About Alban Gerhardt
The German cellist Alban Gerhardt has been known for his commitment to unusual repertory and to presenting classical music in unorthodox ways. He has, for instance, been involved in a partnership with Deutsche Bahn, Germany's national railway, wherein he performs live on major German train routes.
Gerhardt was born May 25, 1969, in Berlin. His father was a Berlin Philharmonic violinist, his mother a soprano. Gerhardt studied both cello and piano as a child, taking lessons with various Berlin Philharmonic musicians and other prominent teachers, including the Russian émigré Boris Pergamenschikov. His biographical materials, however, do not mention conservatory studies. Gerhardt performed Haydn's Cello Concerto No. 2 in D major at the Berlin Philharmonie concert hall in 1987, when he was 17, and made his formal debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1991. He won a series of major competitions in the 1990s, including the Leonard Rose Competition in 1993, and from 1999 to 2001 he was a BBC New Generation Artist. This brought plenty of top-notch concerto collaborations his way, with such ensembles as the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, and the Chicago Symphony. As a recitalist, he has performed at the Phillips Collection Museum in Washington, D.C., Wigmore Hall in London, and the Shanghai Concert Hall.
Increasingly, however, Gerhardt has used his growing fame to explore and promote new repertory rather than to emphasize the standard set of cello concertos and chamber music. He commissioned a Cello Concerto from Berlin-based Korean composer Unsuk Chin and performed it at the BBC Proms. Gerhardt has also collaborated with other contemporary composers, including Jörg Widmann, Thomas Larcher, and Brett Dean. In the 2019 season, he collaborated with a violinist, a sculptor, and a choreographer on a multimedia work, Love in Fragments. Gerhardt has been adamant about reaching new audiences for classical music. In addition to his Deutsche Bahn performances, he has performed in other unorthodox venues including hospitals, schools, and even correctional institutions.
Gerhardt has recorded for various labels but mostly for Hyperion since 2005. In 2019, he released a recording of Bach's complete Suites for solo cello. ~ James Manheim