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Classical repertoire – from Bach to Schoenberg – comes just as naturally to Michael Wendeberg as his passion for new music. Since 2011 he has held the musical directorship of the Ensemble Contrechamps in Geneva; in 2016, he also took up the position of “Erste Kapellmeister” at the Halle Opera.
Michael Wendeberg has conducted renowned orchestras and ensembles including the Staatskapelle Berlin, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra Ljubljana, Klangforum Wien, Remix Ensemble Porto, Musikfabrik Cologne and the Basel Sinfonietta. He has made guest appearances at the Lucerne Festival, Munich Biennale, Bregenz Festival, Venice Biennale, Eclat Festival Stuttgart and Klangspuren Schwaz, as well as at Wien Modern and Musica de hoy Madrid. He recently made his debut with the WDR Symphony Orchestra, the Ensemble Modern and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra at the Beethovenfest Bonn. He also returned to the Staatsoper Berlin for the revival of The Magic Flute and a new production of Aribert Reimann’s Gespenstersonate in summer 2017.
Michael Wendeberg studied conducting in Toshiyuki Kamioka’s masterclass in Saarbrücken, and piano with Markus Stange, Bernd Glemser and Benedetto Lupo. During this time he worked as Toshiyuki Kamioka’s assistant at the Wuppertaler Bühnen. After graduating Michael Wendeberg held positions at the Nationaltheater Mannheim and the Staatsoper Berlin, where he assisted Daniel Barenboim and guest conductors such as Pierre Boulez and Sir Simon Rattle, and was principal conductor at the Lucerne Theater.
His opera repertoire includes Bizet’s Carmen; Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Handel’s Orlando; Mozart’s ZaideClemenza di Tito and The Magic Flute; Verdi’s La Traviata and Il Trovatore; Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and Don Pasquale; Rossini’s La Scala di Seta and La Cenerentola; Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel; Ponchielli’s La Gioconda; Bernstein’s West Side Story; and Puccini’s La Bohéme and Tosca.
Michael Wendeberg gained national recognition early on in his career in 2006 with Michael Nyman’s The man who mistook his wife for a hat in Wuppertal, as well as the world premiere of Enno Poppe’s ArbeitNahrungWohnung in a production by Anna Viebrock in 2008 at the Munich Biennale, and Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s Des Simplicius Simplicissimus Jugend, staged by the director Thomas Fiedler in Zurich in 2010. In 2016 he led the world premiere of Sidney Corbett’s opera Die Andere at the Magdeburg Theatre.
As a pianist, Michael Wendeberg has won several national and international piano competitions and performed as a soloist at renowned festivals and with prestigious orchestras under conductors such as Jonathan Nott, Marek Janowski and Daniel Barenboim. From 2000 until 2005 he was a member of the Ensemble intercontemporain and worked intensively with Pierre Boulez. He performed Pierre Boulez’s complete works for piano as part of the late composer’s 90th birthday celebrations at the Staatsoper Berlin in 2015.
In the 2017/18 season, Michael Wendeberg will return to lead the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra Ljubljana, the Ensemble Modern and the WDR Symphony Orchestra as well as making his debut with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Kölner Philharmonie.
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Michael Wendeberg not only led the Staatskapelle with arresting precision, but also co-ordinated a complex mass of sound which contained a whole palette of sound beyond that of a standard classical orchestra; squeaks, rustles, a piece of styrofoam for a string instrument, and a whole host of electronics. The musicians are no strangers to new sounds, and confidently proved themselves to be true all-rounders.
Die Deutsche Bühne, Joachim Lange, 06/03/2017
The Sinfonietta Basel drew attention to the music with precision and, where the composer intended it, thrilling intensity. Guest conductor Michael Wendeberg led the musicians with a springy beat, making numerous light and haunting moments possible.
Die Oberbadische, Willi Vogel 09/03/2015
Pölzgutter pays minute attention to the gestures and emotions that depict the music. The conductor Michael Wendeberg presents the music in detail with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra with emphasis. The most beautiful sounds come out of the orchestra pit, the orchestra listens and thinks with him.
NZZ, Alfred Zimmerlin, 29/04/2014
This is when one can really see what an alert conductor is capable of. The Lucerne Symphony Orchestra under Michael Wendeberg’s direction is on top-form, playing crisply, springily, nimbly and colourfully. This is what makes Donizetti’s music, which is not free from sentimentality, fun; the impetus from the orchestra pit carries what is happening onstage with authority.
www.kulturteil.ch, Peter Bitterli, 27/04/2014 (on “Don Pasquale” in Lucerne)
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