BERLIN SOLOISTS ENSEMBLE
Matthias Wollong, violin I • Petra Schwieger, violin II
Ulrich Knörzer, viola • Andreas Grünkorn, cello
Matthias Bäcker, oboe • Richard Obermayer, clarinet • Frank Forst, bassoon
Birgitta Wollenweber, Piano
A pupil of Werner Scholz and Tibor Varga, among other teachers, Matthias Wollong has won various competition prizes, including the principal award of the Joseph Joachim Competition. He made his international début as leader and soloist of the Tibor Vaga Chamber Orchestra and since 1999 has been first concertmaster of the Dresden Staatskapelle. As a conductor he has led a number of tours of the German Chamber Orchestra and the New Berlin Chamber Orchestra, in addition to a guest engagement with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra. He plays an Andreas Guarnerius violin of 1676.
The violinist Petra Schwieger studied in Berlin with Werner Scholz and Stephan Picard, and in London with David Takeno, and has been the winner of a number of national and international prizes. She has appeared as a soloist and as a chamber musician at a number of leading festivals, and has been supported by scholarships from the Jürgen Ponto Stiftung, the German Stiftung Musikleben and the Studienstiftung of the German People. Since September 2004 she has been a member of the first violin section of the Berlin Staatskapelle.
After early violin lessons, Ulrich Knörzer changed, three years later, to the viola, and studied with Rainer Moog at the Cologne Musikhochschule and with Karen Tuttle at the Juilliard School in New York. He participated in master-classes with Max Rostal, Sandor Vegh, Nobuko Imai, Wolfram Christ and Yuri Bashmet. Since 1990 he has been a member of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, while continuing an association with chamber music, not least as a member of the Berlin Scharoun Ensemble. Since 1999 he has taught at the Berlin Hochschule der Künste.
Principal cellist of the Berlin German Symphony Orchestra, Andreas Grünkorn was born in 1962 in Bonn and was a pupil of David Geringas at the Lübeck Musikhochschule. Before graduation, he was appointed principal cellist of the Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra, moving, in 1996, to his present position. He is active in chamber music, particularly with the Hartog Quartet and the Trio Atrium, and made his début in 1999 as a soloist in Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 under Zden k Mácal. He has appeared as a soloist with conductors including Kent Nagano, Gary Bertini, Neeme Järvi, Andrey Boreyko and Jonathan Nott.
The oboist Matthias Bäcker studied with Hans Werner Wätzig and Burkhard Glaetzner in Berlin and Leipzig, and in 1994 joined the Orchestra Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic, where his teacher was Hansjörg Schellenberger. He was principal oboe in the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra under Claudio Abbado and a founding member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. After engagements as a principal with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and the National Theatre in Mannheim, in 1999 he joined the Berlin German Opera as principal oboe. Guest engagements have brought collaboration with leading orchestras and conductors at home and abroad.
Born in Munich in 1975, the clarinettist Richard Obermayer, at the age of fourteen, joined the class of Gerd Starke at the Munich Musikhochschule, continuing his studies with Ulf Rodenhäuser. From 1999 to 2001 he held a scholarship from the Herbert von Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic and from 2001 was principal E flat clarinet in the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, and from August 2005 vice-principal clarinet of the Berlin German Symphony Orchestra. The winner of a number of competitions, he is active as a soloist and as a chamber musician in Germany and abroad.
Frank Forst studied the bassoon privately with Gerhard Hase in Stuttgart and from 1989 to 1992 at the Hanover Musikhochschule with Klaus Thunemann, serving as assistant in the winter of 2002/03 at the Franz Liszt Musikhochschule in Weimar, and joining the faculty there the following year. In 1992 he was appointed principal bassoon in the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and in 1997 began regular collaboration with Camerata Salzburg. He has appeared as a soloist with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Bremen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, the North West German Philharmonic and the New Berlin Chamber Orchestra, among others.
Birgitta Wollenweber was born near Cologne and studied at the Detmold Musikhochschule with Renate Kretschmar-Fischer, and with Peter Wallfisch at the London Royal College of Music with a DAAD scholarship. Winner of the Cologne and Darmstadt Chopin Competition, the Joy Scott Prize of the Royal College of Music, the GEDOK Prize and distinction in the Maria Canals Piano Competition in Barcelona and in the 1991 German Music Council’s competition for young musicians, she began a career that has taken her to festivals and concert engagements throughout Europe, with broadcasts, television appearances and recordings. In 2002 she founded the Solisten-Ensemble Berlin, with distinguished wind and string players, appearing as ensembles from a duo to an octet. She has a comprehensive repertoire and her recordings include works by re-discovered composers such as Julius Weismann and Carl Loewe, Georg von Albrecht, Salomon Jadassohn and Joseph Joachim and Wilhelm Furtwängler. She was appointed professor of piano at the Hanns Eisler Musikhochschule in Berlin in 2003.
Above, from left to right: Birgitta Wollenweber, Matthias Wollong, Petra Schwieger, Andreas Grünkorn, Ulrich Knörzer
Above, from left to right: Matthias Bäcker, Birgitta Wollenweber, Richard Obermayer, Frank Forst