Baldur Brönnimann has earned a reputation as a conductor of great flexibility with a broad-minded approach to music-making and a particular affinity for the most complex contemporary scores. He shares his time between the concert hall and the opera house, and whenever possible seeks out opportunities for educational and outreach work.
For many years Brönnimann has been the conductor of choice for high-profile composer projects and as such he has worked closely with composers such as Saariaho, Birtwistle, Chin, Ades, with orchestras such as Stockholm Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, BBC Symphony and at festivals including Settembre Musicale (Milan), Musica Nova (Helsinki), Ultraschall (Berlin). Whilst contemporary music continues to play a major part in Brönnimann’s career, he is now equally sought after in more mainstream, particularly earlier twentieth century repertoire, and as such is working regularly with orchestras such as Bergen Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony, Scottish Chamber, Porto Symphony amongst others.
In the opera house, Brönnimann returned to London’s Coliseum in 2012 to conduct Tom Morris’s new production of John Adams’s Death of Klinghoffer with English National Opera, a huge critical success that received great praise on both sides of the Atlantic. In July 2012, Brönnimann returned to Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, for a double-bill of Schoenberg Erwartung and Szymanowski’s rarely heard Hagith, and having conducted the extraordinary La Fura dels Baus production of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre at ENO in 2009, Brönnimann made his debut at Komische Oper Berlin in 2013 with Barry Kosky’s production of the same work.
In December 2012, Brönnimann completed his four-year tenure as Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia in Bogotá, where he quickly became a significant and dynamic part of the local cultural scene. As well as setting up an annual symphonic festival, Brönnimann initiated a wide range of educational activities, projects focusing on historical performance practice and weekly pre-concert talks. Hugely committed to audience development, Brönnimann’s initiatives included a performance of the original version of Falla’s El amor brujo with the flamenco singer Carmen Linares, performances with soloists such as Valentina Lisitsa, Gabriela Montero, Johannes Moser, Benjamin Schmid, and many Colombian premieres, including of Bartók’s The Miraculous Mandarin.
In 2011 Brönnimann was appointed Artistic Director of Norway’s contemporary music ensemble BIT20 where his focus is very much on expanding the ensemble’s connection with their audience, building projects with the cultural community in Norway and creating new avenues for the ensemble. Programmes are varied and wide-ranging and in the current season include programmes of music by Varese, Zappa, Wallin amongst others.
Highlights of Brönnimann’s 12-13 season include his Komische Oper debut, performances of Tan Dun Marco Polo at the Bergen International Festival, concerts in Austria and Buenos Aires with Klangforum Wien, a return to the London Sinfonietta, performances of Prokofiev Symphony No. 2 with Malmo Symphony, Nielsen Symphony No. 5 with Bergen Philharmonic, Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique with Iceland Symphony.
Born in Switzerland, Brönnimann trained at the City of Basel Music Academy and at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where he was subsequently appointed Visiting Tutor in Conducting.
Baldur Brönnimann is represented by Intermusica.
2012/13 season / 507 words. Not to be altered without permission. Please destroy all previous biographical material.
Komische Oper Berlin / Ligeti Le Grand Macabre
“Le Grand Macabre may well be the key opera of the late 20th century. This production – certainly worth the revival – is probably one of the best interpretations possible, and the commitment of the orchestra of Komische Oper – conducted by one of the best young specialists in this repertoire – confirms the vitality and relevance of opera today.”
Dominique Adrian, Res Musica, May 2013
English National Opera / Adams The Death of Klinghoffer
“Adams's score is a thing of beauty (and is rendered here with absolute clarity by Baldur Brönnimann).”
Alexandra Coghlan, New Statesman, March 2012
“At ENO the singing and the playing, conducted by Baldur Brönnimann, was formidable.”
Fiona Maddocks, Observer, March 2012
“Meanwhile, Adams’s melismatic choruses unfurl, their blue-gold orchestral accompaniments meticulously balanced by Baldur Brönnimann.”
Anna Picard, Independent on Sunday, March 2012
“Brönnimann, who impressed with Olga Neuwirth’s Lost Highway when the company mounted it at the Young Vic...
