After three years as Kapellmeister at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Moritz Gnann took up the position as Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for the season 2015/16 and 2016/17. His debut with the BSO at Tanglewood in August 2016 will include Mozart’s Jeunehomme concerto (soloist: Nelson Freire) and Mahler’s 1st symphony. He will furthermore conduct three subscription concerts at the Boston Symphony Hall in November 2016, featuring the legendary Menahem Pressler.
In addition to his activities in Boston, he keeps a close relationship with the Deutsche Oper Berlin appearing as guest conductor in various productions. He opened the 2015/16 season at the Deutsche Oper with Berlioz’ Romeo et Juliette and will conduct the revivals of L’elisir d’amore and Billy Budd in 16/17. After a successful debut with the Staatskapelle Dresden he has been reinvited to the Semperoper for Die Zauberflöte and Hänsel und Gretel.
Moritz Gnann started his professional career in 2007 when he joined the Theater Aachen as a repetiteur and conductor. From 2009 until 2011 he was musical assistant to Julia Jones at Teatro Nacional de Saõ Carlos in Lisbon, conducting operas such as Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Puccini's Gianni Schicchi and Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti as well as various concert programmes. As Kapellmeister and Assistant to the Generalmusikdirektor at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, he conducted Die Zauberflöte, Cosí fan tutte, Hänsel und Gretel, Madama Butterfly, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto and Billy Budd as well as other projects. Mahlermania, a production that combines the biography of Gustav Mahler with his music was recorded for the European TV channel Arte and was toured under the musical direction of Moritz Gnann to the Opéra de Rouen and to Uijeongbu Music Theatre Festival in South Korea . He opened the 2014/2015 season at the Deutsche Oper Berlin with a new production of Iannis Xenakis' Oresteia to highest critical acclaim.
Moritz Gnann was born in Tuebingen, Germany, and studied conducting at the Universität der Künste in Berlin and at the Musikhochschule Dresden, graduating with distinction. He gained further experience through active participation in masterclasses with Gianluigi Gelmetti, Sylvain Cembreling, Hartmut Haenchen, Bernhard Haitink and Diego Masson.
Moritz assisted Sir Simon Rattle on Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Christian Thielemann on Der Rosenkavalier at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden. He is a regular member of the Bayreuther Festspiele cast assisting Andris Nelsons on Lohengrin since 2010. In the 2016 summer he is going to work together with Maestro Nelsons on the new production of Parsifal.
Boston Symphony Orchestra assistant conductor Moritz Gnann made his Symphony Hall debut Tuesday with an enticing program of Romantic music: Mendelssohn's "Hebrides" Overture, Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27 (K. 595), and Dvorák's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World." It was a night to remember (...)
The "Hebrides" Overture (Mendelssohn also called it "Fingal's Cave") was inspired by the composer's 1829 visit to a cave of basalt columns on the Inner Hebrides isle of Staffa. Under Gnann's baton, the tranquil opening phrase was the calm before the storm; there was thunder and lightning to follow, but also frolicking sea birds, before the tempest blew itself out. (...)
After intermission, Gnann offered a distinctive reading of the Dvorák.(...) Gnann let it all unfurl without pushing too hard. The first movement (whose exposition repeat he omitted) was full of contrasts, with a tender second theme and dramatic climaxes. The conclusion was ferocious, but all the more transparent for not being whipped into a frenzy. (...)
He saved the best for last: The dirge-like coda built very slowly, creating suspense, and the climax didn't explode so much as bloom.
Throughout the performance, Gnann made you stop, think, and reconsider. No small achievement in such a familiar symphony.
The concluding work, Mahler's youthful first symphony, was where Gnann's interpretative talents and energy shone. (..) From the first bars, where Gnann had urged the orchestra in rehearsal the day before to play the opening dominant A pitch as softly as possible, there was promise that this performance might be special. It was that and more.
(..) As the work progressed, Gnann's attention to detail became apparent. He masterfully weaved the threads of Mahler's music, allowing parts rarely heard clearly, such as those from the harp and bass drum, albeit played softly, to contribute to the sonority. (..)
Movement two begins with a peasant-like Austrian Ländler. A trio in F follows it. In a lifetime of listening to Mahler performances, I've never heard it played more beautifully or sound more Austrian. (..)
The final climax called for the brass players to deplete their reserves, playing as loudly as they could (..)
That the conductor and players had modulated their sound beautifully throughout the work made the final, boisterous climax much more effective. It was a fantastic ending to a rousing performance and the audience recalled the young conductor to the stage thrice. Gnann is an animated conductor and he was spent by the symphony's end, as were his players. It was a triumphant exhaustion that reminded one of Mahler's assessment that a symphony "must be like the world.