“Markson gets his Irish orchestra to deliver a rousing performance.”
— Classicstoday.com on Gerhard Markson’s version of Ein Heldenleben for Naxos.
Although increasingly active in Ireland, Gerhard Markson’s most constant home is Freiburg, located in Germany’s Black Forest, and the conductor’s great love of mountain hiking is no doubt encouraged by the city’s towering monument, the Schlossburg mountain.
He considers the sport his main form of leisure pursuit, though he also describes himself as a literary person (he in fact studied literature as well as music for many years), with additional interests in history and photography. He says that he and his family—wife, son and two daughters—always take their holidays “in the mountains” of any given region.
In one interview, Markson compared the progress of his career to “changes in altitude”: piano at seven, organ at twelve, first desires to be a conductor at fourteen, studies in music from eighteen, the beginnings of a stage career at twenty-six and so on.
Gerhard Markson has lent his talents to a number of Naxos and Marco Polo recordings, most notably with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland (where he is Principal Conductor designate) and in partnership with the cellist Maria Kliegel. The recordings have included Schnittke’s concertos together with works by Tchaikovsky, Bruch, Bloch and a whole CD of David Popper’s romantic compositions. Also on Naxos, Markson has recorded two of Richard Strauss’ symphonic poems.
On Marco Polo, Gerhard Markson has recorded a scintillating opera by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, Das Himmelskleid and two of Carl Maria von Weber’s more rarely heard operatic endeavours: Peter Schmoll and Silvana.
When asked about works that he would like to record in the future, he replies that there are just too many to name. Returning once again to his mountain leitmotif, he says that like a hike in a new mountainous area, each piece of his repertoire is a separate challenge. Challenged to declare which recording he is most satisfied with, he says that he is never fully satisfied…there’s always a new altitude to reach for, a new level to attain.
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