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Conductor:

Under Benjamin Gordon’s watchful eye the contrasting characters of the vigorous and taut Scherzo and the glorious and heroic third movement were distinctfully and thoroughly sculpted. The dynamic nuances essential for Beethoven’s consolidation of the motivic material came off especially well. The listener pratically had goose bumps during the monumental Finale with its heroic and hymnal Ode to Joy. (Gerd Klingeberg, Weser Kurier, 12.13.12)

Das Orchester der Musikfreunde Bremen has found a veritable magician in conductor Benjamin Gordon. The musicians react to even the most delicate hand movements; the listener relishes in the crescendos and colors unleashed by his sweeping arm movements. (Itta Jakob, Nordwest-Zeitung, 09.28.10)

…leaving room for Britten’s highly atmospheric music, which in the hands of Benjamin Gordon and the Conservatory orchestra is unquestionably best served. (The Rape of Lucretia / Hamburg / Die Welt)

opera piccola:

Benjamin Gordon held sway over the musical events so succinctly, that no one ever broke character, even when the singers were unable to see the conductor: an incredible accomplishment. And what luck for the young audience, to experience the thrill of opera live and to be enraptured by the synergy of the images with the singers and the music. (Eloise / Staatsoper Hamburg / Hans-Juergen Fink, Hamburger Abendblatt, 05.02.13)

Schubert-Lieder:

This adaptation is much more than a simple arrangement; it not only expands the sound of the Lieder, it also extends the range of their emotiveness. The classical scoring transports the Lieder to a different expressive realm, sometimes resembling Brahms, at other times Mahler. (Six Wanderer-Lieder for Tenor and Orchestra / Günther Matysiak, Weser Kurier, 09.28.10)

The concert began much more intimately, but no less enthralling. Benjamin Gordon rewrote the original piano accompaniment for orchestra, the effectiveness of which was confirmed by the understated yet sensitive performance. (Five Liebeslieder for Soprano and Orchestra / Bremen / Gerd Klingeberg, Weser Kurier, 12.13.12)

March 10, 2013
Robert Schumann
Genoveva Overture
Piano Concerto Op. 54
Sympony No. 3 Op. 97 Rhenish
Soloist: Julian Gorus, Piano

November 11, 2012
Franz Schubert (arr. Gordon)
Five Goethe-Lieder for Soprano and Orchestra
Rastlose Liebe – Ganymed – Suleika II –
Nähe des Geliebten – Suleika I

Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125
Hélène Lindqvist, Soprano
Susanne Sommer, Mezzosoprano
Chris Lysack, Tenor
Lars Grünwoldt, Baritone
Brahms-Chor an der Hochschule Bremen

October 7, 2013
Alexander Borodin
In the Steppes of Central Asia
Georges Bizet
Symphony No. 1 in C major
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op.18
Soloist: Julian Gorus, Piano

May 20, 2013
Franz Schubert
Die Zauberharfe Overture
Frederic Chopin
Piano Concerto No. 1 in F minor, op. 21
Antonin Dvořák
The Water Goblin
Mieczyslaw Weinberg
Sinfonietta Nr. 1, op.46
Soloist: Martin Schumann, Piano

March 11, 2012
Gioacchino Rossini
William Tell Overture
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64
Jean Sibelius
Symphony No. 5, Op. 82
Soloist: Oleg Douliba, Violin

November 20, 2011
Franz Schubert
Symphony No. 9 in C major, D 944 The Great
Robert Schumann
Concerto-Allegro with Introduction for Piano and Orchester Op. 134
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op.18
Soloist: Julian Gorus, Piano

March 27, 2011
Engelbert Humperdinck
Prelude to Hänsel und Gretel
Johannes Brahms
Double Concerto for Violin and Violoncello in A minor, Op. 102
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Scheherazade, Op.35
Oleg Douliba, Violin
Johannes Krebs, Violoncello

November 14, 2010
Richard Wagner
Tristan und Isolde Prelude
Richard Strauss
Vier letzte Lieder
Soloist: Hélène Lindqvist, Soprano
Antonin Dvořák
Symphony No. 9 in E minor From the New World

22. August 2010
John Ireland
Toccata from Concertino Pastorale
Guillaume Lekeu
Adagio for Trio and String Orchestra
Franz Schubert (arranged by Benjamin Gordon)
Five Rellstab Lieder for Tenor and Orchestra
Soloist: Michael Smallwood
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Symphony No. 40 G minor, KV. 550

28. Februar 2010
Johannes Brahms
Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15
Pjotr Iljitsch Tchaikovsky
Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64
Bernhard Fograscher, Piano

15. November 2009
Antonin Dvořák
Cello Concerto in B minor. Op. 104
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 55 Eroica
Johannes Krebs, Violoncello

Benjamin Gordon is known for leading electrifying performances, whether in front of professional, amateur or student ensembles. He is the musical director of children’s operas at the Staatsoper Hamburg. Now in its thirteenth season, opera piccola has broken new ground by presenting operas to thousands of young people, performed by their peers under the motto “opera for children, opera by children.” In 2014 he conducts the world premiere of Zwerg Nase by Samuel Hogarth.

From 2009 to 2013, Benjamin Gordon was the artistic director and conductor of the Orchester der Musikfreunde Bremen. In four seasons, he transformed the orchestra’s profile, vastly expanding the orchestra’s repertoire as well as raising its artistic and technical proficiency. With his illuminating concert lectures and exhilarating performances, he garnered praise from audiences and critics alike.

An accomplished cellist, he began conducting while still a student at the University of California, Berkeley, initiating several cross-disciplinary projects with orchestra, including a reinterpretation of Manuel de Falla’s Ballet El amor brujo with modern dance. While completing his conducting studies at the Yale School of Music, he took part in master classes with Pierre Boulez, Zdenek Macal, George Manahan and Kurt Masur. At Yale he began coaching singers and conducting opera, leading Le Nozze di Figaro for the Yale College Opera.

In 2002 he was invited to conduct The Rape of Lucretia at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg and was granted a fellowship to attend the Bayreuther Festspiele in 2003. He received the Eötvös Prize in 2005, which enabled him to take part in the conducting masterclasses with Zoltán Peskó at the International Bartók Festival in Szombathely, Hungary. He returned to Szombathely in 2007 to conduct Duke Bluebeard’s Castle in concert.

He is also a composer and arranger. He has arranged three cycles of Schubert Lieder for Baritone, Tenor and Soprano respectively and orchestra. He has arranged works by George Gershwin, Karl Jenkins and Judith Weir for the Staatsoper Hamburg. A close collaboration with Italian composer Pierangelo Valtinoni has resulted in his creating new English versions of his operas Pinocchio and The Snow QueenHe is currently composing a new children’s opera with Librettist Francis Hüsers for a 2015 premiere at the Staatsoper Hamburg.

In his work with opera piccola Benjamin Gordon demonstrates time and time again an infallible instinct for the right approach with young people: his didactic talents always find ways to unleash the their full artistic potential.

Simone Young, Artistic Director and Chief Conductor, Staatsoper Hamburg