In the mid 1980s, I had the privilege of attending a great many concerts in London but one, in particular, stands out for me. It was the London debut of a young trumpet player from Sweden, Hakan Hardenberger. As a conservatoire trumpet student, I was absorbing music of all kinds and in the pre-internet days, live music was at its height. The young Hakan was performing the Haydn Trumpet Concerto with the Philharmonia at the Royal Festival Hall and there was a considerable buzz in the air surrounding this prodigious player from Malmo, Sweden. Within just a few bars of the exposition, I immediately knew I was witnessing the early days of one of the greatest trumpet players of all time. Why? The sound! To play pianissimo yet still fill a concert hall the size of the RFH was a mind blowing concept.
When playing any instrument, it is the sound that is paramount in making the player a virtuoso. Coupled with feather light articulation, incredible technique, range, endurance and innate musicality, you have the trumpet legend who is the great Hakan Hardenberger.
Håkan Hardenberger is one of the world’s leading soloists, consistently recognized for his phenomenal performances and tireless innovation. Alongside his performances of the classical repertory, he is also renowned as a pioneer of significant and virtuosic new trumpet works.
Hardenberger performs with the world’s foremost orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Wiener Philharmoniker, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker and London Symphony Orchestra. Conductors he regularly collaborates with include Martyn Brabbins, Péter Eötvös, Alan Gilbert, Daniel Harding, Ingo Metzmacher, Andris Nelsons, Sakari Oramo, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and John Storgårds.
The works written for and championed by Hardenberger stand as key highlights in the repertory and include those by Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Brett Dean, Hans Werner Henze, Steven Mackey, Olga Neuwirth, Arvo Pärt, Toru Takemitsu, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Rolf Wallin and HK Gruber’s concerto Aerial, which has received its 70th performance with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2015.
In summer 2018, Hardenberger returns to the Salzburg Festival with the Vienna Philharmonic and Andris Nelsons with B.A. Zimmermann’s trumpet concerto “Nobody knows the trouble I see”, celebrating his centenary. At the BBC Proms he performs Brandenburg concerto No. 2 attacca into Steven Mackey’s response to Bach’s original, with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. Both concertos will be released on the BIS label later in the season. He returns to the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, before embarking on a tour together to the Royal Festival Hall London, Malmö Live, Konserthuset Stockholm, Latvian National Opera and Konzerthaus Dortmund. In November he is giving his debut at Carnegie Hall with Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons, with HK Gruber’s “Aerial”. Spring 2019 sees the world premieres of Robin Holloway’s trumpet concerto with BBC Philharmonic and Tobias Brostroem’s concerto for two trumpets with Jeroen Berwaerts and Malmö Symphony Orchestra, both with John Storgårds. Hardenberger also returns to the Orchestre de Paris, Dresdner Philharmonie and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Conducting is an integral part of Hardenberger’s music making. He conducts orchestras such as BBC Philharmonic, Saint Paul and Swedish Chamber Orchestras, Dresdner Philharmonie, RTÉ National Symphony Dublin, Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi and Malmö Symphony Orchestra.
To add to his prolific discography, on the Philips, EMI, Deutsche Grammophon and BIS labels. Hardenberger anticipates the release of duo recording with Colin Currie, which features duos by composers such as Brett Dean and André Jolivet (LSO Live). The duo performs in London, Malmö, Aldeburgh, Wimbledon and Bergen. Together with Roland Pöntinen, he returns to Wigmore Hall and performs at Kunstfestspiele Hannover and in Detmold. As the Artistic Director of the Malmö Chamber Music Festival, he features the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Xavier de Maistre as well as composers in residence Mark Anthony Turnage and Betsy Jolas.
Hardenberger was born in Malmö, Sweden. He began studying the trumpet at the age of eight with Bo Nilsson in Malmö and continued his studies at the Paris Conservatoire, with Pierre Thibaud, and in Los Angeles with Thomas Stevens. He is a professor at the Malmö Conservatoire.