Biography

Albrecht Mayer’s playing has both listeners and critics raving, with expressions like “divine spark” or the “miraculous oboe” that the German player has elevated to become an “instrument of seduction”. He studied with Gerhard Scheuer, Georg Meerwein, Maurice Bourgue and Ingo Goritzki and began his professsional career in 1990 as principal oboist of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. Since 1992 he has occupied the same position with the Berliner Philharmoniker. Among the most sought-after oboists of our time, he has appeared as a soloist with Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Along with his solo projects, Mayer considers it important to find time for chamber music and performs regularly with partners such as the pianist Hélène Grimaud, Leif Ove Andsnes and the bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff, with whom he recorded a CD of Bach cantatas.

In his search for new repertoire for his instrument, he is constantly fascinated by the idea of lending his voice (that of the oboe) to “foreign” works – pieces written for other instruments or for singers. Having sung as a child for many years in the Bamberg Cathedral Choir, he is especially attracted to the human voice, as the most “natural” of all instruments. In the recording Lieder ohne Worte – Bach transcriptions for oboe and orchestra – the Baroque style and bel canto are delightfully combined. The CD immediately entered the German classical charts at number 2. His CD In Search of Mozart recorded with Claudio Abbado and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra made it to the top of the German classical charts. New Seasons presents music by Handel in a stunning new light. In August 2008, the album In Venice was released by Decca, featuring Baroque oboe concertos by Venetian composers. Voices of Bach, featuring works of J.S. Bach for oboe, choir and orchestra, was issued in autumn 2009. In 2010, Deutsche Grammophon will release his collaboration with the young Austrian percussionist Martin Grubinger entitled Drums ’n’ Chants, and his album of music by Debussy, Ravel, Satie, Fauré, D´Indy and Françaix – Bonjour Paris! – will appear on Decca, with a tour of this repertoire to follow in 2011.

Albrecht Mayer was awarded the E.T.A.-Hoffmann Prize by his hometown of Bamberg, Germany, in December 2006. Furthermore, for the third time he was awarded the Echo Prize by the German Phono-Akademie this year; in 2008 he won in the category “Best Music DVD Production”, in 2004 and 2010 he was voted “Instrumentalist of the Year”.

Albrecht Mayer plays a Buffet Crampon Green Line oboe and an oboe d’amore by Mönnig.

10/2010

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