The concert weekend at the landestheater offers a reunion with coburg for the young conductor moritz gnann. The 37-year-old is one of three GMD candidates vying to succeed roland kluttig as general music director. For half a season, gnann was already acting first conductor at the landestheater in the 2012/2013 season, after a change of personnel at short notice. Since then, he has gained diverse experience with a number of renowned orchestras. At the symphony concert on sunday and monday, he conducts works by martinu, stravinsky and mendelssohn. He will also conduct the concertino on saturday.
How do you experience your reunion with the philharmonic orchestra after seven years??
Moritz gnann: there are many new colleagues in the orchestra, the orchestra as a whole has become a bit younger on average, there is a good energy, a rough potential. I recently went to see a performance of "rheingold" I was in the "bat" on wednesday – that was very gratifying from my point of view.
What attracted you to apply for the position of general music director in coburg from autumn 2020??
I like to work on a regular basis with a body of sound and an ensemble. I would very much like to be part of a long term development. Because when you work as a guest conductor with an orchestra – no matter in which country, at which level: you always have only one week – and that is little time. There are many questions that remain unanswered.
In the advertisement for the GMD position, the residency requirement is mentioned. At the same time, the future general music director should be given the opportunity to give guest performances. How can you find the right balance for this topic??
It is of course important that the GMD does his work on the spot. This is especially important in the beginning for the collaboration with the orchestra and the ensemble, so that you develop a common language. But it’s good for the ensemble and the orchestra that a GMD is also a guest conductor, if the GMD also brings influences from elsewhere. I am currently working a lot in great britain, where the culture of playing is different. You start at a very high level at the first rehearsal, but after that the process until the concert is very challenging.
Where do you see the focus of your repertoire?
We are now looking at the beethoven year – for me a very, very important composer. I have studied richard wagner a lot in the last few years. Wagner has absorbed so many influences – from mendelssohn, from schumann, from weber. This german romanticism is very close to my heart, also brahms of course. But it is also very important to me that contemporary pieces are presented to the audience. Of course you should not do that too much – a concert should always be balanced. But of course it is refreshing to experience what is being composed today. I had a great experience in boston – the boston symphony orchestra very often commissioned young, mainly american composers to write music for them. The audience was also often very enthusiastic about it. This is often very interesting especially for young audiences. In opera, besides richard wagner and richard strauss, there is also giuseppe verdi, whom i love very much. I love puccini, I also like french opera – there is so much to choose from.
Why did you become a conductor?
I got involved with a brass band by chance, I got into this field and finally I applied to a conservatory, after having tried other study fields before.
What makes a good conductor?
The most important thing is to bring the piece you are conducting to life – that you manage to animate the music. Also the rehearsal ergonomics is very important for a conductor.
At the symphony concerts on sunday and monday, you will conduct works by stravinsky and mendelssohn. How does this program fit together?
There is already a common thread. Bohuslav martinu with his piece "les fresques de piero dela francesca" shows a colorful mix of styles with czech folk music, with french music and with the influence of igor stravinsky, who was a great source of inspiration for martinu. Stravinsky’s violin concerto, which follows, is one of the important, the rough violin concertos of the 20th century. The opera is a neoclassical piece from the early twentieth century, which is actually quite chamber music-like, although it is roughly scored. The arc to the "italian symphony mendelssohn’s "frescoes" hit the spot by martinu who, on the advice of a friend, went to arezzo to see the frescoes of piero della francesca.
The acoustic conditions in the landestheater are considered delicate in the concert field. How do you prepare for the weekend concerts from this point of view??
For me, this will certainly be a special challenge, because I don’t know the acoustic conditions in the concert hall at all. The musicians have already told me: I have to be a little careful not to "underexpose" the woodwinds sound.
What do you expect from the concertino on saturday?
I find this format very interesting – that the conductor has the opportunity to explain something about the pieces. I decided to let the martinu play and say something about this stucco. After that there is the "italian by mendelssohn.
In the advertisement for the GMD position, the theme of music education was explicitly mentioned. What experience have you already gained in this area??
So far, my experience with this has been very good. It’s also about getting people into the concert who might otherwise not come easily because there are inhibition thresholds. For me, it is important to have a dialogue with the audience,. I am in any case open to requests and suggestions. For a vital theater, it is very important to maintain a dialog.
What is your general view of the ageing of the classical music audience?? What can be done against this ageing??
I was not talking about aging at all. Old people have always been the ones most likely to have the time and energy to go to concerts and operas. It is important to offer formats that are also specifically designed to appeal to a younger audience. The aspect of moderation is particularly important here. I have just done a program in karlsruhe with a school class in which we performed dvorak’s 8th symphony. Symphony taken apart. Then there was a concert, which was presented by the young people.
What memories do you have of the coburg audience??
The audience is very enthusiastic, has come with curiosity and open ears to the concert and the opera. The audience was very happy when their coburg artists gave a great performance, a great show. I remember coburg as a very positive environment.
And coburg as a city?
Coburg is a beautiful town, but I still had to get to know it. I am now looking forward to the concerts with the orchestra and am very excited about the concertino on saturday.
This is how the coburg GMD search continues
Concert tip as the third GMD candidate, moritz knapp introduces himself as concert conductor at the landestheater coburg: saturday, 14. December, 11 a.M. – concertino; sunday, 15. December, 6 p.M., monday, 16. December, 8 p.M.: 3. Symphony concert – works by martinu, stravinsky and mendelssohn; soloist: martin emmerich (violin); philharmonic orchestra, conductor: moritz gnann selection a total of three candidates are up for selection to succeed roland kluttig as general music director at the landeestheater coburg. The final decision after the rehearsals will be made, according to intendant bernhard F. Loges expected to fall between mid and end of january. Harish shankar studied piano at the lubeck music academy. He completed his conducting studies at the hochschule fur musik franz liszt in weimar in the class of gunter kahlert. He received artistic impulses in master classes with parvo jarvi and nicolas pasquet, for example. Daniel carter has been kapellmeister at the deutsche oper berlin since the 2019/2020 season and was previously first kapellmeister at the theater in freiburg from the 2015/2016 season to the 2018/2019 season. He studied composition and piano at the university of melbourne. Moritz gnann was assistant conductor with the boston symphony orchestra until 2018, with whom he debuted at the tanglewood music festival in 2016. Gnann is a regular guest at the semperoper dresden. As a guest conductor, gnann is closely associated with the deutsche oper berlin.