The Orchestra • At Home On The World’s Stages
Since its move to Germany in 1990, the Georgian Chamber Orchestra has been based in Ingolstadt. The former orchestra-in-exile, with the support of the City of Ingolstadt, Audi and the Ingolstadt Sparkasse, has become a fixture in cultural life both locally and further afield. The ensemble’s concert series, which have taken place in Ingolstadt since 2001, enjoy consistently high subscription rates.
The ensemble was founded in 1964 in Tbilisi/Georgia, as the Georgian State Chamber Orchestra; in 2014 it celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. After twenty-six years based in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, the orchestra moved to Ingolstadt, where it has made its second home for the last twenty-five years. Its new life in Bavaria is nothing other than a continuation of the old, under different conditions. Continuity is a principle of this very Eastern European orchestra, which always – including in exile – stayed true to its character. Even today the orchestra in Ingolstadt still consists almost of musicians from Georgia, the former Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe.
The orchestra has been strongly artistically influenced by its director of many years, the violinist Liana Issakadze, as well as by conductors such as Lord Yehudi Menuhin and Kurt Masur. Between 2000 and 2006, Markus Poschner headed the ensemble, followed by Ariel Zuckermann until 2011. Lavard Skou Larsen then became chief conductor. In 2014 the Los Angeles-born conductor Benjamin Shwartz was Artistic Director, and now in 2015 the Armenian Ruben Gazarian leads from the podium of the Georgians. Gazarian has been Artistic Director of the renowned Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn since 2002.
Distinguished guest conductors and a phalanx of exceptional international artistic personalities have also appeared with the orchestra, for example David Oistrach, Barbara Hendricks, Svjatoslav Richter and Daniil Shafran. In more recent times Heinrich Schiff, Tabea Zimmermann, Juan Diego Florez, Gidon Kremer, Edita Gruberova, Giora Feidman, Eliso Virsaladze, Lynn Harrell, Rudolf Buchbinder, Christian Zacharias, Lisa Batiashvili, François Leleux, Natalia Gutman, Sharon Kam, Diana Damrau, Zoltán Kocsis, Alfredo Perl, the KOLSIMCHA ensemble, Gilles Apap, Maxim Vengerov, Nikolai Tokarev and Khatia Buniatishvili have provided further artistic impulses. In 2015 the violinist and conductor Julian Rachlin performed with the orchestra in Ingolstadt for the first time as “Artist in Residence”.
The Georgian Chamber Orchestra Ingolstadt considers itself an ensemble not only responsible for a significantly broad repertoire, but also as a cultural ambassador for the City of Ingolstadt. This involves activities beyond the subscription concerts. The orchestra gives about ninety concerts a year at music festivals, such as the Kreuth International Music Festival or the Oettinger Residenz Concerts. It also performs abroad, for example in Spain, France, Georgia, Austria and in Switzerland. It has also been a fixture in the Audi Summer Concert Series for many years.
Since 2010, the ensemble has been supported by the Free State of Bavaria as a non-state orchestra.
Ruben Gazarian • Principal Conductor
With the beginning of the season 2002/2003 Ruben Gazarian (*1971 in Eriwan, Armenia) became the principal conductor of the “Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn”. He has been appointed to this position on the basis of unanimous recommendations by the orchestra and the appointment board. Gazarian succeeded to expand the standard repertoire in a remarkable way by enlargening to symphonic scale and choosing compositions of Romantic and Modern Era as well as avant-garde compositions. At the beginning of 2015, Ruben Gazarian will assume the additional position of Artistic Director of the Georgian Chamber Orchestra Ingolstadt. In the same manner, this appointment arose from the unanimous wish of the orchestra, its management and the cultural representatives of the city.
Ruben Gazarian was guest conductor of the the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, WDR (West German Broadcast) Symphony Orchestra Cologne, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Frankfurt (Main), the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, the Frankfurter Museumsorchestra, the Orchestre National de Lyon, the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie Herford, the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra Rishon Lezion (orchestra of the opera Tel Aviv), the Tonkünstler Orchester Niederösterreich, the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, Camerata Jerusalem, the Zurich Chamber Orchestra.
Ruben Gazarian works successfully with such famous soloists including Gautier and Renaud Capuçon, Julia Fischer, Hilary Hahn, Maximilian Hornung, Sharon Kam, Katia & Marielle Labèque, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Sabine Meyer, Daniel Müller-Schott, Viktoria Mullova, Sergei Nakariakov, Gerhard Oppitz, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Beaux Arts Trio and many others. He has made numerous concert broadcasts by the Hessen Radio (HR), the Southwest German Radio (SWR), the West German Radio (WDR), Deutschlandradio, the Middle German Radio (MDR), the Radio Svizzera Italiana.
At the age of four Gazarian received his first violin lesson from his father. Subsequently, he was educated at the “P.I. Tchaikovsky Special Music School” and later at the “Yerevan State Conservatory” by the first violinist of the famous Borodin Quartet. His active concert career started in 1983. During his studies he was contracted as a soloist by the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia. At the same time he was violinist of the National Armenian Piano Trio.
In 1992 Ruben Gazarian went to Leipzig for post degree studies at the “Leipzig Music Academy Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy”. In the winter of 1995, Gazarian completed his education as a violinist by passing the concert exam. In the same year he began his conductor’s education at the Leipzig Music Academy which he completed with the highest possible grade in a public final concert in May 1998. From 1993 until 1998 Ruben Gazarian was First Concertmaster of the “West Saxon Symphony Orchestra” and from January 1999 until August 2002 he was principal conductor of this orchestra. In this position he was the youngest conductor of Germany at the time. In September 2002 Ruben Gazarian became laureate of the 1st International Conducting Competition “Sir Georg Solti” in Frankfurt Main.
An extensive and ever-growing discography documents the wide range of artists and his confident familiarity with works from diverse musical periods and styles. In addition, several CD productions are planned for the concert season 2016/17, of which the repertoire will comprise music spanning from the First Viennese School to the 21st century.