neeme Järvi.
In the past two years he had his debuts with the Philadelphia Orchestra (J.Conlon), Boston Symphony, National Symphony and NDR Hamburg (all under C.v.Dohnanyi), San Francisco Symphony (M.Tilson-Thomas), Los Angeles Philharmonic at Hollywood Bowl and Disney Hall (Y.Kreizberg and Aboreyko) and Cleveland Orchestra (M.Hardt-Bedoya).
He will perform in the near future among many other engagements with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Christian Thielemann (Schumann), the Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio with Lisa Batiashvili (H.Graf/Brahms Double), Gewandhaus Leipzig (D.Kitaenko), the BBC Symphony (John Adams/Britten Cellosymphony), Orchestre Suisse Romande, KBS Seoul (C.P.Flor) and Toronto Symphony (P.Oundijan).
Alban Gerhardt‘s repertoire is extensive. He played already more than 50 different cello concerti, among them some new discoveries. His collaboration with composers like Unsuk Chin, Peteris Vasks, Brett Dean, Jörg Widmann, Osvaldo Golijov, Mathias Hinke and Matthias Pintscher demonstrate his interest in enlarging the cello repertoire. He is looking forward to premiering the cello concerto by Unsuk Chin in August 2008 with the Scottish BBC under Ilan Volkov.
Chamber music plays in spite of his intensive soloistic occupation an important role in his life: at international festivals like the „Proms“ in London and the Edinburgh Festival, in prestigious halls like the Wigmore Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, Suntory Hall Tokyo and the Chatelet Paris he plays regularly with colleagues such as Steven Osborne, Cecile Licad, Lars Vogt, Christian Tetzlaff, Lisa Batiashvili, Julia Fischer, Tabea Zimmermann and Emmanuel Pahud.
His cd's have been highly acclaimed and in 1998 and 2003 he was awarded with the ECHO Classic Award. His first recording for the distinguished British label Hyperion with whom he entered a long-term relationship features concertos by Enescu, Dohnanyi and d‘Albert and won the Midem Classic Award 06 in Cannes, followed by a recital cd with Steven Osborne (works by Schnittke and Shostakovich). Recently released has been the second volume of the “Romantic Cello Concertos” with concertos by Schumann, Gernsheim, Dietrich and Volkmann (Radiosymphonieorchester Berlin under Hannu Lintu). Before he had already recorded on EMI, Harmonia Mundi, Chandos and the BBC Music Magazine concertos by Dvorak, Barber, Berkeley, Brahms, Bridge, Jacobi, Rubinstein as well as several recital cd‘s.
Alban Gerhardt‘s most important teachers were Boris Pergamenschikow, Markus Nyikos and Frans Helmerson.
"Mr. Gerhardt's cello playing is bold, technically resourceful and rhythmically incisive."
—The New York Times
"[Gerhardt] is a remarkable musician and thinker, absolutely at home in the most strenuous modern scores."
"And once he started in on the Dvorak, mouths dropped... There was such force and feeling in that opening improvisatory flourish [Dvorak Cello Concerto]."
—The Times (London)
"Cellist Alban Gerhardt has shown himself an intelligent artist with an enviable technique and a flair for contemporary music."
—Chicago Tribune (Chicago Symphony Orchestra)
"Mr. Gerhardt...is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant cellists of his generation."
—Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati Symphony)
"... Alban Gerhardt ... won more applause than anyone later in the evening when he played Kodaly's colossal Sonata for Solo Cello, a deeply serious yet virtuoso work that somehow seems timeless."
—The Independent, 5 January 2000
"...some exceptionally high-fibre playing by Alban Gerhardt in Kodaly's virtuoso Cello Sonata."
—The Times, 2 January 2000
"There were several top-class performances and one great one. That was Berliner Alban Gerhardt's account of Kodaly's rarely-heard Solo Cello Sonata of 1915, which is a long and eloquent exploration of everything a cello could do in those innocent years towards the end of the last millennium. Gerhardt displayed breathtaking dexterity all over the fingerboard. His instrument sang with a cast list of voices. Stopping the strings near the bridge, the cello squealed like a peacock tutored in the art of bel canto. The work is as proud and unapologetic as plumage, and the memory of Gerhardt's vivid, imperious, mesmeric and full-frontal rendition of it will last."
—Evening Standard, 4 January 2000
"CELESTIAL PERFORMANCE LEAVES AUDIENCE IN HEAVEN. And just when you thought the evening couldn't get any better it did with a simply breathtaking performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto in E minor, featuring soloist Alban Gerhardt. The German cellist had the audience under his spell during the deep moving and powerful masterpiece, its most delicate and rigorous movements were played effortlessly, but that is not to say without emotion. He oozed passion."
—Express and Star, 6 Feb 2003 (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Oramo: Elgar Cello Concerto)
"But the highlight of Friday's programme brought us more Tchaikovsky, the Rococco Variations for cello and orchestra this time with 27-year old Alban Gerhardt as soloist. Now here's someone really special, an accomplished virtuoso with a vibrant tone, a genuine feeling for line, a mean staccato bow and a welcome sense of musical humour. Gerhardt's Rococcos had agility, wit and repose and I fancy that we will be hearing a good deal more of him during the coming years."
—The Independent, 22 April 1998 (London Philharmonic Orchestra:Tchaikovsky Rococco Variations/Royal Festival Hall)
"...a highly refined soloist, who has all the skills of a virtuoso. The audience was able to enjoy a gripping performance of Tchaikovsky's Rococco Variations, and they shared appreciation with the members of the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra who applauded their young soloist enthusiastically."
—Berliner Morgenpost (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra: Tchaikovsky Rococco Variations