Marc Albrecht is one of the most interesting conductors on the current opera and concert scene. A man who goes his own way with clear artistic visions, and concentrates primarily on his role as Chief Conductor of the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam, Europe’s Opera House of the Year 2016, as well as of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. His chosen guest conducting engagements for the 2018/19 season will lead him to the Royal Opera House in London, the Hessische Staatstheater and the San Francisco Opera.
Although he is in great demand internationally as a conductor of late Romantic German and Austrian repertoire ranging from Wagner to Strauss to Zemlinsky, Schreker and Korngold, he convincingly and successfully covers the entire spectrum from Mozart to contemporary music. “The Beethoven sounded thrilling, evocative and exciting,” according to a review from Vienna in 2014, for example. Die Welt critic Manuel Brug cited Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh as “an exemplary operatic evening”, which Albrecht conducted in 2012. The Tagesspiegel (2018) also commented on Korngold’s “Das Wunder der Heliane” at the Deutsche Oper Berlin: “Marc Albrecht rules as a convincing Korngoldian. […] You cannot fight for such a rarity at the Deutsche Oper, as elaborate, affectionate and top-quality as he is.”
Marc Albrecht’s musical training began while he was still in school. As the son of George Alexander Albrecht, the long-time Music Director of the Niedersächsische Staatstheater Hannover, he gained deep insights into the conducting profession from an early age. He played trombone in the orchestra, but the piano became his instrument of choice. He still appears from time to time as a chamber musician in concerts with his orchestra colleagues.
The chamber music approach also characterizes his work with orchestras. Albrecht loves the large orchestra format and is able to exploit the almost endless sound possibilities of the orchestra like few other conductors. At the same time, however, he always attempts to make the symphonic texture as transparent as chamber music. Even in the densely orchestrated symphonies of Bruckner and Mahler, he amazingly succeeds in making the structure clear and allowing the music to breathe, despite the opulent sound. An analytical approach and emotional music-making go hand in hand for Marc Albrecht. He intellectually penetrates and studies every work he conducts in depth, in order to be able to make music without restraint and with all his heart during the concert. He is neither a cerebral nor an intuitive musician, but a happy combination of both.
He was clearly influenced in that regard by his mentor Claudio Abbado. Following his studies in Vienna and his first positions as répétiteur with the state operas in Vienna and Hamburg, he served as Abbado’s assistant, helping to launch the Mahler Jugendorchester, which he conducted for five years. He was subsequently appointed Principal Conductor of the Sächsischen Staatsoper Dresden and in 1995, at the age of 30, became one of Germany’s youngest Music Directors at the Staatstheater Darmstadt.
In 2006 Marc Albrecht assumed the post of Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, and then went to Amsterdam in 2011, where once again opera became the focus of his work. He conducted such operas as “Die Zauberflöte” and “Don Giovanni” by Mozart, Beethoven’s “Fidelio”, Verdi’s “Macbeth”, Wagner’s “Meistersinger”, “Elektra” by Strauss, “Der Schatzgräber” by Schreker, Prokofiev’s “Der Spieler” and the premiere of Manfred Trojahn’s “Orest”. In September 2014, a milestone of his career was the first staged version of Schoenberg’s “Gurre-Lieder”, with Pierre Audi as stage director.
As a guest conductor he has presented operas by such diverse composers as Berlioz and Messiaen, Stravinsky and Martinů, B.A. Zimmermann and Zemlinsky, Berg, Henze and Wagner at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, in Brussels, Paris and Barcelona, at Covent Garden, the Salzburger Festspiele and, from 2003 to 2006, at the Bayreuther Festspiele.
In general, Marc Albrecht likes to collaborate with unconventional directors; he has conducted successful projects with Katie Mitchell and Christof Loy, Claus Guth, Herbert Fritsch and Krzystzof Warlikowski.
In addition, he has conducted symphony orchestras such as the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Münchner Philharmoniker, the Orchestra dell’ Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Orchestre National de France, the NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the orchestras in Cleveland, Dallas, Stockholm, Oslo, Turin and Rotterdam.
Marc Albrecht’s CD recordings with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra (including works by Korngold, Ravel, Dukas, Köchlin, Berg, Schumann, Dvořák, Mahler, Strauss, Brahms/Schönberg) have been released on the Pentatone label, and live recordings of his productions at the Dutch National Opera are available on Challenge Records. His most recent recording is of a Strauss album which includes the works “Ein Heldenleben” and “Burleske”, which will be released on the Pentatone label in the autumn of 2018.