One of the most versatile and original Cellists of his
generation, Adrian Brendel has travelled the world as soloist,
collaborator and teacher. His early immersion in the core classical
repertoire inspired an enduring fascination that has led to encounters
with many fine musicians at the world’s most prestigious festivals and
concert halls. His discovery of contemporary music through the works of
Kurtag, Kagel and Ligeti in his teenage years opened a new and vital
avenue that he continues to explore with huge enthusiasm alongside his
passion for jazz and world music.
Adrian first studied the cello with William Pleeth, with
whom he developed a deep attachment to chamber music.
He then went on
to study with Alexander Baillie and Frans Helmerson in London and
Cologne, also frequently attending the masterclasses of Gyorgy Kurtag,
Ferenc Rados, members of the Alban Berg quartet and his father Alfred
Brendel. An acclaimed recording of Beethoven’s cello sonatas with his
father is available on the Philips label, recorded during their recital
tours of 2003/2004. Projects with contemporary composers and conductors
during this time such as Kurtag, Thomas Ades and Peter Eotvos amongst
many inspired him to cultivate new music in his concert programmes
wherever possible. A recent three year project with Sir Harrison
Birtwistle has led to premieres of his song cycle ‘Bogenstrich’ and a
piano trio released on the ECM label in spring 2014. He also premiered York Hoeller’s cello concerto ‘Mouvements’ in January of the same year
with NDR Hamburg alongside Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s ‘Canto di Speranza’.
In great demand as a recitalist and soloist, Adrian works
with Aleksandar Madzar, Imogen Cooper, Till Fellner, Tim Horton and Kit
Armstrong. His chamber music partners include Henning Kraggerud, Lisa
Batiashvili, Lars-Anders Tomter, Andrej Bielow, Katharine Gowers and
Alasdair Beatson to name a few. Over the last two years he has visited
the Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Verbier, Ernen, Salzburg, Sonoro, Enescu,
Schubertiade and Ruhr international festivals, and is a frequent visitor
to London’s Wigmore Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, Vienna Musikverein,
Amsterdam Concertgebouw and many other important venues in Europe. He
has performed concertos with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields,
RSNO, SCO and many orchestras across Germany and eastern Europe. His
annual visit to the International Musicians’ Seminar in Prussia Cove,
founded by the late Sandor Vegh as a perfect environment for
music-making, is of great personal and artistic importance.
Adrian is artistic director of the Plush festival, held
every summer in Plush, Dorset since 1995. The programme is devoted to
classical and contemporary chamber music, Lieder recitals, modern jazz,
folk and world music concerts, featuring over 100 contemporary works and
200 musicians from around the world. The summer of 2012 saw
performances of Nancarrow, Cage, Brett Dean, Birtwistle, Lindberg,
Carter and Messiaen alongside Schubert’s trios, Janacek’s quartets,
Beethoven and Brahms. Performers over the years have included Radu Lupu,
Mark Padmore, Paul Lewis, Louis Lortie, Miklos Perenyi, Anthony Marwood
and Lawrence Power.
Fortunately for an itinerant musician, travel is a passion
for Adrian. He has participated in musical outreach projects as far
afield as Bolivia, Argentina, Ukraine, Romania and east Africa in recent
years, for example to present Baaba Maal’s Senegalese music festival
from Podor for BBC Radio 4 in December 2012. He broadcasts regularly for
radio stations around the world, most recently recording an album with
Nils Wogram’s modern jazz group Root70 for Deutschlandfunk in October.
Attempts to broaden his and the cello’s musical horizons have fostered
projects with a range of different artists, more recently including
Norwegian multi-instrumentalist Stian Carstensen, Patti Smith and
Argentinian Bandoneonist Marcelo Nisinman.
Outside of his performing life, Adrian divides his time between south London, Berlin and Plush.
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