Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Justin Taylor & Axel Kober

Biography Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Justin Taylor & Axel Kober

Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Justin Taylor & Axel KoberDuisburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Justin Taylor & Axel Kober

Justin Taylor
has played the piano and harpsichord with passion since early childhood and studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique of Paris. At only 23 years of age, the young French-American musician won both the first prize and the audience prize at the renowned harpsichord competition in Bruges, as well as the "Alpha Award" for the most promising young European baroque musician, thus drawing attention to himself in one fell swoop. In 2017, he was also among the final three for the Victoires de la musique classique and won the Critics' Prize in the category "New Musical Discovery".

Justin Taylor is an exclusive artist of Alpha Classics. His first solo album La Famille Forqueray from 2016 won several awards: including the CHOC de l'année Classica, the Gramophone Editor's Choice, and the Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros. This was followed in 2018 by the second album Continuum, dedicated to Scarlatti and Ligeti, and the recording of a double Bach CD for Deutsche Grammophon as part of the complete recording Bach 333. Taylor also recorded Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 17 with Le Concert de La Loge, for which he received the CHOC Classica.

In recent years he has appeared on many stages in Europe, performing with orchestras such as the Orchestre National d'Île-de-France, the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, the Orchestre de Chambre de Genève, the Orchestre de Picardie and the Orchestra of the National Theatre Mannheim. Justin Taylor is supported by the Safran Corporate Foundation.

Axel Kober
With an overwhelming majority, the Duisburg Philharmonic elected Axel Kober as its new General Music Director in February 2019. Axel Kober had already assumed responsibility here as chief conductor after the departure of his predecessor Giordano Bellincampi. As General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, he has been very familiar with the orchestra since the 2009/2010 season anyway - so now the responsibilities for the stage and concert platform are concentrated in his hands.

Axel Kober is a welcome guest at Europe's leading opera houses. The Vienna State Opera invited the now internationally renowned Wagner expert to conduct a "Ring Cycle" in January 2019, which was acclaimed by audiences and press alike. "Conductor Axel Kober is the most important discovery for Viennese Wagnerians," wrote the renowned critic Wilhelm Sinkovicz. Kober returned to the Vienna State Opera in 2020 with Mahler's Symphony No. 4; in 2021 he will conduct Offenbach's "Tales of Hoffmann" there, among other works.

On the green hill of Bayreuth, Axel Kober has been a regular on the podium since 2013. After "Tannhäuser" and "Der fliegende Holländer", he was invited to conduct "Lohengrin" and "Tannhäuser" in the mystical Graben in summer 2020. Now "Tannhäuser" will be made up for in 2021; in the same year he will also make his debut in Tokyo with this opera.

With the great masterpieces of Verdi, Wagner and Strauss, Axel Kober is a regular guest at the Semperoper Dresden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Zurich Opera House and the Hamburg State Opera; here he most recently conducted Verdi's "Falstaff". His other engagements include the opera houses in Strasbourg, Basel and Copenhagen.

Axel Kober was born in Kronach in Upper Franconia, only about 50 kilometres from the Wagner festival city of Bayreuth. After studying in Würzburg with Prof. Günther Wich, Kober took up his first position at the Staatstheater Schwerin in 1994. In 1998 he went to the Dortmund Theatre, where he worked as 1st Kapellmeister and Deputy GMD. He also held this position in Mannheim from 2005 before moving to the Leipzig Opera as music director and musical director in 2007. Here he also performed in concerts with the Gewandhaus Orchestra.

With the 2009/2010 season, Axel Kober moved to the Deutsche Oper am Rhein as General Music Director. Here he sets accents in a broad repertoire - from baroque opera to Mozart to the Italians, from Wagner to classical operetta to contemporary music theatre. Axel Kober's first complete rehearsal of Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen" in Dietrich W. Hilsdorf's production was also created in Düsseldorf and Duisburg from 2017. A live recording of the concert performance of the Ring in the Philharmonie Mercatorhalle with the Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra was released on the CAvi label. Ballet has always played an important role in Axel Kober's activities as GMD; he has taken over the musical direction of several productions of the "Ballett am Rhein" in Martin Schläpfer's celebrated choreographies.

His activities on the concert podium have taken him to the symphony orchestras of the WDR and NDR, the Bruckner Orchestra Linz, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. With the Duisburg Philharmonic, he recently gave guest performances at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam.

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