The Würth Philharmonic is named after the great philanthropist Prof. Dr. Reinhold Würth, who has brought together some of the world’s most talented, young musicians to form a virtuosic symphony orchestra performing with today’s greatest conductors and soloists. Prof Wurth’s vision, in a time of political stress, is to bring together musicians from all nations, overcoming the tensions that so often appear across the world. The conductors and soloists currently engaged by the orchestra to perform with them over the next season include Maxim Vengerov, Kent Nagano, Lars Vogt and Dennis Russell Davies. The Würth Philharmonic’s ambition is to create one of Europe’s must exciting ensembles of young musicians. The UK tour is the first of many international tours that the orchestra will undertake.
Universally hailed as one of the world’s finest musicians, and often referred to as the greatest living string player in the world today, Grammy award winner Maxim Vengerov also enjoys international acclaim as a conductor and is one of the most in-demand soloists in all of classical music.
Born in 1974, he began his career as a solo violinist at the age of five, won the Wieniawski and Carl Flesch international competitions at ages 10 and 15 respectively, studied with Galina Tourchaninova and Zakhar Bron, made his first recording at the age of 10, and went on to record extensively for high-profile labels including Melodia, Teldec and EMI, earning among others, Grammy and Gramophone artist of the year awards.
In 2007 he followed in the footsteps of his mentor, the late Mstislav Rostropovich, and turned his attention to conducting and in 2010 was appointed the first chief conductor of the Gstaad Festival Orchestra. June 2014 saw Mr Vengerov graduate with a Diploma of Excellence from the Moscow Institute of Ippolitov-Ivanov with professor Yuri Simonov and he has since enrolled in a further 2-year program of opera conducting – –scheduled to conduct his first performance of Eugene Onegin in Brisbane in November and Moscow in December 2017.
June 2013 saw the launch of the annual Vengerov Festival in Tokyo as well as an artist residency at the Barbican Centre London with five different concerts showcasing his versatility as an artist. That season he also accepted his current position as Artist in Residence with the Oxford Philharmonic.
In 2014/15 Mr Vengerov opened the season of the Orchestre de Paris and took part in the opening of Shanghai’s newest Symphony Hall alongside Maestro Long Yu and pianist Lang Lang. He returned to the New York Philharmonic to a “hero’s welcome” (New York Times), as well as toured and recorded the Tchaikovsky concerto with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Myung-Whun Chung.
The 2015/16 season highlights saw Mr Vengerov again in concert with the New York and Munich Philharmonic orchestras as well as complete five recital tours in Australia, Canada, Asia, Europe and South America.
In the 2016/17 season Mr Vengerov will return to Australia to open the season of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and to conduct the season finale of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, with whom he will return as Artist in Residence in 2017. Further guest conducting engagements will include appearances with the RTE Orchestra Dublin, Munich Philharmonic and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras. The coming season will also see a European tour with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and performances at the Park concerts with the New York Philharmonic in New York and Shanghai.
As one of Mr Vengerov’s greatest passions is the teaching and encouraging of young talent, he has held various teaching positions around the world and is currently Ambassador and visiting Professor of the International Menuhin Music Academy in Switzerland (IMMA) and as of September 2016, the Polonsky Visiting Professor of Violin at the Royal College of Music in London – the UK’s leading conservatoire.
Mr Vengerov has received numerous awards including Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (with Orchestra) (2003), two Gramophone awards (1994, 1995), a Classical Brit Award (2004), five Edison Classical Music Awards (1995, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2004), two ECHO awards (1997, 2003) and a World Economic Forum Crystal award (2007) – honouring artists who have used their art to improve the state of the world.
In 1997 Mr Vengerov became the first classical musician to be appointed International Goodwill Ambassador by UNICEF.
He plays the ex-Kreutzer Stradivari (1727).
Stamatia Karampini is a symphony and opera conductor. She comes from a family of engineers and architects, a path she would have followed herself, had she not shown a strong proclivity towards classical music since the age of four. Karampini was born in Athens, Greece, but grew up in Crete and Thessaly. At the age of 5, she started learning the piano, the cello and eventually voice and composition. She started conducting youth orchestras, ensembles and choirs at the early age of 13 and during her school vacations she would participate in International Master classes in Europe.
Karampini studied Orchestra and Opera conducting under Prof. Hermann Michael at Munich’s Hochschule für Musik, where she graduated as the youngest with high honors in her class, specializing in opera conducting. She went on to receive a Master’s degree from the same institution. After two more years as a student of Prof. Jorma Panula at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm where she received the postgraduate Diploma in conducting, specializing in the music of the 19th and 20th century music.
At 19, Karampini won First Prize at the “Alexandra Triantis” conducting competition in Athens. In 1999 she became a recipient of the Richard Wagner scholarship in Bayreuth. Since, she has won a variety of prizes at international conducting competitions, such as the 2005 Nikolai Malko, and the Mitropoulos in 2006. As part of St. Petersburg’s 300th anniversary celebrations in 2003, Karampini received an honorary degree from the Prokofiev Organization for her exceptional performances of Prokofiev with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. In 2011 as a finalist, she won the ” Prix du Public” at the International Competition in Besancon.
When Karampini was 26, she received a personal invitation from Kurt Masur to share with him the podium at the Orchestre National de France. She rose to the task with tremendous success. As the Altamusica review noted:
“The young Greek conductor Stamatia Karampini performed Shostakovich´s 5th Symphony with an astonishing level of intensity and structure, exhibiting a profound knowledge of the work with a passion previously demonstrated by conductors of the caliber of Mravinski, Kondrachine, Ancerl, Sanderling, Bernstein and more recently, Haitink. From start to finish, she remained in complete control of the orchestra, wielding the baton with extraordinary precision – a phenomenal interpretation. The audience left the concert hall tonight with the impression that a new star had been born”.
Stamatia Karampini garnered more public attention in 2011 after her memorable participation at the International competition in Besançon. The audience´s reaction was described in the press the next day as follows: ” During the final performances the Greek candidate maintained her undeniable charisma, her unique gestures and a close intimate communication with the orchestra musicians. As the only one of the finalists to conduct by heart she gave the most personal interpretation of “Don Juan”. She received the “Prix du Public”. The audience exploded in applause, many of them standing, a reaction appropriate to a passionate interpretation and demonstration of a deep understanding of the musical material.”
In 2012, a 25-minute documentary about Karampini entitled “Young Conductors of Tomorrow” was broadcast by the cultural channel ARTE on French and German television. The same year she became a finalist at the Donatella Flick competition and conducted the London Symphony Orchestra for the first time, with Debussy´s “La mer”.
Karampini’s recent and future guest engagements include conducting the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra in Ankara, the Brussels Philharmonic, the Barcelona Symphony orchestra, the Staatstheater Darmstadt and Frankfurt, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC philharmonic, the Düsseldorf Symphony orchestra, the Orchestra and Choir Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, and the Orchestre National de France. In these and many other venues, she has proven her remarkable range, which extends from the German and Viennese Schools of Beethoven , Bruckner, Mahler, Brahms and Richard Strauss to Bartók, Liszt, Debussy, Sibelius, Ravel, Russian composers such as Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin and Shostakovich, and first time performances of contemporary music as well as a wide range of operatic repertoire.