Gustavo Gimeno is a conductor who changed career. He had been a percussionist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam for twelve years when he decided to “go deeper into music, beyond the rhythmic level”. So he attended conducting classes at the Amsterdam conservatory while working. It never occurred to him to change his profession seriously. But then Mariss Jansons, head of the Concertgebouw Orchestra at that time, offered him the opportunity to become his assistant. A great stroke of luck. Gustavo Gimeno asked himself if he could transform this unique opportunity into something new? He could – and also assisted Claudio Abbado with the Orchestra Mozart and in Lucerne. A short time later, he stood in at short notice for an indisposed Mariss Jansons with the Concertgebouw Orchestra and for Lorin Maazel with the Munich Philharmonic – both times were a resounding success. “Many things happened at the right time,” as Gustavo Gimeno once said. In addition to his guest appearances with many international orchestras, he has been music director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg since 2015 and of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra since 2020. To avoid being labelled as an interpreter of the music of his native Spain, he made an important decision at the beginning of his career: “I never make debuts with Spanish music.” He remains true to this resolution in his first appearance with the Berliner Philharmoniker.
Augustin Hadelich became a YouTube star in professional circles during the corona pandemic with his online tutorials “Ask Augustin”, in which he gives tips on intonation, vibrato, bowing and coping with stage fright. But beyond the digital world, the violinist has long been a celebrity. The son of German parents grew up on a vineyard in Italy – without television or computer games. “It taught me to concentrate on one thing.” By “one thing”, Augustin Hadelich means playing the violin, which he began as a five-year-old. He was considered a child prodigy. In 1999, he suffered such severe injuries from a fire that his further career as a musician seemed to be in jeopardy. But he did not give up. He studied at the Juilliard School in New York and won the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis in 2006. This was his ticket to international concert life, which he quickly conquered with his flawless playing and very personal creative powers. As the artist once revealed, his music-making is characterised by chamber music thinking, even when he performs the great violin concertos. “Because basically I have to listen, lead and maintain communication with the conductor and the musicians in the same way as in chamber music.” Since 2020, Augustin Hadelich, who is making his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker in these concerts, plays a Guaneri del Gesù violin from 1744.