Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra
is one of five nationally supported Danish orchestras charged collectively with bringing classical music to the whole country. It gives concerts in Copenhagen and in cities all over the island of Sjaelland. The orchestra also engages in a wide variety of activities aimed at the dissemination of classical music and culture to children and young adults, both inside and outside school.
The 70-strong Copenhagen Phil changes its name every summer to Tivoli’s Symphony Orchestra, where it functions as the house orchestra for a long-standing and widely reputed series of classical concerts in the concert hall of the Tivoli Gardens. Under these two different guises, the orchestra gives approximately 100 performances each year. Founded in 1843 as a dance and entertainment orchestra for concerts and events in Tivoli Gardens, the orchestra grew and developed in subsequent years under the leadership of, among others, Niels W. Gade. While its roots in Tivoli remain an important part of the orchestra’s rich heritage, in recent years Copenhagen Phil has altered its image and presence in the cultural landscape with an innovative new concert series, which brings independent and popular musicians together with the orchestra in a unique synergy. It has also secured a conspicuous online presence.
From the start of the 2009/10 season Lawrence Foster will become Music Director of Orchestre et Opéra National de Montpellier. He also begins his eighth season as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra.
Recent highlights as a guest conductor have included a complete Beethoven piano concerto cycle with Orchestre National de Lyon and Radu Lupu, a tour of Spain with Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, and the continuation of the Enescu symphony cycle with NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover. This season he conducts the Gewandhausorchester (with Lisa Batiashvili as soloist), Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, and will appear at the Grafenegg Festival in July 2010. He will also conduct both Chopin concertos with Daniel Barenboim as soloist with the Gulbenkian Orchestra and Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo. Further ahead, other engagements include NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Residentie Orkest (with Aldo Ciccolini), Tivoli Symphony Orchestra (with Evgeny Kissin), plus the closing concerts of MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig’s 2010/11 season. After the success of his recent Schumann symphony cycle with the Czech Philharmonic (recorded for Pentatone), he will also return to the orchestra in spring 2011.
Lawrence Foster has worked with a number of major youth orchestras. In summer 2004 he brought the Australian Youth Orchestra to the BBC Proms and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and took the orchestra on tour in July 2007. He toured with Junge Deutsche Philharmonie over easter 2009, and also conducted the Academy Orchestra at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in August 2009. He previously served as Music Director of the Aspen Music Festival and School and returned to the festival in summer 2009 to celebrate its 60th year.
As an opera conductor, Lawrence Foster has appeared in major houses throughout the world. Last season he led a production of Reyer’s Salammbo with Opéra de Marseille and returned to Staatsoper Hamburg for a revival of Pélléas et Mélisande. This season he will return to Staatsoper Hamburg for a production of Weber’s Der Freischütz, followed by a revival of Carmen in 2010/11. In spring 2011 he will return to Opéra de Marseille for a production of Wozzeck and will also conduct the world premiere of a new opera by René Koering with Opéra de Monte Carlo. Other recent highlights have included his debut in 2006 at the Bregenz Festival with the first completed version of Debussy’s unfinished opera The Fall of the House of Usher (completed by Robert Orledge), a production of Roussel’s Padmavati at the Théâtre du Châtelet with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and his debut with Leipzig Oper in a production of Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. He also conducted a performance of Louise Bertin’s Esmeralda at the 2008 Montpellier Festival, a live recording of which has been released on CD.
With the Gulbenkian Orchestra Lawrence Foster presents at least one opera-in-concert in Lisbon per season and in 2010 this will be Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. As Music Director of Orchestre et Opéra National de Montpellier he will lead a production of Die Zauberflöte in both Montpellier and Paris in autumn 2009 as well as performances of Otello in spring 2010.
Born in 1941 in Los Angeles to Romanian parents, Lawrence Foster has been a major champion of the music of Georg Enescu, serving as Artistic Director of the Georg Enescu Festival from 1998 to 2001. His latest Enescu recording - his own orchestration of the String Octet with Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo for EMI - was released in spring 2009.
Lawrence Foster has previously held Music Directorships with the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra and Orchestre de Chamber de Lausanne.
In January 2003 he was decorated by the Romanian President for services to Romanian Music.