Yannick Nézet-Séguin studied piano, conducting, composition and chamber music in his native city of Montreal as well as choral conducting in Princeton; he continued his training with Carlo Maria Giulini. He is music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra and of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra; in addition he has also served as artistic director and principal conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal since 2000. In Europe he has appeared with major orchestras including the Staatskapelle Dresden and Berlin, the Orchestre National de France, Tonhalle Zurich, the Vienna Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, whose principal guest conductor he was from 2008 until 2014. Yannick Nézet-Séguin has also achieved great success as an opera conductor, with Bizet’s Carmen and Verdi’s Don Carlo and La traviata at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, and Janáček’s The Makropulos Case and Puccini’s Turandot at the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam. He made his debut at the Salzburg Festival in 2008 with Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and returned with Mozart’s Don Giovanni in 2010 and 2011. In 2012 he made his debut at London’s Royal Opera House Covent Garden with Dvořáks Rusalka. The conductor has received numerous awards, among them the Royal Philharmonic Society Award and the National Arts Centre Award from the Canadian government. He was awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Quebec in Montreal ( 2011), the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia (2014) and Westminster Choir College of Rider University (2015). His first appearance with the Berliner Philharmoniker was in October 2010 with works by Messiaen, Prokofiev and Berlioz. In June 2016 he conducted the orchestra in works by Bartók and Shostakovich, and also at the Waldbühne concert with works by Smetana and Dvořák.
Hanna-Elisabeth Mueller studied under Rudolf Piernay and attended master classes given by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Julia Varady and Thomas Hampson. From 2012 to 2016 she was a member of the ensemble at Bayerische Staastsoper where she appeared in roles including Pamina, Susanna, Gretel, Zdenka and Sophie (Massenet’s Werther). Her international breakthrough came in 2014 with her sensational performance as Zdenka in Richard Strauss’s Arabella at the Salzburg Easter Festival with Renée Fleming and Thomas Hampson under the baton of Christian Thielemann; shortly afterwards, she was honoured by Opernwelt magazine as young artist of the year. In March 2017, she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as Marzelline in Jürgen Flimm’s production of Fidelio. This was followed in May by her opera and role debut as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at La Scala in Milan directed by Robert Carsen. She has also been a guest on the concert stages of philharmonic halls in Essen, Cologne and Paris as well as at the opening of the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. With her regular piano accompanist Juliane Ruf, Hanna-Elisabeth Müller often gives recitals, including at the Heidelberger Frühling, the De Singel Antwerpen, and the RheinVokal festival. The soprano now makes her debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker.
Wiebke Lehmkuhl, born in Oldenburg, received her vocal training from Ulla Groenewold and from Hanna Schwarz at the Hamburg University of Music and Theatre. After guest engagements at Kiel Opera House and the state operas of Hamburg and Hanover, she joined Zurich Opera as a permanent ensemble member in the 2008/09 season. Here she appeared as Erda (Der Ring des Nibelungen), Magdalene (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Annina (Der Rosenkavalier), Hedwige (Guillaume Tell), and in concert performances of Handel’s Messiah and Schumann’s oratorio Paradise and the Peri. The contralto has also appeared at renowned opera houses such as the Opéra Bastille in Paris and at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. In 2012, she made her debut at the Salzburg Festival as third lady in a new production of Mozart’s Zauberflöte. The following year, she performed there again in a concert performance of Walter Braunfels’ Jeanne d’Arc in the role of Lison. Wiebke Lehmkuhl is also successful as a concert and oratorio singer. In 2011 she made her debut at the Vienna Musikverein and at the Lucerne Festival in performances of Handel’s La resurrezione, conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Among the conductors she has also worked with are Reinhard Goebel, Daniel Harding, René Jacobs, Marc Minkowski and Kent Nagano. Wiebke Lehmkuhl made her debut in concerts of the Berliner Philharmoniker in December 2013 in Schumann’s Faust Scenes, conducted by Daniel Harding. She last appeared with the orchestra in December 2016 in Bruckner’s F minor Mass, conducted by Christian Thielemann.
Markus Werba studied at the Carinthian State Conservatorium in Klagenfurt and at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna under Ralf Döring. He also took lessons with Robert Holl, Walter Berry and Gerhard Kahry. The baritone, who has won first prizes at several international competitions, made his debut in 2005 in the role of Papageno at the Salzburg Festival, where he also received acclaim for his performances as Beckmesser (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) in 2013. He has also appeared in the same role at the Staatsoper unter den Linden Berlin under the direction of Daniel Barenboim. Markus Werba performs at the world’s most prestigious opera houses, including the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Royal Opera House in London, Bayerische Staatsoper, Los Angeles Opera, Opéra Lyon, the Châtelet in Paris, the Metropolitan Opera New York, Suntory Hall in Tokyo and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. In addition, he gives recitals at, among others, the Wigmore Hall in London, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Mozarteum in Salzburg and at the Schubertiade in Hohenems. The baritone is also much in demand on the concert stage and has worked with conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Ivor Bolton, Kent Nagano, Riccardo Muti and James Levine. These concerts mark Markus Werba’s first guest appearance with the Berliner Philharmoniker.
The Rundfunkchor Berlin(Berlin Radio Choir) is a regular guest at major festivals and the chosen partner of international orchestras and conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Christian Thielemann and Daniel Barenboim. In Berlin the choir has long-standing partnerships with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester and the Berliner Philharmoniker. The exceptional breadth of its repertoire, its stylistic versatility, delight in experimentation, stunning responsiveness and richly nuanced sound all contribute to making it one of the world’s outstanding choral ensembles. Its work is documented by many recordings and awards, including three Grammy Awards. With its experimental project series, in collaboration with artists from diverse disciplines, the Rundfunkchor Berlin is breaking down the classical concert format and adopting new modes of choral music for a new audience: e.g. the interactive scenic version of Brahms’s German Requiem staged by Jochen Sandig / Sasha Waltz & Guests attracted great attention. With annual activities such as the Sing-along Concert and the “Liederbörse” (Song Exchange) for children and young people or the education programme SING! the choir invites people of various walks of life to the world of singing. Academy and Schola support the next generation of professionals. Founded in 1925 the ensemble was shaped by conductors including Helmut Koch, Dietrich Knothe, Robin Gritton and Simon Halsey (2001-2015). As of the 2015/16 season Gijs Leenars took over as new principal conductor and artistic director. The Rundfunkchor last appeared with the Berliner Philharmoniker in August 2017 in a performance of Haydn’s Creation conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.