Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen
Founded in 1945, the Württembergische Philharmonie has become an internationally recognized orchestra, and officially represents the state of Baden-Württemberg. Since the 2008/2009 season, Swedish conductor Ola Rudner is Music Director of the Württembergische Philharmonie. Formerly artistic director, Japanese conductor Norichika Iimori continues his tenure as the orchestra’s guest conductor.
On its numerous tours the ensemble has earned an ever-growing international reputation. Highlighting recent years was the orchestra’s three-week tour through Japan in 2006, officially representing the cultural life of Baden-Württemberg. In the same year, the Württembergische Philharmonie performed its highly praised début at the Musicvereinssaal in Vienna. In 2007 the orchestra played two concerts at the Gustav Mahler Music Weeks in Toblach and Brixen, South Tyrol, the following year it made guest appearances at the Großes Festspielhaus in Salzburg and the Konzerthaus in Dortmund. With Ola Rudner conducting, the Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen toured Hungary and Austria and returned as guests to Vienna’s Musicvereinssaal. The orchestra was invited to the Ravello Festival in Italy and the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden in 2009. Touring Spain with Ola Rudner marked the 2010/11 agenda, as well as a Switzerland tour with Thomas Hamspon and guest performances at the Vienna Musicverein, the Beethoven Festival in Warsaw, and in Dortmund and Wiesbaden. Soon to follow are guest appearances with the Hamburg Ballet (John Neumeier) at the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus (2011 and 2012) as well as four concerts in New Delhi and Mumbai celebrating the “German Year” (2012).
In the past, the ensemble’s gala concerts and tours have been notably well received by the public: they featured Edita Gruberova, José Carreras, Ruggero Raimondi, Vesselina Kasarova, Neil Shicoff, Peter Seiffert, Agnes Baltsa and Ramón Vargas. The Württembergische Philharmonie has also given highly successful performances in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, at the Rotterdam Opera Festival and in Rome, at the Cologne and Berlin Philharmonic Halls, the Herkulessaal in Munich, at the Zurich Tonhalle as well as at the Sala Verdi of Milano and the Kultur und Kongresszentrum Luzern, where the orchestra makes regular guest appearances. The orchestra is also noted for participating at numerous well-known festivals like the Bodensee Festival, the Chorin Music Summer, the Herbstliche Musictage Bad Urach or the Audi Summer Concerts. In addition to several concert series in their hometown Reutlingen, the Württembergische Philharmonie held a concert cycle in the Baroque Basilica ofWeingarten, with CDs recorded and produced by Südwestrundfunk radio. The ensemble can be heard regularly on Südwestrundfunk and Deutschlandfunk public radio. Since 2004 it has participated regularly at the International Rossini Festival in Bad Wildbad as Orchestra in Residence, with several opera recordings made.
At home, the orchestra shapes and enriches cultural life with varied concert series aimed at different audiences. The unique “Werkkonzert” series offers opera, operetta and musical galas, and treads new paths as well: concerts combine music and literary readings by prominent actors, or they innovatively unite musical styles, blending orchestral sound with jazz, pop or rock. Here, a concert cooperation with the Mannheim PopAkademie was a memorable encounter.
The orchestra is intensely committed to their future audience, offering yearly over twenty concerts in Reutlingen especially for children, young adults and families. An audio-visual Philharmonic Night, staged with DJ and VJ, appeals to a student audience. For “Accompagnato”, the orchestra’s project involving artists with disabilities, the Württembergische Philharmonie was awarded Germany’s “First Prize for Cultural Education” by Bernd Naumann, Commissioner for Cultural and Media Affairs in 2009.
Among recent productions very well received by the international press are two CDs with works by Astor Piazzolla and one with works by South American composers entitled Fiesta criolla, conducted by Gabriel Castagna (Chandos). Also acclaimed were the first recording of rediscovered works of composer Paul Dukas led by Fabrice Bollon (Sterling), recordings of rediscovered French-German composer Théodore Gouvy conducted by Thomas Kalb (Sterling), the Czech Suite and the Symphony No. 9 From the New World by Antonín Dvorˇák under the direction of John Axelrod and a CD celebrating the 75th birthday of composer Siegfried Matthus (Genuin). Coming up soon are new releases of the Mendelssohn symphonies No. 3, 4 and 5 under the direction of Ola Rudner (ARS Produktion).
The Swedish conductor Ola Rudner started his career as a high-profile violinist (he is a prize winner of the Paganini competition and was also assistant of the legendary Sandor Vègh) and concertmaster of various orchestras such as the Camerata Salzburg, the Volksopera Vienna and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. 1995 he founded the Philharmonia Wien. From 2001- 2003 he was Chief Conductor of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in Australia, followed 2003 -2006 by the Haydn Orchestra Bolzano. From September 2008 he will be Chiefconductor of Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen.
Since 1997 Ola Rudner has conducted all the major australian orchestras: the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the orchestras of Melbourne, Queensland, Tasmania, Adelaide and Perth . In Scandinavia he has conducted most of the orchestras including the Gothenburg Symphony Orhcestra, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic and the orchestras in Trondheim, Bergen, Aalborg, Malmö, Helsingborg etc.
He also collaborated with orchestras like the Scottish Chamberorchestra, Vienna Chamberorchestra, Belgrade Philharmonic, Latvian National Philharmonic, , and many times with the Niederösterreichisches Tonkünstlerorchester.
With Philharmonia Wien he performs annually at the Musikverein Wien, and has gone on tour to Japan, Poland, Yugoslavia, Austria and Turkey.
He also has a long- term relationship with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, with whom he has recorded 3 CD’s for BIS with works by British composer Sally Beamish. In 2005 Beamish’s Viola Concerto was recorded with soloist Tabea Zimmermann as part of the 3rd CD.
Ola Rudner is also an important opera conductor. Since many years he conducts at the Volksoper Wien and is regularly invited to the opera houses of Australia, Austria and Italy. His repertoire includes Mozart’s Magic Flute, Così, Figaro, Titus and Idomeneo, Beethoven’s Fidelio, Carmen and Verdi’s Il Trovatore and La Traviata. Operettas by Offenbach, Strauss, Lehar and Kalman. In February 2007 he conducted Carmen in Salzburg with great success and was immediately invited back to conduct Don Pasquale in 2008.
Highlights of the past seasons have been his debuts with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, RAI Torino, Orchestra Fondazione Arena di Verona, the Slovenian Philharmonic, Luxembourg Philharmonic, the SWR- Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Orchestra del Teatro la Fenice, Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma, Warsaw Philharmonic and Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos Lissabon.
Upcoming projects include concerts with Bremen Philharmonic, Orchestra Filarmonica di Bologna, Orchestra del Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, Orchestra del Teatro V.Bellini di Catania, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Polish National Radio Orchestra, Württembergische Philharmonie, Tiroler Landesorchester, Vienna Symphony Orchestra and returning to La Fenice, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Latvian National Philharmonic, Haydn Orchestra and the Tasmanian and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras.
Following the tremendous succéss in Moskow with the Vienna Johann Strauss Orchestra in 2005, he returned to Russia 2006. In 2007 follows another Russian tour and 2008 he will tour Japan. Apart from BIS he has recorded for Harmonia Mundi, Australian label ABC Classics, Camerata Tokyo, Amadeus, Venice Channel (DVD – HD). Next season he will record for Decca.