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Julius Berger Availability
July 4 - 17, 2020; October 2020
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What the critics say:
"Julius Berger is, without a doubt, a master cellist. He plays with a mesmerizing communicative power that comes direct and irresistible from the platform into your very soul."
— The Guardian
“...call him a prophet of the cello...It is the other-worldly sound of his cello that needs to be experienced.”
— Frankfurter Allgemeine (Bach Suites)
“…beautifully stylished transcriptions of Bach’s Chorale Preludes,”
— BBC Music Magazine (Inspired by Bach CD)
“Leaving aside the considerable musical beauty of this double program, it must rank as the most fascinating intellectual ventures of the year on disc.” (Inspired by Bach and Mozart CDs)
“…the smooth velvety tone of his wonderful instrument, a masterpiece of the Italian violin maker Giovanni Battista Rogeri from 1723, is tremendously intense.”
— Pforzheimer Zeitung
“…Hindemith’s Trauermusik culminates in an atmospheric chorale. Composed the day after the death of King George V of England, this elegiac and passionate music is focused on the cello part, here played by the renowned cellist Julius Berger with broad lines and deeply-felt expressiveness.”
“Julius Berger is not only one of the world's leading cellists and pedagogues but is also an important musicologist. He is constantly searching for something new for his instrument but, unlike most musicologists, he then performs his new discovery and to great effect, as we hear on this CD.”
— BR-Klassik (Inspired by Bach)
“…verve, wit and virtuosity...“
— Siegener Zeitung
German cellist Julius Berger has been critically acclaimed for his technical perfection, his fascinatingly deep and meditative interpretations, infectious passion, and his spiritual joy in music-making. As one Los Angeles reviewer described it: "His cello sang like a man in love, at once demanding, then embracing the world with open arms."
Julius has appeared as soloist with a number of major orchestras, including tours with the Bamberg Symphoniker, the Munich Chamber Orchestra and the Bavarian Radio Symphony, the Tokyo and Warsaw Philharmonic, Festival Strings Lucerne, the Israel Kibbutz Orchestra and the iPalpiti ensemble . He can be heard in Europe's major concert halls and in festivals such as Rheingau Musik, Berliner and Wiener Festwochen, Lockenhaus, Salzburg, Warsaw Autumn and Takefu. Julius and his wife, Hyun-jung, premiered to great acclaim Zwei Wege (Two Paths), an original work composed by Sofia Gubaidulina for two cellos and orchestra at the Seoul International Festival and the Beethoven Fest Bonn. Further performances include the International Super Cello Festival Beijing (Boccherini Cello Concerto), Festival “Spannungen” with Lars Vogt, the Eckelshausener Musik Festival with Gidon Kremer, Music Alp Festival, Tignes (France), Festival de Musique, Conques (France), Festival Maulbronn with Bernd Glemser, Enescu Festival (Romania) and the Asiago Festival (Italy). In North America, Mr. Berger has appeared in New York City (Frick Collection and Rockefeller University), at Yale, the National Gallery in DC, in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, and Montreal.
Julius Berger has dedicated a major part of his concert and recording activities to the rediscovery of the complete violoncello works of Luigi Boccherini and Leonardo Leo as well as the oldest works written for the cello: the Ricercari by Gabrieli and Antonni. He has gained world-wide praise for recordings of violoncello and piano works of Paul Hindemith, works of violoncello and orchestra by Bloch, Bruch, Dvorak, Strauss, Elgar and others, and well as contemporary works by Cage, Hosokawa, Hölsky and Gubaidulina.
Of his recorded Bach Suites, the Frankfurter Allgemeine said: “...call him a prophet of the cello... It is the other-worldly sound of his cello that needs to be experienced.” His 2016 recordings, Inspired by Bach and Inspired by Mozart on the Nimbus label, have again received overwhelming praise from the press, including, “Leaving aside the considerable musical beauty of this double program, it must rank as the most fascinating intellectual ventures of the year on disc.” (Huntley Dent, — Fanfare) His latest recording combines the Bach Suites with Cage Choraleson Sony.
Besides Stefan Hussong, his partners on stage have included Eugen Jochum, Leonard Bernstein, Oliver Messiaen, Gidon Kremer, Mstislav Rostropovich, Hermann Baumann, Bruno Canino, Norman Shetler, and Ernst Wallfisch, to mention but a few.
Born in Augsburg in 1954, Julius Berger studied with Walter Reichardt and Fritz Kiskalt at the Musikhochschule in Munich, with Antonio Janigro at Salzburg's Mozarteum, and with Zara Nelsova at the University of Cincinnati. In addition, he participated in a mastercourse given by Mstislav Rostapovitch.
When he was not yet 30 years old, Berger was appointed to a professorship at the Musikhochschule in Würzburg, and has since held professorships at the Saarbrücken Musikhochschule, the Johannes Guttenberg University, Mainz and presently teaches at the University of Augusburg. Since 1992 he has also been teaching at the International Summer Academy at Salzburg's Mozarteum. He is the artistic director of the Asiago Festival (Italy) and the Eckelhausner Musiktage. He is the President of the jury for the Leopold Mozart Violin Competition and has been on the jury of numerous international competitions.
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Review of Two Paths (Sofia Gubaidulina) performed by cellists Julius Berger and Hyun-Jung Berger:
“For Sofia Gubaidulina, who grew up as a child of Orthodox Christians in the Soviet Union, all music is religious. However, to understand it, she does not think that one necessarily has to be a religious person.
“That is also the case for her work, Two Paths, that carries the subtitle “dedicated to Mary and Martha”—not the original viola soloists, but rather the two sisters from the 10th chapter of the Gospel of Luke.
“The German premiere of the version for two cellos was heard at the First Friday concert of the Beethoven Orchestra. And the 84-year-old composer, who had traveled from North Germany for the performance, gratefully accepted the applause from the large audience in the Beethoven Hall.
“Christof Prick, who will come to Bonn next season as chief conductor for the year and stepped in for the ill Stefan Blunier, brought out the spiritual nature of the work throughout, and impressively connected the at times massive orchestra with powerful percussion sound with the playing of the two soloists.
“Julius Berger and Hyun-Jung Berger took on the demanding cello parts, whose musical parts are as different as the characters of the two sisters, Mary and Martha, who care for the guest in their midst, Jesus, each in their own way; the one carries on a conversation while the other cares for his physical well-bein—which leads throughout to conflict, also musically.”
— Generalanzeiger (Bonn)
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