© Brigitte Schneider
A conductor, composer, pianist and arranger, Wolfgang Heinzel studied in Hanover, London and Paris, first working as an assistant to Sergiu Celibidache before accepting his first engagement as an opera conductor in 1978
In between the preparations for “The Magic of Movie” concerts, which compiles film music throughout the history of cinema, and the “Cushions Concert” for children, Stefan Reinhardt the Orchestral Manager takes some time to talk about the ensemble’s work: Up to 80 musicians play in the Philharmonie under the baton of their Principal Conductor Wolfgang Heinzel.
The orchestra mainly focuses on music from the classical and romantic periods, but its repertoire also spans the period between baroque through to the 21st century: “we cover the whole spectrum”, says Reinhardt.
Autumn by notes
Of all of the projects since 1996, the “Musical Autumn” outshines the rest. What was then a chamber orchestra, which grew into a philharmonic chamber orchestra and finally into the Philharmonie Merck, organised a festival to celebrate 50 years of the state of Hesse. From this a concert series grew, which takes place every two years with the Philharmonie as both host and performer.
Promising young artists and renowned ensembles from around the world are invited to perform. In 2008, for instance, The Real Group an a cappella quintet from Sweden and the London Philharmonic Orchestra were both on the programme. And while The Amsterdam Baroque Choir & Orchestra conducted by Ton Koopman performed their interpretation of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, the young Tecchler-Trio brought the Musical Autumn to an end with a soirée. And in between, the Philharmonie Merck performed works by Boccherini, Schubert, Brahms, Beethoven and Tschaikowsky. Among other ensembles, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Camerata Salzburg have been guests in Darmstadt in previous years.