Cast, chorus and players all gave much for Brönnimann, and the production shouldn’t be missed”
Paul Driver, Sunday Times, March 2012
“Baldur Brönnimann conducts with precise elegance”
Paul Levy, The Wall Street Journal, March 2012
“The ENO Chorus and Orchestra offer accomplished performances under Baldur Brönnimann. The Death of Klinghoffer is a brave and important work tackling one of the most intractable issues of contemporary world politics and it’s difficult to imagine it much better done. Not to be missed.”
Barry Millington, Evening Standard, February 2012
“...musical standards under conductor Baldur Brönnimann are very high, with Alan Opie and Michaela Martens outstanding as Mr and Mrs Klinghoffer...this is an opera that nags at the mind long afterwards. It ought to be seen.”
Richard Fairman, Financial Times, February 2012
“...there is much glorious music, especially in the gravely beautiful choruses, and the delicate orchestration is cleanly delineated under Baldur Brönnimann’s gentle baton. Outstanding among an admirable cast are Alan Opie (Klinghoffer) and Richard Burkhard (Mamoud). But this isn’t an opera that offers singers much chance to show off, any more than it offers audiences cheap gratification. The Death of Klinghoffer is serious stuff.”
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph, February 2012
“Conductor Baldur Brönnimann leads a clean and fluent performance of Adams’ lyrical score... it’s a remarkable evening, reaching an eloquent end as Michaela Martens, as Marilyn Klinghoffer, grieves angrily for her dead husband.”
George Hall, The Stage, February 2012
“What emerges clearly too from the performance under Baldur Brönnimann is the sheer beauty of so much of Adams's score, with its dark-hued sonorities, chromatically inflected harmonies and keening instrumental lines.”
Andrew Clement, Guardian, February 2012
“Adams’s music, efficiently delivered under Baldur Brönnimann, is far more than a glorified soundtrack to a true-life drama. The beautiful double-chorus of lamentation at the opening; the meditative arias entwined with instrumental obbligatos (often given a sensuous Middle Eastern twist); the way the music ritualises the action: all this suggests Adams aspiring to write a modern-day Bach Passion, and his achievement doesn’t fall far short.”
Richard Morrison, Times, February 2012
“Adams’ uneven score - soundly attended by Baldur Brönnimann - is at its best when it embraces the personal as opposed to the political. The big arias are truly showstopping: the Palestinian mother (Clare Presland) whose son takes the life of Klinghoffer (the excellent Alan Opie) in an unflinching double-perspective which horrifically puts us right there in the moment. And who could not be moved by Michaela Martens’ storming final aria in memory of her husband.”
Edward Seckerson, Independent, February 2012
English National Opera / Ligeti Le Grand Macabre
“…a musical performance, under the tight baton of Swiss contemporary music specialist Baldur Brönnimann, that was never short on vigorous attack.
The overall result was musically and dramatically fun, and visually unforgettable.”
Opera News, December 2009
“… Baldur Brönnimann conducted with committed dexterity and the orchestra shone.”
Fiona Maddocks, Observer, September 2009
“Under Baldur Brönnimann, ENO's orchestra realise the score with vivacity and discipline, while Watts, Andersson, Ablinger-Sperrhacke, Bourne and Bottone make the absurdities, exaggerations, uglinesses and angularities of Ligeti's vocal writing sparkle. A production like this only comes along once a decade... This polyglot extravaganza is a triumph.”
Anna Picard, Independent, September 2009
“Andrew Watts as Prince Go-Go, Pavlo Hunka’s Nekrotzar, Susan Bickley’s Miss Whiplash housewife, Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke as a pot-bellied lout: these are standout individuals in an excellent ensemble, expertly conducted by Baldur Brönnimann. Rush to see it. After all, you don’t know how long you’ve got.”
Richard Morrison, Times, September 2009
“… an all snorting, all growling orchestra (brilliant under Baldur Brönnimann). Where else will you find a Monteverdian cacophony of motor horns?”
Edward Seckerson,Independent, September 2009
“The production by Alex Ollé and Valentina Carrasco […] is spectacular and brought off to what seems perfection. The singers […] deal with their many challenges and acting assignments with complete assurance and conviction, and the ENO Orchestra plays brilliantly for Baldur Brönnimann.''
