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François-Xavier Roth (born Paris, 1971) is one of today’s most charismatic and enterprising conductors. He has been General Music Director of the City of Cologne since 2015, leading both the Gürzenich Orchestra and the Opera. He is Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and the first-ever Associate Artist of the Philharmonie de Paris.
With a reputation for inventive programming, his incisive approach and inspiring leadership are valued around the world. He is working with leading orchestras including the Staatskapelle Berlin, Royal Concertgebouw, Boston Symphony, Munich Philharmonic and Zurich Tonhalle. In 2018-19, he makes a return to the Berlin Philharmonic and appears with the San Francisco Symphony, Cleveland, Montreal Symphony and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestras.
In 2003, he founded Les Siècles, an innovative orchestra performing contrasting and colourful programmes on modern and period instruments, often within the same concert. With Les Siècles, he has given concerts throughout Europe and toured to China and Japan. They recreated the original sound of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring in its centenary year and, subsequently, with the Pina Bausch and Dominique Brun dance companies in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai and Tokyo. Les Siècles was nominated for Gramophone Magazine’s first Orchestra of the Year Award.
After the success of their explorations of Post-Romanticism and Debussy in his centenary year, concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra in November and March feature a typically wide-range of works, from Haydn through Strauss, Bartók and Scriabin and, in the latest of his LSO Futures series, to the current sound world of Philippe Manoury, with the UK premiere of Ring.
In his fourth Cologne opera season, he leads new productions of Strauss’ Salome and Offenbach’s La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, which marks the bicentenary of the composer’s birth in Cologne. With the Gürzenich Orchestra, he will feature Rhenish composer, Schumann, and explore works which disrupt traditional orchestral forms and think them anew. He continues a focus on the composer Philippe Manoury, with the premiere of Lab.Oratorium, the third of the trilogy of works commissioned by the orchestra, which will also be played in Hamburg and Paris. He will take the orchestra on tour to Turin, Zürich and Vienna, performing Mahler’s fifth symphony.
He recorded the complete tone poems of Richard Strauss while Principal Conductor of the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden & Freiburg (2011-2016). His recordings of the Stravinsky ballets, The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring with Les Siècles have also been widely acclaimed; the latter being awarded a German Record Critics’ Prize. They are currently recording a complete Ravel cycle for Harmonia Mundi. The first release, Daphnis and Chloé, won the Gramophone Awards Orchestral Album of the Year and was a Gramophone magazine Editor’s Choice and CD of the month in Rondo Magazine. The second album, including Ma mère l’Oye, won a Diapason d’Or on its release in March 2018. Mirages, a vocal recital with Sabine Devieilhe for Erato, won a Diapason d’Or and was Victoires de la Musique Classique Recording of the Year, a Gramophone Editor’s Choice and Sunday Times Album of the Week. His first recording with the Gürzenich Orchestra, Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, premiered in Cologne by the orchestra under Mahler in 1904, was released in December 2017 to enthusiastic reviews. Engagement with new audiences is an essential part of François-Xavier Roth’s work. With the Festival Berlioz and Les Siècles, he founded the Jeune Orchestre Européen Hector Berlioz, a unique orchestra-academy with its own collection of period instruments. Roth and Les Siècles devised Presto!, a television series for France 2, attracting weekly audiences of over three million. The Gürzenich Orchestra’s Ohrenauf! youth programme was recipient of a Junge Ohren Produktion Award. A tireless champion of contemporary music, he has been conductor of the ground-breaking LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme since its outset in 2005. Roth has premiered works by Yann Robin, Georg-Friedrich Haas, Hèctor Parra and Simon Steen-Anderson and collaborated with composers like Pierre Boulez, Wolfgang Rihm, Jörg Widmann and Helmut Lachenmann.
For his achievements as musician, conductor, music director and teacher, François-Xavier Roth was last year created a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur.
François-Xavier Roth, conductor
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Widely acclaimed as a key figure in the music of our time and as
a uniquely significant interpreter of piano repertoire from every
age, Pierre-Laurent Aimard enjoys an internationally celebrated
He performs throughout the world each season with major
orchestras under conductors including Christoph von Dohnányi
Gustavo Dudamel, Peter Eötvös, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Sir Simon
Rattle and Esa-Pekka Salonen. He has been invited to create, direct
and perform in a number of residencies, with recent projects
including at Carnegie Hall, New York's Lincoln Center, Vienna's
Konzerthaus, Berlin's Philharmonie, the Lucerne Festival, Mozarteum
Salzburg, Edinburgh Festival, Cité de la Musique in Paris, the
Tanglewood Festival and London's Southbank Centre - where he was
Artistic Advisor to the 'Exquisite Labyrinth' festival celebrating
the music of Pierre Boulez. Aimard is also the Artistic Director of
the prestigious and historic Aldeburgh Festival. Commenting on his
directorship, the Guardian wrote: "Aimard has ensured that
the provincialism Britten himself dreaded has no place here…it
reassures music-lovers in search of seriousness and quality."
Current and future highlights include solo recitals in London,
New York, Chicago, Paris Tokyo, Vienna, Beijing and Amsterdam and
concerto appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, London
Philharmonic and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin,.
He also regularly directs concerts from the keyboard with the
Chamber Orchestra of Europe. In Autumn 2014 he will join the
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich to give the world
premiere of a Piano Concerto by Harrison Birtwistle, with further
performances in Porto, London and Boston and in Spring 2015 he will
undertake a recital tour with Tamara Stefanovich, playing all of
Boulez's completed works for piano in celebration of the composer's
Born in Lyon in 1957, Pierre-Laurent Aimard studied at the Paris
Conservatoire with Yvonne Loriod and in London with Maria Curcio.
Early career landmarks included winning first prize in the 1973
Messiaen Competition at the age of 16 and being appointed three
years later, by Pierre Boulez, to become the Ensemble
intercontemporain's first solo pianist.
Aimard has had close collaborations with many leading composers
including Kurtag, Stockhausen, Elliott Carter, Pierre Boulez and
George Benjamin and had a long association with György Ligeti,
recording his complete works for piano. Most recently he
performed the world premiere of Tristan Murail's Piano Concerto as
well as Carter's last piece: Epigrams for piano, cello and
violin, which was written for Pierre-Laurent and premiered at the
Aldeburgh Festival in June 2013. Through professorships at
the Hochschule Köln and Conservatoire de Paris, as well as
numerous series of concert lectures and workshops worldwide, he
sheds an inspiring and very personal light on music of all periods.
During 2009 Aimard was invited to give a series of classes and
seminars at the College de France, Paris. He was the recipient of
the Royal Philharmonic Society's Instrumentalist Award in spring
2005 and was named "Instrumentalist of the Year" by Musical America
Pierre-Laurent now records exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon.
His first DG release, Bach's Art of Fugue, received both
the Diapason d'Or and Choc du Monde de la Musique awards, debuted
at No.1 on Billboard's classical chart and topped iTunes' classical
album download chart. In recent years Pierre-Laurent has been
honoured with ECHO Classik Awards, most recently in 2009 for his
recording of solo piano pieces, 'Hommage à Messiaen' and was also
presented with Germany's Schallplattenkritik Honorary Prize the
same year. His recording of Ives' Concord Sonata and Songs
received a Grammy award in 2005. His highly successful 2011
release, 'The Liszt Project' featuring the music of Liszt alongside
Berg, Bartok, Ravel, Scriabin and Messiaen, was followed by a
recording of Debussy's Préludes in 2012, the composer's
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano