Sir Simon Rattle was chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker and artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonie from September 2002 until June 2018. Even before taking up his post as principal conductor, Simon Rattle had already collaborated regularly with the Berliner Philharmoniker for fifteen years: he conducted the orchestra for the first time in November 1987 in Mahler’s Sixth Symphony. Most recently, he conducted three staged performances of Bach’s St John Passion at the Philharmonie a week ago. In September 2017, Simon Rattle took up the position of Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra. Rattle is also principal artist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and works with leading orchestras on both sides of the Atlantic. Born in Liverpool in 1955, Simon Rattle studied at London’s Royal Academy of Music. In 1980 he became principal conductor and artistic adviser of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, stepping up to music director from September 1990 until August 1998. In the concert hall and opera house, Simon Rattle’s extensive repertoire covers compositions ranging from the Baroque era to contemporary music. He has conducted operas by Rameau, Mozart, Puccini, Wagner, Debussy and Poulenc in Aix-en-Provence, London, Salzburg, New York, Baden-Baden and Berlin. Music education is an important part of Sir Simon’s work; the Education Programme of the Berliner Philharmoniker was established on his initiative. For this commitment, as well as for his artistic work, Simon Rattle has won many awards: In 1994 Simon Rattle was knighted by the Queen of England. He also received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, a knighthood in the French Legion of Honour and the British Order of Merit.
Stefan Dohr studied in Essen and Cologne, starting his professional career at the age of 19 as principal horn of the Frankfurt Opera and Museum Orchestra, during which time he also frequently appeared as a guest artist with Ensemble Modern. Further positions took him to the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester of Berlin. In 1993, he joined the Berliner Philharmoniker in the same position. As a soloist and chamber musician, his interests extend to both familiar and lesser-known works from all periods. He has already been the dedicatee and given the world premieres of many horn concertos. Stefan Dohr is a member of the Ensemble Wien-Berlin as well as the Berlin Philharmonic Octet. A passionate teacher, Stefan Dohr is a visiting professor at the Royal College of Music, the Sibelius Academy, and a permanent faculty member at the Hanns Eisler School of Music in Berlin.
Stefan de Leval Jezierski received his first horn lessons at the age of 15. Born in Boston, he studied at the North Carolina School of Arts and at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he was taught by Myron Bloom. While still studying, the musician participated in concerts and tours with the Cleveland Orchestra. In 1976 he became principal horn in the orchestra of the Staatstheater Kassel. Two years later, he joined the Berliner Philharmoniker. As a soloist and chamber musician, Stefan de Leval Jezierski performs at major international music festivals in Europe, Asia and America. He is one of the founding members of the Scharoun Ensemble Berlin; in addition, he has been teaching at the Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker for many years and is an honorary professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.
Thomas Jordans, who has been playing horn since he was ten years old, was born in Düsseldorf in 1972. He won several prizes at the “Jugend musiziert” competition. From 1991, he studied under Carlos Crespo, Walter Lexutt and Joachim Poeltl at the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media in Düsseldorf. In addition, he attended numerous master classes held by Erich Penzel and Frøydis Ree Wekre, among others. In 1997, he received a scholarship to the orchestra academy of the Berlin Staatskapelle, and has been a member of the orchestra since 1998. In addition to his orchestral work, Thomas Jordans is often a guest with other renowned orchestras such as the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Düsseldorf Symphoniker, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and the Berliner Philharmoniker, in whose ranks he played in, among others, Wagner’s Götterdämmerung which was performed in Aix-en-Provence and at the Salzburg Easter Festival. Jordans also devotes himself extensively to chamber music. He plays, for example, in the Preußens Hofmusik ensemble at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin, and in LindenBrass, the brass ensemble of the Berlin Staatskapelle.
Marie-Luise Neunecker first studied musicology and German, then horn at Cologne University of Music. A prizewinner at several competitions – including the Deutscher Musikwettbewerb in Bonn (1982) and the International ARD International Competition in Munich (1983) – she was principal horn with the Bamberger Symphoniker and Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1989. In addition to her performances as a soloist with various radio orchestras (NDR, SWR, MDR, HR), the Bamberger Symphoniker, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic, she devotes herself to chamber music. She regularly appears with partners such as Frank Peter Zimmermann, Christian Tetzlaff, Lars Vogt, Antje Weithaas and Pierre-Laurent Aimard as well as the Zehetmair Quartet. György Ligeti wrote his Hamburg Concerto for Marie-Luise Neunecker, which she premiered in January 2001 and has since presented in several countries. From 1988 to 2004, Marie-Luise Neunecker was professor for horn in at Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts, and since then, she has been professor for horn at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin.
Georg Schreckenberger began playing horn at the age of 13. He initially received lessons at the music school in his home town of Mannheim. From 1987 onwards, he studied at Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts under Marie-Luise Neunecker. In 1988, his first engagement took George Schreckenberger to the symphony orchestra of Westdeutscher Rundfunk in Cologne; in 1993 he became a member of the horn section of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Since 1992, the musician has participated several times in the Bayreuth Festival orchestra. From 2007 to 2017, Georg Schreckenberger taught at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin.
Klaus Wallendorf played horn with the Berliner Philharmoniker from 1980 until his retirement in 2016. Previously, he played in the orchestra of Deutsche Oper, as principal horn of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and in the same position with the Bayerisches Staatsorchester. In addition, Klaus Wallendorf played in the Consortium Classicum for several decades. An ensemble member of German Brass since 1985, he participates in their concerts as horn player and compère. He is also “poet laureate and semi-official entertainer” to the Berliner Philharmoniker and several of their chamber music ensembles. In this capacity, he also appears as a cabaret artist in the ensemble “Lachmusik”. He is the author of the book Immer Ärger mit dem Cello (2012).
Sarah Willis, who was born in the US but grew up in Tokyo, Boston, Moscow and England, played piano for many years before she began playing the horn at the age of 14. She received her training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and in Berlin under the tutelage of her current Philharmoniker colleague Fergus McWilliam. From 1991 to 2001, Sarah Willis was second horn with the Staatskapelle Berlin. She has also played in other leading orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony and the London Symphony Orchestra. Sarah Willis has been a member of the horn section of the Berliner Philharmoniker since September 2001. She appears as a chamber musician in both this formation and in the Brass Ensemble of the Berliner Philharmoniker. In addition, she is involved in the orchestra’s education programme and regularly presents its events. Last but not least, Sarah Willis is passionate about music education, and makes full use of television, digital communication channels and social media to reach audiences world-wide.
Andrej Žust was born in Slovenia in 1984. He studied under Boštjan Lipovšek at the Ljubljana Music and Ballet Conservatory. The young horn player initially gained artistic inspiration from older colleagues such as Frøydis Ree Wekre, Hermann Baumann and Radovan Vlatković. While still studying, he won first prizes as a soloist and chamber musician at numerous national and international competitions, including at Povoletto (Italy) in 2001, and in 2002 at the Young Musicians Competition in Slovenia. In 2004, he became principal horn with the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra in Ljubljana. In addition, Andrej Žust was a member of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra. His current chamber music activities are demonstrated by his concerts with the Ariart Wind Quintet, the soloists of the Chamber Orchestra Ljubljana and the Triumvirat ensemble. From February 2009 until January 2011, Andrej Žust received a scholarship with the Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker, and was accepted into the horn section of the orchestra at the beginning of the 2011/2012 season.