The Opera Critic, September 2009
“The ENO Orchestra plays superbly for Baldur Brönnimann, and Ligeti's moments of genius – from the opening car horns to the rapturous closing passacaglia – are as vivid as ever, just as the sly digs at his predecessors, including Monteverdi, Beethoven and Wagner, not to mention the anticipations of Thomas Adès's The Tempest, make their mark, too.”
Andrew Clements, Guardian, September 2009
“Baldur Brönnimann conducts a brilliant musical realisation that jostles constantly with the visuals for the centre of attention.”
George Hall, The Stage, September 2009
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West Australian Symphony Orchestra / Tchaikovsky, Edwards & Dukas
“There was also a thrilling account of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony with conductor Baldur Brönnimann allowing the darkly sombre essence of the composer's introverted musings to register strongly.”
Neville Cohn, The West Australian, June 2012
Philharmonia Orchestra (Music of Today) / Kurtág Messages of the Late Miss R.V. Troussova
“…the work’s desperate intensity was palpably conveyed in a fine account directed by Baldur Brönnimann.”
Richard Whitehouse, Classical Source, June 2011
London Sinfonietta (Meltdown, Southbank Centre) / Harrison Birtwistle & Peter Maxwell Davies
“Conducted by the excellent Baldur Brönnimann, the London Sinfonietta paired sharply contrasted but iconic works by the two most significant British composers of that period, Harrison Birtwistle and Peter Maxwell Davies."
Andrew Clements, Guardian, June 2011
“… Birtwistle's Secret Theatre (1984) and Maxwell Davies's infamous mini-opera Eight Songs for a Mad King (1969) - delivered with dramatic flare by the London Sinfonietta under the baton of Baldur Brönnimann - displayed the visceral stamp that made [the composers] enfants terribles.”
Igor Toronyi-Lalic, The Arts Desk, June 2011
“Swiss-born Baldur Brönnimann led a brilliant performance.”
Colin Anderson, Classical Source, June 2011
Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Glass Icarus at the Edge of Time (Scottish premiere)
“A significantly augmented Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Baldur Brönnimann produced two top drawer performances […]”
Keith Bruce, The Herald, five stars, October 2010
“[The concert] featured the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Swiss conductor Baldur Brönnimann, who served up the heavily laden score with brittle efficiency.”
Kenneth Walton, The Scotsman, October 2010
Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Ives, John Adams & Ingram Marshall
“… with an engaged Baldur Brönnimann at the helm — a conductor able to count both stoically and with some flair in the face of potential orchestral chaos — this was an evening of fruitful echoes.
Adams’s jokily-titled Son of Chamber Symphony (2008) […] was well done and impeccably sculpted by Brönnimann and the SCO.”
Sarah Urwin Jones, Times, October 2010
“… every note of the Three Places In New England, magnificently played by the SCO and conductor Baldur Brönnimann, trumpeted his singularity, his brashness, his nostalgia, his warmth and his sheer rambunctiousness.”
Michael Tumelty, The Herald, October 2010
London Sinfonietta / Rolf Wallin Strange News
“Baldur Brönnimann, conducting, held together fine individual and ensemble performances of a work that raised unsettling questions about the roles of both creator and spectator.”
Hilary Finch, Times, October 2010
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra / Beethoven, Nielsen & Bartók
“From Beethoven's opening orchestral statement, with finely-nuanced woodwind, conductor Baldur Brönnimann looked set to be hero of the evening. And he maintained this status throughout; he was always perceptive in underlining formal issues, and often cast new light on familiar passages by gauging orchestral emphasis and phrasing.”
William Dart, The New Zealand Herald, June 2010
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra / Bizet, Lalo & Ravel
“[T]he nuanced textures of the Intermezzo showed the admirable discipline that conductor Baldur Brönnimann demands when he stands in front of the orchestra.”
William Dart, The New Zealand Herald, June 2010
London Sinfonietta / Wolfgang Rihm
“The Concerto Seraphim (2006-2008) is a lusty work, moving like an enormous Baroque concerto, the activity passing from small ripieno groups, who sing out plangently, to tutti busyness. It's long and complex and handled with extraordinary ability by the London Sinfonietta and conductor Baldur Brönnimann.”
Igor Toronyi-Lalic, The Arts Desk, March 2010
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