Gérard Korsten, conductor
Photo Credit: Benjamin Ealovega
The appointment of renowned conductor Gérard Korsten to lead the InterHarmony Festival Orchestra in Session II adds a special dimension to its orchestral program at the InterHarmony® International Music Festival. As a violinist himself who held principal positions in top orchestras, it creates the most rare opportunity for students to work under tutelage of musician who understands every little detail of orchestral playing at the highest level. This summer Maestro Korsten will conduct Dvorak’s Cello Concerto with soloist Misha Quint, Brahm’s enigmatic Hungarian Dances, and Brahm’s Nanie.
Principal Conductor of Austria’s Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg Bregenz, Gérard Korsten is also in demand as a guest conductor for appearances with major theatres and orchestras in Europe, Asia, Australia and South Africa. Recent engagements include: Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Camerata Salzburg, Adelaide Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, Haydn Philharmonie, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Latvian National Symphony, Orchestra Padova e Veneto, Scottish and Swedish Chamber Orchestras, SWR Sinfonieorchester Freiburg and Yomiuri Nippon Orchestra, La Scala in Milan.
Gérard Korsten Biography
Principal Conductor of Austria’s Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg Bregenz since 2005, Gérard Korsten is also in demand as a guest conductor for appearances with theatres and orchestras in Europe, Asia, Australia and South Africa. He has served as Principal Conductor of the London Mozart Players, the South African State Theatre in Pretoria and the Uppsala Chamber Orchestra in Sweden, and from 1999 to 2005 was Music Director of the Orchestra del Teatro Lirico di Cagliari in Sardinia.
Born in Pretoria, Gérard Korsten began his career as an orchestral violinist. After studies with Ivan Galamian at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia he went to Salzburg, where he trained with Sándor Végh, becoming concertmaster and then Assistant Music Director of Camerata Salzburg, of which Végh was Principal Conductor. In 1987 Korsten joined the Chamber Orchestra of Europe as its concertmaster; over his nine years with the ensemble he built close working relationships with such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Heinz Holliger.
Since 1996 he has dedicated his career to conducting, appearing regularly with such orchestras as the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Camerata Salzburg, Adelaide Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Haydn Philharmonie, Helsingborg Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Latvian National Symphony, Musikkollegium Winterthur, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Orchestra Padova e Veneto, Orquesta Sinfónica de Cartagena, Scottish and Swedish Chamber Orchestras, SWR Sinfonieorchester Freiburg and Yomiuri Nippon Orchestra.
In the 2017/18 season Gérard Korsten makes his debut with the Orquesta Filharmónica de Gran Canaria and returns to the Gavle Symphony Orchestra, Györ Philharmonic Orchestra, Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra Pécs as well as to the Uppsala Chamber Orchestra. With the Orchestra del Teatro Lirico di Cagliari he will perform the opera productions of Carmen and Il barbiere di Siviglia this season. His operatic appearances to date have included: Teatro alla Scala, Milan (Le nozze di Figaro); Opéra National de Lyon (Ariadne auf Naxos, Idomeneo, La traviata, Siegfried, La Veuve joyeuse and Henze’s L'Upupa); Bregenz Festival (Simon Laks’ L’Hirondelle inattendue, Die Zauberflöte, Le Rossignol, Der Schauspieldirektor); Deutsche Oper Berlin (La traviata); English National Opera (Aida); Glyndebourne Festival (Così fan tutte, Albert Herring); Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Così fan tutte); Teatro Lirico Verdi Trieste (Don Pasquale and La Fille du régiment); Teatro Regio di Parma (La sonnambula); Netherlands Opera (Così fan tutte); Vlaamse Opera (Idomeneo); New National Theatre, Tokyo (Tosca); Royal Opera Stockholm (Don Giovanni); Hungarian State Opera (Don Pasquale) and Cape Town Opera (Le nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, Die Fledermaus, Ariadne auf Naxos, Rigoletto, Turandot, Salome, Peter Grimes).
Over his time as Music Director in Cagliari, he conducted the Italian premieres of Richard Strauss’ Die ägyptische Helena, Weber’s Euryanthe, Delius’ A Village Romeo and Juliet and Schubert’s Alfonso und Estrella, while also taking charge of such essential repertoire as Don Giovanni, Die Zauberflöte, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Pasquale, La Traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor, Aida, Tosca, Carmen, Die Fledermaus and recently Un ballo in maschera.
Gérald Korsten’s Arthaus DVD of Le nozze di Figaro, recorded at La Scala with a cast led by Diana Damrau and Ildebrando d’Arcangelo, was awarded a Diapason D’Or in France and designated Critic’s Choice by US magazine Opera News. His other recordings include Tchaikovsky’s Serenade and Souvenir de Florence with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (Deutsche Grammophon), orchestral works by Crusell, Lindblad and Eggert (Naxos), La Veuve joyeuse (DVD, Erato) and a number of live recordings with the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari: Die ägyptische Helena, Euryanthe and Lucia di Lammermoor on CD (Dynamic) and, on DVD, Alfonso und Estrella (Dynamic) and Don Pasquale (Arthaus).
Gérard Korsten has two daughters and lives in both Zurich and Arezzo (Tuscany) with his wife, Italian soprano Eva Mei.